Thomas Sowell: This Week's Revelations

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This past week has told us more than we wanted to know about ourselves and about our enemies. There was far more controversy over remarks made by the Pope than over the violence unleashed by Muslims against people who had nothing to do with what the Pope said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, in this Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006 file photo. Graham cannot serve as a member of Congress and as a military judge at the same time because it violates the separation of powers spelled out in the Constitution, a military court ruled Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke) That our enemies do not understand the significance of free speech in a free society, where things that offend us can be denounced without indiscriminate violence, is bad enough. But that we ourselves seem headed further down the slippery slope of self-censorship is chilling.

Tolerance has been one of the virtues of western civilization. But virtues can be carried to extremes that turn them into vices. Toleration of intolerance is a particularly dangerous vice to which western nations are succumbing, both within their own countries and internationally.

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