The 60's, 70's & 80's were defined by the Cold War. By the battle between Capitalism & Communism. This was a battle about the economy and the way it was supposed to be run. On the one hand you had a free market system where private individuals could run their own business with little government intervention. The other side promoted government co-ordinated businesses with no private business.
By the 90's Capitalism had won and Communism was relegated to a small handful of countries many of whom were dismally poor. The 90's was a period of huge economic boom as former closed economies opened for the first time. But there was now no defining world ideal. That is until now.
The world is now defined by what I call 'Freedom of Expression'. And the stage is being set for an ultimate battle between two sides, but more on that later.
The Cold War was a battle between the left and right interpretation of the economy. This new War (maybe the War of Freedom) is a battle between the libertarian and authoritarian interpretation of society's freedom.
Religion is where this battle is beginning to be fought. The battle is between Muslims and Christians. But more specifically it's between fundamentalist Muslims and western society. And I realise that I said that it's the whole western society and not just Christians but that is because what these fundamentalists are fighting is our freedom of expression and freedom of speech. And this affects our entire society.
These fundamentalist Muslims hate our way of life. They hate how we treat women as equals, they hate that we don't follow the Koran or that we have laws that are separate from the bible. And they especially hate that we allow anybody to practise any form of religion.
They started the war back on September 11th, 2001 by attacking the World Trade Centre. By attacking the WTC, which is a symbol of Capitalism they signalled the end of the Cold War, the end of a world defined by it's economy and ushered in a new world defined by freedom. Score 1 for the fundamentalists.
We responded by ridding Afghanistan of the Taliban. We didn't succeed in getting Osama Bin Laden but we certainly destroyed a power base of theirs. The goal of these fundamentalists is to create a world wide Islamic caliphate. A caliphate is a government run using the Koran as the sole basis of laws and legislation. By attacking Afghanistan and bringing it to democracy we prevented the creation of the caliphate there.
We showed them that if they attack us we will attack them. Realising this they have recently begun to change tactics. They are attacking our Freedom of Expression. When those Danish cartoons were published the Islamic world rioted in the street, burned embassies and called for the deaths of the cartoonists. They hated that we had drawn an image of their prophet and they were showing is their anger. They demanded that we not reproduce the cartoons and fire those responsible. They also demanded that we never draw their prophet again.
And the West caved, we allowed them to use the threat of violence against us. We let them win. And people don't seem to realise or care. They're winning this war and we let them!
I recently saw the latest South Park episode. In it the show Family Guy is planning on showing the prophet Mohammed in an upcoming episode. The Fox network is planning on censoring the image to appease fundamentalist muslims. Cartman uses this as an opportunity to get Family Guy cancelled. He says that if he can get one episode banned then other episodes will be banned because of other religious or minority sensitivity and eventually the show will be cancelled. Stan argues that Freedom of Expression is all or nothing. You can't have one religion placed above all others. You can't protect one religion from being parodied but allow parodying of all others.
Eventually Fox network sees the error of it's way and shows the episode uncensored. But Comedy Central, the real TV company showing South Park, censored the South Park episode and refused to show the prophet Mohammed, Apart from being incredibly ironic it shows you much we have lost. Comedy Central refused to show an image on an episode about a company censoring an image!
And what is worse is the episode ends with the Terrorists retaliation - a short cartoon with Jesus crapping on George Bush and then George Bush crapping on Jesus. This image was not censored. It was show in it's full entirety. So an image of Jesus crapping on George Bush is okay but an image of Mohammed giving a character a helmet is not. People wake up! We are losing!
And don't say this is just a small minority of Muslims. There were riots with thousands of people all over the Middle East, Indonesia and Europe. The minority here is the Muslims who acted calmly and rationally and decried the cartoons but didn't riot and didn't go crazy. It's a cartoon people! A harmless cartoon. If your religion can't stand up to someone drawing your prophet then you have bigger problems then the cartoons.
We have to take action. This is not a beat up our world view is in danger of losing. Our economy will stay the same, that battle was won ages ago and the fundamentalists have no problem with private enterprise. But our society and what we can or can not say will change forever. Either we sit back and allow our freedoms to be eroded or stand up and fight back. Not with guns or tanks but with our freedom. We must allow the images of Mohammed to be shown. Otherwise they have won.