Dec 11, 2006 2:44 pm


I could not help myself. I had to post the following exchange between Stanely Fish and an astute reader who pointedly exposes his sophistry:

Stanely Fish:

One of those arguments goes this way: It is hypocritical for Muslims to protest cartoons caricaturing Muhammad when cartoons vilifying the symbols of Christianity and Judaism are found everywhere in the media of many Arab countries. After all, what's the difference? The difference is that those who draw and publish such cartoons in Arab countries believe in their content; they believe that Jews and Christians follow false religions and are proper objects of hatred and obloquy.

But I would bet that the editors who have run the cartoons do not believe that Muslims are evil infidels who must either be converted or vanquished. They do not publish the offending cartoons in an effort to further some religious or political vision; they do it gratuitously, almost accidentally. Concerned only to stand up for an abstract principle — free speech — they seize on whatever content happens to come their way and use it as an example of what the principle should be protecting. The fact that for others the content may be life itself is beside their point.

Rob Zwiebach:

According to Stanley Fish, it is different for Muslims to draw cartoons vilifying the symbols of Christianity and Judaism than for a Danish newspaper to publish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad because the Muslim cartoonists actually believe that Jews and Christians are"proper objects of hatred."

So the problem isn't that the Danish newspaper published the cartoons — it's that the artist didn't actually hate the people he was mocking! By this logic, hate speech is only a problem if the speaker doesn't actually hate the object of his speech.

As long as hate speech is backed up by actual hatred, no problem!

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pst314 - 2/19/2006

This sort of nihilistic evil is par for the course from Stanley Fish. He's been doing it for decades.