Like my liberal newsroom co-workers, who greeted the cartoon row with a profound silence despite its obvious overlap with our beloved freedom of the press. It was an uncomfortable moment, I imagine, to minds that stoutly refuse to criticize a non-Western culture -- and mouths that never cease to trash-talk their own.
I don't want to get into debate about whether or not the mainstream media is liberal or not. But I do think there is a grain of truth here. I think the reason many in America have been so skittish on this issue, if not downright hostile and accusatory is because many have adhere to some rule that one can't condemn another culture-unless it's Western.
I've seen this a lot in many of my liberal friends. They heap sins upon sins on the United States and other Western nations and yet ignore the sins committed by other nations. Years ago, a friend of mine said to a group of us, that the United States was the worst nation when it came to women's rights. Another friend corrected her and said that she might want to consider Saudi Arabia as the holder of worse nation for womankind. Even though this happened years ago, I am still astounded by it. Women in the US can be Sentors and Governors, run major corporations and the like. I'm not saying it's paradise here, and yes there is more to do, but I can think of many nations where women are treated like property instead as full human beings.
Some of this comes from the fact that in the not too distant past, Westerners came and conquered societies claiming to "civilize" them, while ignoring the cultures that existed. It was also not too long ago, that people discriminated against Jews and Catholics. Restrictive covanents made sure to keep Jews out of certain areas. And of course, as a black man, I'm well aware of how African Americans were treated until a generation ago. Many liberals are aware of this and want to be sensitive and appreciative of other cultures. And I agree with this-to a point.
When another culture does something that is just patently wrong, we should be able to call a spade a spade without being cultural imperialists. It isn't right to do what radical Muslims are doing by trying to scare the European media into submission. There are some universal values, and one of them is allowing people the freedom to say what they want, even if it is stupid.
Political Correctness has lifted sensitivity and non-offensiveness to universal values. But the minute we do that, we weaken the values that are really important to us: the freedom of speech, a free and independent press and the like. Yes, we should respect other cultures, but respect goes both ways and radical Islam has shown no respect to those of us in the West. They can't demand something they have no intentions of showing to others.