When people use tactics to force others to accept their beliefs other than a reasoned argument they assume they have a revealed truth that must be imposed. The incident at a New York Dinner where PETA obtained tickets to harass the guest of honor, Beyonce Knowles, for her use of fur in her clothing line was an example of poor taste, primitive tactics and frankly an admission they want to impose their beliefs through intimidation. This is the same approach Al Qaeda has used and is using to get deference to their beliefs regarding what is appropriate ( in their view ). The Danish cartoon episode used intimidation via riots to quell free expression. Yet they want the ability to freely express their religious views and of all things, respect. Expecting respect while not granting it is a one way street culminating in the tactic of intimidation.
Respecting one person’s right to produce clothing and refusing to buy it is one thing. Trying to embarrass and intimidate is not an acceptable alternative. This fanatic urgency to attack those who you do not agree with is common among those who have insufficient intellectual ammunition to support their views. Convincing others to accept your view is the humane way to approach ideology. Pushy intimidation is the school yard bully approach. Evidently neither of these intimidators cannot envision people rationally accepting their viewpoint. A simple argument doesn’t get attention or the instant results they demand. Galileo presented a true picture of the universe and was intimidated into recanting. That did not change the truth of his views. Likewise the intimidation of al Qaeda and PETA will not change minds but may instill fear. Fear will only be felt by those who misunderstand the nature of courage and the impractical consequences of appeasement.
People who think getting attention for their cause is sufficient to instill conviction of their ideas have not looked at history. The British tried to intimidate the Colonists and they failed. The Soviets tried to intimidate the world and they lost. The lessons of history regarding the futility of this approach have been endless, yet those who would rather rant and chant than learn and progress erupt constantly to try once again to try the impossible. In the case of Al Qaeda it has evolved into a fight to the death. In the case of PETA it is evolving into a demonstration of goofy embarrassment for victims and perpetrators.