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On Free Speech, Censorship, and Progressives

There has been much discussion lately about the decision by Comedy Central to censor an episode of South Park that mildly mocked Mohammed. Clearly, the decision to censor themselves was one that Comedy Central was completely free to make, although they were rightly mocked themselves by their own Jon Stewart. However, it is equally clear that death threats, fatwas, and actual acts of violence by Islamic extremists have created an atmosphere of fear in which self-censorship is merely the first step. A clear next step, made no doubt in the name of political correctness, would be the banning of speech that might be judged hateful by those same Islamic extremists. We see steps toward this in the decision, since happily reversed, by the transit authority in Miami Dade County to take down some adverts from the side of buses.

Interestingly enough, we see similar trends on MSNBC! Their recent decision to fire Donny Deutsch because he dared to criticize Keith Olbermann makes it apparent that on MSNBC dissent is not "patriotic" but is a firing offense. There is interesting commentary about this by Rick Ungar. He notes:

"MSNBC is the network of progressives and for progressives. Yet, there is nothing progressive about the network’s employees being terrified to speak up for fear of losing their jobs. Progressives also like to think of themselves as the people who ‘have a heart.’ Thus, there is nothing progressive about making fun of a difficult and terrible experience of youth acknowledged by one who has suffered from the event, even if she happens to be the wife of a former president you don’t like. It’s mean – and it contributes absolutely nothing to the political dialogue."

Unfortunately, it appears that Rick Ungar is increasingly incorrect. It is a mark of progressives today in the US that dissent must be silenced. Anyone who is seen as not being "in line" with the progressives should expect that they will be targeted by "mean" commentary, distortion, and lies. Progressives should be worried that their actions come increasingly to resemble those of the Islamic extremists. Of course, the violence of progressives in the US is limited so far to a few beatings and smashed windows, but every journey begins with a first step.

If progressives really are serious about their progressive ideology, then they could show it by linking to and encouraging dissemination of the Zombie Mohammed Image Archive, which includes all the images that the site owner has been able to collect that depict Mohammed. Interestingly enough, the supposed prohibition of images of Mohammed is apparently rather recent. One of the pages on this site includes e-mails to the site owner from those who disagree with the posting of such images. It is salutary to read these and then compare them mentally with blog comments on political issues in the US. The similarities are frightening. Be aware that should you visit the Mohammed Image Archive, you may be offended.

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