If you’re old enough to have lived through the 1970s, you recognize my post title: Gilda Radner’s famous character Roseanne Roseannadanna would let loose with a foolish tirade, and then wrap it up by saying “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Someone needs to resurrect that character, or at least that catch-phrase, to appreciate fully what’s going on right now with the Koran burning.
Everyone I know thinks that that Pastor Terry Jones is an insensitive, ill-mannered, publicity-seeking lout for having burned the Koran. That he did so is un-American, not because it is illegal, but because it runs counter to deep American values that find repugnant the thought of book-burning, especially burning religious books, and that embrace a pluralism that shows respect for different religions. Ordinary Americans, not crude attention seekers such as Jones, understand that America is blessed with a huge population of peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims, and that it’s a rude, mean-spirited slap in the face to treat their holy book so badly. Can I make it any plainer that I am disgusted with what Jones did?
Sadly, however, significant numbers of Americans, all (almost all?) liberal (including Lindsay Graham, who is RINO through and through) think that what Jones did requires government intervention, in the form of federal laws banning Koran burning, or religious book burning, or all book burning, or Islam insulting, or whatever the liberal thinks will work to placate the Muslims so that they don’t riot and murder innocent UN workers. (And while, God knows, I hold no brief for the UN, to invade a UN compound and murder workers in cold blood is the slaughter of the innocents.)
Those who are willing to pass such laws fail to understand two things. First, one of the things that makes America uniquely American is the reverence we hold for free speech, even ugly free speech. While we draw the line at two types of free speech — pedophilia and direct incitement to violence, a la “go out and lynch the person right now” — we otherwise believe that free speech can only benefit us. Ugly, mean speech should be countered by smart speech, compelling speech, apologetic speech (if necessary), persuasive speech, etc.
If we allow the government to ban ugly speech, we suddenly find ourselves in a situation that sees the government determining what’s ugly. I can tell you with certainty that, during the first two years of the Obama administration, he and Congress, working together, would happily have banned all anti-Obama speech on the ground that it was racist hate speech. It’s a slippery slope and a censoring government will always slide you down to the midden at the bottom of the hill as quickly as possible.
Second, the other thing that the pro-censorship crowd utterly fails to understand is that banning Koran burning or book burning or smack talk about Islam is only the beginning. Those who haven’t been paying attention don’t appreciate that this is the religion of perpetual outrage. “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”
If we ban Koran burning, the agitators amongst the Muslims will riot about pigs on tissue boxes, something that excited much outrage in England a few years ago. If we ban pigs on tissue boxes, they’ll start killing over abstract ice cream logos that, if held at a certain angle and viewed with one eye half closed, could possibly be understood to be Arabic script for Allah, something that also happened in England. If we ban ice cream labels, they’ll agitate wildly over people entering Muslim-driven cabs with alcohol bottles or seeing eye dogs, as Muslims did in St. Paul, Minnesota. If we ban alcohol and dogs in cabs, the jihadists and their useful idiots will storm embassies because of cartoons, which is what happened all over the world over some Danish cartoons (pictures that were skillfully augmented by exceptionally vicious anti-Mohamed cartoons that an Imam drew when he didn’t get the proper reaction to the original cartoons). And of course, if we ban cartoons people have already drawn, the Islamists will hunt down people who merely suggest drawing cartoons, as happened to poor Molly Norris, who had to go into permanent hiding for her suggestion.
If you pay a blackmailer, he won’t go away. He’ll come back for more. “It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.” Those who wish to drain the American bank account by chipping away at Constitutional freedoms will discover themselves bankrupt, burqaed and muzzled. The radical Islamists will not be grateful for our sacrifice, they will be delighted by our obeisance, and they will push and demand more and more and more. Further, because they know we haven’t got the stomach for the fight, each demand will be accompanied by bloodshed, along the lines of the Mafioso who slices off an ear or a finger, or blows away a knee cap, to make his point.
To those who say “But they’ll kill our troops,” I have one more thing to say: What the hell do you think the Islamists have already been doing to our troops for the past eight years? Everything the troops have been fighting and dying for goes away if we unilaterally surrender our Constitution and bow to our new sharia overlords.
“It’s always something — if it ain’t one thing, it’s another.”
UPDATE: This post perfectly illustrates the one-way street nature of sharia and its adherents.