It takes a nation to protect the nation
Description from Amazon.com:
Depictions of the Muslim prophet Mohammed are forbidden by shari'a, Islamic law. That's fine for Muslims if they care to follow Islamic law. For the rest of the world, Mohammed is a fit subject for cartooning. This book contains some of the world's best Motoons to date. Free speech. Not everyone likes it; but it is a right all people have-- even if they don't want it. Others might not like free speech, but they have no right to deny it to others. Motoons. Our right.
Ostensibly, this is a book from the 'Counter-Jihad' movement to criticise Islam and its Leftist apologists. In actuality, it is the opposite - it reinforces 3 major arguments used against showing Mohammed cartoons. By doing so it encourages both the fundamentalists that kill cartoonists, and the soft-jihadists that constantly seek to increase the limits on Free Speech.
Motoons has some good information in it, but unfortunately, any good that could come out of the educational material is negated by the bad material. I haven't bought the book, so only know what can be gleaned from the Amazon 'Look Inside' feature. However here are my observations from memory.
There could be more criticisms that could be made, but as I said at the beginning, this is only a partial review.
Overall Bad Arguments
There are 3 common defective arguments used against showing the Mohammed cartoons. The correct form of each argument is used to defend Free Speech and the portrayal of Mohammed cartoons. The defective form of the argument is used against the latter, to limit Free Speech, and even defend the actions of murderous Islamists. By repeating use of these confused ways of thinking, 'Motoons' only reinforces the defective lines of thought.
1. The Charge of Bad Motive
Even though strictly speaking, arguments from motive are not applicable in politics, people still listen to them anyway, so this has to be addressed.
The author states that the intention of the book is to deliberately offend people, just as it is asserted by the Islamist that the pure intention of Mohammed cartoons is to cause offense to Muslims. Well, as far as I know, none of the curators so far, in Garland, Texas (Pamela Geller) or in London (Anne Marie Waters), has stated that as their intention. Their stated intention was to show that Free Speech could still be exercised. The intended aim was achieved in Texas (at great risk), and not achieved in London (exhibition forced to be cancelled). The charge that the intention is simply to cause offence is a Straw Man. Dag Walker repeats this same Straw Man as his intention in producing the Motoons book. Therefore he is only encouraging use of that argument by anyone who wishes to censor the cartoons and hence silence any criticism of Islam. This is not good for those who wish to preserve and protect Free Speech, the keystone of democratic freedom!
2. The Charge of Racism (conflation of Islam with race)
The repeated calling of Obama 'nigger' is an attempt to be racist. This is the same charge that is placed against the cartoons - they are said to be 'racist'. So if you criticise Islam you are accused of being a racist. If a supposed exponent of the Mohammed cartoons is found to be plainly and deliberately racist, then that charge will be assumed to apply to all defenders of the cartoons.
This argument may be swiftly dismissed since Islam is not race specific - anyone of any race can become a Muslim, indeed 1.6 billion of them are. Any apologist trying to hold to this accusation, should be required first of all to kick out of Islam all the Caucasians, Turks, Indonesians, Malaysians, Persians, etc, until only the Arabic race is left. Once they have done that we could then accept the possibility that someone arguing against Islam is motivated by racial considerations. But until the Muslim population has been shrunk down to the 367 million Arabs, the accusation of racism is febrile nonsense.
3. The Charge of Muslimophobia (conflation of person with ideology)
The cartoon of Obama with a monkey face, probably attempts to mock him because he is black. But Obama is an idiot because of his ideology and his record of failure, not because of his skin colour, or his resemblance to a chameleon or any other animal. Thomas Sowell and Alan West are also black, and they are not community organising twits like Obama, QED.
This failure to distinguish between a person and his ideology is dangerous. Muslims love to conflate criticism of their ideology with criticism of their people, and use this as a free pass to reject critical scrutiny. Curiously, you never find Marxists or anyone else pleading this exemption. You don't get Marxists saying "You're only rejecting my Marxist beliefs because I'm a red haired person!" By repeating this error, the book strengthens the hand of Islamists when they come to play the 'anti-Muslim' card, again and again.
The confusion in the above 3 arguments, plus the gratuitous deprecation of women, are strangely reminiscent of Muslim thinking. However, I see three dangers in this book:
This book in its current form, is unfortunately a more powerful tool for promoting Islamic totalitarianism and apartheid, than it is for promoting Democratic freedom and egalitarianism.
