Make a Difference

Day: January 23, 2009

Guilders for Geert, Please

Via Instapundit and Samizdata, a request for funds to assist Geert Wilders in his defense against charges of inciting hatred against Muslims. The charges are based on Wilders film Fitna, in which verses from the Koran were read over visuals of Islamic terrorism.

According to the panel of three judges, Wilder’s insults against Islam were so serious as to outweigh his right to free speech. Hmm… We’ve had cases in Australia where quoting embarrassing verses from the Koran, or pointing out that Mohammed had sex with a nine year old girl, tortured his enemies, raped captured women, etc, have been called hate speech. Legislation in the state of Victoria specifically states that truth is not a defense.

You don’t have to agree with everything Wilders says to  believe that the charges against him are politically motivated, cowardly and wrong. He has said the Koran should be banned, since it is a genuine example of hate speech. I don’t think so. Its nasty and dull. But that’s not a crime. If it was dictated by God directly to the angel Gabriel, then God is a small minded bigot with little imagination and no poetic skill. I don’t think Mein Kampf should be banned either, or Silent Spring.

Suggesting the Koran or any book should be banned is wrong, but it is not evil. Radical Islamism is evil. Pointing this out, even in a society where people are accustomed to politer debate, should not be a crime.

You can donate to Wilder’s defense here.

Do Mammograms Lead to Unnecessary Surgery?

The short answer is ‘probably not.‘ The research seems to suggest that in spite of a still unnacceptably high rate of false positives, once women reach about fifty years of age, there are clear benefits in regular mammograms and pap smears.

I am glad this research is being done – it is important to know when testing and intervention works and when it doesn’t. I wish the same kind of studies were being done on testicular and prostate cancer. In Australia, prostate cancer kills as many men as breast cancer kills women, but receives only one tenth of the research funding given to breast cancer.

It Would Be a Pity

If the right person were pressured out just because of the family she comes from.

I’m not sure that Caroline Kennedy has had a fair run from the media, although she certainly hasn’t been subjected to the kind of outright malice directed at Sarah Palin. I’m not suggesting she was the right person. Cuomo certainly has more experience. But there seems to have been an assumption that she considered herself entitled to the senate seat simply on the basis that she is a Kennedy, and had nothing else to offer. I can see no reason to believe that is so.

Banning What Wasn’t Being Done

Banning torture makes good headlines. But what is the point if it wasn’t being done anyway? It seems to me this is another case of trying to take the moral high ground, not by doing anything different or better, but by subtly suggesting that others were doing something bad that you needed to stop. My understanding is that for all the fuss about torture, water-boarding had only been used three times, and not at all since 2003.

Of course that still begs the question about when discomfort and embarrassment become torture, and under what circumstances making someone feel uncomfortable or embarrassed in order to obtain information might be acceptable. Comments welcome.

© 2023 Qohel