ETA: more thoughts on the larger problem of “anti-ism” as it’s surfaced in our modern political and social discourse. What’s happened (happening?) to Moon and to Juan Williams is just symptomatic of a more troubling problem that has wider implications.
I was sad, but not surprised, to see today that author Elizabeth Moon has been ejected from the Wiscon feminist-progressive SF&F convention. The holy warriors of Political Correctness are currently ululating over the divine grandness of their mighty victory against the hated satanic infidel that is Elizabeth Moon. Nevermind that Moon has political overlap with her detractors that is far, far in excess of her political differences with her detractors. Her sin was to mention Islam and Muslims in a way that was not 100% flattering to Islam and Muslims. We’ve seen this before in the West, with the Danish cartoons, and so much else. It is standing policy among the West’s cultural progressives to silence and shout down any and all intellectuals who do not flatter Islam and Muslims with every word that falls from their lips, pens or keyboards. To be critical of Islam or Muslims is to be guilty of ism and ist which means you officially stop being a member of the human species and become üntermensch.
Ironic, considering the fact that intellectual freedom is in short supply in those lands which are officially Muslim-dominated. Ironic, considering the fact that women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been forced to flee Europe under threat of death because of their willingness to confront Islamic radicalism. Ayaan pretty much says it all, in the clip above. And has a much, much greater grasp of the cultural context of park51 than the many loud and obnoxious partisans — such as Michael Moore — who have rushed in to champion park51 and denounce any and all detractors.
By folding up under pressure, Wiscon has officially decided that it’s more important to appease political provocateurs and pan-banging radicals than to have any intellectual back-bone of its own. Whatever debate was actually had, regarding Moon, has now been washed away like handwriting in the sand. Wiscon’s policy is now clear: they will collapse under enough agitation and badmouthing from politically-motivated actors who pretend offense in the name of pushing their brand of hyper-progressive politics in the Science Fiction & Fantasy genre.
Not only is Wiscon apparently not ready to entertain a difference of opinion, it is prepared to banish those differences of opinion — something we might call censorship if it were being carried out by a government body.
Wiscon is, of course, free to erect whatever sort of “safe space” it wants. Alas this “safe space” is a hollow place where diversity — real diversity, not the fraudulent samethink of the radical progressives — is verboten. That a fellow traveler like Moon can be evicted for some of the most minor and imaginary offenses possible, speaks to the narrowness of the new dialectic. Deviations — even slim ones — endure a “zero tolerance” policy. And those who might stand against the rantings of the agitators simply fall under the bus in their efforts to placate people who have made it their mission to berate and belittle anyone and everyone who does not fall into lockstep with their ideology within the fantastic and the speculative.
In simpler language, Wiscon just jumped the shark. Its actions reflect lack of intellectual vigor on the part of its planners, and ironically do not sate the appetites of those who most vocally railed against Moon in the first place — indeed, some of those people continue to complain, even though they’ve now gotten exactly what they wanted.
It would be laughable, if it weren’t such a gottdamned shame.
ETA: on a related note, NPR has fired Juan Williams for the dreadful sin of expressing misgivings about Muslims and Islam. How grand. The totalitarian blind eye demanded of all Americans — by progressive authoritarians — for Islam, is again displayed for public viewing. Of course, had Williams expressed similar thoughts about U.S. Evangelism as it relates to abortion clinic bombings, or the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints as related to child abuse or polygamy, you can bet big money on the fact that NPR would not have cared. But because the directive is clear — only Happy Thoughts can ever be permitted, regarding Muslims and Islam — Williams got the axe. Superb. Breathtaking. The hypocrisy of our cultural elite rolls ever forward!