I have started listening to the Twilight Zone radio show on Sunday nights on am 590. Before the show begins I make a cup of cocoa, turn off the lights, and start a fire in the fireplace. I enjoy the intrigue; the fire casting flickering shadows on the walls. When the show is over I turn the lights on and all is well with the world again. But the irony is that the more I read the news the more it seems clear that we are actually living in the Twilight Zone.
I read in the October 5th issue of the Wall Street Journal that Yale has agreed to publish a book about the 2005 Danish newspaper cartoons that featured the prophet Mohammed, titled, "The Cartoons That Shook the World," by Prof. Jytte Klausen of Brandeis University. What I find so bizarre is the fact that Yale will publish the book without including pictures of the actual cartoons. Yale has decided to censor itself. In fear of backlash and possible violence from Islamic extremists, the campus of Revolutionary War hero, Nathan Hale, who had but one life to give for his country, will tuck its tail between its legs and concede. Apparently Yale has no life to give for the freedom of speech.
There is not fear of violent backlash in the decision to create a movie depicting Jesus as gay; there is not fear of Jews, offended by the denial of the holocaust, blowing themselves up in a holy war against its offenders. What does the litmus of Yale's decision say about the times in which we live? Will our country let its right to free speech be emasculated by Islamic extremism? Will we become a society of eunuchs too afraid to say anything out of fear of offense? In saying nothing Yale has said everything about the state of freedom of speech today; and the silence is deafening. If Yale can be muted so can the other universities and thereby, perhaps, a country.
Western society is capitulating its right and tradition to speak freely in order to keep violence at bay; but when Islamic extremists' that threaten such acts are offended by our very culture and society, how can there ever be any lasting compromise? We can not cease to offend the Islamic extremist and they will not be abated in their offense. This should be obvious by looking at the state of Europe and the trail of unsuccessful compromise and the increasing erosion of personal rights in its attempt at appeasement. Yale's forfeiture out of fear seems all too much like a woman in an abusive relationship being told, "Do as we say or be beaten into submission." Will we give into the playground bully and let our lives be dictated by fear?
The theme to the Twilight Zone rings in my mind in words that fit the time: Imagine, if you will, a place where there is constant offense; a political and religious correctness as vast as cyberspace and as disturbing as books on a bonfire. It is the middle ground between fact and offense, between truth and outrage, and the lies we create to protect us from the pit of our fears and the summit of extremist violence. This is the dimension of our capitulation. It is an area which we call the Sharia Zone.
If only it were a radio show; then we could just turn it off.