Friday, November 25, 2016

“Hate Speech”: Then and Now

John Adams, who signed the Sedition Act
It is interesting that a number of signatories of the Declaration of Independence later in their careers took actions that jeopardized the foundations of liberty, and specifically of freedom of speech, or the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The greatest enemy of liberty is fear. When people feel comfortable and well protected, they are naturally expansive and tolerant of one another’s opinions and rights. When they feel threatened, their tolerance shrinks. By 1798, the euphoria surrounding the American Revolution, the sense of common purpose and a common enemy, was gone. Everyone agreed that the new nation, founded amid high hopes and noble ideas was in danger of collapse. The one thing they could not agree on was who to blame. (p. 1)

What went on in the mid- to late-1790s has reverse parallels today. Where the Mainstream Media (MSM) today, by its own admission, intervened to slander, libel, and smear presidential candidate Donald Trump (now the President-Elect), to aid in and guarantee the election of a criminally irresponsible, scandal-rich, unstable Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, the writers and newspapers of the 18th century came under vicious attack from the government and the Federalists, the party of John Adams, who as President signed the Alien and Sedition Acts passed by Congress. The MSM failed ingloriously in its efforts. But Adams, who was the main target of criticism by “Republican” (the name of the early Democratic Party) writers and newspapers, unleashed the dogs of censorship on them when he signed the Alien and Sedition Acts on June 18th, 1798.

The Sedition Act outlawed what one could call the 18th century equivalent of “hate speech.” It was impermissible and punishable now to hate President John Adams (the second President after George Washington) and the Federalists and their national and foreign policies, and to voice one’s anathema for them in print or vocally. Those who did so and drew the attention of large numbers of people were arrested and jailed. Adams and the Federalists would not otherwise have heard or read the dissatisfaction but for informers who reported the transgressions to Adams and his political allies.

A history of that time, Liberty’s First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech, by Charles Slack, came my way and further educated me on the pernicious consequences of the Sedition Act of 1798 and the scope of the evil. The consequences and injustices were wider than I had previously imagined. As Slack points out, one need not have been a conspicuous, widely known opponent of Adams, the Federalists, and the Sedition Act to attract the attentions of the 18th century speech “police.” An idle, disparaging remark overheard and reported by a neighbor could land the speaker in jail and earn an enormous fine, as well.

Here is the key section of the Sedition Act under which several men were prosecuted and jailed for “blaspheming” the government, President Adams, and other individuals in the government.

SEC. 2. And be it farther enacted, That if any person shall write, print, utter or publish, or shall cause or procure to be written, printed, uttered or published, or shall knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing or writings against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States, with intent to defame the said government, or either house of the said Congress, or the said President, or to bring them, or either of them, into contempt or disrepute; or to excite against them, or either or any of them, the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, or any act of the President of the United States, done in pursuance of any such law, or of the powers in him vested by the constitution of the United States, or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government, then such person, being thereof convicted before any court of the United States having jurisdiction thereof, shall be punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment not exceeding two years. [Italics mine]

Although Adams signed the Alien (or “Naturalization” Act), but did not enforce it, it was the Sedition Act that drew the chief attention and ire of its foes and was the tool Adams used to retaliate against his and his administration’s vociferous critics. It is the Sedition Act that is the focus here.
Associate Supreme Court Justice Samuel Chase, who

presided over the prosecution of men for violating the

Sedition Act
The Alien and Sedition Acts were promoted and passed by the Federalists in Congress, who were the majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Federalists also dominated the Supreme Court.  All the men tried under the Sedition Act were tried by Federalist appointees. The legislation was passed because Adams and many Federalists thought that a war with France (and possibly another with Britain) was imminent, and so extraordinary restraints on speech and the press were justified. French privateers raided American shipping. The French, once an ally who helped Americans win the Revolution, were now hostile to the U.S.  The French had undergone a revolution of its own. Its reign of terror horrified Adams and the Federalists. The French bridled under American criticisms of the conduct of the revolutionary government and became so hostile to the U.S. that the government refused to receive or acknowledge the new ambassadors from America, instigating the X,Y,Z Affair, during which the French foreign minister’s agents sought to bribe the American diplomats before negotiations for more amicable relations could even commence.  Feeling that war was certain, and smarting from the Republicans’ criticisms, the Federalists wrote and got passed the Sedition Act, on July 4th, 1798.
Its known and principal victims, all of whom argued that the Sedition Act was a violation of the First Amendment (Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances).  There might have been many more victims, but records from the period are incomplete. The better known, as detailed and described by Charles Slack, were: 

