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The censors themselves were usually depicted as benighted moral conservatives—priggish maiden aunts.

Sensitive intellectuals discovered that, in a multicultural world, respect for the Other meant understanding his traditions too, and these often were, well, sterner than ours.

Freedom of speech was only one value to be set against…ahem, several other values.

Freedom of political speech, however, was regarded as sacrosanct by all.

As legal restraints on obscenity fell away, however, freedom of political speech began to come under attack from a different kind of censor—college administrators, ethnic-grievance groups, gay and feminist advocates.

Since the 18th century, the basic legal justifications for restricting political speech and publication were direct incitement to harm, national security, maintaining public order, libel, etc.Content wasn’t supposed to be considered (though it was sometimes smuggled in under other headings).Today, content is increasingly the explicit justification for restricting speech.The argument used, especially in colleges, is that “words hurt.” Thus, universities, parliaments, courts and various international bodies intervene promiscuously to restrict hurtful or offensive speech—with the results described above.Over time, they encouraged others who had no interest in Islam whatsoever—from wealthy individuals to “dissident” minorities to democratic politicians—to try their hand at silencing opponents.Almost no newspapers published the Muhammad cartoons, for instance, though the story of them dominated the international media for weeks.In both countries, the restraints on speech have since been softened, but the concessions have been modest, and Canada’s Supreme Court has clearly indicated a wish to retain the new speech regime in full.