Should we tolerate the intolerant? Should we, in the words of Leszek Kolakowski,
. . . tolerate political or religious movements which are hostile to tolerance and seek to destroy all the mechanisms which protect it, totalitarian movements which aim to impose their own despotic regime? Such movements may not be dangerous as long as they are small; then they can be tolerated. But when they expand and increase in strength, they must be tolerated, for by then they are invincible, and in the end an entire society can fall victim to the worst sort of tyranny. Thus it is that unlimited tolerance turns against itself and destroys the conditions of its own existence. (Freedom, Fame, Lying, and Betrayal, p. 39.)
And just as we ought not tolerate intolerance, especially the murderous intolerance of radical Muslims, we ought not try to appease the intolerant. Appeasement is never the way to genuine peace. The New York Time's call for Benedict XVI to apologize for quoting the remarks of a Byzantine emperor is a particularly abject example of appeasement.
One should not miss the double standard in play. The Pope is held to a very high standard: he must not employ any words, not even in oratio obliqua, that could be perceived as offensive by any Muslim who might be hanging around a theology conference in Germany, words uttered in a talk that is only tangentially about Islam, but Muslims can say anything they want about Jews and Christians no matter how vile. The tolerant must tiptoe around the rabidly intolerant lest they give offense.
Was there ever a New York Times editorial censuring Ahmadinejad for his repeated calls for the destruction of the sovereign state of Israel?
Related: What Explains the Left's Toleration of Militant Islam? The piece begins as follows:
From 1789 on, a defining characteristic of the Left has been hostility to religion, especially in its institutionalized forms. This goes together with a commitment to such Enlightenment values as individual liberty, belief in reason, and equality, including equality among the races and between the sexes. Thus the last thing one would expect from the Left is an alignment with militant Islam given the latter’s philosophically unsophisticated religiosity bordering on rank superstition, its totalitarian moralism, and its opposition to gender equality.
So why is the radical Left soft on militant Islam? The values of the progressive creed are antithetic to those of the Islamists, and it is quite clear that if the Islamists got everything they wanted, namely, the imposition of Islamic law on the entire world, our dear progressives would soon find themselves headless. I don’t imagine that they long to live under Sharia, where ‘getting stoned’ would have more than metaphorical meaning. So what explains this bizarre alignment?
1. One point of similarity between radical leftists and Islamists is that both are totalitarians. As David Horowitz writes in Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left (Regnery, 2004) , "Both movements are totalitarian in their desire to extend the revolutionary law into the sphere of private life, and both are exacting in the justice they administer and the loyalty they demand." (p. 124)