Things I Never, Ever Would Have Predicted: Progressives Seeking Anti-Blasphemy Rules

In 1984 I graduated from college, ending the period of my life with the most intimate and sustained contact with hard-core progressives (less intimate contact continues to this day, mainly trying to save my business from the laws they pass).

If you had asked me to predict where progressives would be in 30 years, one thing I would never have guessed is that progressives would be in the vanguard of trying to re-establish anti-blasphemy laws in this country.

Also, more good thoughts on this same phenomenon here.


  1. Titan28:

    Why does this surprise you? Progressives are meddlesome bastards. They are also afraid. When some artist did 'Piss Jesus,' that was fine and dandy, and, of course, art. Catholics and Christians don't make dire threats and cut off anyone's head. Besides, Christianity is stupid, right? Cartoons of Mohammed? Oh, no. There's real danger here. The left is scared stiff. That they leap in to defend a religion that is light years more ridiculous than any other mystical quackery on the planet tells you more than you need to know about the nature of fear. This is a typical cowardice masquerading as moral superiority. This is the white flag of surrender.

  2. Matthew Slyfield:

    Never try to predict what progressives will do. They are rarely rational and have no problem with not being consistent, they love double standards.

  3. roystgnr:

    Left wing activists creating the institutions that will be used against them is a tradition dating back to Robespierre, no? Though you'd think at some point it would be impossible not to notice the connection between "We must rid ourselves once and for all of the Quaker-Papist babble about the sanctity of human life." and "Hey, what are you doing with that ice axe?!"

  4. Don:

    I'm surprised you're surprised. Progressives haven't changed much since the likes of Wilson and Roosevelt, and they clearly had no love of freedom. Complaints over restrictions on freedom from these mutts are strictly political in nature, not philosophical. It's designed to win the debate by shutting up their opponent, not to present a reasonable argument. Reason's got nothing to do with it.

  5. herdgadfly:

    Progressives were OK with the "Piss-Christ" way back in 1987, but now even cartoons of Mohammed are blasphemous. At this time, I believe a serious review of leftist media editorial cartoons is in order - except the findings will be pooh-poohed.

    After all, changing political views is a condition most likely caused by atmospheric wind conditions - combined with today's WaPost and NY Times headlines.

  6. FelineCannonball:

    Sounds to me more like the folks at the office of equality and whatever got slapped down as expected. And their misguided goal was respect of culture not anti-blasphemy.

    Sounds like things haven't changed much to me. I could very much imagine this happening 30 or 40 years ago too.

  7. mesaeconoguy:

    This has been the trend since the late 80s – early 90s when I was in college. Regressives – that is their technically correct name, as they wish to regress to collectivism, authoritarianism, intolerance, etc. – have always reflexively recoiled against things that not only offend them, but think they might offend others in need of their enlightened protection and guidance.

    Ultimately, this is about free speech, and regressives do not believe in that. Speech codes are the norm on college campuses today.

    Literally, regressives want to take us back to the dark ages.

    PS, Popehat had a really good take on this in a journalism context –

    These are scary times.

  8. David in Michigan:

    1964 - Free Speech Movement @ Berkley. 1984 - the twentieth anniversary of the movement...... and your graduation.

    The line it is drawn

    The curse it is cast

    The slow one now

    Will later be fast

    As the present now

    Will later be past

    The order is rapidly fadin'

    And the first one now

    Will later be last

    For the times they are a-changin'

    Read more: Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-changin' Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  9. PA32R:

    At the second linked editorial, the last sentence ends with "how can it be said that any university campus is a safe place for a free mind?" Who in the world ever said such an inane thing as that?

  10. SamWah:

    Remember, it's blasphemy as defined by Islamists, not blasphemy as defined by anyone else. They hate America. But yes, 30 years ago, we'd never have thought...

  11. Gil G:

    Or is it a case that Muslim students actually bothered to make complaints on which staff had to act? If there's a reason Islam will displace Christianity it's because Muslim actually stand up for their religion when other offend it while Christians seem to roll and accept abuse.

  12. JW:

    "the flyer ‘featured a depiction of Muhammad, which they and many other Muslims consider blasphemous and/or insulting."

    I'm trying to see how that's anyone else's problem.

  13. Viktor Elefant:

    The positions of Progressives are much less confusing if you view their politics as a coalition of the fringe arrayed against the core. In this context, all arguments made by the Progressives should be filtered through a lens of "how does this advance the interests of the fringe?" or "how does this work against the interests of the core?"

    Pick your favorite Progressive issue and see how well it fits this rather simple model.

  14. Dan Wendlick:

    Short, snarky response: the mommies and daddies of the '60's radicals who defined the current progressive movement were Christian, not Moslem. Since Islam was not part of their parents belief system, it was not part of the set of institutions that they were rebelling against.
    Second, less snarky response: The current Islamic states are a result of European meddling after the fall of the Ottoman empire, and consist of borders and governments imposed by the colonial powers of Christian Europe. For example, the borders between Syria, Iraq, and Iran do not reflect any indiginous concepts of nationality, but instead still reflect the demarcations of the French and British spheres of influence in the region. Prior to colonization, the peoples existed in the state or Rouseau's noble savage, free of the corrupting influences of the Western Patriarchy. To the extent that the current governments of these countries are oppressive, it is only because they are reflecting the nature of their colonial founding. Islam is not seen to be an oppressor, it can be only the opressed.
    Of course even a cursory knowlege of history shows this to be largely untrue, other than the state of the borders.

  15. J_W_W:

    If college becomes a safe space for thought, then minds aren't free.

  16. J_W_W:

    That's the problem with multiculturalism, we are being forced to respect cultures that do not deserve respect.

  17. FelineCannonball:

    Try going to a pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian talk on a college campus. In practice, "multiculturalism" gets a win if there are no assaults or arrests.

  18. poitsplace .:

    The progressive movement became politicized and as happens to all such movements, it quickly took on a life of its own. Once well meaning concepts were perverted into strict, nonsensical dogma. Its basically the same process that created all the other stupid customs in the world.

  19. Fred_Z:

    "The progressive movement became politicized"???

    The progressive movement was never not politicized. No wonder they win.

  20. poitsplace .:

    Of course its been politicized the whole time, but now it's almost pure political nonsense. Before there were real-world reasons to support their stance on things like equal rights. But those practical objectives were met long ago.

    It's been replaced by people pushing the delusion of "fairness", naively thinking that "equal rights" means you should somehow have an artificially leveled playing field so that everyone (no matter how truly devoid of talent and ability) should have an equal chance at the successes that truly talented and gifted individuals have.

    A good example would be the way many supposed feminists push "equal pay" when the main difference between men and women's pay at this point has more to do with the fact that many women intentionally set their careers aside (or at least lower their effort) so they can spend time raising their children. They're oblivious to the fact that anyone that chooses to put aside their career to pursue personal interests will likely lose some earning ability.