Free speech surrendered: Q&A with Elan Journo and Keith Lockitch
This week I interviewed my colleagues Elan Journo and Keith Lockitch about the violent upheavals sweeping the Muslim world in response to the obscure film “The Innocence of Muslims.”
Among the issues we discussed were the significance of free speech and the proper approach to defending it. The violence put on display in such cities as Jakarta, London, and most tragically Benghazi, where US Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed, has drawn a meek, conciliatory response from American political leadership, weakening an already tenuous commitment to the right to free speech.
Over the past several decades we have witnessed a marked pattern of violent Muslim reprisals for alleged religious offenses followed by appeasing gestures from Western leadership. A notable example of Western appeasement was the response to the 2006 riots surrounding the printing of cartoons depicting Mohammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. As Onkar Ghate wrote at the time, the sanctity of free speech was truly in the balance, and many in the West kowtowed.
What is required to defend freedom of speech, Elan and Keith explain, is a moral declaration by the West of an unwavering commitment to freedom in thought and expression. Sadly, we have seen anything but that response.
Additional topics touched on include the trend of self-censorship in Western media and the role Islam has played in this crisis and others similar to it. Contrary to the assertions of some commentators and politicians, Elan and Keith argue that Islamic totalitarianism — a religious ideology — is indeed an inextricable aspect of the pattern of conflict we have experienced.
The podcast can be heard here in its entirety: