Does the violence criticism of Islam notoriously inspires pose a threat to intellectual freedom? That's the question.
Thanks to a reader comment yesterday, I discovered the threat to Opus' intellectual freedom. Here's a story you probably won't see the ALA refer to: Washington Post, Other Newspapers Won't Run 'Opus' Cartoon Mocking Radical Islam. It seems the editors at the Washington Post are sensitive to the feelings of religious folks, so when they got a new Opus cartoon mocking radical islamists, they checked with some of their Muslim staffers, who didn't like it. So they didn't print it. Sure, they sacrificed their intellectual freedom for religious sensitivity, but I just think that's sweet of them.
Oh wait, no they didn't. Since the week before they ran an Opus strip making fun of Jerry Falwell, I guess their religious sensitivity is only for groups like radical islamists who have a habit of killing people who disagree with them. So they sacrificed their intellectual freedom not for religious sensitivity but just for cowardice. Or perhaps just hypocrisy, since everyone knows that Christians are all evil while radical islamists are all good. The Post editors probably couldn't vet the Falwell cartoon with any of their Christian staffers, because they probably don't have any. Once again, the journalistic hypocritical double standard reigns, fueled by cowardice. (Printing Piss Christ is essential to our journalistic integrity and necessary to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable! Printing the Danish cartoons would be insensitive to a group of people we'd never want to live under, and besides they might kill us!)
I posted about this time last year on the cowardice and hypocrisy of the ALA for not speaking out against one of the most most powerful opponents of intellectual freedom. I'm sure nothing's changed. The ALA is too busy gearing up for their farcical "banned books" week and making sure we all know how to play videogames to speak up for intellectual freedom. The intellectual freedom folks at ALA like to pretend we live in a repressive society and that they're defending us somehow. They don't seem to notice that the major threat to intellectual freedom and liberal democracy doesn't come from some mother in Bumflap, GA who tries to remove Harry Potter from her child's school library, but from the self-censorship practiced when speaking about Islam. They like to make fun of book "challengers," because they know the Georgia mom isn't going to run into the ALA offices and blow herself up.
Do we stand for intellectual freedom and liberal democracy? I know my regressive librarian opponents don't. They despise liberal democracy because it isn't socialism, and they believe intellectual freedom is the freedom to think like them. But I would hope for better from the ALA. At least their rhetoric supports intellectual freedom.
I doubt the ALA will ever have the courage to take a stand about the deleterious effects radical and even fundamentalist Islam has on intellectual freedom and liberal democracy, not to mention women's rights, gay rights, and a whole host of other freedoms we fight for in America. No, that would just be judgmental, wouldn't it. We wouldn't want that, at least not against a group that might kill us. So let's just give up our freedoms so that we don't offend people who don't like freedom and might want to kill us. Hey, maybe we could all put ourselves under Sharia law, oppress women, and stone homosexuals as well. That way we can be sensitive. Personally, I'd rather be free.