A newspaper in a small European country publishes a few cartoons of Muhammed, and millions of Muslims erupt in outrage – or in what we have become accustomed to seeing described as outrage. An obscure pastor of a tiny church in Florida threatens to destroy a Koran, and millions of Muslims erupt in that selfsame outrage. Some NATO soldiers inadvertently burn a few copies of the Koran, and millions of Muslims erupt, yet again, in outrage.
And the next thing you know, large numbers of people have been killed, Western embassies have been vandalized, mischief and mayhem of every imaginable kind has taken place. And meanwhile, the air is thick with apologies.
Not, of course, apologies by Muslim leaders for the primitive, brutal, and murderous conduct of their coreligionists, but apologies by Western leaders because somebody, somewhere, drew a picture or destroyed a book.
It is sheer absurdity. And yet innumerable Western politicians, journalists, intellectuals, and other highly placed clowns have long since accustomed themselves to discussing this balderdash in the most solemn of tones. A Muslim somewhere on this planet asserts that the burning of a copy of the Koran thousands of miles away causes him indescribable, excruciating personal torment. And in a world awash in authentic reasons for emotional distress, this statement is taken not as a baldfaced lie, or as evidence of mental instability, but as a sincere expression of legitimate anguish worthy of the attention of, among others, the President of the United States of America.
In short, the Western world – the civilized, modern world, the world built on the pillars of reason and Enlightenment values – has, in recent years, in the name of multiculturalism, decided to react with respect to statements and behaviors that we would laugh off as patently nonsensical if they originated from within our own civilization.
And so, as I say, the apologies flow like Niagara – apologies by everyone from the President on down: generals, ambassadors, cabinet officials. And the more ardent and numerous and overblown the apologies we offer this time for the present “offense,” the more “sensitive” the “offended” parties become, so that the next time they identify an excuse to take offense, the louder their cries of purported anguish will be and the more violent their acts of anti-Western remonstration. They’ll expect even more urgent and passionate apologies, and they’ll get them. And so it continues in a seemingly endless cycle: as we become ever more contrite in response to their remarkably exquisite “sensitivity,” the more and more “sensitive” they’ll become, and the more deeply we’ll bow and scrape, and so on.
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