Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Boneheads

Why is it that some Americans think they can make crude inflammatory videos ridiculing the Prophet Muhammad without consequences?  The right to free speech does not carry an obligation to be offensive.

Either:

  • The makers of this video are stupid knuckleheads who do not realise that such videos will lead to a reaction and attacks on America and its perceived allies – and will lead to the death of Americans.

Or:

  • This is a deliberate attempt to force presidential election candidates (particularly the incumbant) to make inflammatory statements along the lines of “America right or wrong“.

I am not sure which alternative I prefer: stupidity or mendacity.

We live in a globalised world and hotheaded behaviour (whether it is rioters sacking a United States embassy, or a minor pastor threatening to burn the Koran) is transmitted almost instantaneously.  We consequently see two great cultures almost at each other’s throat.  Which culture is great enough to show tolerance and prevent both provocation and escalation?

Perhaps America “does not do foreign”?  Try watching ABC’s “World News Tonight” and count the number of stories that are not “Home News”.  It is possibly inevitable that a country should be insular when many of its people can travel thousands of miles without getting to a country that does not fly the Stars and Stripes over every public building, without getting to a country where you do not get the views of reactionary shock-jocks dominating the airways, without getting to a country where English is not at least the official language.

It is unhealthy that the old-style super-power (armed with nuclear missiles capable of wiping us all out) should have such blinkered neo-imperial views.  It is also unhealthy that the new-style super-powers (small nebulous outfits armed with suicide bombers willing to attack symbols of the old-style super-power) should be so volatile.

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