Taking Offense

It’s a couple of days old now, but it’s rare that I find an op-ed piece that I can so wholeheartedly agree with, so I urge everyone to look at Matthew Parris’s comment in The Times.

I realize that the whole Muslim-outrage-over-cartoon situation is more complicated than a matter of free speech versus fanaticism. Still, the whole “we must always respect religious beliefs” bit bothers me. My interest in free speech is largely academic, in the sense that I want everything, certainly including religion, to be open to criticism in an intellectual environment. But it’s hard to set aside places like universities and expect them to remain isolated from wider social pressures. My freedom to lecture and publish in a way that challenges religious sensibilities has a lot to do with the freedom to publish even tasteless cartoons and not fear for your life.

About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06041161650761624155 Ed Darrell

    Those who take offense are acting as if quite insane. It is good discretion, it seems to me, not to slap a crazy man in a fit.

    The offense taken is grossly disproportionate to the “insult” of the cartoons. That should be a point of discussion, though, it seems to me, and not the departure point to insult people who are willing to act without reason, violently.

    Call me crazy . . .

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06153023125072292227 Els

    Very good article. Thanks for posting it.


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