NYT: Terror Victims Bring It On Themselves
Armed gunmen die in an attempt to shoot up a controversial cartoon exhibit in Texas … and the New York Times editorial board blames the people exercising their freedom of speech:
Those two men were would-be murderers. But their thwarted attack, or the murderous rampage of the Charlie Hebdo killers, or even the greater threat posed by the barbaric killers of the Islamic State or Al Qaeda, cannot justify blatantly Islamophobic provocations like the Garland event. These can serve only to exacerbate tensions and to give extremists more fuel.
Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.
When a free people face execution in a free country for exercising their First Amendment freedom, it is disgraceful for a newspaper — a newspaper, for pity’s sake! — to equivocate in the defense of that freedom of expression. Charlie Hebdo was (is) an obnoxious, vicious, spiteful scandal sheet, but when religious fanatics take it upon themselves to murder its editors and cartoonists, there can be no question on whose side we must stand. Same too with Pamela Gellar and her provocateurs. They have a right to be wrong without having to fear for their lives. It is disgusting that the New York Times cannot grasp this basic principle of liberty.
Funny how the Times editorial board, back in 1998, took a different line when the matter was the cancellation, under Christian pressure, of a Manhattan theatrical production about a gay Jesus who had sex with his disciples. From that editorial:
What we are witnessing, once again, is the peculiar combat between freedoms that is repeatedly staged in America. The practitioners and beneficiaries of religious freedom attack the practitioners of artistic freedom — freedom of speech — without seeing that the freedoms they enjoy cannot be defended separately. There is no essential difference between suppressing the production of a controversial play and suppressing a form of worship. No one would have been forced to see ”Corpus Christi” had it been produced, but now everyone is forced not to see it. That sword has two edges, as Roman Catholics, indeed all the faithful, well know.
It is easy to appreciate the dilemma Lynne Meadow, the Manhattan Theater Club’s artistic director, found herself in, but it is impossible to approve her decision. That there is a native strain of bigotry, violence and contempt for artistic expression in this country is not news. But it is news whenever someone as well regarded as the head of the Manhattan Theater Club capitulates to it instead of standing firm and relying on the police for protection. This is not only a land of freedom; it is a land where freedom is always contested. When courage for that contest is lacking, freedom itself — religious or artistic — is terribly diminished.
Benign explanation: the Times editorial board are hypocrites and examples of the maxim that a liberal is someone who is afraid to take his own side in a fight. The explanation I actually believe: Who, whom? — that is, the Times figures out who the Enemy is (right wingers, conservative Christians, et alia) and deploys its journalistic energies to smiting them, with no regard to principle.