Do No Evil

Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Consider the evil in the Google motto (those who do not recognize that our choice is often only to do the lesser evil, often do the greater evil), and ask yourself if Google is doing any evil when it simply posts (thus neither actively defending free speech nor taking any responsibility for what it hosts) the following warning on a blog, in response to the ire of leftists and Muslims:

CONTENT WARNING
Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is hateful. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about this message, please consult our FAQ.

Have a look at the graphics from The Study of Revenge blog. Would you support Flares reproducing the Portrait of the Prophet Mohammed (brutal but not without its historical truths), or any of the other artworks at the Study of Revenge? Would doing so help fight those who would encroach the free speech of the blogosphere? Do we need to show solidarity and respond to those who think they are righteous in pressuring Google to censor?

47 comments:

terrye said...

truepeers:

That is kind of rough. But what is the point of the warning? It seems to me it will only make people more curious.

truepeers said...

Here is the position of the artist, Mr. D.T. Devareaux:

Foremost, “criticism of radical Muslims” is not, and I do not imagine it ever will be, my intent. My position on what is to be done with radical Muslims is unequivocal: give them no quarter. I think it’s folly to even suggest that the long and perilous journey of examining extremism in Islam begin with the baby steps of criticism! If we value our own necks (quite literally given the gruesome aesthetics of our fideistic friends of the crescent) we damn well better hit the ground running. I cannot profess to have traversed any boundary from criticism to pure hatred, having never stood behind that line to begin with.

That brings us to the second point concerning “a general hatred towards all Muslims”. I understand how, for instance, this particular drawing could be construed as legitimizing such a hatred, though, again, that was not my intent. My philosophy on this matter is quite simple: unless you yourself are a jihadist, or harbor sympathies for them, their actions, and their agenda, then you have nothing to be offended about. As I would not take umbrage at being privy to “criticisms” of the KKK, not being a white supremacist, I would not expect a Muslim, who wasn’t an infidel-hating proponent of building an Islamic Caliphate on the smoldering bones of Western Civilization, to take serious objection to any portrayal of Muslim jihadists as anything less than as blood-lusting murderers.

So how does that apply to grotesque and slanderous depictions of the Prophet Muhammad? Well, that relates quite nicely to the third point covering the attempt to “alienate and provoke all Muslims.” Guilty as charged. Any serious scholarship into the history of Muhammad must reveal some rather unsavory facts for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. That’s simply not debatable. Now, however Muslims may choose to view Muhammad and his exploits, it is indisputably how the Islamic terrorist sees Muhammad: a death-dealer; a head-chopping conqueror; a resolute killer of infidels and Muslim apostates alike. One can argue that Muhammad’s imperialist excursions and violent pogroms of the 7th century were a product of those times, and thus, to belabor that chapter in history—by depicting Muhammad as a proper monster--is simply counter-productive and irrelevant to the here and now; and I could cede to that argument were it not for the fact that the Islamic jihadist of 2006 maintains that the world reached its historical end in the 7th century with revelation of Allah. The Muhammad I have chosen to depict is the Muhammad they have chosen to follow; it is the Muhammad they have chosen to conjure up out of the dusts of a distant, grisly past. I’m just making an observation.

As a final word, I want to address the subject of provoking Muslims, especially those who adhere to Islam in its most orthodox form. The self-criticism and self-exploration so marked in the West, which has lead to all of our civilizational advances is, not surprisingly, all but absent in the Islamic world. To be short: we can drop bombs until the camels come home, but unless modern Muslims are willing to view their past and practices with circumspection and scrutiny--as we in the West have done--then this already protracted conflict truly can have no end. And it is with all of this in mind that I produce such works.

chuck said...

truepeers,

I wouldn't post such stuff here, its too rude and broad for my taste. Not that I haven't seen equally rude stuff by other artists making political points, but I prefer more reasoned discussion.

