The firing of Juan Williams by National Public Radio is a blow to free speech and ought to be protested in the strongest possible way.

Juan was giving an opinion on "The O'Reilly Factor" that when he sees people dressed in Muslim garb on airplans, it makes him nervous.

Jesse Jackson said about African-Americans who dress as thugs, " there is nothing more painful to me at this stage in my life, than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery—then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved.”

Or how about Joe Biden saying he can't walk into a 7-11 without seeing an Indian?

There is such a double standard in these matters. I guess NPR thinks Williams’ relatively innocuous comments compare to the former CNN host Rick Sanchez, who stereotyped Jews as running the news business.

I have known Juan for years. He is a thoughtful and decent man. He was fired because he appears on Fox News and he doesn't always toe the liberal line.

Twenty years ago, I was fired from the NPR show "All Things Considered" because the producer said I had become "too predictable." Me -- the only conservative commentator at the time on a network dominated by liberals was, "too predictable."

In a ridiculous statement issued on Thursday, NPR said about the decision to fire Juan, among other stupid things, that it was especially distraught that the firing occurred during fundraising week.

That gave me an idea. Should Republicans succeed in taking back the House where all spending originates, the defunding of NPR should be high on its “To Do" list.

If the left values free speech so little, then taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize any part of it. Let George Soros and his fellow ideologues support NPR with their own money, not those of conservatives who are marginalized and stereotyped enough.

It appears that liberals are only interested in defending free speech when it agrees with theirs.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely-syndicated newspaper columnist and a Fox News contributor.