Thursday, September 20, 2012

Time To Give Up Moral Relativism

In an interview published on Monday, Ayaan Hirsi Ali talked to Die Welt about the current upheavals in the Muslim world in reaction to the West’s “blasphemy” against Islam and its prophet.

Many thanks to Hermes for the translation:

“The West should finally defend its values”

She is threatened for having criticising Islam: the Somali-born Dutch publicist Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks about the revolts in the Muslim world and the reactions to them.

Die Welt: A new episode of worldwide violence and protests against the insults to the prophet Mohammed has begun — now sparked by an insignificant YouTube video. In the past there has been a Fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie, violent protests against the Danish Mohammed cartoons, and also against you — your film about women in Islam. And your collaborator in the making of this film, Theo Van Gogh, was assassinated by militant Muslims, after which you had to disappear. Is there something different in these protests compared to the previous ones?

Ayaan Hirsi AliAyaan Hirsi Ali: I would say that these revolts come from a single mold, because all have a common origin: a political ideology embedded in a 1400-year-old religion and culture which leaves no place for criticism towards its founding father and its sacred texts. As soon as it comes to the Koran and the Prophet, the Muslims feel insulted by any work they consider to be disrespectful regarding these two symbols: from the actual Koran-Project in Germany, which represents a serious scientific work, to the infamous video from YouTube. For the average Muslim, these are both equally attacks against their faith.

Die Welt: A difference from past protests is that these are taking place following the Arab spring. In the meantime, people can now express their opinions and have elected leaderships like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Islamists are now in the mainstream and they are as angry as those people the West has otherwise branded as the militant sector. How do you evaluate this?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: What we see as a result of the protests in the Arab World is an aversion towards tyrannical governments — regardless of whether it is a secular dictator or a religious monarchy. We see — and this is something I’ve always said — a strong support for governments which have as their basis political Islam, in the countries where the dictatorships were overthrown. The mainstream of the Brotherhood has never made a secret of their approval of a kind of political and moral frame based on Islamic legal principles. That’s why we should not be surprised that the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have felt offended due to the negative representation of their moral guidelines.

Die Welt: While US President Barack Obama holds onto freedom of speech, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that insulting the prophet cannot be considered freedom of speech. Are these opposed positions compatible?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: For me this is a symbol of the “clash of cultures”, which was described by Samuel Huntington in 1993. It is an unpleasant reality which both cultures are facing: there are certain values regarding which their upholders accept no compromises. PM Erdogan works tirelessly in the name of the Islamic nations belonging to the OIC to put forward initiatives through the channels of international legislation for a law banning blasphemy.

President Obama has tirelessly told the Islamic world that America is seeking for friendship and peace with the Muslims all around the world. He vowed to retire the American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He did nothing when dictators with ties to the USA were overthrown. He offended Israel and a part of the Jewish community living in the USA by trying to show that the Palestinians are just as much partners for the USA as the Israelis.

The reality is that none of the two leaders, or the people who elected them, are ready to give the other what he would like: neither President Obama nor any other American president will accept any compromise regarding freedom of speech. And neither PM Erdogan nor any other Muslim leader will sit back and accept blasphemies against Islamic symbols.

Die Welt: The democratization of the media means that anybody can make circulate videos all over the world — and these can be watched by everybody. This could potentially cause conflicts…

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: That’s right. Western nations are based on the principle that the free exchange of views is protected by the constitution. That is why there’s nothing sacred for producers in Hollywood or big publishing companies in New York: if a film is good, then it gets an Oscar. If it is bad, it will be torn apart by the critics. Here there are no taboos, regardless of whether it is about Jesus Christ, sex, money, gays, Jews or women.

Erdogan and Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi seemingly don’t want to understand that in a constitutional democracy, the PM or the President have neither power nor right to restrict the freedom of speech. If Obama says that the film offending Islam is disgraceful and does not represent the views of the US government, this is just his private opinion, and not a pledge to punish the creator of the film.