Matthew Lyon, an Irish immigrant and a Democratic-Republican congressman from Vermont. He was the first individual to be placed on trial under the Alien and Sedition Acts He was indicted in 1800 for an essay he had written in the Vermont Journal accusing the administration of "ridiculous pomp, foolish adulation, and selfish avarice." Lyon was always spoiling for a “fight” against the Federalists. He spit on a Federalist political foe, Roger Griswold, on the floor of the House; Griswold retaliated by taking a cane to Lyon. Griswold was not charged with any misconduct. Found guilty of violating the Sedition Act, Lyon was fined $1,000 and sentenced to four months in prison. From inside his jail cell, Lyon won reelection to Congress for Vermont. He later in life moved family, business, and home to Kentucky.

James Thomson Callender, a Scottish citizen and immigrant, had been expelled from Great Britain for his political writings. Living first in Philadelphia, then seeking refuge close by in Virginia, he wrote a book titled The Prospect Before Us (read and approved by Vice President Jefferson before publication) in which he called the Adams administration a "continual tempest of malignant passions" and the President a "repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite and an unprincipled oppressor." Callender, already residing in Virginia and writing for the "Richmond Examiner," was indicted in mid 1800 under the Sedition Act and convicted, fined $200, and sentenced to nine months in jail.

Benjamin Franklin Bache, a grandson of Benjamin Franklin, was a printer and editor of the "Aurora," a Democratic-Republican newspaper. Bache had accused George Washington of incompetence and financial irregularities, and "the blind, bald, crippled, toothless, querulous Adams" of nepotism and monarchical ambition. He was arrested in 1798 under the Sedition Act, but he died of yellow fever before trial. Bache’s widow, Margaret, inherited the “Aurora” and picked up where her late husband left off, excoriating Adams and the Federalists.

Anthony Haswell was an English immigrant and a printer in Vermont. Among other activities, Haswell reprinted parts of the "Aurora," including Bache's claim that the federal government had employed Tories. Haswell was found guilty of seditious libel by judge William Paterson, and sentenced to a two-month imprisonment and a $200 fine.

Luther Baldwin, a river boat man who made his living plying the waters carrying passengers and trade up and down various rivers including the Hudson, was indicted, convicted, and fined $100 for a drunken incident that occurred during a visit by President Adams to Newark, New Jersey. Upon hearing a gun report, fired during an artillery salute during a parade, he yelled "I hope it hit Adams in the arse."

David Brown, in November 1798, led a group in Dedham, Massachusetts, including Benjamin Fairbanks, in setting up a liberty pole with the words, "No Stamp Act, No Sedition Act, No Alien Bills, No Land Tax, downfall to the Tyrants of America; peace and retirement to the President; Long Live the Vice President." Liberty Poles sprouted all over the colonial landscape before and during the Revolution, but the Federalists saw them now as incitements to civil disobedience and sedition. Brown was arrested in Andover, Massachusetts, but because he could not afford the $4,000 bail, he was taken to Salem for trial. Brown was tried in June 1799. Brown pleaded guilty, but Justice Samuel Chase asked him to name others who had assisted him. Brown refused, was fined $480, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison, the most severe sentence ever imposed under the Sedition Act.
John Adams and Benjamin Franklin read and

revise Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence

Thomas Cooper, an associate of Joseph Priestly, the noted scientist who with Cooper moved to America in 1793 to escape persecution in England, was arrested for questioning Adams’s declaration of a “National Day of Humiliation, Fasting, and Prayer.” In a local newspaper he questioned the propriety of the declaration. Cooper was arrested, tried and jailed in Philadelphia by Samuel Chase of the Supreme Court for violating the Sedition Act.

