The ‘outraged supernaturalists‘ narrative may already be wearing a bit thin in Libya, and further afield. But, taking that narrative at face value, there may be some points being made that are applicable closer to home. From Saturday’s Irish Times
Getting righteously offended has become something of a hobby over the last few decades. Nothing binds people together more securely than a perception that somebody else is saying something nasty about their faith, nationality or hair colour. Rushdie describes the phenomenon as “outrage identity”. We can now define ourselves by other people’s rudeness. [added emphasis]
None of which is to suggest that we should stop decrying racism, homophobia or religious intolerance. Where would this column be without whinges about broad caricatures of Irishness or cheap shots at everyday bigots? But toleration of other people’s right to be intolerant remains a cornerstone of civilised democracy.
And an Irish Times editorial added
If western democrats give an inch on defending the universality of free speech, be it of the vilest provocateurs, Islamophobes, homophobes, or Holocaust deniers, as soon as we accept the criminalisation of speech, we concede the right to religious fanatics to do the same and to draw their own arbitrary line in the sand. It is not a cost-free option. Far from it, as Ambassador Stevens proved. But it is a price democracies have to pay, and their ability to turn the other cheek is a measure not of weakness, but of their confidence in the robustness of their values, the strength of their case.
However, an inch may already have been given…
Still, something to remember the next time it’s claimed that supernaturalists’ sensitivities have been offended.
As Niall O’Dowd said, “leaders need to incite less, understand more.”
Of course, he was only talking about Muslim leaders…
Topic: Government, Politics, Society and Culture
Region: Global, Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK
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