Whatever Happened to Free-Speech Panic? (Photo: Carnie Lewis)
by Jonah Goldberg
After the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, members of the American left found one thing they could all agree on: America's Our First Amendment rights were in peril.
The American Prospect insisted on
The fact that this response was elicited by no actual crackdown on free speech seemed irrelevant. It was a classic example of "Fire, ready, aim!"
Later, when there was at least some theoretical basis to be concerned about lost liberties, the reaction from prominent liberals was nonetheless unhinged.
I will admit I was vexed by this riot of knee-jerkery. At the time, I largely agreed with then-Attorney General
But in retrospect, I have a bit more sympathy with those self-anointed defenders of free speech. It was, in its way, a thoroughly American, even patriotic reaction.
Fast-forward to another
President Obama and his secretary of state,
Our embassy in
All this fueled an earnest debate about the downside of free speech in America. Cable news networks, op-ed pages and public radio lit up with "expert" commentary about how we must find ways to accommodate the sensibilities of Muslims who don't understand or care about free speech. And much of the crowd that once set about to "snuff the approach of tyranny in every tainted breeze" when
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency
"Whatever Happened to Free-Speech Panic?"