Everybody Must Get Stoned . . .
Should have pulled his punches?
If you live outside the law, you must be honest, but that won't stop the law from coming after you, as Dylan is discovering, or so we might conclude from Ed West's report, "Bob Dylan falls foul of Europe's neo-blasphemy laws" (The Spectator, December 4, 2013):
Dylan is the latest victim of Europe's neo-blasphemy laws, in which offending someone's group identity is treated in the same way that offending God once was . . . . I wonder how the great secular reformers of yesteryear would have felt about blasphemy being effortlessly replaced in this way . . . . [N]ow that identity, whether of race, religion, class, sex or sexuality, is the new sacred, hate crime laws have become blasphemy laws in all but name. The things that will get someone arrested, investigated, shunned, boycotted, made unemployed or end their political career -- all relate to the blasphemy of identity.So . . . what, exactly, did Dylan say? Oh, something weirdly Dylanesque:
"If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood."Um . . . that's really weirdly Dylanesque. I can see why some folk would be offended. So far, though, only Croats have pushed for France to enforce its hate-crime law -- the Klan and Nazis still maintaining silence, not yet throwing any stones.
I doubt Dylan is giving this legal challenge much thought, other than to retort, "Nah, nah, nah, it ain't me babe," but I do think Mr. West is correct about identity as the new sacred. Not every identity, of course. Just identity in a group widely recognized as oppressed. Hence clarifying why victimhood has become the highest 'virtue,' trumping the more authentic virtues and forgiving even the most egregious of faults.
Civilizational weather report: it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall . . .