The world has been witnessing a scary new political communication/mobilization phenomenon: the routine deployment of the politics of outrage by tiny groups of individuals...but with epic consequences. And what is amazing is how stunningly easy it is to get this going. Consider, if you will, the emerging structure of the phenomenon:
- Somebody living in one of the liberal democracies of the West decides to test the limits of free speech by deliberating insulting the Holy Prophet in some way. They don't need to write an entire novel or make a full length movie. A cartoon is enough or the trailer of a movie.
- These days, the Internet does the rest: the provocation acquires the capacity to go global.
- Within the great Islamic community of the faithful are those just watching out for these provocations, rubbing their hands, and saying with Clint Eastwood: 'Make my day!' They take the largely obscure provocation and bring it to the attention of the entire community of the faithful.