Unless you have been residing under a rock recently, you are well aware of the horrific violence and murder occuring in the middle east. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tell us that the slaughter of our Libyan ambassador and others was due to a youtube video that is disparaging toward Islam. We have seen them on television, denouncing this video and alerting Muslims around the world that our nation has no connection with the making nor the display of same.
We also are well aware that in our nation, having a Constitution that protects free speech (well, at least it used to in the good old days) - that other religions frequently endure insults and attacks. But, we don't see any high level officials making expensive advertisements nor getting on the tube and letting us know that our government doesn't support these religious attacks. We can wonder why this is. Yet my guess is that we all know why. Christians, Jews, Mormons and those who believe in these religions do not respond as radical Islamists do. The former believers may be critical, sad, outspoken and so forth. They do not, however, put a bounty on the heads of those issuing the attacks, nor riot, nor do anything else that would endanger life and limb.
But. What if they did?
What if the next time someone made some "art" that showed Jesus dunked in a glass of urine, Christians flash mobbed this "artist" and slaughtered him in the street? What if Christians burned down buildings and threatened the lives of many because someone depicted Madonna covered in elephant dung? What if Israel killed every time a video was shown that said Jews wanted to "kill Palestinian babies" and that Jews were "animals"?
Would we see our president telling us that our nation "distanced" itself from these "expressions" of art and opinion? Would this administration try to get all of these items banned from the Internet and anywhere else in the public sphere?
Would you want any of this to be happening?
The fact of the matter is that no matter how much effort is put into perfecting human beings - we always come up short. We are imperfect creatures. But, by in large, most of us react to incentives and sensible motivation. Reward us for good behavior and punish us for bad - and - you are likely to get more of the former and less of the latter. Not always; you just increase the odds. Conversely, if our bad behavior is met with meekness and apologies - guess what? Yes, you are likely to increase the propensity not only for bad behavior, but even worse behavior. You incentivize it.
Not only is this true in the realm of belief and religion. It's true just about everywhere else that human activity occurs. Reward sloth, carelessness, indifference with fiscal responsibility, a lack of common courtesy - and so forth and so on - and you'll see a lot more of behavior that once upon a time was discouraged.
Mark Steyn ruminates on such issues - as only he can.
Obama and Clinton's two-on-the-aisle act cost $70,000 of taxpayers' money. That may not sound much in the 16 trillion-dollar sinkhole of Washington, but it's a pretty big ad buy in Islamabad, and an improper use of public monies. If government functionaries want to do movie reviews, they should have a PBS
fundraiser, offering a "Barack & Hill At The Movies" logo-ed burqa for pledges of over $100, and a complimentary clitoridectomy for pledges over $500. I fought a long battle for freedom of expression north of the border when the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted to criminalize my writing, and I'm proud to say I played a modest role in getting Parliament to strike down a shameful law and restore a semblance of free speech to a country that should never have lost it. So I know a little about how the Western world is shuffling into a psychological bondage of its own making, and it's no small thing when the First Amendment gets swallowed up by the vacuum of American foreign policy.
What other entertainments have senior U.S. officials reviewed lately? Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical "Book of Mormon." "We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others"? The Book of Mormon's big showstopper is "Hasa Diga Eebowai," which apparently translates as "F*** You, God." The U.S. Secretary of State stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard "F*** You, God" as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but "F***, You Allah" as "disgusting and reprehensible"? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you'll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door. So the "Leader of the Free World" and "the
most powerful man in the world" (to revive two cobwebbed phrases nobody seems to apply anymore to the president of the United States) is telling the planet that the way to ensure your beliefs command his "respect" is to be willing to burn and bomb and kill. You Mormons need to get with the program.
When you think about the people you wish to represent you to make our laws and speak for the American people, think about the above. What sort of behavior and attitudes do you wish to foster? Do you want our nation to let the world know we will cower when our principles and freedoms are threatened? Do you want to encourage peaceful people to become otherwise when they are not rewarded as those who are violent are?
This is my thought experiment - and - I hope you take a few moments to consider it.