Shame on Borders

Monday, May 22, 2006

Awhile back, Amit Ghate took on the task of defending Borders -- or at least considering whether its refusal to carry copies of an issue of a magazine carrying cartoons of Mohammed after the cartoon riots might be an understandable position. On that score, he said the following:

[F]or those who still think Borders et al. are culpable, please remember that: the Danish cartoonists are still in hiding while those who place bounties on their heads are out in public (and surrounded by adulating mobs); Ayaan Hirsi Ali has to be guarded 24 hours a day, and is often moved to army barracks just to be kept safe; Theo Van Gogh is dead; Iran has very recently reconfirmed the Rushdie fatwa against all those who are involved in publishing his book, etc. etc. Yet no Western government takes the steps necessary to remove those threats. How can you fault Borders for acknowledging that fact and acting accordingly?
Barring further evidence to the contrary, I thought when I read this -- and still do -- that he had a good point.

Unfortunately, there is now evidence to the contrary, and Borders definitely does deserve our unequivocal condemnation for joining the shameful ranks of American companies that are perfectly willing to endanger their own freedom to earn a quick buck.
After not stocking Free Inquiry magazine because it contained the Mohammed cartoons, Borders Bookstores went a step further. Last month, the Little Green Footballs blog posted a letter from a Borders employee reporting that, in response to complaints by Muslim customers who found Korans stocked anywhere other than the top shelf, the book chain now stocks the Koran only on the top shelf. JihadWatch had this follow-up:

"Maybe this is a clue as to why the Qur'an must not be stocked below the top shelf at Borders? 'Borders(R) and Al Maya Group Sign Memorandum of Understanding for Borders Franchise in United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council Countries,' from Yahoo! Finance:

"'Borders Inc., a subsidiary of global book, music and movie retailer Borders Group, Inc. (NYSE: BGP - News), announced today that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Al Maya Group, a diversified corporation headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, to establish a franchise arrangement under which Al Maya will operate Borders stores in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.'" [bold added]
Columnist Julia Gorin also does a good job recapping how several computer companies have aided Chinese censorship of the Internet.

But she didn't get around to mentioning the oil companies who both enable and suffer from the theft of their own property, most recently in South America. Let's not forget them.
Many experts say oil firms are willing to pay more for access to Venezuela because most of the world's oil is off-limits.


James Mulva, the chief executive of ConocoPhillips, said that the company is studying the new tax structure and that he would soon meet with Ramirez, the oil minister, in Caracas. Statoil of Norway said it would accept the new terms, while ExxonMobil released a statement saying the company "continues to have a long-term perspective of its activities in Venezuela."


Although some foreign oil executives are concerned that Chavez may one day confiscate their companies' assets, Poleo says that PDVSA's lack of expertise and investment stands as the best argument against nationalizing the oil industry.

"They can't nationalize," Poleo said of Chavez's government, "because they don't have the money or the knowledge."
And I find it very ironic that so many Americans echo this same pattern by calling for increased regulation of our energy sector, and investigations into "price gouging" -- which could ruin that industry just to save a few bucks at the pump.

As Gorin point out, by quoting Lenin: "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

Only in the sense that such men possess money and business acumen can they be regarded as capitalists. But they neither know nor care about the conditions necessary for their continued success, as the metaphor of the rope makes so clear. Philosophically, these men are not capitalists at all.

As long as we are free, we can always make new opportunities to earn money, but we cannot so easily bring back freedom once it is lost.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, what a curious religion Islam.
Is there a natural basis for what VDH terms "gender aparthied"? - I looked and found that males took precedence over present females when using my bird feeder.

Among pigeons feeding in parks, however, there appears no such exclusivity. On a pedestrian Audobon scale then, Wahhabism has not achieved the level of pigeons (doves), nor do radical Islamists otherwise behave as doves.

You mention cartoon depictions of Mohammed and the ensuing riots. Odd that the national flag of Iran symbolizes Allah with a stylized representation of the word Allah in the shape of a tulip (the symbol for martyrdom). I guess repressive regimes can violate their own rules at will without violent repercussions.

Gus Van Horn said...


Your question about "gender aparteheid" has reminded me of a golden Jane Austen passage:

"'We are to walk about your gardens, and gather the strawberries ourselves, and sit under trees;--and whatever else you may like to provide, it is to be all out of doors--a table spread in the shade, you know. Every thing as natural and simple as possible. Is not that your idea?'

"'Not quite. My idea of the simple and the natural will be to have the table spread in the dining-room. The nature and the simplicity of gentlemen and ladies, with their servants and furniture, I think is best observed by meals within doors. When you are tired of eating strawberries in the garden, there shall be cold meat in the house.'"

In answer to your question, I think not. For man, the natural is the rational.

As for Islamic hypocrisy, it's par for the course. When one jettisons facts and logic, contradictions hold a little parade.

And the beauty of it to them is that you're blasphemous if you call them on it!