Mohammad and Man at Yale: Book Burning (One Cartoon at a Time)

“Yale Press Bans Images of Muhammad in New Book,” by Patricia Cohen (New York Times, August 12, 2009)

In 1951, Bill Buckley published God and Man at Yale, a polemic arguing that the Christian God was no longer welcome at Yale University, a school founded to train Christian ministers and educate students about their Christian faith. That was too “biased” even in 1951.

58 years later, Yale University Press decides that they do respect religion—the most biased, intolerant expressions of it. If Islam is a “religion of peace” and wisdom and tolerance, Western “progressives” are acting as if it were not. Cowardly, yes, but also condescending, insulting to thinking Muslims, and suicidal to the academic enterprise.

Book burnings horrify civil libertarians but this precensorship is far worse. Know-nothing book burners may burn a single book but copies of it remain and the ideas live on. Academic pre-censorship makes sure that the book the author wishes to write never sees the light of day.

What’s next? Pre-clearance of academic monographs by Grand Ayatollahs?

I am sure Islamofascists would be offended by the photographs of Ms. Krausen without a hajib. We won’t even mention the fashion spreads in the New York Times Magazine.

Or all the Jewish writers at the Times.

But perhaps Yale is right. The Wise and Wonderful Ayatollah Khomeini said:

We are not afraid of economic sanctions or military intervention. What we are afraid of is Western universities.

With another demonstration of chicken-sh** cowardice, Western universities have demonstrated that when it comes to Islamic threats, their only position is “prone.”

(Apologies to chickens)

Jonathan Bean is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Professor of History at Southern Illinois University, and editor of the Independent book, Race & Liberty in America: The Essential Reader.
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