As to google, I'm with terrye. I would go further, in fact, and just tell them to shove off. It is informative to see these sorts of things even when I don't subscribe to the expressed view. What about pornography, though, hmm... Society does work by isolating certain stuff and keeping it out of the public marketplace. It's hard to know where to draw the line sometimes.

chuck said...

...unless you yourself are a jihadist, or harbor sympathies for them, their actions, and their agenda, then you have nothing to be offended about.

I think this argument is specious. One can be offended by the treatment accorded groups of people even if one doesn't belong to the group. There is such a thing as good manners and honorable behaviour, even in conflict. Perhaps most of all in conflict. One of the most offensive aspects of the last century was its ugly propaganda, some of it of great technical merit. Indeed, I think the painting here well executed, but I don't like the way it treats its subject.

ex-democrat said...

does Google post a hate warning for Kos? It should - the site is filled with hate. And not hate for murderers - hate for its victims.
So how does Google decide which blog is 'hateful'? And why? It bears no legal liability for the content so what is the purpose?
In short: is Google Big Brother??

ex-democrat said...

chuck - you'd be hard-pressed to find discussion on this blog (or any other) more 'reasoned' than that quoted by Truepeers - even if, as is your right, you disagree with the conclusions reached.

chuck said...

ex-democrat,

chuck - you'd be hard-pressed to find discussion on this blog (or any other) more 'reasoned' than that quoted by Truepeers

The reasoning was fine. Drawing Mohammad with rotten teeth, a bloody forehead, and a beard made of flies(?), is considerably less so.

ex-democrat said...

chuck - isn't that an effective (and reasoned) way for the artist to communicate his or her intense hatred and disdain for the subject?

chuck said...

ex-democrat,

isn't that an effective (and reasoned) way for the artist to communicate his or her intense hatred and disdain for the subject?

If you regard intense hatred and disdain as reasonable, yes. If you regard intense hatred and disdain as uncivilized and barely removed from the horrors of the last century, no. I am of the latter category. It is one of the main reasons I find the left unbearable.

Luther McLeod said...

Short answer. No. I would not care to see that type of artwork displayed here, specifically. But, to address TP and Chuck, does there come a point when "reasoned" discourse becomes detrimental and perhaps even suicidal to the continuation of our way of life?

At what point (if any) do we allow our intellectual, spiritual and, yes, loving sides, to become base and/or animal? At what point do we become our enemy? When that act may well be the only way to defeat them? At what point do we engage them as they engage us? Will our ideals defeat us? If so, what is the point?

I say this from the personal perspective of knowing what any human is capable of when confronted with extinction. I say this from not wanting a "totality" from occurring. I say this knowing that only we are having this discourse. Not our enemies.

truepeers said...

I was not sure what I thought of the picture when i first posted the link. If our opposition to radical Islam is based on its dehumanizing - "pigs and monkeys" - treatment of its human others, then I'm with Chuck that we are wrong to dehumanize the Muslim in return. What we need instead is to insist on some reciprocity in recognition of our common humanity. We need to recognize something of the radical Muslim in ourselves.

But does this Mohammed picture dehumanize? Portraying a man as dominated by his hate, which is what I think this picture does, may be to make a true enough statement about how a man can be destroyed by his resentments. By portraying Mohammed with a beard of flies, is Devareaux saying Mohammed is a fly? Muslims are like flies? or is he saying something about Mohammed's state of mind and the indubitable fact that he left many (no doubt fly-infested) corpses in his path?

Chuck accuses the artist of intense hatred and disdain. But what evidence is there that he hates more than one might reasonably hate Mohammed, the slayer of infidels? The artist is not, say, doing the equivalent of portraying "the Jew" in a way that suggests all Jews are swine. He is portraying Mohammed as a terrible historical figure (whose victims here include Muslims) and challenging those who put their faith in him.

If honor and human reciprocity is our worthy goal, how do we approach the radical Muslim - the defender of, say, suicide bombing - and demand reciprocity from him. How do we first engage and then develop with him our shared human sense of honor? Surely we cannot be entirely highminded about this if he presently has contempt for our humanity.

truepeers said...

