Monday, January 12, 2015

Dead Moral Questions? If Only!

The anonymous troll of our recent past initially 'linked' to this post by Fredrik deBoer on "Dead Moral Questions":
One point that, I hope, runs through a lot of my work is the use and abuse of dead moral questions. In that, I mean the tendency for political types to bring a lot of rhetorical and mental weight to bear on questions that are not politically live, in any meaningful sense. This focus is always an attempt to hide something, always undertaken in service to some other agenda than actually defending the positions which do not require defending . . . . That's what's happening today in regards to the terrorist attacks in France. We are having a series of loud, impassioned, righteous conversations about questions like "Should people murder?" and "Should we have the right to publish cartoons?" We're debating, in other words, dead moral questions, and for the same reason we always do: because that debate allows us to ignore the ones that might lead us to a different place than the celebration of our own liberal righteousness. To read the people writing about this attack, this is the fundamental question at hand: were these killings OK? If that were actually a moral question worth asking, then it would provoke disagreement. And yet I see no disagreement. None at all.
I suppose one question to pose in response to this part of deBoer's post is to ask who "we" refers to. If we restrict ourselves to Westerners, we'll generally get a response in favor of free speech, though with a significant number adding "but" Charlie Hebdo crossed a line because depicting Muhammad is forbidden by Islamic law, and we should respect Muslim sensitivities.

Such sensitivities in this case mean Islamic law. What is the punishment according to Islamic law? Death. Depicting Muhammad is blasphemy, and blasphemy merits a death sentence.

Opinions about open free speech and the rightness of killing blasphemers might have been dead moral questions in the West for some time, but these 'dead' questions are currently being resurrected as the percentage of Muslims in Western countries increases.

If "we" includes Muslims living in the West, then these two questions about free expression and death for blasphemers are hardly dead.

If only they were . . .

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At 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The suicide bombing in Nigeria, carried out by a ten-year-old girl and claiming a dozen lives, seems to be taking a backseat to France's victims of Islamist violence. All three acts of terrorism had the same goal - to make people feel unsafe in public and to divide peaceful Muslims like the dead French police officer and the hero who guided customers to safety in the kosher deli, from their non-Muslim neighbors and coworkers by fueling hatred of a Muslims. Mosques and other Muslim assembly places have been targets of vandalism and threats in the wake of Charlie Hebdo. This is exactly what the masterminds of these terrorist acts want. Charlie Hebdo and the kosher deli were chosen as targets because of the cartoons and Jewish customers, but if not them, other targets might have been chosen like the bus in Nigeria. Freedom of speech is a detail. The main idea is violent conflict with the West.


At 10:05 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Good points, Sonagi. The horror in Nigeria has my attention. Boko Haram clearly intends to divide Nigeria and impose sharia over the northern half, then use that territory as a springboard to places further south. Probably, this will not succeed, but Boko Haram will wreak much pain and suffering in the effort.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Test comment.

(Been using a *different* browser of late Jeff, for whatever reason the CAPTCHAs have been impossible - unique to Blogger as it happens.

So I loaded another, less "different" for, as the wish to comment comes again.)


At 4:36 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Yeah, I've had to convince my own blog I'm not a robot!

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:53 AM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

I don't know if Freddie deBoer saw your comments here, but he has since contradicted himself on the subject with this post, to which he has appended a note reading "I am hoisting myself by my own petard" that links back to his earlier remarks.

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks for that link. Mr. deBoer sees his contradiction, which is to his credit.

I have no idea if he even knows of my existence, and I still have no idea why the anonymous troll linked to deBoer.

Some of life's little mysteries . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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