Other People's Liberties

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THE SPINE FEBRUARY 4, 2008

Other People's Liberties

Do you recall when virtually the entire Muslim world went into delirium after a Danish newspaper published 12 caricatures of the prophet Mohammed?  How could one forget!  After all, mobs rioted and more than 50 people were actually killed in the violence that ensued.Now, The Art Newspaper reports that a "Danish museum (is) to buy Muhammad cartoons which sparked global riots." It is, of course, a very proper acquisition, especially given the fact that the cartoons and the events that followed their appearance in print are now part of the political and cultural history of the world.  The world of Islam and the rest of the world, too.It was a moment of liberal self-definition, as well. The rampages by Muslims in European capitals, especially, crystallized for many how imperiled the West was if it continued to kow-tow to those who would foist their autocratic values on whole societies that had reached a consensus on free speech and on its obvious corollary, feeling offense by other people's liberties. 

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