The "Return of the Primative" (from the Anti-Industrial Revolution by Ayn Rand) is a good phrase to describe what is going on with the cartoon riots. All around the world savages are rising up seeking the destruction of civilization. Michelle Malkin has a round up of reports around the world where governments are shutting down papers and editors and journalists are being fired and arrested. Here is one quote:A far-right Swedish party's website showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad has been shut down by the Internet hosting company after pressure from police and the foreign ministry, fearing it would fuel Muslim anger.
It seems that aside from Denmark and a few papers in America, no one wants to defend the principle of free speech. The EU, the UN, and the entire Muslim world sure don't.
But I think that is due to the fact that most of the world don't see free speech as a principle to be defended but rather is something to be negotiated away.
In my post "Google This" (see Jan. archives) I wrote about how pragmatists treat principles:"I used to think that pragmatism was hostile to and had no use for principles. I was wrong. Thanks to Google I can see now that pragmatism allows for the existence of principles. It just treats them as non-essentials. To a pragmatist a principle is a useful tool as long as you are achieving desired results. But if those results stop coming in or you desire different results, then you can dump that principle for another or no principle at all and declare you are just being "pragmatic", after all, it's practical to be pragmatic isn't it?"
So obviously, defending free speech is no longer achieving desirable results, so out goes that principle in favor of government censorship. After all, we are incessantly told, we must be reasonable (pragmatic) about this, a little bit of "reasonable" censorship can't hurt can it?
There are three requirements for a government to be a dictatorship, government control over education, censorship and one party rule. We already have the first. The education system is teaching our kids to accept the second which will lead to the third. It is now glaringly obvious that if we in America don't stop censorship, no one else will.