It may be that the creator and publisher of an offensive cartoon uncivilly insult others, but those who react with violence to that insult implicitly reject the fundamental premise of Locke’s argument for toleration, because they are acting as if they could get belief through "outward force."
According to Locke, the man who makes the demand we are considering is telling you what religion you must adopt and in effect trying to rule you. On my reading of Locke, that is not grounds for civility but manly vigilance, firmness, and action.
Dave thus fleshes out the point that Roger Kimball makes more briefly here.
But, wait, thats not all. John Zvesper reflects on these matters from his perch on the continent destined to be the crucible of the conflict between militant Islam and liberal principles...if only our European friends remember what liberalism means. Heres the conclusion:
The cartoon affair raises the question of how effectively Europeans—and their political descendants in the rest of the liberal democratic world—can and will clarify (to themselves as well as to their allies and their enemies) what they stand for. Is clarifying and upholding the principles of liberal democracy not essential to maintaining our self respect, and therefore of gaining and keeping the respect of allies? Is it not therefore necessary to the success of the Bush strategy of isolating Islamic warmongers from their peaceful co-religionists?
If western politics is not—like the mirrors in Wertheim Park—broken beyond repair, liberal democrats will embrace a more confident response to religious intolerance. The dogmatic skepticism that says that neither nature nor heaven can help us—that liberal democratic politics has no natural, transcultural justification—is the basis of multicultural hypersensitivity and unwarranted censorship. It is not a basis for defeating political tyranny, but for surrendering to it.