Luther, in fighting a war do you really think men entirely give up reasoned discourse with each other? Of course they do at times, but would you agree that war is also an attempt to return a broken relationship to some less violent form of human reciprocity by showing each other that all men can be defeated and they must think about coming to terms with the consequences if that happens to them?

Buddy Larsen said...

A hypothetical parallel might be a 1933-36 Germany--with the internet. "Total war" hasn't yet broken out, and many in Germany are anti-Hitler, tho scared and faltering fast. Do we use the communicating power that was not available then but is available in our hypothetical, to pull these people toward us, or to push them toward Hitler? I really do not know--

Pastorius said...

Chuck,
I started a bit of an uproar at my site (IBA), by having this painting removed after one of our contributors posted it.

The reason I did so was because I thought it was so provocative that it would alienate moderate Muslims and fence-sitting Muslims.

However, I have to ask you this question:

What do you find NOT TO HATE in Mohammed?

Pastorius said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Buddy Larsen said...

The reason I do not know is because has we known WWII was inevitable, we'd've of course have wanted it sooner and smaller rather than later and bigger.

I think our basic question is, what is inevitable, and why is it inevitable?

If it is indeed inevitable that we call up millions in the west and mount the Last Crusade, maybe GWB--in fighting tooth and nail against the Left for the privilege of protecting it--is in the way of progress, and we should back the senate democrats, kill Homeland Security, NSA, pull the troops home, and then just wait. Soon enough the enemy will draw the Last Crusade upon himself--and this time there will be no intercessionary left/right struggle in the West.

Israel? If she is abandoned, the West cannot survive--I don't know why I am so sure of this but I feel it very strongly. And I'm not a "religious" person. We lose Israel, we will become an Arabian-like society, with an identity taking on the characteristics of the eastern bazaar. not the end of the world, but the end of the west. The central idea will be every man for himself, period.

Buddy Larsen said...

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4843/1885/400/westsuicide.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4843/1885/1600/911lala.jpg

http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/4843/1885/1600/liberalpets.jpg

From the link, I found these three--aimed at westerners--very powerful indeed.

Buddy Larsen said...

Crud--links didn't link. the three are "Suicide of the West", "911 La la la la la", and "Liberals Make Great Pets".

The first for the narrative, the second for the dislocation (and style), and the third for the character-drive in the facial expressions. especially the woman on the left--the archtypal expression of condescension and fear--two emotions that don't mix, but in the Liberal Lie are forced to try.

Buddy Larsen said...

Popular newsmagazine "Colliers" cover from Dec 12, 1942, issue. one year after Pearl Harbor. The artist is Arthur Szyk, whose work was extremely powerful in the war effort. For a trip into intelligent propaganda cartoon, google Arthur Szyk and trip thru some of the site. The man had the goods on the nazis, from the get-go.

Buddy Larsen said...

Another Szyk. Today's title might be "Never Again!"

chuck said...

What do you find NOT TO HATE in Mohammed?

D00d, the man has been dead for what, 1350 years? How about we get off on the Romans and their crucifiction fixation, or old Ghengis Khan, or Stalin, or whatever.

What do we know about Mohammed anyway? He didn't write the Koran, nor the Hadiths. As far as I know, he couldn't write. How about Alaa at the Mesopotamian, do you want to send him the picture? How about Jews who worshipped Stalin. If we put a hammer and sickle together with star of David on the picture does it make a reasonable statement about a modern despot and some of his followers?

I don't think you need unreasoning hatred to fight a war. I don't think Marshall, Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, MacAuthor, suffered from slavering hatred, and they did all right. I would argue that the Nazis would have done better to recruit the Jews instead of slaughtering them, it's not as if Jews were averse to dictatorship or unpatriotic. They fought for Germany in WWI and some where even involved in the early Italian fascist party. What a stupid move by the Nazis. Let us be a bit smarter.

