Thursday, December 16, 2010
It seems that an Austrian man was recently fined 800 Euros for yodeling as he mowed his lawn. The grounds, as far as I could gather, weren't something legitimate like, "disturbing the peace" (perhaps exacerbated by a motive to mock or disturb an assembly), but "defamation of religious symbols" and "prevention of religious worship." (I wish to emphasize here that someone could get fined under a proper legal code for disturbing a religious service -- but on grounds independent of the fact that it is a religious service. I haven't seen any other commentator consider this possibility.)
Apparently, his Moslem neighbors asserted that his yodeling was a mockery of the call to prayer that they regularly blare over loudspeakers installed outside their house, so they hauled their neighbor into court. The judge, informed by a legal code that is apparently not intended to protect individual rights, meted out the punishment.
This story exemplifies a common problem in the West that conservatives dislike, but seem almost completely impotent to address: Moslems understand that many already-existing, illegitimate laws can easily be commandeered to enforce their religious dicta. Conservatives, almost all without convincing arguments against such laws (and quite a few being would-be theocrats who would behave similarly, if given the chance) end up becoming angry at Moslems which, although justified, is not alone an effective response.
Just as the West will not defeat Islamists militarily by fighting a limited war or negotiating with state sponsors of terrorism, it will not continue to enjoy freedom by pretending that the government exists for any purpose other than to protect individual rights. Barbarians who wish to kill or enslave us for not following their religion are only as dangerous as we permit them to be.
To end on a positive and motivating note, I recommend the above embedded video.
12-17-10: A commenter points me to a recent post on a related topic by Paul McKeever.