Thursday, April 06, 2006

Open Thread 2006-04-06

If you're looking for goodies from tonight's South Park, Daily Show and Colbert Réport, I'll have some in the next few hours. Just to give you a foretaste, on South Park, Matt and Trey have painted the clash of civilizations in stark terms: those who favor freedom of expression versus those who do not. That's not even a liberal/conservative question, it's a purely libertarian question, but it's at the core of the fight for the survival of the values on which America was founded: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom peaceably to assemble, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, and even the freeom peaceably to assemble for the purpose of redress. For my international readers, who range from Dubai to Denmark and from San Marino to the People's Republic of China, whether you like it or not, this struggle within America affects all the world, not just our own country — just as the struggle within Islam affects people of all religions.

On the one extreme is absolute freedom without limits of any kind. That is an absurd idea, because freedom will always at least have the limit that you must allow freedom to others. Freedom cannot be both universal and completely unfettered. On the other extreme stands the view that there is one and only One Correct Way to see the world — whether that Way is Osama's Islam or Jerry Falwell's Christianity or Tom DeLay's messianic Republicanism or Turkmenistan's or North Korea's psychotic personality cult or Castro's revolution or Hitler's Nazi Germany or China's rose-colored filters or the Latter Day Saints' attachment to a tome that has been proven factually false or Scientology's adherence to a wacko's second-rate pulp sci-fi novel. Any "One Correct Way" is necessarily the incorrect way, since the only correct way is for the individual to choose her own way.

The Daily Show had a wonderful segment on the Afrospanicindioasianization of America, including a long list of groups that one self-avowed racist hates. It isn't just Christians who are whining about being oppressed, it's also rich white Americans. Stephen Colbert tonight discovered just how replaceable he really might be.

I'm also planning a response to a right-wing blog that tracked back to my excerpt from the interview by Jon Stewart of John McCain, and I want to make another foray into the world of The Volokh Conspiracy.

What's on your minds? As Fareed Zakaria puts it on Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, "What should we be covering?" I particularly want to solicit comment from people in distant lands about the direction in which George W. Bush is trying to lead the world.

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