Buddy Larsen said...

Instapundit weighs in, and has links that do, too.

D. T. Devareaux said...

But does this Mohammed picture dehumanize? Portraying a man as dominated by his hate, which is what I think this picture does, may be to make a true enough statement about how a man can be destroyed by his resentments. By portraying Mohammed with a beard of flies, is Devareaux saying Mohammed is a fly? Muslims are like flies? or is he saying something about Mohammed's state of mind and the indubitable fact that he left many (no doubt fly-infested) corpses in his path?

I could not have said it better myself, truepeers. As to your questions, I think you've already intuited the answers for yourself.

Chuck, on the other hand, seems to delight in providing answers to questions no one has asked. I think that statement you reproduced here (with a typo or two) is explicit.

I enjoyed reading the exchange on this topic. I'm always interested in listening to peoples' interpretations. Sometimes our views are consistent; sometimes the audience pulls things out the aether I didn't even consciously consider; and sometimes they run their mouths off in the absolute opposite direction--even with the graphic equivalent of the Rockettes leading them around by the hand. ;)

truepeers said...

The Instapundit, from Buddy's link, says:

"We certainly want to encourage those folks (moderate Muslims) -- which we do both by standing up to the extremists, and by avoiding claims that the problem with Islam is Islam."

Why is it so hard to say that the problem with Islam is Islam, as of course it is to some degree? Just as so many of the problems with Christians are to do with the demands of Christianity. Would Reynolds similarly say that all that is good with Islam is not Islam?

Any religion has its failures and its achievements. Its problems may be related to outsiders, say to the nearby presence of a more successful religion and associated culture that shows up one's limits or at least puts one's superiority in doubt. But at root, so much of our culture is a product of our own religious history. Why is it so hard for us to recognize this basic fact?

This is not to say that the problems with Islam, which are Islamic problems might not also have Islamic solutions. Isn't it at least time to open the "eternal and uncreated" religion to the possibility of seeing itself in terms of some historical, evolutionary process?

D. T. Devareaux said...


This is not to say that the problems with Islam, which are Islamic problems might not also have Islamic solutions. Isn't it at least time to open the "eternal and uncreated" religion to the possibility of seeing itself in terms of some historical, evolutionary process?

That really is the key, isn't it? However, if an Islamic scholar wants to be branded an apostate and a pariah, all he need do is suggest that the Koran is open to interpretation. Who would dare claim that the word of Allah not be taken literally; that when the Koran is recited, the devotee is not speaking with the same breath as God? That's going to be a toughie.

Buddy Larsen said...

To mature into a humane helper of humankind, one hopes it can 'close' without needing to 'fill' the 7 century gap it has with Christianity, nor--God forbid--the 50 century gap it has with Judaism.

Rick Ballard said...

Luther, Calvin and Knox all died in their own beds.

Should Achmed nail his theses to the door of a mosque, he will be nailed to the same door. It's tough to reform a tautology.

The great divide in Islam does not concern interpretation of the Koran but rather who is descended in proper lineage - who shall wear the prophet's shoes (well, turban, actually) - not what the prophet said. You have to admit, a theology that is based upon excusing the acts of its founder is a great vehicle for temporal power. You can never be just a traitor in a theocracy - you were a heretic first.

Btw - Islamists consider reform to be an indication of weakness and the essential "wrongness" of Christianity. If something is perfect and true, there can be no need for reform.

Buddy Larsen said...

Rick, true for the fundies, but Islam's vast interface with world commerce has already caused Mohammonomics--esp as regards the rental of money--to've already been long-ignored. On the other hand, there exists some Koranic verse which excuses heresy so long as the objective is the ultimate victory of the faith. There's actually a cult formed around this verse--the Egyptian Physician, AQ #2 Zawaheri, is said to be a cultist, as were the leading party boys of 911, who were to drink and carouse in order to lull their enemy. Ach, Freud's concept of 'rationalization' couldn't be more apt.

Rick Ballard said...

