Tuesday, February 28, 2006

EU gets close on the Danish cartoons

The EU has veered toward the right position on the Danish cartoons but, in the end, can not completely shed its essential eurowimpiness. It acknowledges and expresses regret that Muslims found the cartoons offensive, but declares that freedom of expression "is a fundamental right and an essential element of a democratic discourse."

That's good, but then the statement says that freedom of expression should be "exercised in a spirit of respect for religious and other beliefs and convictions." I agree. But to the extent it implies that governments have any obligation or competency to enforce that requirement, the statement is is wrong. More fundamentally, to qualify the endorsement of free speech in light of its complete repudiation by people who are burning buildings and killing people over cartoons is to conflate even-handedness with idiocy.

But the trend of British pusilanimity continues. Her Majesty's government wanted the EU to show regret over the cartoons themselves.


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