I tried to have a look at the Amazon preview of this book, but there's so little to see there, I'll readily accept the above critique because I have so much respect for the judgement of you both.
However, the idea of people comparing Obama to some form of monkey/chimpanzee reminded me that the same thing has been done to Bush jr. Here is a collection of some of those images (from the website of a company who will sell one a t-shirt with these images on it).
A search of images.google.com shows scads of other images comparing Bush to a monkey/chimp. Given that Bush was famous long before Obama, I'd wager these images pre-date Obama's inauguration by 5 to 10 years.
It seems strange that comparing Obama to a chimpanzee is racist, but comparing Bush to a chimpanzee is not racist.
Do you think there are companies who sell t-shirts comparing Obama to a monkey/chimp?
Indeed, a search of images.google.com for such images of Obama only turns up 2 or so, compared with maybe 30 to 50 versions of the Bush comparison.
On another note: I don't consider Obama to be black. I consider him to be white, no matter how much he might protest to the contrary. Every time people tell me Obama is black, I say that he is white. That the Left/Blacks consider him to be black is to endorse a contagion model of race: if someone is anywhere between 1% and 100% black then they are black. Even 1% of "blackness" is sufficient to make someone black. I find it weird that it is universally accepted that Obama is black. They could have called him "the first not 100% white POTUS", except there may well have been other presidents who were not 100% white.
Anyway, that's all a long way from the Motoons.
Blacks tend to accept as black anyone that has a drop of negro blood in them. In genetics as in mathematics it is thus:
Black father black mother 100% black, black father white mother 50% black, white father one black grandmother 25% black 75%white. and so on.
If blacks were in a dominant position and whites were a racially discriminated minority, then the picture of Bush would be racially offensive and the picture of Obama a political statement.
I know, we can't escape the context, or the Matrix. And this goes back to Moldbug's statement that different standards apply to people like Breivik/Spencer than apply to the murderous epigones of the Left. The Left's narrative/agenda has the power, and with that power, white is black and equality is not equality. It is polylogism (as Von Mises would say): there are actually different logics applied in difference circumstances.
Once again, this lack of logic, this Doublethink was pointed out by Orwell, the Prophet George. And it is no wonder that people have simply run away from the problems caused by "progressives". When both Democracy and tradition have been usurped, the only vote they have is to vote with their feet. They are going to keep on moving away from towns & cities, and closer to the coast.
The cultural erosion teaches us one thing: it is vital that one stick to principles, to rules that apply no matter what. Once muslims saw they could get the USA to submit over the (respectful) frieze of Mohammed on the walls of the US Supreme Court, muslims knew that no-one was going to be able to stand up to their demands on this principle. They will not relent on principle, and we will relent on principle. No wonder at the Copenhagen conference they were all so negative; even Mark Steyn's ebullience was dampened right down, and when he claims he is optimistic, it was clear that he did not believe this.
Muslims are committed to principles; we are committed to the easy option. With Jyllands Posten & Charlie Hebdo both no longer drawing Mohammed, the pragmatic submission by the American state in the late 1990s has finally reached its end. America wasn't given preferential treatment by this submission, instead they got 9/11. As Churchill said: you had to choose between dishonour and war; you chose dishonour, and you will get war.
Even so Joe, even when all is lost we go down fighting. I do really believe that the best way to defeat a liar is to tell the truth. The socialists and islamists are lying, and most people can still tell the difference between a factual truth and a falsehood. It is a fight, an enormous task but we have each of us a duty to ourselves to keep on telling our version of events.
If we do not win this war of words we may have to fight a real war here on our soil.
Our enemies have chosen moral condemnation and accusations of racism as weapons. We have to counter by exposing how much damage the liberal socialist policy of open borders is doing, and point out what Islam is achieving through deception and intimidation. People are simply not aware of what the Muslims are up to and what their objectives are.
Which is why I say identify your main enemy and go in for the kill. Ignore petty irritations.
I do really believe that the best way to defeat a liar is to tell the truth. The socialists and islamists are lying, and most people can still tell the difference between a factual truth and a falsehood.
