Ace has a superb post on the subject, entitled 'The Normative Power of Law and the Emotional Power of Drama'. It expresses exactly how the west is cooperating in sabotaging its own freedom.
Here's a slice:
Suppose you accidentally click on a link and wind up seeing the raunchiest, most grotesque pornography imaginable.
What do you do?
You probably close the link and perhaps bark at whoever linked you to it.
But do you attempt to have the site shut down?
In all likelihood you do not. And that doesn't mean you approve of the pornography, or even tolerate it.
You don't attempt to have the site shut down, or stir up a rage, because you know it will be futile. The law has spoken on this point; and where the letter of the law hasn't spoken, the actions of thousands of LEO's and politicians have. There will be virtually no action taken against pornography, ever.
So you don't attempt to get the site shut down because the letter of the law, and the actions of those enforcing it, have informed you that it is a situation you'll just have to live with.
The law has become normative. You may not agree with it (or, of course, you might). But you have internalized the teaching of the law, just as a student internalizes the real rules of his school, what he can get away with, what he can't.
The law has taught you what you will have to accept, what you will have to work around, what you will have to teach yourself to ignore and come to peace with.
The law is normative. It establishes our norms.
The law is currently establishing a new norm. Some -- liberals, chiefly, are quick to line up to embrace the new norm.
The new norm is that certain religions -- oh, why be coy with the plural? One religion -- shall have the protection and sanctification of state power.
One religion, and one religion only.
Piss Christ is being shown in New York City again. There are few calls for the exhibit to be banned, and none for the artist to be arrested -- or vigorously investigated to find if there are any breaches in his past to be arrested for.
Because we know the law and the action of government in executing the law would not be responsive. Not even a little bit.
The law is normative. We have learned there is no point protesting Piss Christ, or any thousand "slanders" against the Prophet of Christianity. We have learned that we will just have to live with it, and, if such things offend us, learn to control our tempers, and learn to avoid certain things that might otherwise give us pleasure, like museums.
What norms are the laws currently teaching the most extreme and intolerant members of Islam?
That they must respect other people's rights to engage in free speech? That they must accept that their religion, like any other, is subject to critique, disrespect, and even hate?
No. They are learning that threatening violence, or actually engaging in violence, is not futile at all, but rather achieves the precise goals they seek (a de facto prohibition against Islam or Mohammad, and no other religion).
The law is normative. This is what it is teaching. This is the lesson it is currently filling minds with.
Violence works. Intolerance -- at least intolerance with a brown face -- is justified and even noble.
And Islamic values are superior to American ones. After all, when the two come into conflict, which values win out?Read the rest here. We have been teaching this lesson to the Muslim world since the formation of OPEC and the takeover of our embassy in Iran, that we can be rolled and will submit to them. Unfortunately, while the Bush Administration certainly did its part to show Islamists there was no penalty for their violence and savagery, the Obama Administration has doubled down on the matter to the point of sheer cravenness. Appeasement of this kind doesn't end violence, it only make an aggressor reach for more. That's the situation we find ourselves in today.