To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

File this under "duh" I guess.

Danes say apology would be pointless

First of all, "Danes" aren't saying an apology is pointless. The foreign minister is saying it. He does not comprise the entire population of Denmark. Presumably there are Danes, especially Muslim Danes, who do not feel that an apology would be pointless.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said the government had no reason to apologize for the drawings first published in one of Denmark’s largest newspapers.

“First, you cannot apologize for something you have not done,” Moeller said in a telephone interview.
[I'm with him there. It wouldn't be pointless for the newspaper to apologize, but it probably would for the government to, because they didn't print the cartoons and didn't direct the newspaper to ... as far as we know.] “Second, nothing illegal has been done because no one has been found guilty by a court.”

There's the stupidity. You don't apologize only because something is illegal or because it has been found to be illegal in court. You apologize when you realize and are ready to admit that you are in the wrong. That frequently has absolutely nothing to do with the law.

Which leads me to the idea I keep seeing expressed, that because we have free speech and free press in the US, American newspapers are somehow obligated to print those cartoons. "I can, therefore I have to" is the way we all reasoned when we were two years old. If we lived past toddlerhood, we learned better. I will say that if the local paper does not print the cartoons, I'll appreciate their restraint, and I'll appreciate it even more if they apply it to things that might unnecessarily offend me in future, even though I am not threatening anyone.

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