Separating principles from personal preferences

One of the things I’ve always admired about Harry Truman is the fact that he was able to separate principles from personal preferences.  He was a racist who integrated the American military and an antisemite who was among the first to recognize the State of Israel.

I keep thinking of Truman when I see the American media’s stunning lack of curiosity, let alone outrage, about the Mark Steyn persecution taking place in Canada.  (Here’s a good, recent summary, for those unfamiliar with the matter.)  As a matter of principle, American newspapers should be howling at the thought that the Canadian government is stifling free speech.  The most that’s happened in the MSM, though, is a single New York Times article that presents the whole thing as an interesting relativistic question between old fashioned American values (free speech) and sophisticated European norms.

The problem, of course, is that members of the American media don’t like Mark Steyn’s speech, which recognizes factual truths that the American media refuses to acknowledge.  They’re therefore very happy for the Canadian government to do their dirty work and shut Mark Steyn down.  The fact that a greater principle is involved than their personal prejudices — and it’s a principle that affects them, the media, more than any single job demographic in America — does not seem to occur to them.  They are little people, with little minds, and no discernible values.