The Australian: Muslim fanatics terrorise a nation [ 21nov05 ]: "Islamist murders and threats have transformed the once-tolerant Netherlands into a place of armed bodyguards and fear, writes Anthony Browne."
I listen to so many Americans who are complaining that the Patriot Act is removing our civil rights, and that if these rights are watered down at all, we will lose the very freedoms we are fighting for. Well, I think they are looking in the wrong direction.
One of our most basic freedoms is our freedom of speech. Political Correctness has already done us harm as far as free speech goes, because PC actually attempts to control our thinking. But the punishment for an un-politically correct statement is merely censure or mockery.
The punishment for speaking out against Islamist fanatics or even criticizing Islam may be death.
The heart of any democracy is public discourse and dissent. If we lose the ability to speak our minds and attempt to pursuade others of our individual points of view, we lose our democracy.
What is happening in the Netherlands, a place where freedom and tolerance were the envy of many throughout the West, is far worse than a librarian telling an FBI investigator what book one may have shown an interest in. It is worse than the recent car-burnings in France. It is the death of free speech. The death of democracy.
We see signs of it elsewhere in CAIR's protestations and the business community caving to their pressure. We see signs in the banning of piggy banks from Britain's financial institutions. We see signs in the politically correct approach the New York Times takes on any story involving muslims or Islam.
The battle against terrorism is only one level of this conflict between the tolerant and the intolerant. We have not yet begun to fight the other, larger, battle.
I will end, as the linked article does, with the same horrifying words:
"There is self-censorship."
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