Should Western newspapers act “responsibly” – as the Bush Administration has suggested – in deciding whether to publish cartoons portraying Muhammad?
My opinion: absolutely not.
In fact, it downright angers me that so many Western political leaders are so intimidated by violent Muslim protests against the cartoons – and that some papers have fired editors who published them.
The attitude seems to be: Because Muslims have such strongly felt religious beliefs, we should suspend our strongly held beliefs about the right to free speech.
Wrong, wrong, wrong.
If you’re willing to suspend free speech in order to avoid violent protests, you’re giving up free speech. And nothing is more fundamental to our nation and our Constitution, although Bush & Co. seem to regard the right as an inconvenient obstacle to their agenda.
Europe seems to have a different attitude. After all, I understand from The Economist that in seven European countries it is illegal to say that Hitler did not murder millions of Jews.
Free speech may be offensive, it may be reprehensible and it may be just plain inaccurate, but it is supposed to be free and unfettered.
In Bush’s crusade to bring democracy to the world, he shouldn’t jettison the essence of democracy.