The Corner

“They did it themselves”

Re my post last night on the Geert Wilders trial, a reader adds a note of caution to my praise for the First Amendment:

I agree the situation in Europe in regards to free speech is deplorable.  But before we here in the US too loudly laud the “openness” we supposedly have here, maybe we should all take a step back and look at some things objectively. 

·         I’ve never seen the “Islam cartoons” reprinted in an American newspaper.  I’m sure it’s probably happened, but definitely not widespread.  And definitely never shown on TV.  And they definitely didn’t originate here in the land of “free speech”.

·         Where are the US filmmaker’s movies about Islamic extremism?  At least Geert Wilders made one in the Netherlands.  Total silence here.

·         A few months ago PBS spiked a documentary about Islamic extremism as part of a series they were running because it was too critical of Islam.  They didn’t need laws to axe it, they did it themselves.

Maybe we’re not yet prosecuting people here in the USA for criticizing Islam.  But that may only be because we’re voluntarily censoring ourselves out of political correctness.  At least some people in Europe are speaking out.

I wouldn’t disagree with most of that. To take those points in order:

1) CNN did show the cartoons in their news reports on the murder and mayhem, but with the Prophet’s face pixilated, as if Mohammed had entered the witness protection program. In reality, of course, it was CNN that had entered the witness protection program – or hoped it had.

2) Theo van Gogh, a film-maker, was killed for making a film. At the next Academy Awards, the poseur dissenters of Hollywood were too busy congratulating themselves on their courage in resisting the Bushitler tyranny even to name-check their murdered colleague in the weepy Oscar montage of the year’s deceased.

3) Aside from having a fantastically butch name, Brad Thor was a member of the Department of Homeland Secutity’s Analytic Red Cell Program and also writes bestselling thrillers. In one of them, a Muslim terrorist says that Americans are more afraid of being politically incorrect than of radical Islam “and we have made that work for us”.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful for the First Amendment. At last year’s trial in British Columbia, the statutory penalty had we been found guilty would have made it illegal for Canada’s biggest-selling news weekly to publish anything on Islam, Europe, demographics or the war on terror not just by me but by any likeminded author. That law is incompatible with a free society.

PS To follow the Wilders case, check out the brand new International Free Press Society (of which Andy McCarthy and I are a part).

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.


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