The Corner

Savage Attack

Melanie Phillips wrote about the quintuple murder of the Fogel family, and in the course of her observations wrote:

To the New York Times, it’s not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised ‘peace prospects’ — because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages — but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive.

I don’t see why you can’t describe men who decapitate a baby as “savages,” and I don’t see why you can’t also describe as “savages” the vastly larger number of Gazans who celebrate the decapitation of a baby by passing around candy. Conversely, if this characterization of the massacre offends you, I would be interested to read your argument as to why it’s wrong.

Instead, Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK (and a man who called the blind sheikh behind the first World Trade Center bombing “courageous” and Osama bin Laden a “freedom fighter”) complained about the use of the word “savages” to the police and then to the Press Complaints Commission, which is now investigating.

Melanie will resist this attempt to shrink further the already shriveled bounds of public discourse in the United Kingdom. Whether her various editors and publishers will stand with her remains to be seen. And many other writers will simply conclude that this is one area to steer well clear of. “The lofty idea of ‘the war on racism’ is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology,” the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut said in 2005. “And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what Communism was for the 20th century: a source of violence.”

That seems the way to bet. I would rather have a society where people are free to call others “savages” than empower the state to police them into not doing so. In Britain as elsewhere, in the name of “tolerance” and “diversity” formerly free peoples are being herded into an ever more intolerant and homogeneous conformity.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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