Die Welt: So what should the West do?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Being the sole remaining superpower, the USA faces the big challenge of avoiding any conflict, as far as possible. This turns to be even more difficult as American influence weakens and that of its enemies increases. In relation with the Muslim world, the last three decades have showed the following: the propagation of the idea that mutually exclusive moral concepts can be compatible does not solve the problem — just the contrary, it delays the unavoidable conflicts in this ideological dispute.

America’s keenness to hold a different view regarding freedom of speech will remain as small as the Muslims’ acceptance of the fact that insulting their religious icons goes unpunished. The only way out of this is a true discussion in which each party would try to prove to the other that its respective moral values are superior (to those of the other). In other words, the West should finally give up moral relativism and start to defend its values. This will ultimately have a lower cost in (human) lives than aligning temporarily with dictators and tyrants.


Jonny said...

Western Civilization needs to be based on something more than a nebulous description of "free ideas guaranteed in a Constitution." It is utterly insane to believe that a civilization can be based on nothing but anything goes.

There has to be a core metaphysical basis for a civilization to survive. This is why the West will die - as superior as it is technologically - if it does not embrace some common fundamentals that all people can adhere to and get behind as just good ideas for social structure and eoonomic enhancement.

Anonymous said...

Obama won't compromise on freedom of speech? What does she think he's been doing for the last week? The last 3 1/2 years?

She also said recently that Islamic rage is unsustainable, and will soon burn itself out and collapse.

I like Ayan Hirsi, but I'm starting to doubt her powers of observation.

Anonymous said...

Sadly this woman has not understood Islam, for it is the religious illiterates that are the problem, not the theology. When is it alright to insult 1.6 billion people in the name of "freedom of speech?"

Anonymous said...

The only relevant thing Hirsi Ali said was ' only delays the inevitable clash of ideologies.'
The idea is that Islam can't EVER
change and Western freedoms, once
given, cannot be easily withdrawn.
The point really is that either the
rest of the World completely
dismantles and destroys Islam in its entirety or Islam destroys/consumes the World.Either way means a lot of conflict, but the destruction of Islam is certainly the ONLY WAY for the West.

Sagunto said...

Die Welt: "What should the West do?"

Let's change that into, "What should Westerners do?", and use the (slightly ;-) paraphrased Geller dictum for an answer:

"In a war between a Big Gov, left-wing dhimmi and a Big Gov, right-wing chickenhawk, it's best to side with neither."

Kind regs from Amsterdam,

Anonymous said...

The first thing that we of the weepy West have to hammer home is that 'blasphemy' can ONLY OCCURR in the speech of someone who is already a Muslim.
The islamoscreamers are simply wrong when the use the "B" word. They can call it "insult" or ANYTHING else--but not that.
If we do this--we force them to acknowlege that there ACTUALLY ARE other religions and opinions. That, they don't wanna do--and essentially avoid at all costs.
Tough toenails, Moehammed 'ol buddy 'ol pal.

joe six-pack said...

This article only points out one issue that is the cause of the conflict.

Islam is fielding an army. Imams are declaring war. Some Imams even form and lead their own combat units. Islam has a foreign policy. Imams in 2008 declared that warships passing through 'Muslim waters' could be sunk. Only national govenments declare war and defend 'occupied' land or 'waters'. Islam has an economic policy and a legal system. This very legal system is about as hostile to us as can be, although most is internal and is their problem.

Want to start a war? Lets enable Catholic leaders to collect money from non-Catholics that exempts them from military service. Then take the money to form militias.

Freedom of speech is only one of many issues that is at the cause of the conflict between Islam and the rest of the world.

Jonny said...

The West cannot DEFEND it's values, when the leadership of the West is obsessed with destroying those values in the name of "multiculturalism".

The Leftist-Progressive establishment running the West has no more respect or love for free speech than the Muslims do. It's just that they prefer to be phony and two-faced about their objections, because they have to keep their respective nations under the delusion that they are free.

