Exposing the negative aspects of Islam is a necessary evil. It’s impossible to have an educated citizenry if they don’t have all the information available. Once our citizens have all the information — the good, the bad, the ugly — they can accept or reject Sharia…because that’s what Islam wants for America.
For instance, perhaps most Americans don’t care that Mohammed married a 6 year old and had sex with her when she was only 9. But Americans still have the right to know.
Perhaps Americans don’t care that Islam endorses men marrying pre-pubescent girls, impregnating them AND divorcing them. [See Quran 65:4] But Americans still have the right to know.
Otherwise, where do you draw the line? Who gets to decide what We, the People, should know? On this, there is no middle ground. We, the People, have a right to know. Just because Islam (Sharia) says you can’t speak negatively doesn’t mean we have to follow that rule — even if you can’t discuss Islam at the United Nations (Google “United Nations free speech”– see what you find).
John Stuart Mill said that “Truth…has to be made the rough process of a struggle between combatants fighting under hostile banners.” Paraphrasing: this is not a feel-good exercise, this is a pitched battle for control of We — the People, and ultimately the world. The stakes are high and the competition is fierce. The real issue should be whether or not we are presenting the information that is useful to our citizens. The tone of that information should be a secondary issue at best.
Adapting an argument from Professor John G. Geer, why are the Islamists so troubled by negativity? “Any deliberative process usually benefits from having criticism and debate…this is why Islam prohibits questioning any aspect of it and even makes the study of philosophy illegal. Politics is rough and tumble…and religion is inseparable from state in Islam.
Why isn’t it thought of in those terms?
Because Islam attempts to hide its politics behind a veil of religion, some are afraid to discuss the topic. We have to understand that Islam — unlike other religions — is also a political ideology, an integrated set of beliefs which form a theory of government.
Why are we worried about “civility” while discussing such uncivilized traditions, laws and customs? If some aspect of Islam’s record is alarming, is it not important to raise that concern in an attention grabbing fashion?
Shouldn’t the public understand the seriousness of the problem?
Negativity plays an important and under-appreciated role in democracies. In fact, the practice of democracy requires negativity. The give and take of democratic politics demands that we know the good and bad points of issues and challenges. The opposition is well suited to discuss the weaknesses of the other side.
Therefore, in order to learn about the risks and problems associated with challenges, we need the opposition, in effect to “go negative.” When going negative, advocates can actually advance the debate, not undermine it. This simple point seems forgotten in many discussions about the subject.
There is an asymmetry between negative and positive debate appeals. For a negative appeal to be effective, the advocate of that appeal must marshal more evidence, on average, than for positive appeals.
Public opinion, like our legal system, operates on the assumption of “innocent until proven guilty.” An advocate of a position cannot simply assert their opposition is evil or wrong. They must provide some evidence for that claim. Which is why I constantly footnote so many of my posts — especially when referencing Islamic law.
Bottom line: negativity promotes democracy.
Negativity can advance and improve prospects for democracy. Without negativity, no nation can truly think of itself as democratic.
John Stuart Mill said it best:
"If the dissenting opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth;
if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of the truth,
produced by its collision with error.”
Criticism can increase the quality of information available to [people] as they make decisions. To make good decisions, people need to know the past record of Islam to help understand what Islam will propose and attempt to do in the future. A central part of that information involves understanding the shortcomings of the “religion.”
The bottom line is that criticism is important because We, the People, must have the right and ability to raise doubts about Islam. Otherwise, the public does not have access to full information “about the relevant alternative civilization and their likely consequences.”
If the public wants to have accountability, someone has to do the accounting and that accounting is not done through positive, feel-good appeals, but through harsh political attack where people are made aware of the problems of Islam.
Any effort to curtail the negativity is far worse than enduring harsh rhetoric, since it means that the ability of the opposition to hold the other side accountable for their actions would be weakened.
If negativity ever happened to disappear from our intellectual debates, we can safely assume that so would our freedoms and any chance we have to lay claim to being a democratic nation.
Which is exactly why Americans should be paying close attention to what happens in Geert Wilders trial…
Thanks to John Stuart Mill, Professor John G. Geer and Stephen Marks who were the inspiration for this article and are paraphrased heavily throughout.
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