Juan Williams has learned a painful lesson. Mr. Williams was fired from his contract position as analyst for NPR after he acknowledged on Fox News that he gets “nervous” when he sees people in Muslim garb board his plane. How many Americans have experienced similar, unfortunate fears since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001? How many even in the upper-management echelons of NPR? Yet for the crime of his politically incorrect candor, Mr. Williams - a lifelong, passionate liberal - has officially been banished from the salons of liberal intelligentsia.
The Williams incident is interesting in and of itself, but it also fits into a larger unfolding narrative: As voters abandon the left in droves in the wake of failed liberal policies that have wreaked untold social and economic damage, left-wing activists, politicians and institutions become even more shrilly intolerant of those who disagree with them - at times disturbingly so.
Take, for example, the video recently produced by the 10:10 campaign called “No Pressure.” 10:10 is a British-based environmental group dedicated to persuading businesses and individuals to cut their carbon emissions by 10 percent, and is funded by the Wates Foundation, the Ashden Trust and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, among others. “No Pressure” features a scene in which two schoolchildren are blown up by their teacher for responding less than enthusiastically to her suggestion that they cut their carbon emissions. The homicide bombing is shown in graphic detail, the body parts and blood of the two recalcitrant children raining down on their fellow students.
Here’s how 10:10 founder Franny Armstrong rationalized this bizarre fantasy (quoted in the U.K. Guardian): “Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age. What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?”
The “joke” produced an instantaneous and vociferous backlash. 10:10 soon apologized - sort of. 10:10 U.K. director Eugenie Harvey explained: “Following the initial reaction to the film we removed it from our website and issued an apology on Friday 2 October. Subsequently there has been negative comment about the film, particularly on blogs, and concern from others working hard to build support for action on climate change. We are very sorry if this has distracted from their efforts.” Being sorry that the film “distracted” from efforts to promote climate-change ideology is, of course, very different from being sorry for even conceiving such a heinous depiction of child murder. One wonders if they really understand at all why people were so upset.
Then there is the strange case of the upcoming documentary “Better This World,” which glamorizes the story of David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder. As Capital Research Center’s Matthew Vadum reported on Big Hollywood, McKay and Crowder “plotted to napalm Republicans at the 2008 GOP convention in Minnesota.” The documentary is bankrolled by financier and liberal piggy bank George Soros. Mr. Vadum notes that the trailer for “Better This World” “suggests that it depicts David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder as idealistic activists who, according to the official blurb, ‘set out to prove the strength of their political convictions to themselves and their mentor.’ In fact McKay and Crowder are convicted domestic terrorists who manufactured instruments of death calculated to inflict maximum pain and bodily harm on people whose political views they disagreed with.”
It is interesting that Mr. Soros would fund a movie glamorizing people who in real life attempted what the 10:10 movie merely fictionalized - the death and dismemberment of those who dissent from left-wing orthodoxy. Mr. Soros is also a major donor, via the Open Society Foundations, to NPR - to the tune of $1.8 million - the same institution that could not tolerate Juan Williams’ unforgivably unpolitically correct comments.
Yes, Juan Williams has learned a painful lesson. From the French Revolution to NPR, the message of the political left has consistently been: Agree with us - or else.
Terrence Scanlon is president of the Capital Research Center.