Monday, December 29, 2014
Black fabulist ‘Trolls Christians’ On Christmas Day — But He Got His Facts Wrong -- again
In the second article below, Tracinski summarizes Tyson: "The shallow guru of fake geek culture who has a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts". See also here.
De Grassy Knoll Tyson is more showman than scientist, and pretty shallow as either. He has some minor erudition but because he is black, that makes him a great scientist, according to liberals. His popularity depends on his Leftist and Warmist lean, however. If he leant Right, he'd be an "Uncle Tom".
Leave it to famed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to gleefully troll Christians, via Twitter, on Christmas. But for once, one of the smartest men alive actually got his facts wrong.
On Christmas morning, Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is the director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium and the host of Cosmos, tweeted something intended to rile up believers who were celebrating the holiday.
“On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642.”
Predictably, Tyson’s tweet set off an internet firestorm, as some of his more controversial tweets are apt to do. It was retweeted close to 15,000 times in less than an hour, and has been retweeted a total of nearly 60,000 times. His original tweet, however, elicited plenty of negative reaction.
“Hi @neiltyson, trolling Christians on Dec 25 is so EDGY. Please let me know when you troll Muslims on Ramadan. Merry Christmas!” wrote one Twitter user.
Another wrote, “Looking fwd to witty jabs during the spiritual days of Islam, Buddhism, Judaism etc. Or is it reserved for the easiest target?”
Neil deGrasse Tyson’s tweet was intended to play on the fact that famed physicist Newton is believed to have been born on December 25, while Jesus Christ, whose birth is celebrated worldwide by Christians on December 25, was almost certainly not born on that particular date. In fact, most early theologians believe that Jesus was actually born in the spring, but that the December 25 date may have been adopted by early Christians to coincide with the existing pagan festivals such as the Winter Solstice in order to convert people.
And although Tyson probably cares very little that he upset many Christians — as that was probably his actual intent — the truth is, his own tweet was factually incorrect.
It turns out that Newton was born during a period in which England used a different calendar from the rest of Europe. For around 150 years, England used the Julian calendar, a less accurate calendar version that lagged behind the much more accurate (and still used today) Gregorian calendar. The Julian calendar lags ten days behind the Gregorian calendar, because unlike its more accurate counterpart, the Julian calendar used a faulty method for accounting for leap years.
What this means is that, while in England, Newton was said to be born on December 25, 1642, in the rest of the world, using the accurate dating method, he was actually born on January 4, 1643.
Ironically, although Neil deGrasse Tyson has long been open about his attitude towards organized religion, Isaac Newton devoted a great deal of his later life to theology and the interpretation of biblical prophecies. So it seems as though Tyson cannot possibly think that all Christians are clueless.
Confessions Of A Reluctant Culture Warrior
By Robert Tracinski
I’ve recently been working on a review of the top stories of 2014, which gives me a chance to look back at everything I’ve written and get a sense of what was really important this year, and also of how good a job I did of responding to those big stories.
What surprised me this year was seeing what took one of the top spots—right in there between the ugly return of racial politics and the rise of the Islamic State (amidst the collapse of President Obama’s foreign policy). It was: the “culture wars,” the running battles over issues like abortion, religious freedom, and radical feminism.
For most of my career as a writer, I have been reluctant to join in the “culture wars,” mostly because I don’t fit into either of the two opposing camps. As an atheist, I’m not longing for a return to traditional religious morality, but as an individualist, I’ve never supported the weird victim-group crusades of the left.
I have mostly dedicated myself to making the case for smaller government, pointing out the failure of the welfare state, and keeping the environmentalists from shutting down industrial civilization—little things like that. Oh, and also war—not the “culture war,” but war war, the kind where people are actually trying to kill us.
So for the most part, my position on an issue like gay marriage could be summed up as: “Can we please talk about something else now?”
