Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Freedom Of Speech Times Three

Such a simple concept: You open your mouth to speak, without fear of governmental consequences. But, Oh!, how difficult the application.

A few cartoons spark riots, deaths and a global assessment of the nature of Islam and the nature of freedom. Kartoonistan has been grabbing the Free Speech headlines for the last month, but look what else is going on:

In China, NYT reports today, there's a surge in media activism in the face of increased intervention by the government's Propaganda Ministry in the press:
A dozen former Communist Party officials and senior scholars, including a onetime secretary to Mao, a party propaganda chief and the retired bosses of some of the country's most powerful newspapers, have denounced the recent closing of a prominent news journal, helping to fuel a growing backlash against censorship.
The letter followed the forced closure of a political journal, Freezing Point, and the forced dismissal of editors at three publications that had gained a reputation for taking on controversial issues. Here's an excerpt:
"At the turning point in our history from a totalitarian to a constitutional system, depriving the public of freedom of speech will bring disaster for our social and political transition and give rise to group confrontation and social unrest," the letter said. "Experience has proved that allowing a free flow of ideas can improve stability and alleviate social problems."
I love hearing talk like that coming out of China, and wish similar sounds were coming out of Tehran, Riyadh and Islamabad. But there, the despots, Mullahs and madmen would never allow it.

Meanwhile, our own free press consternates. The Washington Times reports today in "Officials in US deny plot on Hamas" on a backpeddling administration trying to deal wih the NYTimes piece yesterday that blew out of all proportion the desire of Washington and Israel to cut Hamas' financial legs out from underneath it:
U.S. officials said yesterday that they want the future Hamas-led Cabinet to "succeed" and denied any intention of "thwarting the will" of the Palestinian people by undermining their legitimately elected government.
Here, a free press is being a pain in the butt, just as it was in the NYT's earlier NSA/FISA disclosures. The NYT's Hamas story overlooked the simple fact that we can support democracy and not support democratically elected terrorists in the same breath. Or, to restate it:
"There's no plot," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan. "The issue that this goes to is the choice that Hamas has before it. If it wants to realize better relations with the international community, then Hamas must renounce violence, recognize Israel and disarm."
And until they do, we are free to express our free speech by not sending them any money, and encouraging others to do the same.

Unfortunately, our MSM is free to distort. Frustrating as it is, Hallelujah! we're not China, and we're not any of the two dozen repressive Islamic states. Let our free press shine as a beacon in those lands.