Magazine article The Spectator

A 'Rhineland Moment'?

Magazine article The Spectator

A 'Rhineland Moment'?

Article excerpt

From David Jones Owen Sir: You claim you will not publish the Danish cartoons because they are 'juvenile' and offensive (Leading article, 11 February). Does that mean that The Spectator will no longer publish silly cartoons with religious content, as it has done so often in the past? Or could it be that it is really the reaction to the offence that is causing you concern? You seem to allude to that when you refer to the risks not only to editorial staff but also to others who would be in the firing line in such circumstances. So there we have it: liberty is precious and must be defended, but not at the cost of life. It's a good job the generation of 1939 -- or indeed Rushdie's brave publishers -- did not deploy the same shaky logic. If free speech is not to be exercised for fear of giving offence, what next? Many Islamists find democracy itself offensive and against the laws of Allah. Perhaps you would suggest we give up on our right to a free vote as well as to free speech?

It would be far better if the press followed Charles Moore's sensible suggestion and arranged for multiple and simultaneous publication. …

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