From Donald Douglas:
A particularly odious comparison at today’s Los Angeles Times front-page, claiming moral equivalence between Pamela Geller and the Islamic jihadists who attempted a Charlie Hebdo attack in Texas.
I tweeted the photo of the piece this morning, and here’s the online article, “Texas attack refocuses attention on fine line between free speech and hate speech“:
— Donald Douglas (@AmPowerBlog) May 5, 2015
Pamela Geller is a 56-year-old Jewish arch-conservative from New York, a vehement critic of radical Islam who organized a provocative $10,000 cartoon contest in this placid Dallas suburb designed to caricature the prophet Muhammad.
Elton Simpson was a 30-year-old aspiring Islamic militant from Phoenix who fantasized to an FBI informant about “doing the martyrdom operations” in Somalia and was convicted in 2010 of lying to the FBI about his plans to travel to the volatile eastern African nation.
Their lives intersected Sunday in this small town in north-central Texas, an unlikely venue for a violent collision of cultures. After a Sunday evening shootout outside the contest site between police and Simpson and another man firing assault rifles, both gunmen lay dead in the street. And Geller quickly posted a defiant blog: “This is a war on free speech. … Are we going to surrender to these monsters?”
The Texas showdown was America’s Charlie Hebdo moment, erupting just four months after gunmen shot and killed 12 people at the Paris offices of the satirical newspaper that had published cartoons of the prophet considered blasphemous by many Muslims. The Garland attack refocused public attention on the fine line between free speech and hate speech in the ideological struggle between radical Islam and the West.
So, the editors of The Los Angeles Times understood enough about freedom of speech to draw the comparison to the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris — you know: the ones where the leaders of every liberal democracy in the world attended a free speech rally except President Barack Hussein Obama — but somehow, some way, just couldn’t understand that there is no “fine line between free speech and hate speech.” Speech is speech, and freedom of speech means absolutely nothing if it is limited only to speech to which no one has any objection.1
The cartoon contest was organized by Geller as a rallying point for cartoonists and conservatives united in their belief that verbal attacks on radical Islam are a form of free speech.
Did you note that: it is somehow “their belief” that criticizing Islam, “verbal attacks on radical Islam,” are part of the freedom of speech. One wonders what the editors of the Times would say if Christians objected to atheist propaganda or tried to shoot people who advocated same-sex “marriage.”
OK, that’s a lie: no one really wonders what the editors’ response would be. They would be aghast, because freedom of speech is only for the left; as William F Buckley once noted, “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”
Geller has posted bus ads and billboards condemning Islam. In 2010, the same year the FBI was investigating Simpson’s vows to fight “kafirs,” or nonbelievers, Geller cofounded American Freedom Defense Initiative, also known as Stop Islamization of America. The organization, considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, hosted the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon contest, offering $10,000 for the best cartoon of the prophet.
I asked yesterday, on Twitter:
— Dana Pico (@Dana_TFSJ) May 6, 2015
I think it would be an honor to be listed as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center!
It was not so very long ago that I was in college, at the University of Kentucky, and it were the left who were so very, very adamant that freedom of speech was an absolute, that the First Amendment meant that anybody could say whatever he wished, and that was protected by the law. The “Free Speech Movement” began with campus protests at the University of California at Berkeley. But today it is the left which objects to the freedom of speech, the left including Hillary Clinton, who would pass a constitutional amendment to limit the freedom of speech on the very subject which concerned the Framers the most, political speech.“We know the risks,” Geller wrote in a blog promoting the event. “This event will require massive security.”
Still more at that top link.
As Pamela always says, “truth is the new hate speech.”
Actually, there’s no such thing as hate speech. As the FIRE notes, ““Hate speech” is not a category of speech recognized under current constitutional law. It is merely a convenient way to pigeonhole speech that some people find offensive.”
Yeah, well, Muslims and regressive leftists don’t like being called out with the truth. Hence, as soon as shots rang out virtually the entire media establishment and the left’s terror-enablers blamed Pamela for the attack. It’s an enormous perversion of reality, but this is the nature of the war we’re in. Obviously, the reporters at the Times are down with a sick moral equivalence that smears a freedom fighter who calls Islam for what it is — a political ideology seeking to eliminate all opposition, using any means necessary, including murderous jihad. Ironically, our mass media overlords truly believe that genuinely speaking your mind, quoting the words of the jihadists themselves, and courageously standing up for your right to do it, is extremism. It is, according to the Times, exactly the same as launching an armed attack on peaceful citizens attending a political convention about drawing cartoons. It’s so absurd it’s to die for.
Is Pamela Gellar’s speech offensive? At least to some people, yup, it sure is.2 Then again, I find some of what Amanda Marcotte writes to be offensive, but I wouldn’t try to use the power of government to shut down what she says, nor urge that someone shoot her; her speech should be responded to solely with other speech, criticizing what she says, and mocking her.3 I find almost everything that Hillary Clinton says to be offensive, but I would not use the power of government to shut her up, nor suggest that someone ought to shoot her. To me, the freedom of speech is, and ought to be, an absolute: the government ought not have any power to regulate speech, or the press, or religion, exactly as the First Amendment specifies.
What has led to such a change? I’d say that a large part of it is due to the fact that the left have lost control of the media of publication. It wasn’t so very long ago that professional media gatekeepers had the power to decide what would and would not be published, what would and would not be heard beyond the sound of the speakers’ voices. Rush Limbaugh broke that with the national success of his show on talk radio, and it wasn’t long after that that the internet allowed other voices to self-publish, inexpensively or without any costs at all.4 Having lost their gatekeeping functions, the left seek to impose some form of control on what conservatives can say through other means; it hasn’t worked out well for them.
Now they are trying the “hate speech” meme, hoping that such will prevent some people from listening to speech that the left cannot simply prohibit outright. But, for the left, “hate speech” is really uncomfortable speech, speech which challenges what they think simply must be good and right and true, but is speech which they cannot refute, and they’d rather stick their collective fingers in their ears and yell “hate speech!” rather than have to do the harder work of examining what is said and disproving it . . . or accepting what they cannot disprove.
- Your Editor did ban one very frequent commenter for individual attacks on other commenters, but I did not restrict his freedom of speech; I simply decided that I would no longer publish his personal attacks on this site. His personal site, Bridging the Gap, which The First Street Journal actually sponsors, remains open, and Perry is free to write whatever he wishes there, though it appears that he hasn’t chosen to actually say anything there since December 13, 2014. ↩
- Your Editor is not one of those offended by what she says or believes. ↩
- Miss Marcotte has blocked me from following or viewing her tweets; it appears that she does not appreciate my criticisms. ↩
- This site is inexpensive, less than $200 per year, while Dr Douglas’ site, on blogger.com, is actually free. Of course, we still have to pay for internet access. ↩