Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Vilification of Freedom of Speech

Slate joined the tut-tut mob of dhimmified American pundits and commentators by endorsing the abridgement of the First Amendment, at the behest of thin-skinned, super-sensitive Muslims, in its September 25th article, "The Vile Anti-Muslim Video Shows That the U.S. Overvalues Free Speech."

Slate is proof that the Internet isn't wholly a refuge from the Mainstream Media. It has its complement of liberal, leftist and myopic sites that range from banal to bizarre to outlandishly vitriolic. It isn't immediately apparent in the Slate article, written by Editor Eric Posner, that it denigrates not only the First Amendment, but anyone upholding its sanctity, because it took him ten paragraphs of irrelevant commentary to reach the conclusion that the First Amendment is ready for a tweaking and perhaps even a rewrite that would favor Muslims and Islam.

Robert Spencer zeroed in on the key statement in the Slate article in his Jihad Watch article of September 26th, and dismisses it with brevity. He quotes from Slate first:

"That’s because the First Amendment protects verbal attacks on groups as well as speech that causes violence (except direct incitement: the old cry of “Fire!” in a crowded theater). And so combining the liberal view that government should not interfere with political discourse, and the conservative view that government should not interfere with commerce, we end up with the bizarre principle that U.S. foreign policy interests cannot justify any restrictions on speech whatsoever. Instead, only the profit-maximizing interests of a private American corporation can. Try explaining that to the protesters in Cairo or Islamabad." (Bold emphasis is Spencer's)

Spencer: "In other words, surrender before they hit us again."

That's all that need be said.

Spencer handily runs other publication over the coals in his Jihad Watch/Atlas Shrugs article, "The Suicide of the Free Press," on how and why other publications are picketing against the First Amendment. Citing the example of the Los Angeles Times' Op-Ed by Sarah Chayes, a career do-gooder currently with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Spencer asks:

But the larger question is, why is the Los Angeles Times coming down on the side of restrictions on the freedom of speech in the first place? Are they not aware that such restrictions, if implemented, can and probably will be used against them? While the Los Angeles Times editors are no doubt serene in their certainty that they will never print anything that will insult Islam or Muslims, there could all too easily come a time when a governing authority deems something they have published to be “hateful” or even“deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk,” and – if free speech by then has been restricted – that will be the end of the Times as an outpost of the free press.

Further, there is Posner's "profit-maximizing" qualifier coupled with the "interests of a private American corporation" that reveals Slate's anti-capitalist leanings. We'll leave that alone for the time being, although it would be interesting to know why Posner thought it necessary to say that and not something to the effect, "Only the speech of private individuals can be restricted or interfered with in political discourse," because it boils down to the same thing: restrictions à la carte. And what has "commerce" to do with the issue? I don’t think Posner agrees with Ayn Rand that freedom of speech is dependent on the status of private property. So, one can only scratch one's head in trying to comprehend the legal universe Posner occupies and speaks from.

 President Barack Obama said at the U.N. that "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."

Or criticize him? Or resort to Charlie Hebdo level cartoons? Or to awful video trailers whose Muslim funding is just now coming to light? (See Walid Shoebat's revelations here; apparently the "Innocence of Muslims" has a not-so-innocent pedigree.) One might be tempted to say, "Nor should the future belong to those who slander Jesus. Or Ayn Rand. Or any one of H.L. Mencken's dead gods." But that would be conceding the premise that speech about these figures ought to be "restricted."

Sorry, old chap, but the future belongs to me, a slanderer, mocker, blasphemer, and critic of Muslims and Islam and its pedophilic icon, Big Mo. What's the government going to do about it? Ask Huma Abedin to send some ski-masked jihadist thugs to beat me up? Give me the Daniel Pearl treatment? Or perhaps Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will request that a joint DHS/TSA Swat team swoop down on me and take me in for questioning.  

Posner opined that Obama's speech contained "a strong defense of the First Amendment." In fact, it was one of the most tepid but insidious "defenses" of an American freedom on record.  Why? Posner is a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He ought to have noted the quid pro quo which Obama had no business offering the United Nations, the OIC, the world that doesn’t like our First Amendment, and Muslims: You stop slandering Jesus, we'll stop slandering Mohammad.

That's tantamount to agreeing to give the school yard bully your money and your lunch, and he agrees to stop giving you a black eye and dunking your head in a commode.

Muslims won't stop slandering other creeds' icons – try and stop them– but how does Posner propose to stop the slandering, libeling, or mockery of Mohammad, except by applauding the criminalization of speech at the behest of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the United Nations, Hillary Clinton, and anyone else who doesn’t like the First Amendment?

The criminalization of speech about Islam is a proposed exercise in people management and Platonic guardianship by elitists ensconced in the ivory tower of indemnified statism. It is supposed to combat violence and bridge the gap between Western and Islamic civilizations. But Islam isn't a "civilization"; it is an ideology hell-bent on conquest. But as Daniel Greenfield points out in his essay, "Muslim Multiculturalism and Western Post-Nationalism" notes:

The left's post-national identity is based on a secular political multiculturalism. Islam's post-national identity is based on a religious theocratic multiculturalism. The left has heresies that it prosecutes as hate crimes and Islam has heresies that it prosecutes as blasphemy.

Progressives have been always too stupid to understand that the consequences of their progressivism in undermining the current, more advanced, phase of human society is the restoration of reactionary social and political systems. In Russia, the Bolsheviks toppled an intermediary government and restored a Czar named Stalin and feudalism under the name of collectivism, to the proud cheers of the world's leftists at the progress they were making. In the Arab Spring, they brought back Islamism and they have brought it back in London and Sydney, and Paris and New York as well.

My advice to Eric Posner: Think about what you're asking for. You just might have your way. But, you may regret your not being able to say what you wish to say about anything. Criminalizing speech about Islam doubtless will set a poison pill precedent to criminalize speech about anything the state deems protected, sacrosanct, and not open to discussion.

You may someday need to shout "Fire!" and won’t, because you've surrendered your right to. To you, it won’t seem practical. Or right. You've "progressed" to a more "mature" standard of speech. Besides, it would be against the law. Shouting "Fire!" might provoke someone to throw a Molotov cocktail.
You would be hard-pressed to prove to the authorities that it wasn’t your intention to provoke the thrower of the Molotov cocktail. You would protest: That was his action, not yours. You were merely trying to save lives. He was trying to take lives. How awful! Still, your action "triggered" his action.
You would be held responsible. The law would say so. Hands behind your back, please. These are plastic cuffs, and won’t hurt a bit.

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