Partly, this comes from my small-government outlook, which holds that some things—indeed, most things, and virtually all of the really important things—should be outside the realm of politics. That definitely includes other people’s sex lives, about which I would like to know a good deal less than is fashionable at the moment.
But this year, I discovered that while I might not be interested in the culture war, the culture war is interested in me. It’s interested in all of us.
This is the year when we were served noticed that we won’t be allowed to stand on the sidelines, because we will not be allowed to think differently from the left.
How did we find this out? First, they came for the Christians, in legal cases meant to force conservative believers to provide funding for abortifacient contraceptives and to participate in gay marriage ceremonies.
I laid out the argument for why an atheist would fight to the death for the religious freedom of Christians.
History shows that the only way to fight for freedom of thought is to defend it early, when it comes under threat for others—even people you strongly disagree with, even people you despise. So I’m willing to fight for it for people who are much worse, by my standards, than your average Christian.
It’s like the old poem from Pastor Niemoller, except this time it’s: “First they came for the Christians.” I don’t see the threat of coercion as something being done to those backward Christians over there. I see it as something that could just as easily be done to me.
And it will be, judging from the principles that have been laid down in the campaign against Arizona’s religious liberty law and in the Supreme Court hearings in the Hobby Lobby case.
In the one real comment I had been prevailed upon to make about gay marriage in the past—so long ago that I can’t even give you a Web link for it—I explained my ambivalence by citing my concern that the left was using the issue to secure the imprimatur of the state for homosexual relationships so they could then use anti-discrimination laws as a bludgeon against religious holdouts.
That is exactly what has happened this year with the launch of a new secular inquisition that would even require conservative Christian ministers to officiate gay weddings.
It may be hard to remember now, but not very long ago there were compromise proposals for same-sex “civil unions” that were legally equivalent to marriage but under a different name. Gay rights activists consciously rejected these unions in order to specifically demand the use of the term “marriage,” insisting that the state legally recognize and enforce the equality of these marriages with old-fashioned, outmoded heterosexual ones….
The theory behind gay marriage, in short, was the theory behind the entire secular left: society and the state are the all-powerful forces on which the life of the individual depends, and the most important political task—indeed, the most important task in life—is getting this irresistible power on your side. Once you gain social and political power, you hold on to it by making your preferred views mandatory, a catechism everyone must affirm, while suppressing all heretical views. In this case, to gain social acceptance of homosexuality, you make the affirmation of gay marriages mandatory while officially suppressing any dissenting religious views.
The basic problem with the left’s conception of freedom is that it doesn’t really have one.
The left’s operational concept of freedom is that you are allowed to do and say what you like—so long as you stay within a certain proscribed window of socially acceptable deviation. The purpose of the gay marriage campaign is simply to change the parameters of that window, extending it to include the gay, the queer, the transgendered—and to exclude anyone who thinks that homosexuality is a sin or who wants to preserve the traditional concept of marriage. Those people are declared outside the protection of the law and in fact will have the full weight of the law bear down upon them until they recant their socially unacceptable views.
The point is not whether you agree about which views are or should be socially acceptable. The point is that this is not a concept of freedom. It’s a regime of state-controlled ideas, softened by an amorphous zone of official tolerance.
That’s the only reason I’m interested in this controversy. My own stance on gay marriage can be summed as: “whatever.” I would feel no need to say anything about it, if not for the insistence on the part of gay marriage advocates that any dissenters must be forced to submit.
It turns out we were right to be concerned. This year saw the launch of a whole new wave of “political correctness,” heralded by a bizarre little incident known as “ShirtStorm.” This was the brief controversy over a British scientist who was harangued for his “misogyny” because he supervised the landing of a space probe on a comet—a huge scientific achievement—while wearing a shirt that was considered offensive to feminists.
I drew a few important lessons from this case, including the fact that “They’re not just going after the frat boys.”
