Censorship in America

Free speech matters

Support for the idea that it’s good to hear all opinions, even offensive ones, is thin. A plurality of Americans now support laws against “hate speech.”


Conservatives once wanted to ban Playboy magazine, violent rap lyrics and offensive depictions of Jesus. Leftists then were right to fight such bans, but today leftists encourage censorship in the name of “tolerance.”


Scientist Matt Taylor helped land a probe on a comet for the first time in history. But because he explained his achievement while wearing a T-shirt that had cartoons of sexy women on it (designed by a female friend of his), writer Rose Eveleth of The Atlantic tweeted that Taylor “ruined” the comet landing. The public outcry against him was so great that he cried at an apologetic press conference.

科学家Matt Taylor曾为史上首次探测器降落彗星表面做出贡献,但因为在解释该项成就时,他穿了一件印有性感卡通女郎的T恤(由Taylor的一位女性朋友所设计),《大西洋》杂志的评论员Rose Eveleth发推说Taylor“毁了”这一着陆计划。大众指责的声浪淹没了Taylor,让他在后来的致歉新闻发布会上一度落泪。


Silicon Valley entrepreneur Brendan Eich created JavaScript and helped start Mozilla Firefox. But when activists discovered that he’d once donated $1,000 to support California’s Proposition 8 banning gay marriage, they attacked him as “a hater.” A year and a half later, Eich still can’t find a job.

硅谷企业家Brendan Eich发明了JavaScriptScript语言并协助创建火狐浏览器。但是当活动家们发现他曾为禁止同性婚姻的加州8号提案捐献过1000美元后,他们便攻击他是“仇恨者”。之后一年半的时间里Eich都无法找到工作。

When Eich donated the money, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opposed gay marriage, too. But in just five years, such opinions have become so “unacceptable” that a tech genius is ostracized by his own industry.


As long as the leftist mobs don’t use law or violence, they’re still engaged in free speech. Private employers can impose most any speech rule they choose. The First Amendment applies only to government. But now some government officials are as eager to censor as the leftist mobs.


After the owners of Chick-fil-A said they oppose gay marriage, the mayors of Chicago, San Francisco and Boston said Chick-fil-A is “not welcome” in their cities. San Francisco’s mayor said, “The closest Chick-fil-A is 40 miles away and I strongly recommend they not try to come any closer.”


Since mayors may influence permits and zoning, their threats aren’t idle. And no new Chick-fil-A outlets have opened in those cities. This is a clear violation of the First Amendment, although the politicians seem oblivious to that.


Of course, much worse than today’s left are those who censor through violence. Al Qaeda’s magazine names people who should be killed, chirping, “A bullet a day keeps the infidel away.”

Writers and artists heed the threats. CNN, NBC and The New York Times will no longer show Mohammed cartoons.


I was surprised that liberal commentators were so eager to cave in to the terrorists’ threats. Chris Matthews said, “Wanting to pick a fight with Islam is insane.”

自由派评论员如此轻易就屈服于恐怖分子的威胁,让我感到惊讶。Chris Matthews【译注:美国著名时事评论员】说,“试图挑起同伊斯兰世界的斗争是疯狂的。”

Such cowardice just invites more censorship.


When the TV series South Park was censored by its own network for depicting Mohammed, a fan of the show, liberal cartoonist Molly Norris, showed her support by drawing her own cartoons of Mohammed. For doing so, she received death threats. Fearing for her safety, she went into hiding.

当电视剧《南方公园》因为描写穆罕默德而遭受自家的有线电视网审查时,该剧的一位影迷——自由主义卡通作者Molly Norris——自行创作穆罕默德卡通形象,以示对该剧的支持,结果她收到死亡威胁。由于担心自己的安全,她躲了起来。

Columnist Mark Steyn was appalled that “Her liberal newspaper—the way they put it in announcing that she’d gone, ceased to exist, was: ‘There is no more Molly.‘” She hasn’t been heard from in five years.

专栏作家Mark Steyn对Molly所在报社的反应感到惊骇。“她那自由派的报社在宣布她离开和人间消失的消息时,说的竟然是‘这里不再有Molly’”,之后五年都没有Molly的消息。

“The only way we’re going to move to a real sense of freedom is if every time somebody puts a bullet in a cartoonist for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed,” says Steyn, “every newspaper … displays that picture.”


Steyn argues that societies that censor create more violence by driving hate speech underground.

“You can have a society with free speech where I call you names, and you do rude drawings of me, and I say you’re a hater, and we hatey-hatey-hate each other,” said Steyn on my TV special, “Censorship in America,” but “the alternative is the Muslim world where there’s no open debate, and so there’s nothing left to do but kill and bomb and shoot.”


Free speech matters. If we give in to those who would shut us up, the censors will push and push until we have no freedom left. If we’re going to sort out which ideas are good and which are bad, everyone must be allowed to speak.


【作者John Stossel是 福克斯商业在线 的一位主持人。】



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