Ross Douthat looks at the North Korea situation and sees it as an extension of "political correctness":
OF course it had to escalate this way. We live in a time of consistent gutlessness on the part of institutions notionally committed to free speech and intellectual diversity, a time of canceled commencement invitations and C.E.O.s defenestrated for their political donations, a time of Twitter mobs, trigger warnings and cringing public apologies. A time when journalists and publishers tiptoe around Islamic fundamentalism, when free speech is under increasing pressure on both sides of the Atlantic, when a hypersensitive political correctness has the whip hand on many college campuses.This is idiotic, of course -- The Interview was pulled from theaters because people believed, rationally or not, that moviegoers might be killed, not because we didn't want Kim Jong Un's feelings to be hurt.
So why should anyone be remotely surprised that Kim Jong-un decided to get in on the "don't offend me" act?
... the demand that "The Interview" be withdrawn because it treats North Korea disrespectfully -- as it most certainly does -- isn’t all that different from the arguments behind the various speech codes that have proliferated in Europe and Canada of late, exposing people to fines and prosecution for speaking too critically about the religions, cultures and sexual identities of others.
Nor is it all that different from the arguments used in the United States to justify canceling an increasing number of commencement speakers -- including Condoleezza Rice and Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Christine Lagarde — when some hothouse-flower campus activists decided they couldn't bear to sit and hear them. Or the mentality that forced out the C.E.O. and co-founder of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, when it was revealed that he had once donated money to a ballot initiative that opposed same-sex marriage. Or the free-floating, shape-shifting outrage that now pervades the Internet, always looking for some offensive or un-P.C. remark to fasten on and furiously attack -- whether the perpetrator is a TV personality or some unlucky political staffer, hapless and heretofore obscure....
But if Douthat is going to defend any speech that leads others to say, "Don't offend me," should we assume that he's going to rush to the defense of President Obama, Mayor de Blasio, and Reverend Al Sharpton in the wake of yesterday's police shootings in New York?
None of these people have called for violence against cops. All of them have merely questioned the nature of police-community relations, to varying degrees. And yet we have former police commissioner Bernie Kerik and former NYPD detective Bo Dietl on Fox, where they're regular commentators, calling for the mayor's resignation. We have 47,000 people so far signing this online petition demanding de Blasio's resignation. We have Patrick Lynch, head of New York's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, saying, "There's blood on many hands tonight," and adding, "That blood on the hands starts at City Hall in the office of the mayor."
And we have former mayor Rudy Giuliani blaming the murders primarily on President Obama:
"We've had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police," Giuliani said during an appearance on Fox News on Sunday.Incidentally, there were eleven New York City police officers killed by gunfire in the line of duty from January 1994 through the end of 2001, when Giuliani was mayor. For instance, there was Offier Gerald Louis Carter, on July 31, 1998:
Officer Gerard Carter died after being shot while looking for a juvenile for whom he had a warrant.I don't recall anyone demanding that Giuliani resign because of this death or any other deaths of police officers.
Officer Carter and his partner were sitting in a marked police van outside of a housing project when the suspect approached them and shot him in the temple.
So, um, Ross? Condi Rice helped give us a war that ruined countless lives and drained billions from America's coffer. Angry protesters prevented her from giving one (1) speech. Angry people right now want to deprive de Blasio of his job for deaths that aren't his fault -- why the hell would a convicted felon from Georgia by way of Baltimore decide that the deciding factor in his cop murder was the imprimatur of a politician? So Ross, you're going to call these angry people a PC mob trying to silence through intimidation, aren't you? Or do you think it's OK in this case?