Friday, April 4, 2008

Culturist Censorship, Free Speech and Dangerous Ironies

I submit most of my blog entries to internet article distributors. Recently, several of my articles have been rejected for the political beliefs they convey. Dangerously, this censorship does not stem from malice or ambition; it stems from increasingly commonplace cultural assumptions about what can be said.

A real life censorship letter from a nice guy earnestly doing his job follows:

I have reviewed your article, and the problem that I see is with this

"We should also teach that the Middle East is Islamic. Israel is on
our side. Those who would destroy it are our enemies. The Muslim
lifestyle is backwards, oppressive and ridiculous according to our
values. Their treatment of women and gays are reasons to keep Islamic
nations in check. They actually believe in theocracies and condemn
freedom of speech. Not only that, but China is a racist nation that
does not embrace democracy."

Although I understand the point you are making regarding the
subjectivity of multiculturalism, the material above, specifically
"China is a racist nation" is over the line.

"If you have any further questions, please let me know! :)"

My response in its rocking entirety follows!

"Dearest (censored)!

China only lets Chinese become citizens. Ditto for Japan and Korea. They allow some to become citizens by marrying those of their race. But what THEY deem "half-blood" children are excluded from the military and so many jobs. This is reality. If you ask them, they will confirm the fact proudly. Perhaps I can put in a qualifiers or explanations. But writing that they allow people to be citizens regardless of race would be a lie. China, Japan and Korea are officially and legally racist nations. These are not spurious accuasations, they are basic facts, whether we will it or not.

Those who have read my writing know that I respect Islam's right to promote their own culture within Islamic nations. Notice I say they are backwards, "according to our values." Few would, hopefully deny, that hatred of gays is backwards according to our values. My point is that it is not backwards according to their values and they have a right to their values. Those who appreciate diversity should be willing to let other nations have thier own cultures.

Thanks for carrying about accuracy, John Press"

Frighteningly, this exchange had no malice. I recognize that the person responding to me was only doing their job. His company does not deem it necessary to err on the side of openness when it comes to free speech. They want to err on the side limited speech. Unfortunately, in times when we could use some frank discussion, the cowing of this media outlet does not represent an isolated incident. My experience and the removal of the Dutch film FITNA for criticizing Islam earlier this week have become standard operating procedure.

If, rather than writing "China is a racist nation" I had written "America is a racist nation," I'm sure there would not have been a problem. Self-deprication and unqualified praise of the other are safe. As the West launched anti-racist thought and free speech into the world; as China is not only racist but does not support free speech, this censorship presents an irony within an irony. But unlike most ironies, this one is becoming increasingly commonplace and presents a threat to our most sacred values.
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