Friday, August 25, 2006

A Point That Bears Repeating

Norman Geras of normblog hit the nail on the head with his post entitled Non-speech is free:
It's one thing to criticize apologists for terrorism. It's quite another to demand of anybody that they speak out about terrorism (or about anything else) as a condition of being 'tolerated'. This is what Ginny Dougary does apparently demand:

If the Muslims who choose to live in our society, with all its so-called tempting freedoms, do not protest against those who wish to destroy it, then how can they expect our tolerance?

The short answer is that they can expect that, and more, as being your fellow citizens and as human beings with the same rights as you have. These are not conditional upon any statements you might like them to make.
The long answer is too long and, quite frankly, ought to be unnecessary. That is, the right to speak or remain silent is one of our most basic inherent rights. Therefore, tolerance of such liberties is simply what the citizens of a free society owe one another. Why is this so difficult for some to understand?