Over at The Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway wrote a piece about the cowardice of our media and cultural elites. I've commented on the issue, as you know; Hemingway nails it:
If anything good is to come from this massacre, we have to first own up to and reflect upon the unbelievable cowardice and accommodation of our media and cultural elites in the face of literal assaults on our most basic freedoms. It's not just that they stay silent in the face of threats. It's not just that they don't tell the truth about their own cowardice. It's that they are so far around the bend they argue that speaking up against these threats is harmful to Muslims. Four days after Molly Norris went into hiding, The New York Times published this simpering apologia from Nicholas Kristof, "I hereby apologize to Muslims for the wave of bigotry and simple nuttiness that has lately been directed at you. The venom on the airwaves, equating Muslims with terrorists, should embarrass us more than you. Muslims are one of the last minorities in the United States that it is still possible to demean openly, and I apologize for the slurs."He's so right. It isn't just the Charlie Hebdo attack, it's every time Islamists clash with Western civilization. We even deny that there is any link between Islamist terrorists and Islam (shut it, Howard Dean). The federal goverment called the Fort Hood shootings "workplace violence" instead of the terrorist attack it was, even though the shooter was shouting "Allahu Akhbar" the whole time. Everyone is so afraid of "offending Muslims" that the Islamists can always find someone who will insist that it isn't the religion, it's just a few crazies twisting "the religion of peace," always using the exclusive pronoun, as if all other religions were "religions of violence" and only Islam is the religion of peace.
But is it really possible to openly demean Muslims? This is pretty rich coming in the pages of a newspaper that refused to print controversial Danish Mohammed cartoons back when they were the biggest news story on the planet. Their justification for this was that "This seems a reasonable choice for news organizations that usually refrain from gratuitous assaults on religious symbols." Just about every devout Christian and Jew who has regularly read the Times likely did a spit-take reading that. The clear double standard would suggest fear of violence, not concern for readers’ delicate sensibilities, was the primary rationale for the Times' questionable decision here.
Well, bullshit. Throughout the Koran and Islamic scholarly writings about sharia law, the justifications for jihad against infidels are there. The terrorists aren't making it up, they're following instructions. If we keep ignoring the fact that we are in a war, we're already lost.
Part of fighting that war is to truly stand up for freedom of expression and not qualify that defense by saying, for instance, that Charlie "went over the line" (I'm looking at you, Wolf Blitzer.) or was "just being stupid" (I'm looking at you, too, Tony Barber). If you are unwilling to defense offensive speech, you are not really in favor of free speech. What other kind of speech needs defending?
Hemingway makes that point far better than I could. For heaven's sake, go read the whole thing.