Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Thursday, October 10, 2002
"When one finishes reading the book, one recognizes the right to kill any Muslim on the street," argued Hacen Taleb, the lawyer representing MRAP, in a statement to the court.
What a load of merde de moo. Or perhaps it's merely a telling admission. Fallaci's accusers routinely level condemnations of the West, of America, in tones similar to (or worse than) hers, and they really do believe that this makes it legitimate to kill any Westerner, any American on the street. They really do believe that the people in the World Trade Center "deserved to die". So they read a book condemning themselves, and equate it with a call for their indiscriminate murder. That, after all is what they mean when they say such things. But Fallaci's book is not a justification of murder, not remotely. Fallaci makes some threats of violence, but they are far from indiscriminate. Yes, she threatens to wage a one-woman war against anyone who tries to pull a Bamiyan number on one of Italy's artistic treasures. And when a mob was turning one of those treasures--the Piazza del Duomo of Florence--into a shithouse, she threatened to burn down their tent to make them go elsewhere. One can certainly question the latter threat--though interestingly enough it seems to have worked, and achieved its purpose without the need to actually endanger anyone. If Fallaci really thought the way her accusers do, she wouldn't have complained to official after official and then made an exasperated threat to a police officer to spur him into enforcing the law. She'd simply have lobbed a bomb among the offenders. It would have been easy. They were packed in there. She could have killed lots of them. And according to the world view of her victims, she'd have been entirely justified. After all, weren't they occupying land that didn't belong to them?

All I can say is, thank God we Americans lack European sophistication and pragmatism when it comes to freedom of speech, thank God we have at least a few rights that we actually enforce jealously against the thought police, whether they come at us quoting the Bible or the Koran or Marcuse or MacKinnon.

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