Joe Bennet hit the nail on the head

An opinion piece by Joe Bennet on Stuff entitled The Truth about Freedom makes complete and perfect sense.

Helen Clark and Don Brash both need to read it, as do all the other apologists and wowsers who say we shouldn’t stand up to Islamic Cultural Terrorism.

The Western belief that has sparked this controversy is the belief in freedom of speech. It’s a belief I share, because history demonstrates a free press is our best defence against tyranny. Every tyrant in history has muzzled the press.

Ostensibly our leaders share my belief, but when the heat came on they renounced it.

"I approve of freedom of the press," said Prime Minister Helen Clark on television, "but . . ."

"I approve of freedom of the press," said National leader Don Brash on television, "but . . ."

In other words, both of them worried more about votes or exports than about the truth.

In doing so they echoed Hamdi Hassan, an Egyptian MP. "Freedom of expression," said Mr Hassan, "does not mean people are free to insult prophets."

I’m sorry, Mr Hassan, but that is precisely what it does mean.

 And the summation is sublime.

The vast majority of the 1½ billion Muslims in this world are good and peaceable people. They don’t blow themselves up. They are closer to Mohammed than their leaders are. The same is true of Christians and Christ.

Both religions began with one man. Both men were apparently tolerant. Both proposed a system of living, a code of social behaviour. After their deaths, however, their teachings became perverted. They became dressed in nonsensical theology. That theology ossified into a system for gaining and retaining power. It became, in other words, merely political.

The grip of the Islamic authorities in Iran is indistingushable from the grip of, say, the Catholic authorities in Spain and Ireland well into the 20th century, or the grip of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union. Such a grip is a noxious thing.

And if a dozen cartoons can shake it, it’s a vulnerable thing.

Couldn’t have said it any better myself.  


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