Buddy,

The despots tune Islam all the time - my point is that's what Islam is all about. It is a theology of tyranny. There is no doubt that there are moderate Muslims and there is no doubt that there are sects within Islam that accentuate different facets of teachings - wholly dependent upon the perceived benefit to the ruler involved.

Encouraging moderates is like encouraging Sir Thomas More. Unless Henry VIII is dead, it really isn't very beneficial to Tom.

When the ME tyrants understood that socialism could be used in the same manner that Islam is used they tried to form panarabist alliances (Nasser, anyone) to substitute (or to synthesize) one tyranny for (or into) another.

Just as democracy has not emerged in Russia with the lifting of the tyrant's boot (which had replaced another tyrant's boot) so democracy is not likely (in fact less likely) to emerge in the ME.

Slavery can be inculcated as easily as can freedom - perhaps much more easily when security is promised in exchange for freedom. I may have hopes for the moderates but I am unwilling to encourage them in the ME. The risk/reward ratio is simply too high.

Buddy Larsen said...

I can't disagree with the principle of not betting even a spoonful of the farm that Muslim moderates will take down the jihad. My point was only that the tyrannical nature of the religion existed in JudaoChristianity, too, and moderated, and that there are signs of this process all over Islam--mainly as regards financial systems. After all, there've been tolerable centuries of 'peace-enough' through the last millenium-and-half.

We may not have to face killing the kernel--if we can stand the attrition. Killing the kernel will amount to a bloodbath on a huge scale, and it be over for 15 minutes before the second-guessers come out and force us to eventually find soime way to shut them up, as the hounding will by that time be no longer tolerable. I hate half-solutions--but I'm scared of final solutions, no matter how right we may be. We can't do genocide, even in self-defense, and then change our minds later. As that very set of circumstances edges ever closer, we have to be dead-certain we know exactly what we are doing.

The trade will be globalization and killing off a few dozen millions to enable it, or a hyper-cantonized west behind real or virtual (weaponized) walls, behind which we may be quite happy, if poorer and a good deal different, while lobbing the occasional nuke to keep the barbarians behaving. This may be the middle way.

Buddy Larsen said...

the nagging problem with accepting that the religion is the problem, is that 'western' Islam already has been saying for years that the Jihadis are the apostates, heretics, and infidels.

And they have their own counter-textual proofs in the same Koran.

This war fits into race war better than it fits into religious war. And don't get me wrong, I'm not using one of those lefty misdirection non-sequiters. Just saying, should we put some effort into pointing out--relentlesasly--the contradictions in the Koran, the Angry Left and its auxiliary the Angry Arabs will still hate the wealthy, considering their good fortune to be not by dint of risk and effort but by use of exploitation, and just pure occident.

Knucklehead said...

Well, this has been an interesting thread.

It is clear that there will not be an end to Islamic jihadism until Islam reforms itself. It is equally clear that we must defend ourselves against jihadism as long as it lasts.

It is also clear that we cannot maintain a defensive posture, even an agressive one, forever. Whatever the amount of time available is, the clock is ticking. At some point we will have to decide to either pay the extortionists what they demand or switch to a total war posture. Neither of those is an attractive option.

What is unclear is whether or not Islam has the capacity to reform itself or, even if it doesn't, whether or not "moderate Islam" has any capacity to combat jihadism. Can moderate moslems even join in the fight in any meaningful way?

Buddy Larsen said...

If continental Europe would start arming--weapons of every sort, actual, rhetorical, and psychological--these lurid pricks might yet fade back into the sands of nothingness. THAT's when the revisionists and reformers inside Islam could gain traction with the currently surging back-and-forth masses.

Rick Ballard said...

I don't think of it as a war "between" religions at all. I think of it as a simple extenuation of the despotic drive in an area where fortune has placed the means to pursue domination. The terror tactic has been successful for thirty years nad the despots are still tinkering with it.

