Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch sum up:
Anyone who has even flown over an American university in the past 20 years (or has read random issues of Reason over the same time frame) understands the doublespeak that courses through concepts such as multiculturalism and diversity. Rules governing every aspect of campus interaction and discourse exist not to promote or protect speech but to restrict and regulate it. At the national and state levels, legislators pass increasingly arcane laws governing specifically political speech. Regulators and the interests that control them wrestle for expanded control of the Internet’s pipes and for extending content regulation to every transmitting device more powerful than a garage-door opener. Obscenity – impossible to define and hence impossible to defend – remains a cause for imprisoning peaceful men for life. Even as we live in an age of expression that was unimaginable only a few decades ago, we see on every level increasing attempts by governments, corporations, legal and educational institutions, and much more to shut down the relatively free, unfettered rights of expression that we are right to wear like a merit badge. It was only a few decades ago that terrifying works such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Lolita, Naked Lunch, and Howl could be freely published in America. For all our mythologizing about the First Amendment, which guarantees rights not only to speech but religious freedom and assembly, it is not simply a rare bird but an always endangered one too.
Which is to say that Draw Mohammed day is a sign of pushback, not by the groups you would expect to be at the forefront – the organized press and the elected guardians of the Constitution – but by a sea of individuals who will not stand by silently while forces of both hostility and accomodation collude in narrowing the space for acceptable speech. We are proud to be participants in a project that defends the core of our very slogan: Free Minds and Free Markets. Can free societies engage in speech that some may find greivously insulting, and in doing so can they advance both the debate and the ongoing liberal project? It’s not just that they can, but that they must.
Indeed. In fact, Zombie thinks that this may well be the start of a full-blown new Free Speech Movement. He/she has more faith in the west at this point than I do.
In lieu of a Mohammed image of my own, I offer you the updated video just posted to YouTube by that poor bastard whose anti-Koran app was torpedoed by Apple — even while an anti-Bible app remains on sale and available for download in iTunes. Simply the perfect exclamation point on today’s festivities.