Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Juan Williams Political Correctness Firing

I was going to write more about this incident, but Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, someone I often disagree with, has the best piece I've seen about it. As he calls it, "Juan Williams Fired by NPR For No Particular Reason." Williams made the fatal mistake of admitting that he gets nervous seeing Muslims on a plane, and that's essentially what got him fired. Here's Goldberg.
The first quotation reflects the views, I'm guessing, of the vast majority of people who fly in this country (and in Europe and Asia and other parts of the world, as well). With some regularity, Muslim men associated with radical Islamist organizations have been trying to kill American civilians, here and abroad. A group of 19 Muslim men succeeded beyond their wildest dreams in their mission nine years ago. The majority of Muslims abhor terrorism, and Muslims are the disproportionate victims of Muslim terror, but the essential truth remains that most of the world's spectacular terrorism today -- thwarted and achieved -- is committed by Muslims. Juan Williams misunderstands one crucial fact: Muslim terrorists who are attempting to commit acts of terror seldom if ever dress in "Muslim garb"; they dress, for obvious tactical reasons, in a manner meant to help them blend in with surroundings. So Williams is wrong, I think, to be particularly suspicious of traditionally-dressed Muslims. But is he wrong to worry about Islamist terrorism? Of course not.
Fear and nervousness as a reaction to seeing something are not the same as cool rational analysis. The reason many people instinctively associate Muslims with terrorism is not bigotry, it's because of the numerous terrorist acts and attempted acts of terrorism committed by Muslims in the name of Islam. But Juan Williams should have known better than to dare admit that he shares this reaction to Muslims on a plane. When you work for a liberal outfit that puts a premium on political correctness you know that you have to censor yourself.  Free speech is not valued on the left at all, unless it is speech they agree with. Daring to offend groups the left panders to, which definitely includes Muslims, simply cannot be permitted.

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