Requiem for an Honest Liberal

Dying as she lived, true to her beliefs.

The BBC reports:

An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.

This is a truly sad occasion, and not just for the family of the deceased.  It would be easy, but mistaken, to write off this event as one of those things that happens when you go into third-world countries, or go hitch-hiking.

Thumbing a ride is not recommended even if you are a strong young man in the United States, much less a single lady in the world's more well-known problem areas, dressed as a bride, no less!  That choice of costume could cause no end of trouble in Muslim lands.  No doubt there are any number of bloggers ridiculing the stupidity of Ms. Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, also known by her performing name of Pippa Bacca.

We here at Scragged, however, think otherwise.  Yes, Pippa made what turned out to be an unwise decision; her pursuit of her art and beliefs carried her a bridge too far.  But it's not fair to ridicule her.  To the contrary, she should be honored for doing what the overwhelming majority of liberals entirely refuse to do: to live in full, logical consistency with their professed beliefs.

How often do we see loony-left professors pontificating about the evils of Christianity and conservatism, secure in the knowledge that this is absolutely without risk?  Their colleagues, almost to a man and certainly to a woman, are in complete agreement with their liberal views; most of their wealthy friends are too.  And they know they are more likely to be struck by lightning than to be gunned down by an offended Christian or conservative.

Ask them to oppose the depravities of fundamentalist Islam, though - the oppression of women, say, or the stoning of homosexuals, positions which would cause immediate defenestration of any Christian who suggested them - and you'll get nothing but the sound of crickets.  Because, unlike Christians, Muslims have long since proven their willingness, if not eagerness, to commit mayhem, violence, and murder when "offended."

Fatwas calling for the death of Western writers and cartoonists are now so commonplace as to be barely newsworthy.  The Dutch film director Theo van Gogh was brutally gunned down on the streets of Amsterdam by a Muslim infuriated by his works.  From Salman Rushdie to Hirsi Ali, the number of Western writers, thinkers, and speakers who must have 24-hour protection due to Islamic death threats is growing; but it is rare indeed when a liberal, claiming to espouse absolute freedom of speech, will dare to actually exercise it when their own neck is at risk.

Variations, of course, do exist.  Christopher Hitchens, not really a liberal or conservative, usually performs on a platform of absolutist opposition to all religion in general, and so his hatred of Islam is surrounded with a hatred of everything else that is spiritual.

But not so Pippa Bacca.  She had espoused a firm belief in the basic goodness of humanity - "that she could put her trust in the kindness of local people."  And in an honorable example of true belief, she put her principles to the test by this ill-fated road trip.

It has been said that a liberal is simply a conservative that has not been mugged yet.  Unfortunately, Pippa Bacca will never have that opportunity now.  We can't know what might have gone through her mind in her last moments, but we are truly sad that her shiningly mistaken beliefs had to be destroyed in this gruesome way.

At least her surviving sister Maria had these words of wisdom as her epitaph:

Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and of trust, but not everyone deserves trust.

Truer words were never spoken.  Let's bear them firmly in mind as our presidential candidates propose to sit down for tea with murderous dictators, and as Jimmy Carter plans to do the same with the evil terrorists of Hamas.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments
Why should we honor foolish consistency? Inconsistent foolishness seems a Pareto improvement from my perspective.

HAMAS is the government in Palestine. It sucks, but we should have thought of that before we foolishly advocated democracy (considered a synonym for "mob rule" back when people were more sensible). Our government has had no problem meeting with tyrannical governments in the past both on our side and the opposite during the Cold War. Whining about how bad, bad, bad other governments are and we shouldn't sully our reputation by associating with them is for liberals rather than anyone serious. Ahmadenijad isn't even "dictator" of Iran. The country has a sham-democracy where real power is held by the mullahs, most notably their "Supreme Leader" Khamenei.
April 25, 2008 8:52 PM

It has happened again, 10 years later.

They thought that evil was a social construct. They were wrong. It may be that most people are kind, but it only takes one to kill you.

A Bike Ride Through the Garden of Good and Evil

“Evil is a make-believe concept,” Austin wrote on his blog on April 5, 2018, day 273 of the trip. “By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.”

With a bare-bones budget and only the supplies they could carry on their bikes, Austin and Geoghegan would spend a total of 369 days on the road, traveling from South Africa to central Asia, cooking their own food and mostly sleeping in a tent.

The couple, however, would never make it back home. On July 29, 2018, Austin and Geoghegan were murdered by terrorists in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan.

Within a day, outlets around the world were reporting on the deaths of two idealistic millennial American bike tourists. Many commenters mourned their passing, but thousands more seemed to take an odd delight in the tragedy.

“Evil is a social construct, huh?” wrote one commenter on Jay’s blog, Simply Cycling, where he chronicled his and Geoghegan’s around-the-world trip, “then I guess these two morons died in a construction accident.” “Thanks for exiting this world and not reproducing your stupid fucking idiocy,” wrote another. Many people blamed Austin and Geoghegan for their own deaths. They were pilloried for being too trusting, too naive.

September 16, 2020 12:26 PM
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