I’m reading the Tyranny of Silence by Flemming Rose – finally. I highly recommend it. An editor for the Danish newspaper, Jyllands Posten, Rose challenged forty cartoonists to draw a picture of the Prophet Muhammad. He explains he was not Islamophobic. He wanted to challenge claims that freedom of speech was being self-censored out of exaggerated fears of violent retribution. Further, the act could be construed as integrating Muslims into Danish culture where Christians, Jews, Buddhists, atheists, etc., are not exempt from satiric barbs.

Two hundred murders later, Rose argues speech is the antithesis of war. The mightier pen persuades while the sword coerces. Tyrannical oppressions proceed once liberties, like the right to free speech, are surrendered.

Rose is good at pointing out ironies in fallacious arguments prevalent today. For example, those whining a specific statement is racist are usually the ones broadening the application to all members of a certain category. Also, those who claim speech must be limited to protect minorities usually say so to limit the speech of a different minority, which they happen to oppose politically. The main takeaway, which is lost on media outlets today, is the absurdity of depicting humans as reflexive automatons who, devoid of judgment and self-control, go violent at the sight or sound of a picture or word.