To be targeted by accusations of misogyny, you don’t have to be a beer-chugging “bro” who spends his Spring break judging wet T-shirt contests. Now they’re coming after the geeks and yes, even the hipsters.
So first they came for the Christians, then they came for the geeks, then for the hipsters. Moreover, “The new orthodoxy is total.”
This is “political correctness” in its purest, original form: “the personal is the political.” There is no area of life where proper behavior and even esthetic taste cannot be dictated by political concerns. You need to be told what you can wear, what songs you can listen to, what video games you can play (which, so far as I can tell, is one of the issues in GamerGate), what you are allowed to say to a woman as she walks down the street (if you are allowed to say anything at all), and so on.
GamerGate, by the way, is one story I have not commented on this year, since I am not a “gamer” and haven’t been since the days when you downloaded “Doom” from a 3.5-inch floppy disc, so I’ve been looking in as an outsider, trying to get a handle on what’s going on in the subculture of video games. From what I’ve been able to piece together, GamerGate is a consumer revolt against game journalists and reviewers who keep trying to foist the agenda of “social justice warriors” onto their readers.
I suppose I had better familiarize myself with the finer points, because next up we have “MetalGate“—an attempt to domesticate Heavy Metal music under the politically correct yoke.
And they’re going after your kids, too, complaining about “gendered toys.” Which brings us to the crazy new frontier of modern feminism, including a prudish new code of sexual conduct for University of California campuses which seems “as if it were drafted by celibate monks,” as I wrote.
It all smacks of a prudish neo-Victorianism, in which sexual desire is viewed as suspect and dangerous—but with a modern feminist twist: male sexual desire is suspect and dangerous.
The Sexual Revolution has turned out to be a weird reverse image of Puritanism. The counterculture retained all the same basic premises—that sex is dirty, disgusting, a purely materialistic act with no psychological or spiritual meaning—except that they were for it. So they swept away the old-fashioned codes of chivalry, eliminated the role of the university as a chaperone in loco parentis, and created a campus culture of drunken one-night stands. Now they have discovered that this culture has a dangerous dark side, particularly for young women, and they’re scrambling to create a new, modernized system of prudery.
It’s not just me who has noticed the trend this year. Feminists are hailing this as “the year women got even,” which gives you a sense for the kind of power-play going on here.
If this was also the year that journalism was completely overtaken by the mania to preserve a “narrative” at the expense of the facts—most notoriously, in the University of Virginia rape hoax—feminism often provided the narrative they were trying to preserve.
So this was the year when we learned that we can’t sit out the “culture war,” because they’re bringing it to us, and every niggling little aspect of our lives will now be redesigned to make us more tractable.
But it’s also the year that I realized there is a good reason to jump into the culture war with both feet. The very thing that makes many of us reluctant to join the battle—the fact that we don’t fit in neatly with either side—is the reason we’re desperately needed.
In laying out the ideas that I would most like readers on the right to learn from Ayn Rand, I realized one of the most important items was “a third alternative in the culture wars.”
The biggest thing that prevents people from giving a fair reading to Ayn Rand’s books is the fact that she doesn’t cooperate with a lot of the standard categories we’re usually offered… Probably the most important category she defied is captured in the expression, “If God is dead, all things are permitted.” Which means: if there is no religious basis for morality, then everything is subjective.
The cultural left basically accepts this alternative and sides with subjectivism (when they’re not overcompensating by careening back toward their own neo-Puritan code of political correctness). Then the religious right responds by saying that the only way to stem the tide of “anything goes” is to return to that old time religion.
This leaves a lot of people looking for a third alternative. As an advocate of a secular morality, that’s precisely what Ayn Rand offered.
This is why I have focused a lot of effort specifically on trying to reclaim the cultural high ground of science, which has been thoroughly and undeservedly claimed by the left. Hence my contributions to The Federalist‘s campaign to expose Neil deGrasse Tyson, the shallow guru of fake geek culture who has a habit of playing fast and loose with the facts.