One thing that surprised me in writing the above review, is how hard it is to thoroughly disentangle bad arguments. A simple Straw Man, for example, is not a problem, but when argument is done by implication and can be interpreted several ways, it becomes very difficult. For example, the monkey face issue. After Joe's insight into the Bush mockery, Dag Walker could argue that he wasn't intending to be racist, just egalitarian, and state that his purpose is to insist that that kind of abusive mockery should be applicable to any politician equally, without exemption or discrimination. But to cut a long story short and agree with Paul, logically correct or not, it is just bad tactics to even go there. It also became obvious that the 'Racist' charge is effectively two false allegations in one, and you can take your pick which one it is.
The ease with which Soft Jihadists can tie the Open Society in knots with these kind of specious arguments, is very worrying. One could ask if the average person in a democracy is sufficiently competent to process this kind of deceptive argument and narrative. I'm working hard at it, and its tough for me, with decades of experience in logic and analysis.
Well, another little aside, if I may. I've been re-reading Godel's theorem for pleasure, and its implications for our normal (non-mathematical) world just hit me. These are two key conclusions which come from Godel's theorem:
So if you were able to construct a complete framework for Secular Democracy, and not have any self-contradiction within it, then there will be beliefs in that Secular Democracy which are true, but which cannot be proved. I suspect this is one of the reasons why it is so hard to develop a consistent and non-contradictory philosophy.
For example, the UN declaration of Human Rights says that all persons have equal rights, but as long as you enforce national borders, this is clearly not the case. (Hence we are now seeing the attempt to eradicate national borders in Europe and the U.S.). Also, this concept of equal rights only comes into play on adulthood - which rather begs the question, at what age does adulthood begin and these equal rights commence? And then we also get the Sorites Paradox. It's all a difficult mess.
Interestingly, please note how Islam tackles this problem. Islam repudiates that initial concept of the consistent (non-contradictory) system! Islam accepts that there will be contradiction, and instead just asserts the things it wants to happen. So it will make cooing noises about treating Women nicely in one place, then say they are worth half a man for inheritance purpose, or less for court testimony, in another. Thus the men, who are in control, get what they want without all the tedious annoyances of developing a complete, non-contradictory framework. Islam makes nice noises about treating the kuffar kindly in one place, then later says to just execute them if they don't pay you protection money or convert to Islam. Thus it gets what it wants, a nice compliant dhimmi population, once it has enough power to enforce it, without getting bogged down in eliminating all inconsistencies.
If we had real political scientist doing their job properly, you would be able to look up charts of these families of all possible ideological frameworks, and observe their properties. Instead, we just have endless public debates in the media, going nowhere.
So, is this pontification about Godel's Theorem and the problems of creating consistent frameworks a piece of irrelevant academicism? I think not. I think that at some point people in the secular democracies will crack. At the moment we are struggling to apply these beliefs:
And Islamists are exploiting those creeds in all the ways you already know. But at some point I think people will say they are sick of being blown up, having their heads cut off, having their female children raped by Muslim gangs, told to cover their women up or risk having them raped ... right down to being evicted from swimming pools, told to provide Halal food, and told that they are filthy kuffar, 2nd class citizens. Then, like Islam, they will simply assert instead things like:
The burden of consistency is, it seems, simply too high, if you have an agent like Islam, that has worked out how to exploit it as a vulnerability.
"Mohammed" was indeed a political genius Alan. Philosophy is not a science, I would call it opinion. It is probably not possible to study human affairs scientifically or even apply logic to them.
We can scientifically study a colony of ants and achieve a good understanding of how it works. Ants do not think they only react.
If I say that I think that human rights are humbug and only exist if we choose to imagine that they exist, I am being deadly serious. All belief and most of human thought is humbug, nonsensical. You can study the physical activity of humanity, collect data and see patterns. But the collective effect of seven billion human minds with varying degrees of knowledge and levels of sanity is impossible to study, meaningfully.
So is is complicated and hard work, all that we can do is attempt to understand ourselves, express an opinion, and work for our own benefit and amusement.
Back to ants, human beings by and large do not think they only react.
Put any two randomly selected, (globally), people in a room and study them, they would not understand, (language aside), each other and agree on nothing.
The above is only reasonable, but was hardly necessary just a short time ago. Then the Muslims showed up and all of the above became vitally necessary.