Thursday, November 15, 2007

“Shut Up” vs. “Shut Up”

An interesting thing happened in Chile last week: the king of Spain asked a dictator to “shut up.”

According to an Associated Press item of November 12, “Spain’s king backed on ‘shut up’ comments,” Hugo Chavez, the Bœotian tyrant of Venezuela, kept interrupting Spain’s current prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, during his remarks at the Ibero-American summit in Santiago. When Zapatero tried to give him a lesson in manners, Chavez kept talking off-microphone.

At which point, King Juan Carlos, seated next to Zapatero, leaned forward and asked, for the whole audience to hear, “Por que no te callas?” (Why don’t you shut up?) Then the monarch rose and left the room.

That is what the British used to call “showing one’s back,” or expressing contempt. The snub and lesson in manners, however, were lost on Chavez. What he refused to stop talking about was his allegation that both Juan Carlos and former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar somehow backed the coup in 2002 that briefly removed Chavez from power in Caracas. (Aznar, a pro-American who sent troops to join the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan, lost office in the elections following the Madrid train bombing in March 2004. Spanish troops were subsequently withdrawn by the leftist government in a craven act of submission to Islamists.)

“Chavez repeatedly called Aznar a ‘fascist’ in an address at the summit of leaders from Latin America, Spain and Portugal.” It was Aznar that Zapatero was attempting to defend during Chavez’s goonish behavior.

“During the two-day coup in April 2002, Aznar called interim president Pedro Carmona, and the Spanish ambassador to Venezuela met with Carmona. Chavez was restored to power after massive street protests.

“Aznar later told the Spanish Parliament he had discussed with Carmona arrangements for Chavez to go to Cuba. Aznar’s party had insisted, however, that the conservative government then in power did not back the coup.

“But Spain’s current Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos charged in December 2004 that Aznar had in fact given the putsch his diplomatic blessing. Moratinos cited diplomatic cables from the period and other government documents.”

Of course, giving a “blessing” to the ouster of a dictator must be distinguished from giving the project active backing. It would have been to Spain’s everlasting credit had Aznar and the king proclaimed for everyone to hear, “Throw the bum out!” (The U.S., with private oil interests in Venezuela, didn’t lift a finger to help the opposition, and is paying the price for such “neutral” non-interference.)

And Juan Carlos, instead of asking the bum to shut his offending trap, should have engaged Chavez in polite repartee: “Señor Chavez, please define for us ‘fascist,’ and descant why we should not insult you with the appellation. Tu haber aquél estilo.” (You suit the style.)

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) found another talk show to target for silencing, Michael Savage’s nationally syndicated radio program, which CAIR wishes to shut up.

The Cybercast News Service on November 9 reported that:

“On November 1, CAIR urged ‘radio listeners of all faiths’ to contact companies that advertise on ‘The Savage Nation’ to complain about an ‘anti-Muslim tirade’ on Savage’s Oct. 29 program. (CAIR periodically issues ‘incitement alerts,’ urging its members to contact various media outlets to express their concerns about ‘Islamophobic attitudes.’)”

“On Nov. 2, CAIR’s Minnesota chapter announced that three companies in that state had pulled their advertisements from ‘The Savage Nation.’” One of them was Citrix Systems, a computer systems application company. Another company, however, Swiss America, increased its ads.

CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin announced Citrix’s submission together with this statement:

“We urge other local and national companies running ads on Savage’s program to follow Citrix’s example in support of religious tolerance.”

The question to ask is: What has “religious tolerance” to do with Michael Savage’s First Amendment free speech right? Savage cannot “tolerate” Islam. Ergo, he has a right to speak against it. He has not taken any physical action to express his “intolerance,” such as blowing up mosques, kidnapping imams, or ambushing Muslims with a hunting rifle as they do their full-body genuflections to Allah. Those kinds of actions lately have been the exclusive modus operendi of Muslim “extremists” in their own campaign of “religious tolerance.”

“Free speech is a precious right that we fully support and strive to protect,” said Rubin in his release. “We are not seeking to curb Mr. Savage’s freedom of speech, but to demonstrate that Americans and American companies will not tolerate hatred and bigotry.”

So, the best way to not “tolerate” hatred or bigotry in speech or in print is not to listen to it or read it. But the “package deal” is the implication that Savage’s commentaries on Islam constitute “hatred” and “bigotry.” Considering the nature of Islam and the subservient psychological adherence to it demanded of Muslims, Savage is right to be concerned – indeed, angry enough to occasionally rant against it – that it is an alien presence in a nation that values independence of thought and the freedom of anyone to listen to anyone’s opinions or views without hindrance or censor.

Regardless of the rationality or its lack in Savage’s or anyone else’s public commentaries, CAIR and its companion Muslim organizations fear any level of criticism of Islam, particularly criticism that correctly identifies it as a barbarous creed of conquest and intolerance, a creed whose inherent political nature has not been emasculated by a separation of state and religious belief. This has happened to other religious beliefs. Do the Presbyterians or Methodists have an organization that campaigns to silence men who question or mock their specific religious tenets? No.