To talk loudly about fidelity to facts, while borrowing the journalists’ mantra of “fake but accurate,” sends the message that facts don’t really matter. What matters is the theater of being pro-evidence and pro-science and of looking down on your opponents as ignorant, anti-science dolts.
If Tyson seems bemused about criticism of his fabrications and doesn’t take it seriously, he’s telling us that he sees himself as a showman. We’re not supposed to ask whether the events he talks about are real, fictional, or embellished, we’re just supposed to enjoy the show.
It’s that crucial scientific principle of suspension of disbelief.
The goal here is to reclaim science and the code of rationality on behalf of freedom and individualism, which is the only true creed of the “geeks.”
Geeks—the real ones, not the hipster wannabes—have spent a lot of their lives marginalized and ignored. They don’t fit in. They like different things, they think and talk in different ways, they look at the world differently. And precisely because of this, they come up with new ideas that nobody else comes up with.
The eccentric inventor and offbeat thinker is one of the archetypes of American individualism. We’re outsiders, we don’t follow the usual rules, and we aim to misbehave. So why shouldn’t we be skeptical of a paternalistic state?
Many of us are, of course. Given my own interests, at least half of my friends with solid geek credentials are also Objectivists. After all, Atlas Shrugged is another book that appeals to intelligent young nonconformists. But we’re hoping for the day when the rest of our friends finally realize where they really belong.
This is why I’ve written far more about the culture war this year than I ever expected (and the excerpts above are just a sampling). It has become an urgent necessity to push back against the resurgence of totalizing political correctness, to carve out room for the freedom to disagree—and to lay down the outlines of what a third alternative in the culture war looks like.
Because after 2014, nobody gets to sit this one out.
The year of the cultural colonialist
In 2014, forcing artists to be politically obedient was all the rage
Videogames are too violent! Pop music is degrading to women! Filmmakers are pushing ‘the wrong kind of message’! Over the past 12 months these have been the rallying cries of the cultural elite. And it’s shocking how seriously this spew has been taken. Hadn’t we settled all this? People aren’t stupid. Art isn’t ‘corrupting’. We can handle it, thanks. But now it seems the cultural sphere has been flux-capacitored back to the 1980s. Sex-and-violence panics about film, TV, pop music and videogames – dolled up in modern ‘progressive’ moralism – were all the rage in 2014.
We saw this when Gone Girl, a star-studded crime-thriller movie, was spat on by the great and good for having the temerity to feature a female character who framed another character for rape. This pulpy (and actually pretty decent) thriller was ‘recycling…rape myths’, said one commentator. More recently, it was the turn of that master of corridor dialogue, Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin’s TV show, The Newsroom, was pilloried for featuring a scene in which one character admitted that he believed the male defendant in a rape case. This, too, was slammed as a step too far - ‘the Hollywood screenwriter appears to be telling victims not to pursue their allegations’, claimed one writer, in something of an Olympian logical jump. And, at the greasier end of the cultural spectrum, there was #GamerGate, a still-rumbling gamer rebellion against accusations that the games industry is misogynistic, sparked by some blogposts about foul play in games journalism.
There’s nothing more annoying than having the same argument over and over again. Just when you thought artistic freedom had won out over the kneejerk blue-rinse brigade, we’ve been plunged back into discussions about age classifications for pop music and tighter classification of films.
If the Parents’ Music Resource Center (PMRC), the 1980s think-of-the-children outfit for whom we have to thank for ‘Parental Advisory’ stickers, was about today it would be a trendy, feminist-hued political organisation chaired by Jessica Valenti. The patronising and angst-ridden logic of old conservatives has become mainstream, leftish and ‘radical’.
