As the freedom of speech is being tossed aside wholesale in the media’s distaste for Pamela Geller and the unwelcome truths she tells, a few voices realize what is at stake in this controversy. Here is another: “Geller and her colleagues aren’t the only victims that America’s elites refuse to side with against aggressors,” by Caroline B. Glick, May 8, 2015:
The notion that a rape victim deserved to be raped because she was wearing a tight outfit light up all our red lights.
This is the case first and foremost because it absolves the rapist of responsibility for his crime.
We are also disgusted by attempts to blame the victim for her victimization because it is substantively false. If men are more likely to rape women in tight clothing then rape should be all but nonexistent in traditional Islamic societies. Yet the opposite is the case. Rape and sexual abuse are endemic to such societies. According to the UN, a whopping 99.3 percent of Egyptian women reported having suffered sexual abuse.
There is a third reason more general reason that we recoil from the thought of blaming rape victims for their suffering. One of the foundations of liberal societies has always been that victims of aggression are not to blame for their attackers’ aggression.
Over the past few days, we have been witness to a dangerous erosion of this principle among American elites.
Last Sunday, two Islamic terrorists armed with assault rifles tried to massacre participants at a Muhammad cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas.
The goal of the contest was self-evident. The organizers wished to defend the freedom of speech — and the right to life — of critics of Islamic totalitarianism.
Rather than standing with the contest’s organizers and participants, the US media from MSNBC to Fox News attacked Pamela Geller, the event’s main organizer, and accused her of responsibility for the attack.
The White House failed to condemn the attack, and the media continued their attacks on Geller even after Islamic State claimed credit for the attack, promised to “slaughter” Geller and anyone who shelters her or gives her a microphone, and announced it has a formidable infrastructure across the US it will use to carry out more attacks against Americans.
To a degree, the White House’s refusal to condemn the attack, like the media’s pile-on against Geller, is understandable. Most Americans ascribe to the overarching notion of “Live and let live.”
And it is a good thing they do. It is impossible to maintain a liberal society without a basic tolerance of differences among its members.
But there are groups that a liberal society cannot tolerate without ceasing to be liberal.
When a group says that society as a whole must constrain its freedoms so its members can feel comfortable, it crosses a boundary that cannot be crossed. So, too, when a group demands that society choose between it and another group that is not issuing a similar ultimatum, it is crossing the line. In other words, any group that demands a limit on liberty and rights of others is harming the foundations of liberal society. If a society wishes to remain liberal, it must constrain such groups.
Champions of totalitarian Islam test the strength of liberal societies because they force them to choose. Distressingly, as we see with the refusal of the White House and media elites to recognize that like the rape victim with tight clothes, Geller isn’t responsible for the jihadists’ decision to kill her and the participants at her event, elite American society is failing this test….