 Writes Slack,

It had been passed “in defiance of the plain and obvious meaning of the words of the constitution.”
…To Cooper freedom of speech had a deeper meaning and purpose than just ensuring open government. At stake was the right to of each individual to his own life, to form his thoughts and express them as he pleased. The most insidious aspect of the Sedition Act, he believed, was its direct transfer of rights from the speaker or writer to a faceless, unaccountable mob. Cooper saw in the law an invitation to tyranny in which unaccountable, ignorant men would pass judgment on “the most elegant writer.” Cooper added, “They may find him guilty of what they do not understand.” (p. 190)

Cooper was reminding his readers that Adams’s declaration was a sign of where religion and rights “should not go,” that there should be a separation of church and state, as expressed in the First Amendment.

Another outspoken enemy of the Sedition Act was Charles Hay, who served as James Callender’s defense attorney, wrote and  published a long essay, An Essay on the Liberty of the Press, and in it offers one of the best intellectual defenses of the freedom of speech of the period.

As Slack writes, Hay’s explication of the Bill of Rights, especially of the First Amendment, in relation to the repressive Sedition Act, “galvanized” the distinction.

“The words, ‘freedom of the press,’ like most other words, have a meaning, a clear, precise, and definite meaning, which the times require, should be unequivocally ascertained,” Hay wrote. “That this has not been done before, is a wonderful and melancholy evidence of the imbecility of the human mind.”

Hay continued: “This argument may be summed up in a few words. The word ‘freedom’ has meaning. It is either absolute, that is exempt from all law, or it is qualified, that is, regulated by law. If it be exempt from the control of law, the Sedition Bill which controls the ‘freedom of the press’ is unconstitutional. But if it is to be regulated by law, the amendment which declares that Congress shall make no law to abridge the freedom of the press, which freedom may however be regulated by law, is the greatest absurdity that ever was conceived by the human mind.”

…Likewise, “if the words freedom of the press, have any meaning at all, they mean the total exemption from any law making any publication whatever criminal,” since the only way to stifle objectionable voices would be to exercise “a power fatal to the liberty of the people.” (pp. 170-172)

Hay does not state it, but he meant by that fatal power: by force.

Clearly something had to be done to silence Matthew Lyon, Bache, Callender, and others. Vice President Jefferson sensed the coming storm, noting in a letter to James Madison, that President Adams “May look to the Sedition bill which has been spoken of, and which may be meant to put the Printing presses under the Imprimatur of the executive. Bache is thought to be a main object of it.” (Jefferson to Madison, May 3, 1798) (pp. 64-65)

Thomas Jefferson, the Republican

enemy of John Adams, a Federalist

One of Jefferson’s first acts as President in 1801 was to grant general pardons to any surviving, jailed victims of the Sedition Act, which expired on March 31st, 1801, “written into it to coincide with Adams’s last day in office,” notes Slack. “The pardon automatically freed the two remaining prisoners who remained in jail: James T. Callender and David Brown.”  (p. 224)

Charles Slack’s opus is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to understand the struggle to defend freedom of speech and of the press over two hundred years ago, and to better grasp how low the press has stooped to ally itself with parties hostile to freedom of speech and of the press.

Liberty’s First Crisis: Adams, Jefferson, and the Misfits Who Saved Free Speech. By Charles Slack. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2015. 340 pp.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Inhuman Islamic “Human Rights”

What are “rights”?

A right is an existential condition that permits an individual to live, act, and speak in ways that promote his existence and happiness as a rational being.

“Rights” as perceived by Islam are privileges conferred on Muslims exclusively by Sharia and Islamic doctrine, and on no one else. “What is inside Sharia is good and permissible, what is outside Sharia is evil and prohibited.”

“Rationality” and “Reason” do not even have the same meanings in Islam that Westerners subscribe to.

The bases of Shariah are four: two are revelatory, coming from Allah, and include the two core sources, the Qur’ān, Islam’s holy book, and the Sunnah (the practice and teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (s)); and two are based in rational endeavor, consensus (ijma) and analogical juristic reasoning (qiyās).

