If people who threaten violence on cartoonists are treated not with fear but with outright mockery, and produce as a direct result of their actions not a cowed and silent respect for their fervor but an epidemic of giggling and a global WTF, maybe they'll be less incentivized to repeat the threat next time around. Meanwhile, the rest of us, with our now-broader parameters of acceptable discourse, will be able to get on with the tasks of modernity and prosperity.
His colleague Nick Gillespie:
No one has a right to an audience or even to a sympathetic hearing, much less an engaged audience. But no one should be beaten or killed or imprisoned simply for speaking their mind or praying to one god as opposed to the other or none at all or getting on with the small business of living their life in peaceful fashion. If we cannot or will not defend that principle with a full throat, then we deserve to choke on whatever jihadists of all stripes can force down our throats. ... Our Draw Mohammed contest is ... an existential thing, a participatory thing, a living thing. And it's not something that I expect those inclined to violence in the face of free expression to understand.
While I'm quoting away, let me throw in this insight from Isaiah Berlin:
Ridicule kills more surely than savage indignation.
Now, I am not necessarily on board with the content of all of the cartoons (though I don't mind most of them), and I have misgivings about a few passages in the second part of the otherwise recommended YouTube video, below, which makes generalizations about Muslims that should really be narrowed to violently radical Mohammedans and the medieval morons who support them.
But no matter: I will always join in the simple Voltairian act of defending the right to draw or
write or paint or film anything that is not illegal. So, ransom notes
and child porn, no. Images of Jews committing blood libel or Mohammed
severing infidels' heads — regrettable as we may find them — abso-fucking-lutely.
Predictably, multiple thousands of Muslims are again in a righteous tizzy today. I ask again: How come your widespread outrage is only kindled when someone makes fun of your blessed prophet, and not when the assassins you've spawned go after Theo van Gogh, Cornelius Nekschot, Hitoshi Igarashi, Lars Vilks, Kurt Westergaard, Martin Rynja, Salman Rushdie, and others who refuse to genuflect before your chosen idol? Honestly, which is worse in the upside-down universe you call a religion — drawing a picture or butchering the artist?
P.S. It is now past 5 p.m. EST and Reason has still not posted a single image submitted in its Draw Mohammed Day contest, an initiative it chose to host after the Seattle artist who proposed the idea got cold feet. I have no idea if that means that death threats and intimidation have caused delays, or if there's another explanation for the radio silence. I'll keep an eye on it all.
P.P.S. At 5:40, Reason posted the results of the contest. Note the unusual URL; the images are not hosted on the Reason server but on Amazon's storage site. Wonder why.
By the way, it seems to me that the editors have picked the three least offensive cartoons possible, though there's no way of knowing; we are not allowed even a cursory, low-res look at the other 190 Mohammed depictions that Reason received from readers. Feh.