(w/updated thoughts and further commentary here)
The problems with purges is that they never stay small...
NPR got the ball rolling this morning by firing Juan Williams for speaking for himself, candidly, on FOX News. This afternoon, the lower-echelon cadres got involved, and followed the lead of their jackbooted masters by rescinding ex-Marine and celebrated Sci-Fi author Elizabeth Moon's invitation to attend WisCon 35 as "guest of honor". Instapundit has much more....
Why? Because she does not approve of building a mosque at Ground Zero. Here is the thought crime for which she has been summarily convicted, without trial:
When an Islamic group decided to build a memorial center at/near the site of the 9/11 attack, they should have been able to predict that this would upset a lot of people. Not only were the attackers Islamic--and not only did the Islamic world in general show indecent glee about the attack, but this was only the last of many attacks on citizens and installations of this country which Islamic groups proudly claimed credit for. That some Muslims died in the attacks is immaterial--does not wipe out the long, long chain of Islamic hostility. It would have been one thing to have the Muslim victims' names placed with the others, and identified there as Muslims--but to use that site to proselytize for the religion that lies behind so many attacks on the innocent (I cannot forget the Jewish man in a wheelchair pushed over the side of the ship to drown, or Maj. Nadal's attack on soldiers at Fort Hood) was bound to raise a stink.
It is hard to believe that those making the application did not know that--did not anticipate it--and were not, in a way, probing to see if they could start a controversy. If they did not know, then they did not know enough about the culture into which they had moved. Though I am not angry about it, and have not spoken out in opposition, I do think it was a rude and tactless thing to propose (and, if carried out, to do.)
Moon is a liberal, mind you. She just doesn't subscribe to party orthodoxy. And when the purges begin, and the blood starts running down the streets, it is not just the blood of the nonbeliever which seeps its way around the cobblestones. It is joined by the blood of those who only have the slightest traces of impurities, those who agree with 95% of what you say but proffered their own thoughts about the other 5%. (remember the drumming out of Joe Lieberman?) On the liberal's Kristallnacht, the man (or woman, in this case) with the slightest doubts about The Agenda are as guilty as Karl Rove, and must suffer his fate.
How much more of liberty's blood will run today?
UPDATE: When I use the word "summarily", it is done with full meaning. Juan Williams on his firing from NPR today:
Wednesday afternoon I got a message on my cell phone from Ellen Weiss who’s the head of news at NPR asking me to call. When I called back she said, “What did you say? What did you mean to say?” And I said, “I said what I meant to say.” Which is that it’s an honest experience that when I’m in an airport and I see people who are in Muslim garb, who identify themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I do a double take. I have a moment of anxiety or fear given what happened on 9/11. That’s just the reality. And she went on to say, “Well, that crosses the line.” And I said, “What line is that?” And she went on to somehow suggest that I had made a bigoted statement. And I said, “It’s not a bigoted statement.” I, in fact, in the course of this conversation with Bill O’Reilly, said that we have, as Americans, an obligation to be careful to protect the constitutional rights of everyone in the country and to make sure we don’t have any outbreak of bigotry. But that there’s a reality. You cannot ignore what happened on 9/11 and you cannot ignore the connection to Islamic radicalism. And you can’t ignore the fact of what has been recently said in court with regard to this as the first drop of blood in a Muslim war in America.
And then she said, “You know, this has been decided up the chain.” I said, “You mean, I don’t even get the chance to come in and we do this eyeball-to-eyeball, person-to-person, have a conversation? I’ve been there for more than ten years. We don’t have that chance to have a conversation about this?” And she said, “There’s nothing you can say that will change my mind. This has been decided above me and we’re terminating your contract.”
UPDATE II: More fascism - remember how the Soviets used to send dissenters to "insane asylums"? Well, that meme is alive and well at NPR:
Fired NPR news analyst Juan Williams should have kept his feeling about Muslims between himself and "his psychiatrist or his publicist," the network's CEO told an audience at the Atlanta Press Club earlier today.