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A stampeding herd of sacred cows

March 25, 2006

Timothy Garten Ash in The Guardian:

…If the intimidators succeed, then the lesson for any group that strongly believes in anything is: shout more loudly, be more extreme, threaten violence, and you will get your way. Frightened firms, newspapers or universities will cave in, as will softbellied democratic states, where politicians scrabble to keep the votes of diverse constituencies.

But in our increasingly mixed-up, multicultural world, there are so many groups that care so strongly about so many different things, from fruitarians to anti-abortionists and from Jehovah’s Witnesses to Kurdish nationalists.  Aggregate all their taboos and you have a vast herd of sacred cows. Let the frightened nanny state enshrine all those taboos in new laws or bureaucratic prohibitions, and you have a drastic loss of freedom. That, I think, is what is happening to us, issue by issue…
- Timothy Garten Ash, We must stand up to the creeping tyranny of the group veto

So is there anything that should be censored by force of law?  It turns out there is a sharp, logically consistent line.  Go read the whole thing!  (From Buridan)

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  1. March 26, 2006 at 19:17 | #1

    Aside from Buridan’s self-important writing style, I agree.  The group I hate the most is the corporation.  “Global economy, competitiveness”, etc., and all that crap.

    That said, Ash’s phrase “But in our increasingly mixed-up, multicultural world,” is sort of curious.  Is he equating multicultural with “mixed-up”?  The world is multicultural … well DUH!!!

  2. March 27, 2006 at 14:22 | #2

    “…no comparable good is achieved by the republication of cartoons …”

    I have to disagree with him on this point. The publishing of the cartoons exposed Islam to the rest of the world as to what Islam actually is—a society that will not tolerate any disident nor freedom of expression. This in itself made the publishing of the cartoons worthwhile.

    Being a redneck and used to redneck figuring I figure that when a crowd starts yelling “death to Americans” or “death to animal eaters” or death to whatever they mean what they say. I also figure I have the right to protect my life so if they happen to be in front of my house yelling “death to flesh eaters” I might just pop a cap at them and feel fully justified in doing so.

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