I made it to the meeting. I hate transcontinental flights, but this one wasn't too bad. Because I've been busy putting the final touches on a talk I have to give, I only have time for a couple of short takes. First, there's this spot-on article
addressing the controversy over the Danish cartoons depicting Mohammed:
In this jihad over humor, tolerance is disdained by people who demand it of others. The authoritarian governments that claim to speak on behalf of Europe's supposedly oppressed Muslim minorities practice systematic repression against their own religious minorities. They have radicalized what was at first a difficult question. Now they are asking not for respect but for submission. They want non-Muslims in Europe to live by Muslim rules...
On Friday the State Department found it appropriate to intervene. It blasted the publication of the cartoons as unacceptable incitement to religious hatred. It is a peculiar moment when the government of the United States, which likes to see itself as the home of free speech, suggests to European journalists what not to print.
Indeed. I've often criticized laws against Holocaust denial in some countries in Europe on the basis of their infringement on free speech, even though the speech that is criminalized by them is speech I find particularly odious and despicable. A couple of times, I've even been a bit smug about our First Amendment, which presumably makes it more difficult for the U.S. government to engage in such restrictions of free speech. Sadly, it would appear that our own government does not wish even to try to live up to the values of the First Amendment.