Whatever the exact impact of the anti-Muhammad hate film that went viral, we have entered an age of would-be Princips.
Gavrilo Princip of course was the assassin who killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914. He was 20, largely friendless and small in stature. He pulled the trigger that killed the archduke which led to the ultimatums that brought the war that misshaped the 20th century. From his act sprang nine million dead, Lenin at the Finland Station, the fall of Russia, the rise of communism, World War II, the Cold War . . .
Maybe all those things would have happened anyway, one way or another. We’ll never know. All we know is how it did begin, with one young man and a gun.
Now in the age of technology, with everything disseminated everywhere instantly, it isn’t one man with a gun but one man with a camera, or a laptop, or a phone.
To be a Princip is to feel power, whatever the cost to others. It is to need to get your point out there, whatever the price others pay. A Princip has a high sense of authority—he is in possession of urgent truths—and no sense of responsibility.
The maker of the videotape that contributed to the rioting in Egypt is a would-be Princip, as is the American pastor, Terry Jones, who burned the Quran.
We are going to have to think about antidotes to and answers for the new Principism. Because it’s not going to go away.
Even though many of my colleagues are criticizing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her “apology” to the Muslim world because of “the film”, she at least condemned the violence in response to the film and did not directly blame the film for the violence. The part of the Secretary’s statement that most people don’t pay attention to is:
There is no justification, none at all, to respond to this video with violence,” she said. “We condemn this violence in the strongest terms.
Even though the President himself has been a weasel in terms of condemning the killing of Ambassador Stevens and the riots in Libya and Egypt, his Secretary of State has, although somewhat equivocating, at least recognized that the exercise of free speech, regardless of how disrespectful or offensive, is nonetheless not a reason for rioting.
But back to Peggy Noonan.
Peggy, you’ve been on the Acela traveling back and forth between Washington and New York for too long. Time to get out of that corridor and into the real world. You’ve become a RINO, establishment Republican of the worst kind, blaming individuals exercising their First Amendment rights, however offensive, for the killing of American citizens and destruction of sovereign U.S. territory.
I’ve always admired your style of writing, but now I’m just over it.
According to your article, the story I wrote yesterday, if found offensive by a Muslim or anyone else, and they decide to riot or attack or commit other crimes, then that is my fault.
Here’s what you fail to recognize, Peggy.
Suppose someone reads your column and is so offended by it that they decide to throw a brick through the window of your Wall Street Journal office? Is that your fault or is that the fault of the brick-thrower? Just wondering, because you’ve made me so mad that I would like to (although I won’t) throw a brick through your window.
Appeasement, fear of the First Amendment, political correctness, and elitism. And you, of all people, living off the First Amendment, have the audacity to criticize someone with a camera, a laptop or a phone.
Why don’t you turn yours in?