(Although that separation is crumbling as both the Christian right and the socialist left have regularly invoked God and are actually beginning to become indistinguishable. Observe the current campaign for the White House. Do any of the candidates differ in any fundamental way? No. They are all for sustaining the welfare state or expanding it, and call for sacrifices and selflessness as political virtues. If there is any difference between the candidates, it is in the degree of blatant advocacy and shrillness.)

What CAIR’s thought police wish is for American non-Muslims to remain ignorant of Islam and the political ambitions of its shady proponents while they inveigle their way into the political process and the culture. It is rational criticism of Islam that CAIR’s publicists and “intellectual cops” wish to suppress.

Have Savage’s radio commentaries “incited” his listeners to act Ku Klux Klan-style against Muslims? Or Rush Limbaugh’s? Or Michael Graham’s? If such incidents ever occurred, one can be sure that our liberal, pro-Islam news media would broadcast them immediately. That such incidents have not been reported, speaks for their non-occurrence. No one is trying to obstruct the freedom of speech of Muslims, though Muslims certainly have a record of obstructing that of anyone who attempts to practice it on radio or at universities.

What CAIR’s campaign amounts to is what Ayn Rand called the “smear,” in this instance labeling any critic of Islam, especially its most articulate critics, such as Daniel Pipes and Steve Emerson, a “xenophobe,” “racist,” “fascist,” or “bigot.” In this campaign the Islamists have an invaluable weapon, irrational, rights-negating “hate speech” laws, which are founded not on any actual criminal fact or intent, but on sheer emotion. To risk offending someone’s religious sensibilities, or hurt his “feelings,” is to court fines or imprisonment or both. The enforcement of these insidious laws has been sketchy in the U.S., but in Europe their application is de rigueur, which partly accounts for the decline of Europe and its gradual Islamification.

For a revealing article on how much the Islamists have borrowed from their old friends the Nazis in the way of waging war on the West, aside from their political tactics, see Paul Belien’s Washington Times article of November 7, “Nazis and Islamists.” His opening sentence is: “During the Second World War, the Nazis worked on plans to build the ‘Amerikabomber,’ an airplane specially devised to fly suicide missions into Manhattan’s skyscrapers.” Sound familiar? Hitler thought of it first, not Osama bin Laden or Mohammed Atta. The source of this information is no less than the diary of Albert Speer, Hitler’s armaments chief.

Finally, an example of successful suppression of the freedom of speech can be found in Mainland China, whose 30,000 Internet cops are assisted by American companies such as Yahoo, Cisco, Skype, and Microsoft, whose technologies enable the government to ban “pro-democracy” ideas from circulation and to detect, imprison, and permanently shut up those who circulate them.

A Los Angeles Times article of November 8, “Yahoo isn’t the only villain,” reports that:

“Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an EBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere. Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China – democracy.”

Peter Navarro, author of the Times article, blames U.S. business schools for the amoral behavior of these companies. Fundamentally, he should have blamed, first, arch-pragmatist John Dewey, and then Immanuel Kant, whose philosophies underpin whatever “ethics” are taught in those business schools. As a measure of those “ethics,” note that these same morally clueless companies are at each others’ throats over the “rights” to software and operating systems, with them all ganging up on Microsoft, the giant that has caved in to American and European antitrust suits.

Commenting on the venality of the companies, whom he says claim they are advancing freedom of speech in China, instead of helping to punish it, Navarro wrote:

“What’s missing from the American corporate perspective is this bigger picture. The collaborative tools that U.S. corporations provide to spy on, and silence, the Chinese people are far more likely to help prop up a totalitarian regime than topple it.”

The “picture” is bigger than Navarro suspects. It is philosophical, and what is missing from it is reason.


Burgess Laughlin said...

"The question to ask is: What has 'religious tolerance' to do with Michael Savage’s First Amendment free speech right?"

Thank you for the article. It is wide-ranging yet thematically integrated by its concern for liberty vs. tyranny.

I would like to ask about one point, for clarification: In what way would a call for a boycott by advertisers be a threat to a speaker's right to free speech?

A call for revoking a radio station's license would be a threat, but so far as I can tell that doesn't arise here. (It does, of course, loom in the background as a possibility.)

Was such a threat made here?

Ed Cline said...

Burgess: No, a call for a boycott in this instance is not an example of censorship or suppression of speech. That would constitute a threat to the venue, such as Savage's syndicated program, if enough advertisers combined to yank their ads to cause the program to be cancelled nationwide, but not to his freedom of speech. Still, this is a sly way the Islamists seek to squelch freedom of speech about Islam. They try to work "within the system" to achieve their goals of no criticism of Islam.

The real problem is with the advertisers, who are clueless about the threat that Islamofacsism poses to their own "freedom of speech." CAIR and other Muslim organizations know or sense this, and exploit it to the maximum.

Muslims Against Sharia said...

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 33 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

What? Are they high? What's next? This?
NSDAP/AO, America's largest Christian civil liberties group, has offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Christianity, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Christians, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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