Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Regressive Librarians Against Intellectual Freedom

File under "Intellectual Freedom Means the Freedom to Think Like Us!"

More foolishness from a Regressive Librarian: a "letter to IFLA Journal on Freedom of the Press, Social Responsibility and the Danish Cartoons." The subtext of this ridiculous letter seems to be that it's "socially responsible" to refrain from criticizing anyone who might kill you for criticizing him. It's certainly prudent if you don't want to be killed, but there's nothing socially responsible about gutting a liberal virtue like free speech to protect people who wouldn't do the same for you.

I consider it socially responsible to point out, for example, the oppression of women in Muslim countries and the betrayal of equal rights for women by people who kowtow to thuggish extremists who would gladly deny said equal rights. I also consider it socially responsible to point out that I don't think rape victims and homosexuals should be stoned and that I think Sharia law is barbaric. I might also point out that the idea of dying for your religion and going to heaven to be joined by forty virgins is sexist, misogynist, brutal, and just plain idiotic. But that's just me. Apparently the regressive librarians like this sort of thing.

So I guess the logic of the barbarians is, if I speak freely and you kill me, then you're not a murderer. I say something you don't like. You threaten me. That's somehow my fault. Sounds strangely like some of the logic of the Regressive Librarians Guild. I'm just glad they toss out resolutions instead of bombs. All the rhetoric about peace is pleasant as long as you're really gullible enough to believe that if America hadn't invaded Iraq then millions of Muslims around the world wouldn't riot and kill people for criticizing Islam. That's such an idiotic idea only a regressive librarian would believe it. I guess the regressive librarians don't get it. Peace is not what this particular enemy of liberalism wants. This enemy wants not peace, but submission. The War in Iraq is being used as a red herring to avoid the real issue of the Danish cartoons--intellectual freedom, free speech, and liberal democracy. I like them; the Muslim protesters don't. And apparently neither do the regressive librarians.

Apparently there were no conflicts between Muslims and the West until the US invaded Iraq. At least that's what I think the writer is implying, but then again I might be as confused as he is. I considered addressing the statements about "neutrality" since they seemed to be errantly aimed at people like me, but they're so ill-conceived and irrelevant to any issues I ever address I thought it unnecessary. I have a feeling, though, that this particular regressive librarian would confuse the idea of neutrality with the idea of library versus non-library issues. However, it's been pretty clear for a while that fine logical distinctions (or even rough ones for that matter) aren't the strong point of the regressive librarians. Nevertheless, it goes to show you that the SRRT folk only like free speech when they agree with it. What a surprise.

(If you don't like intellectual freedom or the freedom of speech and you love Muslim terrorists and you really want to get riled up, you can read my post from last fall on Islam and Intellectual Freedom. The ALA still hasn't come out against the chilling effect on intellectual freedom and free speech when people threaten to blow you up for speaking freely.)

I would find the Regressive Librarians contemptible if I didn't find them beneath contempt. I wonder when it will become clear to people that they are completely opposed to the liberal values that the ALA purports to defend. As I behold their nonsensical shenanigans, I wonder at the nerve they sometimes have of daring to call themselves "liberal," when it's quite clear they disdain liberalism and liberal values. Intellectual freedom? Freedom of Speech? Freedom of the press? Freedom of religion and freedom from religion? Gender equality? Equal rights? So many trifles to be discarded when the revolutionary utopia comes and everyone thinks like them. Or when we all become dhimmis. Either way, we won't have to listen to this regressive drivel anymore. For some reason, though, I don't want to trade my freedom and my rights for the illiberal bliss of regressive librarians or terrorists. Perhaps I just need some regressive "reeducation."

15 comments:

Bunny Watson said...

Well, as far as I can see the only truly inviolable right of the RLG and its ilk is the right to fornicate whenever, however, and with whomever they choose (shockingly, this isn't allowed in Muslim countries) and I wouldn't exactly call that "liberalism."

Anonymous said...

Nicely done: "contemptible if I didn't find them beneath contempt."

I find this puzzling and worrisome. I can navigate through the Left/"Progressive/Socialist/Marxist train of thought to a degree and understand, or at least reconcile, their rhetoric. What is deeply troubling is this unhinged "respect" for Muslims combined with an absolute loathing for Christians and Catholics. As you point out, orthodox Islam is inimical to 90% of the "rights" developed over the last 200+ years in the West. Yet it is to be encouraged?

