The limits of tolerance

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The impulse of intellectual elites in Europe, and North America as well, is to show their tolerance by tolerating intolerance of tolerance. If Muslims object to some free expression, then that free expression must be suppressed. This sounds like alarmism to many, but it is a fact of life. Witness: Bruce Bawer, a gifted writer (he used to write wonderful literary essays in the New Criterion) who a few years ago moved to Norway to live with his (male) lover. Bawer has written on gay rights themes, less interestingly in my opinion than his writings on literary subjects. But he has necessarily been alert to suppressions of free expression by concessions to or appeasement of Muslim fundamentalists who insist on suppressing views of those they disagree with and, in some cases, murdering those who express such views. For those who think that we must show our tolerance by allowing the intolerance of those who reject tolerance, Bawer has important lessons to teach. Here are some. Americans who like to think that there is nothing to be lost by appeasing Muslim advocates of intolerance have something to learn here.