Monday, February 06, 2006

Free Socities
Fear Societies

UPDATED at bottom of post.

The Cartoon Jihad brings the issue of Free Speech to the forefront, obviously. We watch in sadness while many of our leaders, and pundits in the American MSM speak of tolerance, and "respect for Islam," when what they really mean is we have reason to be afraid of Muslims, so we'd better not get them riled up.

The same leaders and pundits have repeatedly supported much harsher criticisms of Christianity, and of America, and I think that's a fine thing. Harsh criticism is the lymphatic system of Democracy. If it isn't exercised, then the lymph won't flow, and our society will become sick.

Here, in an interview with Front Page Magazine, Natan Sharansky explains exactly what happens when people are afraid to speak their mind:

FP: You distinguish between "fear" and "free" societies. Briefly explain to our readers what you mean by this paradigm.

Sharansky: Free societies are societies in which the right of dissent is protected. In contrast, fear societies are societies in which dissent is banned.

One can determine whether a society is free by applying what we call the “town-square test.” Can someone within that society walk into the town square and say what they want without fear of being punished for his or her views? If so, then that society is a free society. If not, it is a fear society.

People may believe that there can be a society where dissent is not permitted, but which is nonetheless not a fear society because everyone agrees with one another and therefore no one wants to dissent. But as we show in the book, such a monolithic society, which may occasionally emerge, will not last very long.

Because of human diversity – different tastes, ambitions, interests, backgrounds, experiences, etc. - differences of opinion will be inevitable. Then the society will be confronted with the fundamental question. Will dissent be permitted?

The answer to that question will determine whether the society is a free society or a fear society. Of course, there can be serious injustices within free societies. They can have all sorts of problems and abuses of rights. But by having a right to dissent and having institutions which protect that right, free societies also have mechanisms to correct those abuses.

In contrast, fear societies are always unjust and have no corrective mechanisms. Fear societies are inevitably composed of three separate groups:

True believers,
and doublethinkers.

True believers are those who believe in the ideology of the regime. Dissidents are those who disagree with that ideology and are prepared to say so openly. Doublethinkers are those who disagree with the ideology but who are scared to openly confront the regime.

With time, the number of doublethinkers in a fear society inevitably grows so that they represent the overwhelming majority of the population. To an outside observer, the fear society will look like a sea of true believers who demonstrate loyalty to the regime, but the reality is very different. Behind the veneer of support is an army of doublethinkers.

This is the situation we see in the Muslim world today. It is true that they will march in lockstep shouting Death to America, and Kill the Jews, but many do so because that is what is expected of them.

But, what really concerns me here is that there are forces in our society who are trying to shut up the dissent against Islam. Truth is, no one has gotten arrested or tried here in America, as happened to Orianna Fallaci in Italy, and as has happened in Australia and Britain. Maybe I shouldn't worry, but when the White House is urging "respect" - which is really just a catchphrase meaning, "Don't speak your mind" - then, we have to be vigilant in protecting our inalienable right to Free Speech.

I would urge everybody to find a way to speak out on this issue. If Muslims around the world are burning and threatening, and even killing over cartoons, then we have the right to cariacature their malignant behavior.

In fact, I would say we have the responsibility to our own system of Governance to criticize Islam, and to criticize any member of our government who urges tolerance in the face of threat.

UPDATED: John Sobieski of Pedestian Infidel commented that we don't know that Muslims are merely walking around paying lip service to the idea of Islamofascism.

I need to clarify that, in my mind, doublethinkers don't even themselves know what they want anymore. Being doubleminded means being confused. A human being who is confused for a long period of time, gradually does not know his own mind anymore.

I think this is where Muslims are.

One thing we have to remember is Muslims are human beings. Why would human beings in one part of the world want anything different than human beings in another part of the world? The answer is, they would have different desires because they are living under a totalitarian ideology.