But there is something about 2014’s cultural moralists that sets them apart. Because while the Mary Whitehouses of the past shouted ‘ban this filth’, the Mary Whitehouses of today want to take culture and shape it for their own purposes. They don’t bother with outright censorship – that’s still, just about, a dirty word. They want to straighten culture’s act up. They want to nag it and finger-wag it into a nice, socially acceptable form. They want to stake their flag in the savage world of culture and give the natives a lesson in piety. This was not the year of the cultural censor. This was the year of the cultural colonialist.
This trend was best summed up by Brianna Wu, a games developer and one of the leading anti-#GamerGate missionaries. When asked by the BBC what ‘something’ she was insisting must be done, she said: ‘It’s not like I’m advocating that we ban Call of Duty or anything silly like that. [What] I’m asking is for companies to… make sure they portray women in their games in a socially responsible way.’ It’s a seemingly well-meaning but actually quite chilling sentiment. And it feeds into an unedifying process by which artists are being elevated and trashed purely on the basis of how ‘responsible’ their work is.
This year’s turning on Eminem, the loveable psychopath of the rap world, has been a case in point. Once cherished by left-leaning commentators for his shock-tactic irreverence, rapping about killing his wife and stashing her body in the trunk and, in the process, sticking a much-needed two fingers up at buttoned-up ‘white America’, he’s now become a pariah. Recent battle raps, in which he’s talked about punching purry popster Lana Del Rey in the face and forcing himself on Australian rapper Iggy Azalea, have been slammed as misogynistic and dangerous. The license he was once given to say the unsayable and dramatise the darkest, most disturbing sides of his psyche has been revoked.
Then there’s the lame celebration of Beyoncé. After years of dodging the tag ‘feminist’, she recently grabbed it with both hands, sampling an excerpt from a TED talk given by Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on a new track and performing the song at the VMAs with the word ‘FEMINIST’ lit up behind her. After years of brow-furrowing about whether Bey’s ‘jelly’ was helping or hindering the feminist cause, feminist observers now lionised her. Well, for a bit, at least…
This new trend stems from a wider culture of philistinism. The logic of arts funding applications seems to have permeated cultural life. Art is no longer judged on its own terms. Instead it is an artist’s social responsibility, the pertinence of their work to the political and cultural concerns of the day, that matters. It’s what the novelist Howard Jacobson warned of in 2005, when, in the wake of 9/11, he was perturbed by the shallow art that was celebrated for, in some way, ‘dealing with’ the ‘war on terror’. ‘We are in a new dark age of the imagination’, he wrote. ‘Either we refuse the idea of art altogether… or we confer integrity on it from outside, allowing it to be art only by virtue of the pre-determined importance of the subject matter, or the acceptability of its attitudes. This is a species of censorship to which we have all acceded.’
In 2014, the philistinism Jacobson warned of has gone a step further. Not only is socially irresponsible work ‘bad’ - apparently it’s dangerous. Fuelled by a growing contempt for the audience – a refusal to believe in their ability to grapple with nuanced, subversive or even exploitative subject matter – these cultural colonialists have decided to weaponise culture. If all people are blank slates, if we are so easily programmed by the ‘messages’ we receive, then someone should at least make sure we are getting the right kind of messages, or so the logic goes.
While the cultural colonialists may insist that what they are calling for is simply better art – for art that is free from tired, easy stereotypes and sexist myths – the opposite is true. Art needs freedom to flourish. It’s a space in which mindless fantasies can be indulged, or moral ambiguities prodded and explored, sometimes for no clear reason. Art, as Oscar Wilde famously said, is ‘quite useless’. The moment you try to make it useful, to hector it, straitjacket it and put it to work, its potency withers.
This is something great artists have always recognised. For the 1979 edition of his dystopian, anti-censorship classic, Fahrenheit 451, the late, great Ray Bradbury offered an instructive anecdote:
‘About two years ago, a letter arrived from a solemn young lady telling me how much she enjoyed reading my experiment in space mythology, The Martian Chronicles. But, she added, wouldn’t it be a good idea, this late in time, to rewrite the book inserting more women’s characters and roles… The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist / Unitarian / Irish / Italian / Octogenarian / Zen Buddhist / Zionist / Seventh-day Adventist / Women’s Lib / Republican / Mattachine / Four Square Gospel, feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse… The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights end and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule.’