Perhaps the answer is that all rigid unyielding orthodxies are demagogues of a feather, and the means justify the ends--namely the subjigation of the masses.

--Taupey

AL said...

I find this puzzling as well. I guess the assumption is that whatever is non-Western is evil. Except for Marx of course.

Anonymous said...

No, AL, the presumption is that anything from "dead white Christian males" ("the partiarchy") is evil (except for Marx). There is therefore an attenuated "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" plus a sort of blindness, like deciding to eat only plants and not caring which ones are poison--"it's a plant, I'll eat it and be blind to other facts."

Plus there is abundant fanatiscm amongst the regressive "vegetarians" at the table.

--Taupey

Dan said...

I'm probably as left-wing as they come in libraryville, but I always thought "alternatives in publishing" had to include both left and right resources. I left the PLG/SRRT long ago as it just seemed to be filled with people living in their own dream world that had to shout eveyone else down. Then when I went and got a job as a corporate librarian (one probably more socially responsible than every vegan collective in San Francisco), I was considred an eternal enemy.

But don't criticize them too much lest they come at you with ferocity of any scorned fundamentalist.

AL said...

After reading various remarks by Humorless Unionator and Cranky Marxist Dude and others, I have no illusions about these illiberal opponents coming after me. I interpret their fanatical concern over my pseudonymity as frustration that they can't just smear me and try to ruin my career because I dare to point out the shoddiness of their arguments. Their very words mark them out as the scorned fundamentalists they are. Fundamentalists don't like compromise or civility or deliberation or complexity. They like victory at all costs.

Anonymous said...

The joke is on those that cater to radical Muslim sentiment, according to one columnist:
"Speak to Europeans who dislike the United States, and they point to what they see as the evils of conservative America: a shoot-first, ask-questions-later cowboy in the White House, Bible-toting fundamentalists walking around the corridors of power. Speak to Muslims who are hostile to America, however, and the typical complaint is very different. Many Muslims point to what they view as the horrors of liberal America: homosexual marriage, family breakdown, and a popular culture that is trivial, materialistic, vulgar, and in many cases morally repulsive."

Dances With Books said...

This post should be framed someplace. It resonated with me so much because it says exactly what I think, only much more eloquently. While I am a very "live and let live" person, I am certainly not about to let someone kill me because I make use of my freedom to express myself. Indeed, Sharia is barbaric and so is the way they treat women in the name of Islam (and yes, in addition, I have actually read a lot of the Qu'ran). And yes, we should be denouncing that and other atrocities constantly. That those who claim to be "moderate" seem to be absent only makes them that much more evil: they see the evil and fail to denounce it. I am not kowtowing to any thug of any religion or belief system anytime soon.

(In the interest of full disclosure, likes fornication just fine. Just does not think it should be done wherever and whenever. Sure as heck not in the library. Then again, what was that about fine distinctions again?)

AL said...

The hostility to liberalism and equal human rights in Muslim dominated societies should indeed be appalling to any liberal, and the kowtowing is either part of an illiberal ideology that tries to pretend all cultures and religions and societies are equally valuable, despite not actually believing that. For all non-Muslims, Islam is just mistaken. Period. Just like for all non-Catholics, Catholicism is mistaken. No non-Muslim believes that Muhammad is a prophet of God, at least not in the way a Muslim does. No non-Muslim thinks that Islam is a right and proper religion. I am not a Muslim. I think Islam is wrong. I deny that Muhammad is the prophet of God. What non-Muslim would argue with me about that?

No liberal will value or tolerate a religion or a culture that does not allow liberal freedoms.

And no liberal thinks well of a society that stones homosexuals and rape victims, or enforces female genital mutilation, or forces women and only women to keep themselves veiled. No liberal approves of using violence instead of reason and argument.

But the universal human rights that have been the hallmark of Western liberal political striving for centuries aren't appealing to people who have lost the will for freedom. The alternative is even worse--that we don't think non-Western peoples are sufficiently civilized to be judged by our harsh standards that demand equal rights and equal freedom. We demand that of ourselves in loud and angry voices, but we will forgive other cultures because they are "other," and because human rights aren't universal and only matter as a rhetorical stick to beat politicians we don't like. We bend over backwards to accept their differences and invite them to hold our liberal values in contempt. This is Western ethnocentrism reduced to absurdity.

faithless minion said...

not to encourage you any more than usual, but that last comment of yours, Madame, was quite possibly better in point and substance than the original post.

