Pavlos (pavlos) wrote,

Offending communities

Prompted by yonmei's post about Danish cartoons/Muslim reaction.

I think of the two opinions in the Guardian, Younge is by by far the more correct, but I don't agree with him entirely.

I think it's wrong to afford communities the same rights as natural persons. If you offend a natural person by saying "you sometimes do wrong" then depending on the circumstanecs, the facts, and so on we can talk about whether this is false accusation, well-meaning criticism, justified disapproval, or whatever. The same goes if you stupidly offend a natural person on the grounds of their association with a community.

Communities are not the same because they're not consistent moral entities (or at least I take a subjective view that natural persons are more morally consistent than communities). So if some members of one community deliberately say "some members of this other community do wrong" what is this? False accusation? Why, if some do? Well-meaning criticism? Then what is expected of those who do no wrong? Justified disapproval? Why should those who do no wrong feel targeted? I think these same questions ought to be examined whether we're accusing "Muslims" or "Westerners" of something.

So, in this case in my ignorant and subjective private view, I'm guessing that some Danish people were racist and applied false accusation to Muslims generally, others thought it's a bold but well-meaning criticism of what goes on inside the Muslim community, and others thougt this is justified disapproval of some specific Muslims. I'm also guessing that some Muslims were self-righteous and/or on the defensive and took it as false accusation, others took it as well-meaning criticism, and yet others as justified disapproval of some specific Muslims.

These are just uninformed guesses. but my point is I can't see what productive outcome can result from a moral discussion along the lines that "The Danish" or "The West" have offended "The Muslims". At best a pragmatic understanding could be achieved along the lines of establishing laws that individuals in community X should not offend community Y because that causes too much trouble. When that's deemed necessary I perceive that some moral agent in either camp has so succeeded to inflame debate that practical measures are taken to suppress it, and this feels morally and practically unfortunate to me in the long run.
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