Just as Juan Williams has caused controversy by revealing his innermost thoughts, so too has his firing caused his critics to reveal more about themselves than perhaps they intended. Here’s the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent, explaining why Williams shouldn’t have been fired but he’s still not off the hook:
The most charitable interpretation of those initial remarks, I think, is that he meant to say that the reflexive fear folks may have of those in Muslim garb, while defensible, should not be allowed to justify anti-Muslim bigotry writ large. In other words, he may have meant to say something like: It’s understandable that people, me included, have an instinctual fear of Muslims in airports, given what happened on 9/11, but that should not allow us to give way to concerted, institutionalized bigotry.
The problem, though, is that in his initial comments he didn’t clarify that the instinctual feeling itself is irrational and ungrounded, and something folks need to battle against internally whenever it rears its head. And in his subsequent comments on Fox today, Williams again conspicuously failed to make that point.
Maybe Williams does think those feelings are unacceptably irrational and need to be wrestled with, and perhaps someone should ask him more directly if he thinks that. But until he clearly states it to be the case, there’s no reason to assume he thinks we should battle those feelings and work to delegitimize them.
It’s true, I haven’t heard Juan Williams call for the abolition of all crimethink. Thank goodness we have Greg Sargent of the Washington Post to remind us what’s permissible to think. Not what’s permissible to act on, or even to say aloud, but to think. How can we all be free if people are allowed to think in unapproved ways?
“Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime is death.”
P.S. FrankJ: The Orwellian NPR. Great minds crimethink alike! Frank also had a great PJM column the other day: Republicans Kind of Suck … Which Is Why They Will Win Huge in November. Oh, and he and his lovely wife just made a brand-new small person (who will undoubtedly grow up to have incorrect thoughts unless people like Greg Sargent can put a stop to it).
P.P.S. Rachel Maddow makes another “editing error.”