All other quotations are from The Ayn Rand Lexicon, found on, according to subject.

Rand on reason and logic:

The distinguishing characteristic of logic (the art of non-contradictory identification) indicates the nature of the actions (actions of consciousness required to achieve a correct identification) and their goal (knowledge…..

“It’s logical, but logic has nothing to do with reality.” Logic is the art or skill of non-contradictory identification. Logic has a single law, the Law of Identity, and its various corollaries. If logic has nothing to do with reality, it means that the Law of Identity is inapplicable to reality. If so, then: a.) things are not what they are; b.) things can be and not be at the same time, in the same respect, i.e., reality is made up of contradictions. If so, by what means did anyone discover it? By illogical means…..

Reason is man’s only means of grasping reality and of acquiring knowledge—and, therefore, the rejection of reason means that men should act regardless of and/or in contradiction to the facts of reality.

The method which reason employs in this process is logic—and logic is the art of non-contradictory identification.

Sharia and Islam, as a “unified” package of ethics, is based, primarily, on those three old hoary diseases of man’s existence: superstition (the purported existence of a supreme being, in this case, Allah), consensus (so many people believe in Allah, he must exist, beginning with Mohammad), and, emotions or feelings. The latter are not tools of cognition; they are responses to what one observes, that is, when one employs one’s cognitive faculties.

Muslims are not bothered an iota that their “ideal man” is a rapist, a killer, a savage thug. Being a savage thug is a means to an end for the average jihadist: a guarantee of Paradise if he has died in the act of slaughtering the infidel (that is, an individual or group that has “left” the Islamic faith, because Islamic theology proclaims that all men are born Muslim and are obliged to maintain fidelity to Islam).

Sharia Law is blatantly anti-human. It does not exist to further human happiness. It exists to impose guilt and punishment upon the living for living. And for having values not in compliance with Islam’s Sharia. For disobeying Allah’s will.  Contradictions are rife in the Koran, the Sunnah, and the Hadith. But their presence in those documents has not stopped Islam’s religious authorities from holding them up as things to be revered, acknowledged, and adhered to as moral diktats under pain of death if they are not obeyed. If Allah wishes to water the mountain tops, then he will command water to run uphill.
A supplicant's confession of subserviance

Janet Tavakoli in her Gatestone article, Islam’s “Human Rights”  of November 5, stressed the bizarre Islamic notion of “rights:

No intelligent government should impair the right of free speech to placate people who falsely claim they are victims when often they are, in fact, aggressors.

To the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation [now Conference], however, all human rights must first be based on Islamic religious law, Sharia: whatever is inside Sharia is a human right, whatever is outside Sharia is not a human right. [Emphasis mine.]

The rape of non-Muslim women is sanctioned by the Koran. It is seen by Muslims as a form of conquest. In practical terms, German and Swedish women are captives of Muslim “migrants” and can rape non-Muslim women with relative impunity (thanks to the dhimmified judicial systems of those countries) . The “legend” of Mohammad is that he raped captive women (especially if they were Jewish) as a matter of “right.” His followers, to this century, emulate the practice. Thus the spiraling rape statistics in Germany and Sweden, whose governments have, out of altruistic duty, allowed those countries to be swamped beyond control with savages whose sustenance is also subsidized by the subjected populations. ISIS proclaims that if a captive and sex slave Yazidi woman is raped by an ISIS fighter, she automatically becomes a Muslim.

Mā malakat aymānukum ("what your right hands possess", Arabic: ما ملكت أيمانکم‎‎) is a reference in the Qur'an to slaves. The phrase occurs several times, and has been variously translated by Western and Islamic scholars to mean the same thing: captive women can be raped according to Sharia. 

Surah Al-Muminun (23:6) and Surah Al-Maarij (70:30) both, in identical wording, draw a distinction between spouses and "those whom one's right hands possess" (female slaves), saying (literally, "their spouses or what their right hands possess"), while clarifying that sexual intercourse with either is permissible. The purchase of female slaves for sex was lawful from the perspective of Islamic law, and this was the most common motive for the purchase of slaves throughout Islamic history

Tavakoli explicates Islam:

Fundamentalists view Muhammad as the perfect man. Yet Muhammad led violent followers who raped, enslaved war captives, and murdered unbelievers as part of Islam's program to expand. Today that behavior is emulated by Islamic terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Mauritania, Nigeria, to name just a few.

