Friday, March 11, 2011

Separation of Islam and State

One added Steyn-like thought after mentioning him yesterday: you have to suspect that NPR exec Ron Schiller was really fired for telling the truth, in an almost Asperger's-like unguarded way, rather than for saying or doing things NPR genuinely finds inappropriate (that it was a gaff, in the when-a-politician-tells-the-truth sense).

And while I'm decidedly not in the Islamophobe camp (and have long been quietly betting that the Middle East would eventually surprise us in a 1989-like way and reduce tensions generations sooner than ancticipated), you can understand conservatives of a certain bent feeling pretty damn justified in their worries that all their foes function almost like a single "panidiotarian" conspiracy, when a (taxpayer-funded) NPR exec is commiserating with ostensible Muslim radicals over the evils of the Tea Parties even as social-democratic European courts are starting to use (First Amendment-less) rules against fomenting hate to punish critics of Islam, in effect giving true-believers a handy means of punishing blasphemy -- cloaked in modern, p.c.-speech-code terms (the kind of partisanship-cloaked-as-neutrality one learned to fear at Ivy League campuses in recent decades).

I should confess I now have two friends -- and have met one other person -- who have been either hauled before a government committee in Canada or threatened with such actions for things they've written or said about Islamic immigration or similar topics (not Jacob Levy, I should note, since I mentioned him yesterday as well).  And I really shouldn't have to waste time saying whether I agree with their views or know lots of rabble-rousers.  The important thing is just that I want free speech for people in Canada and Europe -- not to mention the Middle East -- as in the U.S., not censorship by government nor subsidies by government.  Without the state to fight over -- and in turn use as a weapon -- many of these issues quietly go away.

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