In 2015, let’s drive out the cultural colonialists. The world of art is the artist’s tyranny. Long may they reign.
When Child Protective Services becomes Child Abductive Services
It’s generally agreed that playing outside is good for kids. Fresh air, sunlight, exercise, social interaction are all vital for proper childhood development. However, a growing herd of nanny-statists within the government, specifically state Child Protective Services agencies, have decided that playing outside without direct supervision is so dangerous that it would be better if children weren’t raised by their own parents. They risk turning our children into a generation of physically stunted, psychologically addled wards of the state. But for their own good!
The latest example of this trend is a case out of Maryland. The only report of it is a first-hand email from the parents, so the usual caveats apply, but given the many, many other examples of similar government threats, we’ll assume it to be true for now. In November a neighborhood busybody called authorities ahbout two kids, ages 10 and 6, at a park (which happened to be two blocks from their home) alone. The local Child Welfare Services office cited the parents for leaving them unattended outside, using a statute that actually prohibits the opposite, leaving a child “locked or confined” inside unattended.
After the mother smartly researched the statute and protested the absurd interpretation, CWS dropped the case. However, someone again reported the horrifying scenario of children walking outside, and a police officer picked up the kids on their way home from a different park about a mile away. After threatening to shoot him in front of his children if he didn’t produce identification, the officer left. CWS agents arrived two hours later and threatened to take the children immediately if he didn’t sign a document agreeing not to leave them unsupervised until the next week when another CWS agent would return.
To be clear, the government says they will take your children from you so that you don’t put them in a situation where there is a remote possibility that someone might…take your children from you. Cunning plan!
And make no mistake, that possibility is indeed extremely remote. From the most recent data, out of the 797,500 children reported missing in 2002, only 115 were taken by strangers. The vast majority of abductions are by parents, other relatives, or acquaintances. You know, the people government agents mandate be watching them to keep them safe.
Crime in general has decreased even since then, so even though we have no specific data, it’s almost certain that stranger kidnapping has too. Child abduction is a horrific crime and should be punished severely. However, we should not take children away from their actual loving parents because they might be at risk for something that is quite literally a statistical anomaly.
Child Protective Service agencies perform valiant work across the country every day, protecting children from abuse, neglect, and crime, but they have no business protecting children from loving parents who let them play outside. A government who can take your kids for this can take them for anything they want and has no real limits on its power. Laws must be changed, judicial opinions clarified, and departments staffed with people who value liberty and family over the smothering paternal hand of government.
Sorry history of tolerating the intolerant
Comment from Australia by Janet Albrechtson
AT first glance the connection between Sony last week pulling the comedy The Interview from our screens and the murders in Martin Place is not obvious. Yet both are explained by tolerating the intolerant, a deadly virus that has long infected the West.
Last Tuesday, when Australians woke to news that a gunman had murdered two innocent Australians in the name of Islam during a 16-hour hostage siege, we also woke to the lethal, horrifying cost of tolerating the intolerant. As much as we would prefer to put this behind us and get on with Christmas and a brand-new year, it pays to remember just how tolerant we are.
We allowed Iranian Man Haron Monis into our country on a business visa and then welcomed him as a political refugee. Charged with fraud at home, the Iranian government asked for him back. But we said no to the Iranians. When Monis wrote inexcusable letters to the families of soldiers who died in Afghanistan, describing them as pigs and Nazis, we excused that — delivering only a slap on the wrist of 300 hours of community service. Some called for his Australian citizenship to be revoked. We said no to that, too. We allowed Monis to remain an Australian citizen, a gift sought out by millions of refugees who are keen to embrace and respect Australia as an open, generous and free country.
