Mark Steyn writes about world demographics determining destiny in the years ahead, including this paragraph (but do read the whole argument) about the differences between when cultures assimilate and when religions assimilate:
Instead of a melting pot, there's conversion: A Scot can marry a Greek or a Botswanan, but when a Scot marries a Yemeni it's because the former has become a Muslim. In defiance of normal immigration patterns, the host country winds up assimilating with Islam: French municipal swimming baths introduce non-mixed bathing sessions; a Canadian Government report recommends the legalisation of polygamy; Seville removes King Ferdinand III as patron of the annual fiesta because he played too, um, prominent a role in taking back Spain from the Moors.
Another ranting point of mine: I hate "hate speech" and amorphous "harrassment" laws for their Orwellian muddling of thoughts with actions (dangerously casting both, not just the latter, as crimes), for setting up certain groups as "special" victims (promoting unequal treatment under law), and for infringing on First-Amendment freedoms (including the necessary freedom to be offensive, offending, and offended) in the name of craven political correctness. Victor Davis Hanson writes about having to undergo a course on sexual harrassment policy--but the same points apply to so-called "hate speech" in general (including of course the current Danish cartoon affair):
Given that harassment lies in the eye of the victim, the course recommends that all employees constantly monitor and fine-tune their conversations and behaviors in order to avoid anything that could remotely be construed as objectionable to anyone in the “protected” categories. This advice, of course, is useless, given that there are so many subjective definitions of what’s objectionable that the only viable solution is to avoid most conversation or reduce one’s comments to banal pleasantries. In workplace discussions individuals will have to continually practice self-censorship to insure that their personal way of expressing themselves — with irony, sarcasm, or humor, for example — is not interpreted by the thin-skinned, the crazy, or the malignant as “harassment.”...My bold. I am glad there are still people not afraid to articulate these points. I am not as eloquent, but I agree, and passionately. There should be no such legal category as "thought crimes" in America, no matter how well-intended the reason. Criminal behavior should be prosecuted, not offensive speech (which is impossible to objectively define by the state or by any one else).
The result of such a climate is to erode collegiality and poison relationships with the lurking possibility that the normal disagreements and conflicts that are part and parcel of normal human relationships will be redefined as actionable harassment subject to the greater coercive powers of the institution and the state....
Reference was made to the First Amendment, usually to note that it doesn’t protect behaviors or speech perceived as harassment, a debatable legal position at best....
Given the great variety and number of free people and their thresholds of offensiveness, our words and deeds will frequently be disturbing to some. But that’s the price we pay for freedom, and it is our responsibility to be adults and figure out how to get along in a world where everybody, not just privileged elites, are given wide latitude for the expression of their ideas. A truly free and open speech will frequently lack civility or sensitivity to feeling, for the point of such a debate is not to make people feel good but to get at the truth and value of ideas. The raucous, sometimes crude, often offensive nature of democratic speech was recognized as part of democratic freedom as far back as fifth-century Athens — which is one reason why elitists like Plato disliked democracy.
By the way, here's a link to the 12 Mohammed cartoons (scroll down) in case your local news outlets have not seen fit to give you the whole news story. By viewing the cartoons yourself you can make your own informed decisions about just what provocation they represent. Some Muslims are still reported to be rioting evidently against any symbols of Western civilization or of females being "sexually provocative." The more artistically inclined fight fire with fire (scroll down).
Via Instapundit, here's a transcript of yesterday's Hugh Hewitt radio show at Radio Blogger that is quite interesting, including first an interview with Mark Steyn, followed by a discussion of recent DNA research contradicting The Book of Mormon; followed by an interview with Robert Ferrigno, author of the new novel coming out, Prayers for the Assassin, envisioning a Muslim America around the year 2040. See also "Helen Thomas hangs up on Hugh Hewitt." I wish I could hear the Hugh Hewitt show where I live, but thanks to Radio Blogger I can still enjoy it.
Krauthammer on the Cheney shooting affair.
Hannity's page on the Saddam tapes.
Again, I have to admit with regret that I cannot comment on all the news topics and ideas I'd like to. Just don't have the time to keep up. My silence and/or my emphasis on any given topic doesn't necessarily imply much more than how much time on any given day I have to devote to blogging. Some days: none.