Despite the army of sharia enforcers in the media and the Islamic supremacist thugs, the voices in support of freedom are getting louder and louder:
"Call a Terrorist a 'Savage'? How Uncivilized" William McGurn, Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2012 10:12 pm
An anti-jihad message is 'hate speech' by today's topsy-turvy standards.
"In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
So reads an advertisement that went up a week ago in New York City
subway stations. Sponsored by Pamela Geller's American Freedom Defense
Initiative, the ads were meant to provoke, and they did. Denunciations
poured in, activists plastered "racist" and "hate speech" stickers over
the ads, and an Egyptian-American activist even got herself arrested
after spray-painting one poster pink.
Establishment opinion quickly rallied to a consensus. As the
Washington Post put it, while the words could be read as "hateful," "an
offensive ad" nonetheless has the "right to offend." A rabbi summed up
the media orthodoxy in the headline over her column for CNN: "A right to
hate speech, a duty to condemn."
Columnist Bill McGurn on the reaction to a
New York City subway ad that urges people to "support Israel" and
"defeat Jihad." (Photo: AP)
Certainly that's one way to read this ad.
Then again, most Americans probably read it the way it is written:
Israel is a civilized nation under attack from people who do savage
things in the name of jihad. Whatever the agenda of those behind this ad
might be, the question remains: What part of that statement is not
Ah, but the use of the word "jihad" inherently indicts all Muslims,
say the critics. There are millions of peaceful Muslims for whom jihad
means only a spiritual quest. So why do so many people associate jihad
with murder and brutality?
Might it be because violence is so often the jihadist's calling card?
Might it be that some of these killers even incorporate the word jihad
into the name of their terror organizations, e.g., Palestinian Islamic
Jihad? That may not be the exclusive meaning of jihad, but surely it is
one meaning—and the one that New York subway riders are most likely to
bring to the word.
The same goes for "savage." Exhibit A is Oxford's online dictionary,
which defines a savage as "a brutal or vicious person." There are
innumerable Exhibit Bs, but let me invoke one of the most powerful.
This is a Reuters photo that ran on the New York Times front page for
Sept. 1, 2004. It shows an Israeli bus after it had been blown up by a
suicide bomber. Neither bloody nor gory, the photo is nonetheless deeply
disturbing, because it shows the lifeless body of a young woman hanging
out a window.
The Times news story added this detail about the reaction to that
attack. "In Gaza," ran the report, "thousands of supporters of Hamas
celebrated in the streets, and the Associated Press reported that one of
the bombers' widows hailed the attack as 'heroic' and said her
husband's soul was 'happy in heaven.' " What part of any of this is not
Two years ago, Time magazine ran a cover photo of an 18-year-old
Afghan woman whose nose and ears had been cut off by the Taliban. This
weekend, an al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist group in Kenya threw grenades
into an Anglican church, killing a 9-year-old boy attending Sunday
school. In light of these atrocities, "savage" seems profoundly
The point is that what makes someone a
savage is not the religion he professes. It's the actions he takes.
Notwithstanding the many Jews and Christians who have been attacked,
those bearing the brunt of this savagery are innocent Muslims who find
themselves targeted—at their mosques, in their markets, at a wedding
reception—simply because they belong to the wrong political party or
The people of Libya appear to understand this better than the
president of the United States. The Libyans know that a civilized
society is one where the strong protect the weak. In July they voted for
such a future when they rejected Islamic radicals in their first free
elections since toppling the dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The Libyans'
problem is that the extremists are better armed and better organized
than their elected government, which leaves the strong free to prey upon
Back home in America, amid all the gooey indignation about how the
subway ads are hate speech but must be defended, the idea seems to have
taken hold that the beauty of the First Amendment is that we get to
insult each other's religions. Certainly that's sometimes the price of
the First Amendment. Its glory, however, is as the cornerstone for a
self-governing, free society whose citizens know that someone saying
something disgusting about your faith is no excuse for murder.
What a curiosity our new political correctness has made of our public
spaces. Let your sex tape loose on the Internet and be rewarded with
your own TV show; photograph a crucifix in a jar of urine and our
museums will vie to exhibit it; occupy someone else's property and you
will be hailed by the president for your keen social conscience.
But call people who blow up, behead and mutilate "savage"—and polite society will find you offensive.
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