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh AL, better start practicing your Allahu Akbar's:

Blasphemy by both Muslims and by dhimmis was severely punished. The definition of blasphemy included defamation of Muslim holy texts, denial of the prophethood of Muhammad, and disrespectful references to Islam. Scholars of the Hanbali and Maliki schools, as well as the Shi’ites, prescribe a death penalty for blasphemy, while Hanafis and to some extent Shafi’is advocate flogging and imprisonment in some cases, reserving the death penalty only for habitual and public offenders.[78] Al-Mawardi treat blasphemy as a capital crime.[43]

Many dhimmis were executed as a result of accusations that they insulted Islam.[79] Although some deliberately sought martyrdom, many blasphemers were insane or drunk; it was not uncommon for the blasphemy accusation to be made due to political considerations or private vengeance, and the fear of a blasphemy charge was a big factor in the fearful and subservient attitude of dhimmis toward Muslims.[80] As Edward William Lane put it describing his visit to Egypt: "[Jews] scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew have been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Kuran or the Prophet".[81] Accusations of blasphemy provoked acts of violence against the entire dhimmis communities, as it happened in Tunis in 1876, Hamadan in 1876, Aleppo in 1889, Sulaymaniya in 1895, Tehran in 1895, or Mosul in 1911.[82] (Wikipedia "Dhimmi").

To paraphrase Edward G. Robinson to Charlton Heston: "Yeahhh AL, yeahhh, where's your God NOW!"

--Taupey

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh AL, better start practicing your Allahu Akbar's:

Blasphemy by both Muslims and by dhimmis was severely punished. The definition of blasphemy included defamation of Muslim holy texts, denial of the prophethood of Muhammad, and disrespectful references to Islam. Scholars of the Hanbali and Maliki schools, as well as the Shi’ites, prescribe a death penalty for blasphemy, while Hanafis and to some extent Shafi’is advocate flogging and imprisonment in some cases, reserving the death penalty only for habitual and public offenders.[78] Al-Mawardi treat blasphemy as a capital crime.[43]

Many dhimmis were executed as a result of accusations that they insulted Islam.[79] Although some deliberately sought martyrdom, many blasphemers were insane or drunk; it was not uncommon for the blasphemy accusation to be made due to political considerations or private vengeance, and the fear of a blasphemy charge was a big factor in the fearful and subservient attitude of dhimmis toward Muslims.[80] As Edward William Lane put it describing his visit to Egypt: "[Jews] scarcely ever dare to utter a word of abuse when reviled or beaten by the meanest Arab or Turk; for many a Jew have been put to death upon a false and malicious accusation of uttering disrespectful words against the Kuran or the Prophet".[81] Accusations of blasphemy provoked acts of violence against the entire dhimmis communities, as it happened in Tunis in 1876, Hamadan in 1876, Aleppo in 1889, Sulaymaniya in 1895, Tehran in 1895, or Mosul in 1911.[82] (Wikipedia "Dhimmi").

To paraphrase Edward G. Robinson to Charlton Heston: "Yeahhh AL, yeahhh, where's your God NOW!"

--Taupey

Brent said...

This is one of the reasons that Christopher Hitchens left a liberal magazine after 9/11. It seems American liberals support only stopping genocide or spreading democracy where our national interests are not involved.

As for why conservatives get in sex scandals? Sexual repression, maybe? (Not sure it is a higher rate than liberals, but hypocrites make a better story.) At least they say they are wrong.

AL said...

Thank you for the compliment, faithless minion. I don't make many statements like that on the top page, because I really do try to keep this a library blog. I don't make many statements like that in the comments because I try not to talk about my own political views very much. But sometimes the regressive librarians need a rebuttal.

And I don't think I'll be practicing my allahu akbars. That's one of the strange ironies of the illiberal left. They are with ever fiber of their being opposed to everything Islam stands for, at least theoretically, and yet so contemptuous of the West and liberalism and so hostile to George Bush that they can't see how they would be treated in a Muslim society. George Bush and the Iraq War might be evil, but that doesn't make Muslim extremists good. A classic two wrongs don't make a right fallacy that the regressives always fall into.

contrarian said...

AL said, "I might also point out that the idea of dying for your religion and going to heaven to be joined by forty virgins is sexist, misogynist, brutal, and just plain idiotic."

I think it's usually 72 virgins (not 40) that await murderous shaheeds. I'm not sure what female suicide killers get when they go to heaven.