What else have Western Conservatives been complaining about for years now, if not the bias and exclusions they face in their respective countries? The lack of open dialogue and discussion, surpressed by cries of "racism" and "Hate Speech" and "tolerance" and "Diversity". The marginalization and the caricatures and the false history?

There is no respect for free expression in Hollywood, unless it is the expression of hatred for the values that made America great. Likewise it is wherever "Liberals" hold the keys of power.

And they aid and abett the Islamists. What is this woman talking about, when her own country is IMPORTING these Islamofascists by the thousands and DEFENDING THEM and COVERING UP for them.

Anonymous said...

Moral Relativism has been one of the main weapons of the Left in their war against Western Civilization. What better way to tear down societies than by killing ones moral and ethic base and destroy the ability to make qualitative judgements.

It's influence seen in academia from anthropology to literature(where the Left runs these departments) In anthropology, no society is viewed as better than any other. In literature studies its allowed them to promote all sorts of garbage under the guise of teaching.

In art it has given us the "Piss Christ" and "the Dung Madonna".

But worse of all, Relativism strips those who drank from it's well of the ability to condemn the behavior of Islam and a host of other social engineering disasters of the Left.

It's poison.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sagunto,

Welcome back! I have missed you! :)


Anonymous said...

"When is it alright to insult 1.6 billion people in the name of 'freedom of speech?'"

It is 100% ALL right, proper, and necessary to 'insult' 1.6 billion Muslims who completely believe that their Satanic mass murdering last 'prophet' is the 'model man' for all Muslims to emulate in all manner of criminal behavior, large and small, including cutting off little girls clitorises and forcibly 'marrying' little girls to much older pedophile cousins.

The 'insulting' movie in the news lately evidently referenced the geriatric Mohammed's forcible 'marriage' to six year old Aisha.

If I am going to consider anyone's feelings, it is going to be those of the six year old girls with their private parts cut up and raped by geriatric pedophiles!


Unknown said...

Johnny, we have to replace multiculturalism with culturism -

But I want to point you all to a SET OF POLICIES that I hammered out with 175 commenters at American Thinker. The policies are here:

Sagunto said...

Hi Eggy -

Same here! Though I haven't missed your comments (hmm.. that sound right?), since no GOV discussion is really complete without your 2cts.

Glad you haven't changed your style, still like it ;-)


RonF said...

"When is it alright to insult 1.6 billion people in the name of "freedom of speech?"

Always, anytime, anywhere. There is no right to not be insulted. There is no right not to be offended. There is no right to murder or destroy because one's faith, family, nationality, ethnicity, race or anything else has been insulted. The only proper responses to free speech you don't like are either to offer free speech you do like or to ignore it. Those are the ONLY civilized and moral responses.

Jonny said...

Well RonF...

What then do we do when the Muslims don't play by our rules? It is the gambit I raised on an earlier posting a week or two ago.

I call the barbarian's mother ugly, and the barbarian slaps my face. What do I do now, especially since I felt my comment was truthful? That decision is my responsibility. But I shouldn't be demanding never to have my face slapped when I tell barbarians the truth.

Anonymous said...

"What then do we do when the Muslims don't play by our rules?"

Deport them.


Jonny said...

Anonymous said...

"Deport them. Egghead"

Apparently you are unaware there is an agenda at work here. The Leftist controlled West is IMPORTING them to the West, specifically to destroy Western culture. Addressing that unfortunate fact is the very purpose of this blog and a thousand others, I point out.

So, why would they be deported by the traitors who brought them in the first place to do just what they are doing? Why would we expect them to NOT do what they do - when they are telling us what they intend to do?

Good luck having them deported though. It will be amusing to see the attempt. Not that it would serve much purpose. The US ambassador to Libya was murdered in THEIR country, not ours. And they could have just deported him back to America, if they had wanted to do so.