The Weekly Standard has posted its new issue online this morning, but I want to return to last week’s issue for a look at the article by Professor Gerard Alexander: “Illiberal Europe.” In a message this week Professor Alexander wrote:
I use the Danish cartoons and the imprisonment of David Irving to point out that Europeans don’t just imprison people for pro-Nazi speech — spreading speech laws criminalize an increasing range of political commentary and increasingly falling disproportionately on political moderates and conservatives. Bernard Lewis and others have been caught in their nets. These laws help explain why Europeans have been denied the kinds of constructive analyses of, say, last year’s riots in France that American neo-cons offered Americans in past decades about crime and much else.
The article leaves unstated another agenda of mine: after years of hearing Europeans say that the Patriot Act is a profound erosion of U.S. democracy and that our death penalty is incompatible with a civilized democracy, I make the point that Europe’s speech laws represent the most serious erosion of democratic practice among advanced democracies today.
I hope to elicit some additional comments from Professor Alexander about the brave “South Park” episode this week on the cartoon jihad (see Michelle Malkin’s round-up), suggesting that a substantial segment of Americans (including FOX) has internalized the message reflected in the illiberal European laws that Professor Alexander discusses.