In 1455 Gutenberg created the first book in Europe to be published with moveable type. It was the Bible, and has come to be known as the Gutenberg Bible.
Books had been published by much the same means in both Arabic and Asian languages, but unlike the Gutenberg Bible they did not help create a revolution. Not long after this book was published Europe saw an end to the Middle Ages and the onset of the greatest leap in modern human history, the Renaissance.
Why Europe? Why did Europe move forward while much of the rest of the world stagnated or regressed? The Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason would make Europe the center of the world.
Two centuries later Galileo would face trial for heresy, forced to defend the idea that the Earth moves and the Sun stands still. He had also suffered much criticism for his refusal to accept every passage of the Scripture literally. This man, who has been called the father of the scientific method, would find himself sentenced to house arrest until his death because of his beliefs. Not even Galileo could stand against the Church. In fact it was not until 1992 that Pope John Paul II admitted the Church mishandled the case. But Galileo's ideas were not lost and his life's work survived.
Today we see Europe once again in a conflict between the right of freedom of expression and Religious intolerance. It seems to me there is a certain amount of cynical manipulation by those Muslim rioters. They know the West and they know our traditions. It also seems to me that many of us consider these rights to be something of a religion in and of themselves. This is a direct challenge, just one more in our history with Islam. Once again, they attack our religion.
I understand the arguments for not publishing the cartoons. I remember when the ACLU defended the right of the Nazis to march and I thought it was so reprehensible that these fascists should show their faces in public. But this is what we are all about. So I understand how something can seem obscene to one person and acceptable to another. I can even understand how it could be argued that publishing these cartoons creates more problems in the War on Terror and feeds the paranoia of the region. But then again, their paranoia is insatiable, it requires constant feeding and it seeks it out.
But Europe should not allow a new Inquisition to take hold, none of us should.
The West did not invent type, but they knew what to do with it. And the West did persecute a brilliant man for questioning the Religious authority of his time..but his accomplishments were not overlooked or forgotten.
So it seems to me that while the West often wallows in self loathing our culture.... the EuroAmerican culture... is still worth defending and we should not allow ourselves to be intmidated by the barbarians.
Question: If not for the West, what good would that oil be? Without us would the technology to get it out of the ground and do something with it even exist? And why is that? Why are we so curious when so many are not?