Checkmate is derived from shahk-mat - the king is dead (or kill the king). There is no need for millions to die for this putrid game to come to an end - a few thousand, at most, will suffice. New tyrants will arise, to be sure, but terrorism as a tactic will not be viewed with much warmth by the new tyrants.

We can certainly slow the rise of the new tyrants and we have the means to see that the oil wealth doesn't get quite so concentrated. Eighty or a hundred years from now the problem will literally begin to dry up. What we absolutely cannot do is allow nuclear toys in the hands of madmen. Killing the madmen is a good start but leveling all facilities must be part and parcel of the plan.

Buddy Larsen said...

Unless--Iran intends to make that scenario into 'too little, too late'.

Been reading here and there that the IAEA action is John Bolton's baby.

Which begs question, what has Mohammed al-Baredi been doing all these years, before Bolton flushed him out?

Buddy Larsen said...

You're working into the issue in the only way the wewst can do it and still keep the high-ground from the revisionists--an iranian decapitation as the *liberal*, or *peace* solution--rather than the hawk feeding that lies in store before the smoke clears. Really, this needs talking up--that the humanitarian middle way is going to mean prophylactic bombing very soon.

Buddy Larsen said...

"wewst"--a typo, but a good name for us if we do nothing until after the crazy guy tosses the grenade in amongst the chilluns. Also, 'wast' would work; as in 'wastern values'; a neologism combining 'west', 'was' and 'waste'.

Buddy Larsen said...

Damn, an Iranian de Gaulle (the pre VE Day model) speaking from exile is SORELY missing.

Rick Ballard said...

It doesn't relly matter. Whoever arises will only have whatever means to control the population that we allow him to have.

I've been surprised that more people have not taken note of Qadaffi's behavior. It is absolutely typical for an Arab despot.

Buddy Larsen said...

That's what I've been trying to say, for about 20 posts now--thanks for personifying it. Much clearer now--the Gaddafi Syndrome. Bodes well for an arm-to-parley. Wish it was a year ago, tho. But a year from now, today will have been a year ago. Can't cry over spilt horses, but it does help you remember the milk when the barn door is slamming shut.

Knucklehead said...

Please expand on the Qaddafi Syndrome. I'm missing it.

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck,

The short version of the Qadaffi Syndrome:

Qadaffi bombs German disco killing US service men

Reagan just misses Qadaffi

Qadaffi waits until Reagan is almost out the door - then drops a US airliner in Scotland

GHWB does not retaliate - that we know of

Qadaffi starts earnestly pursuing a nuclear program - AQ Khan involved and so, I believe, was Saddam

Baghadad falls in the spring

Qadaffi resigns nuclear game in December

It's all chess - and when push came very close to shove, Qadaffi resigned.

We should still kill him. He really needs killing.

Saddam didn't resign because he thought his French and German knights were a sufficient blocking force. Shahkmat.

We need to finish the game with Iran. No resignations allowed. That will make it much easier to finish with the KSA - the King there can sacrifice all the pawns necessary (mullahs/imams) for his security.

Buddy Larsen said...

He knuckled under, knucklehead!

Knucklehead said...

Oh. I thought there had to be something far more complex and sinister than just tossing in the towel ;)

Rick Ballard said...

Knuck,

Think about the numbers of terrorist incidents in Israel after the Israeli government announced (and carried out) the targeting of Hamas leaders. Have the Palis run out of splodeydopes?

There is absolutely nothing complex about Arabs and extortion. Devious and cunning at times but complex ain't in it.

The worse thing that could happen right now is for us to buy off on a promise from the mad mullahs that they are going to be good boys. They need to be dead boys and then the boys after them will be good boys.

Watch Sistani - he plays the game as well as anyone in the ME.

Buddy Larsen said...

the towel--har!

Now you have to get busy and make a fedora, or perhaps a straw boater, or baseball cap, ten-gallon sombrero, and yarmulke joke.

Buddy Larsen said...

Instap, Austin bay, others, want to push forward the 'regime change'.