Sunday, March 05, 2006

As Ben Franklin said...

In a post, The Intellectual Activist
it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist. Click here.

This is not merely a symbolic expression of support; it is a practical countermeasure against censorship. Censorship—especially the violent, anarchic type threatened by Muslim fanatics—is effective only when it can isolate a specific victim, making him feel as if he alone bears the brunt of the danger. What intimidates an artist or writer is not simply some Arab fanatic in the street carrying a placard that reads "Behead those who insult Islam." What intimidates him is the feeling that, when the beheaders come after him, he will be on his own, with no allies or defenders—that everyone else will be too cowardly to stick their necks out.

The answer, for publishers, is to tell the Muslim fanatics that they can't single out any one author, or artist, or publication. The answer is to show that we're all united in defying the fanatics.
That's why we HAVE to publish the cartoons again - for our own good.

I well remember the 60s. Brave speakers and writers openly dared the government to act to suppress their freedoms. The vulgarities littered every publication, open defiance of the status quo and any attempt to stifle their freedom of expression.

Where the hell are those guys now?

Where are the voices raised in defiance of ANYONE who would dare to tell a writer what he could write? What a cartoonist could draw? What a publisher could put into print and distribute?

Defiance was hunky-dory when the only one who threatened you was the US government and its agents. When the threat comes from people who have demonstrated they can, will, and HAVE killed to back up their threats, suddenly they're all wussy-boys. Or in the words of Schwarzenegger, "girly men".

If we won't fight for our freedoms, we won't have them.

I haven't yet put the cartoons on my blog, but I think it's time. I will not be the one who lets those brave men and women stand alone.

Let's make this Friday be Freedom Friday, when every blogger and online publisher re-prints the pictures. That gives us a couple of days to find a copy of the pictures, upload them to a site, and link to them on that day.

Ben Franklin is remembered for his prescient words at the signing of the Declaration of Independence:

We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.

Tags = Freedom of Speech

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