This paper focuses on a particular liberal defense of Muslim reactions to the Danish Cartoons Affair – one that seeks to draw on a version of liberalism which, its proponent argues, is derived from Immanuel Kant, and which he opposes to another conception of liberalism centered on John Stuart Mill. It is argued that Kant’s conception of autonomy, with the priority it places on equal respect, allows us to impose significant limits on free speech and insist that, in cases such as the Danish Cartoons affair, the offense to Muslims should, in some cases, trump the free speech rights of the cartoonists and Jyllands-Posten itself. In response, I insist that this defense of equal respect in the face of free speech rights cannot be sustained without presupposing the very liberal values that it seeks to subordinate in the name of difference. In this respect, I argue that within the liberal tradition there are certain values that are “non-negotiable”, and so for liberals must be defended on a universalist basis in the face of all claims for difference. In this respect, this paper seeks to defend liberalism’s universalist credentials.
Connected Globe: Conflicting Worlds: Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2010. Connected Globe: Conflicting Worlds: Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2010: Proceedings (Melbourne 27-29 September, 2010)