This is from a few days ago, but its my first time reading it. Hitchens makes some great points, including this excerpt:
Nothing repels me more than the burning or desecration of books, and if, for example, this was a volume from a public or university library, I would hope that its mistreatment would constitute a misdemeanor at the very least. But if I choose to spit on a copy of the writings of Ayn Rand or Karl Marx or James Joyce, that is entirely my business. When I check into a hotel room and send my free and unsolicited copy of the Gideon Bible or the Book of Mormon spinning out of the window, I infringe no law, except perhaps the one concerning litter. Why do we not make this distinction in the case of the Quran? We do so simply out of fear, and because the fanatical believers in that particular holy book have proved time and again that they mean business when it comes to intimidation. Surely that should be to their discredit rather than their credit.
He then goes on to point out the rioting and book-burning that followed the publication of the now infamous Danish cartoons, and how those same mobs threaten people all the time for having different beliefs than their own. I think the last sentence sums it up nicely:
[T]he advocates and apologists of bigotry and censorship and suicide-assassination cannot be permitted to take shelter any longer under the umbrella of a pluralism that they openly seek to destroy.
We cannot afford to be politically correct when it comes to our treatment of certain views (or arguably any views). Questioning where to draw the line, of which religions/beliefs can be openly disagreed with will likely lead to a vicious spiral, ending only when all of our freedoms have been infringed upon. Freedom of expression may very well result in groups of people being insulted, mocked, and offended, but this essential right must be an all-or-none situation – we allow ourselves to be offended on ocassion in return for the ability to live in a society free from persecution and forced views. Its the choice between living in the US or in North Korea. Which would you choose?
For the full Hitchens article click here.
To see my earlier post on the topic click here.