Muhammad had several wives, including a slave given to him as a gift. When he was in his fifties, he asked for a friend's six-year-old daughter and consummated the so-called marriage when the child was nine. Although Muhammad criticized corrupt customs of his Arab contemporaries, he had sex with a girl who was too young to be capable of consent; in the West we call this statutory rape. (Sahih Bukhari volume 5, book 58, number 234)

Referring to Muhammad's life, fundamentalists allow forced marriages of female children in countries including Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, some Gulf States, and Iran.

If fundamentalist Muslim leaders do not understand how flawed this ideology appears to the West, their incomprehension may spring from a fundamentally different view of human rights: To the West, these values are embodied in the Enlightenment -- such as individual freedoms, freedom of thought, disinterested enquiry -- and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that all people, regardless of race religion or gender, have the right to life, liberty personal security, and freedom from slavery torture, and degrading treatment.

It is those Enlightenment values the Muslim Brotherhood works to denigrate and eradicate in its “civilizational” war against the West. It has allies in dhimmi Western governments in control of a nation’s educational establishment. In the U.S., Britain, Germany, Sweden and other countries children are indoctrinated in the “glories” of Islam, forced to perform the Shahada, prayer, complete with rugs, bowing, and gestures, and to mouth the words that Allah is the greatest, and that Mohammad is his prophet.

Many Reformist Muslims claim they are being unfairly lumped into this extremist crew, but if they are claiming a schism, many they often have not been clear about it….

Reformist Muslims still call themselves Muslims, but there can never be a Quran 2.0. Every word in the Quran is believed to be the word of Allah, similar to the Ten Commandments as the direct word of God; no one is able to say that Allah did not mean what Allah reportedly said. Interpretations, however do differ and since 1948 have apparently caused the deaths of 11,000,000 Muslims at the hands of other Muslims.

So one can imagine what might be in store for non-Muslims.

Islam cannot be “reformed” to coexist with Western society. What divides “fundamentalist” Muslims from the Reformist Muslims is an imaginary rainbow, because Islam cannot be tampered with to make it more amenable to civilized society, not without earning the Reformists death fatwas.  

Islam, moreover, seems to have been has been set up to spread it both by violence, "hard jihad," and "soft jihad. " Hard jihad includes terrorism, murder and attempted murder. Soft jihad includes rewriting history as with the UNESCO vote claiming that ancient Biblical monuments such as Rachel's Tomb or the Cave of the Patriarchs are Islamic, when historically Islam did not even exist until the seventh century; migration to widen Islam (hijrah), as we are seeing now in Europe and Turkish threats to flood Germany with migrants; cultural penetration such as promoting Islam in school textbooks or tailoring curricula for "political correctness"; political and educational infiltration, as well as intimidation (soft jihad with the threat of hard jihad just underneath it).

More regrettable is that these are so often done, as at UNESCO, with the help and complicity of the West.

Both hard and soft jihad are how Islam historically has been able to overrun Persia, Turkey, Greece, Southern Spain, Portugal, all of North Africa, and all of Eastern Europe. It is up to us not to let this be done to us again.

Islam has no “extremist” forms. One must ask oneself, from what point in its ideology and practice does it reach an “extremist” apogee? Find a “moderate” form of Islam.  You can’t. Islam is radical in every sense of that term. Its origin was brutal and savage and it would cease to be Islam if its advocates surrendered the ambition to make it dominant and abandoned the use of force. There are no “moderate” fundamentalists. Reformist Muslims want to add the frosting and icing of Western civilized societies to Islam to make it palatable to infidel and Muslim alike. But Islam is Islam.

Given the bloody record of Islam over 14 centuries, the “War on Terror” cannot be but the “War on Islam.” To think of the conflict in milder terms is self-delusional and perilous.  Islam is nothing if not inhuman. It is a system for dying, it is a system that glorifies death.