National Liberty Museum's Caretoon Contest
Just when you think the level of intellectual discourse in America can't go any lower, the "National Liberty Museum" (located in Philadelphia near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall) comes along to plumb new depths.
It first came to my attention from a large display ad in the Philadelphia Inquirer (March 15th) that the National Liberty Museum is running a "caretoon contest". Get it? "Caretoon contest".
The ad invited us to create a cartoon to "express your personal ideas about peace and understanding in our world", reflecting "appreciation for diversity" and "interfaith understanding". (See here for the details.) The clear implication of the word "care"toon (and the contest itself) is that the original Danish cartoons were somehow "uncaring", maybe even hateful.
Here is my "personal idea" for the museum to consider (not in cartoon form): When the publication of some cartoons leads to death threats against the cartoonists (who then must go into hiding fearing for their lives), then freedom of speech, one of the cornerstones of liberty, has been dealt a heavy blow. When the National Liberty Museum responds with a mawkish "care"toon contest (implicitly blaming the cartoonists) – rather than a strong statement in defense of freedom of speech – I realize that any intellectual understanding and valuing of liberty is all but dead in this country.