The cracks are beginning to show in the facade. Two recent incidents with similar causes but widely ranging impact, the Juan Williams firing
and the dis-inviting of a SF convention Guest of Honor Elizabeth Moon
, illustrate this. You wouldn't think NPR would be thinking exactly like the Wiscon steering committee, but they are both afraid of the same thing--counter-revolutionary thinking. Which must be eradicated by banning and shunning and every other means at their disposal.
NPR and Wiscon are similar in that they are proud of being terribly diverse, tolerant of differing opinions, and just happen to be stuffed to the gills with liberal leftists that can't stand anyone who disagrees with them. Some of whom can be quite nice taken individually, but collectively they see no irony in banning someone for saying what they don't like in the name of free speech. Juan Williams and Elizabeth Moon are similar, in that they are members of that group, or at least were. Bear in mind, NPR hired Juan Williams and kept him on for years. Elizabeth Moon was well-known to the com-con before being invited as a Guest of Honor. If you look at their respective spoken and written output, they are definitely more on the liberal than the conservative side. (Ms. Moon conceals it well in her fiction writing; I am referring to her blog posts and convention panel talks.) I don't think it is coincidence that this is all coming out at the same time too. The Wiscon brouhaha has been bubbling for a while (which I knew about, being somewhat plugged in to the SF community) and it looks like NPR has been pursing its lips about Mr. Williams *acting* on diversity and tolerance, by speaking on FOX rather than shunning them like a good liberal should.
The reason for both ostracisms is psychological denial
about the threat of extremist Muslim terrorists. Elizabeth Moon merely pointed out, in connection with the Ground Zero Mosque, that religious tolerance with Muslims appears to only go one way, and she's tired of it. She's tired of having to tolerate people who institutionalize the subjugation of women and physical abuse of women. You would think an avowedly feminist science fiction convention would be in agreement with this and support her, but no. Juan Williams mentioned that seeing people on his plane in obvious Muslim garb made him tense and nervous, and that he doesn't LIKE that reaction in himself. (NPR conveniently left out that additional information.)
Now people in religious garb get on planes all the time and nobody worries. Catholic nuns tend to stand out. Male Sikhs, ditto. You aren't going to see many Amish on planes, but they are pretty distinctive and unless you are a sheaf of wheat, violence is the LAST thing you think of when you see them. Yeah, yeah, insert boilerplate here about "not all Muslims are terrorists." But an awful lot of terrorists are Muslim. As the joke goes, whenever the media announces "Islam is a religion of peace!" the immediate thought is "What did they blow up this time?" Ever notice the media doesn't have to announce Buddhism is a religion of peace? Or reassure us about the intentions of the Dalai Lama?
So, why now? My theory is the displacement for the fear (rational) of terrorists that could not be acknowledged (because of the Muslim thing) used to be taken care of by former President Bush. The liberals hated him openly, but subconsciously knew he would protect us. Even if people said nasty things about him, or accused him of heinous war crimes, he would do the hard, dirty work to make sure our heads weren't sawed off.
Nobody thinks President Obama really wants to do the hard work to protect us. The terrorists are still there. Still Muslim. The liberals making all the fuss about Moon and Williams resent the hell out of their own kind pointing out the truth they fear more than death, and so they lash out. Even at the expense of the alleged tolerance and respect for diversity they trumpet so loudly.