When Monis asked his local MP and ex-NSW Labor leader John Robertson for a letter asking the state government to consider granting Monis access to his children — despite an apprehended violence order that prevented such meetings — the former opposition leader agreed.
When Monis was charged with being an accessory before and after the fact to the vicious murder of his former wife — she was stabbed multiple times and then set alight — we allowed him bail. When Monis was charged with 50 acts of sexual assault, again we gave the man bail. When Monis sought to overturn a criminal conviction about the letters sent to the families of soldiers last week in the High Court, we provided taxpayer-funded legal aid for him to engage one of the nation’s most expensive barristers.
This man was known for his anti-West hatred. He told us about it. He was on our radar. He was known to our security services, federal police and NSW police. On November 17, less than a month before he took 17 innocent people hostage, he posted online his hatred of the West, he wrote about his allegiance to Islamic State. Still, we allowed Monis to roam free among us.
Tony Abbott is right to call Islamic State a death cult, but the question must be asked: is the West’s tolerance of the intolerant a death wish? And when many on the Left blindly refuse to identify terrorism, isn’t that furthering the death wish?
When a killer slaughters people in the name of Islam, we should take him at his word. Monis is the newest form of terrorist. There is no Islamic State membership card, no initiation ceremony, no formal welcoming morning tea.
Moreover, terrorism is not a numbers game. It’s not about the number of perpetrators who organise an attack. It’s about the motivation of the attacker. It’s done to instil fear, to attack our values, to undermine our confidence in our own culture.
The Interview, starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, is a spoof about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. When North Korean-backed hackers recently threatened harm — “remember the 11th of September”, they said — if Sony released the movie this month, Sony capitulated. Giving the anti-free speech terrorists what they wanted, Sony pulled the movie from theatres.
We shouldn’t be surprised. The West has a sorry history of tolerating the intolerant here too. Think of the Danish cartoons. Too few media outlets decided to defend our right to free speech in 2005. Instead they caved in to the demands of Islamofascists by not publishing the silly cartoons of Mohammed.
Remember too when Random House, in 2008, pulled the publication of The Jewel of Medina, a book by Sherry Jones that told the tale of Aisha, the child bride of Mohammed. The publisher had received no threats, just “cautionary advice” that publishing the book “might cause offence to some in the community (and) incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment”. Random House chose anticipatory surrender.
Following the Danish cartoons controversy, a South Park episode featured Mohammed behind a black “CENSORED” box. It was a pointed joke by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Carrying on with the joke, the 200th episode of South Park reintroduced Mohammed in a bear suit. Soon enough, a Muslim website warned Stone and Parker would end up like filmmaker Theo van Gogh — the Dutchman slain by a Muslim extremist in 2004 for his film Submission, which explored Islam’s treatment of women. And in another case of depressing anticipatory surrender, the bosses at Comedy Central inserted audio beeps and “CENSORED” block outs into the episode. That wasn’t a joke.
Neither is it a joke that many vocal Muslims claim special treatment. They don’t want an equal playing field. Those who want Mohammed fenced off have no qualms about attacking Christianity or other religions. Our reaction? We tolerate that too. A few years ago, Mark Thompson, director-general of the BBC, announced that Islam deserved different coverage in the media compared to other religions because Muslims were an ethnic minority.
Human rights commissions in Canada have been used to stifle free speech about Islam. Muslim-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a convert to rationalism, a believer in Enlightenment values and a critic of Islam, has been forced to live with 24-hour protection — in countries such as The Netherlands, the US and Australia. As Hirsi Ali said a few years ago, when more of us defend Western values, “there will be too many people to threaten and at that time I won’t need protection”.
Last week the ABC’s Chris Uhlmann staked a claim, too, for Western values when he said during an interview with the PM, “in a truly tolerant Western society … we would hope for a day when Islam is so integrated that it can be criticised in the way that Catholicism is criticised”. That kind of tolerance is also my hope for 2015.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.