Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Monday, May 4, 2015

Even Hate Speech is Protected Speech

So, there was a little "Draw Muhammed" free-speech thing held by Muslim-hater Pam Geller, and featuring Geert Wilders, so, really, what could go wrong?

Uh, what one might expect if one was impressed with the furor over the Jyllands-Posten cartoons and the fatwa against Lars Wilks, or the fairly recent Charlie Hebdo massacre?  There was a shooting, but a security guard was shot non-fatally, and both the suspects were killed. And this is a shitty thing to happen, but as outcomes go, it certainly could have been worse.

You know, I had been trying to work in a Charlie Hebdo post regarding the PEN Awards abstainers. It's not that I give a fig about whether Charlie Hebdo had great satire or good cartoonists, it's just that I don't think it makes sense to slag people when several of their number actually died, having even received threats, for doing the kind of commentary they believed in and which was understood by people who "got" the joke as actually anti-racist.

I don't celebrate Pam Geller's Muhammed to-do the same way. I think she is unnecessarily incendiary in her rhetoric, and I think she provokes.

Which still doesn't mean I condone a shoot-out as the answer to her rhetoric. I deplore the kind of single-minded dope who just added legitimacy to her rhetoric, by once again highlighting how some speech is deemed punishable by death by intolerant Islamists. (And yet, I can imagine even a similar event, where the threat of a distortion of the image of Jesus might at least garner death threats. Single-mindedness in the service of faith isn't any one creed's bugbear.) But would it not be much better to let the speech go, so as not to make Geller and her coterie able to claim martyrdom-status?

I believe in free speech. I think armed assault is not free speech, but terrorism. I can excuse one, even if I disagree with it. I can not condone the other. Shoot your mouth off all you like--just not guns and bombs.


Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, as you might imagine, my view is a little different.

My perception is that when a free speech advocacy group was threatened and intimidated by radical Islamic opinion, they countered with an art festival. A contest to see who could come up with the best depiction of Mohammed. Radical Islam could have responded as Christians did with Piss Jesus – a lot of pejorative opinion, but no violence.

Islamic terrorists decided to attack the citizens at this event with the intention of killing them.

Valiant police officers protected the intended victims by engaging the tangos and killing them.

Justice was served. If there is anything to take away from this, my hope is that Islamic terrorists will begin to realize that there are some parts of the country that do not simply roll over and acquiesce because you threaten them.

I have it on good authority that if you want to kill a lot of Texans, you had better bring your A game.

Shirt said...

Being non-religious, because insanity does not run in my family, Freedom of speech requires you to stand up for what you say, not let another take the bullet for you.

And Mr. Amherst, if I wanted to kill a lot of Texans (and I don't -- their mindlessness is sorta cute) I'd just open a fertilizer plant in Dallas.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

But would it not be much better to let the speech go, so as not to make Geller and her coterie able to claim martyrdom-status?

The problem is that it's martyrdom-by-proxy. The guy who actually got shot was just a poor working stiff who was trying to pay the rent.

Of course, I blame the two jihad-assholes who did the shooting, but Pammiecakes was never personally in danger.

Vixen Strangely said...

My perception is that when a free speech advocacy group was threatened and intimidated by radical Islamic opinion, they countered with an art festival.

I have a little familiarity with the "Let's draw Muhammad" thing as a blogger who used to be a bit more of a militant atheist than I am these days. There is an intent to insult because of the knowledge that it is a sore point for believers in Islam. And yes--it is stupid and murderous and against everything this country should stand for that someone thinks shooting people for even dumb or irreverent speech is a reasonable action.

I don't hesitate to call the people who did this act Islamic extremists and terrorists, and give them no intellectual quarter--but what I hold in reserve is that as a "free speech advocate", Geller is a little betrayed by her guest, Geert Wilders' opinion that the Koran and headscarves should be banned, and her own desire to see the practice of the religion of Islam banned.

Her inability to recognize, as a recent flap regarding posters she wanted pasted up in the NY transit system that equated Hamas, ISIS, and CAIR, displays--that not all Muslims are extremists, has been evident for a long time. Dean Obeidallah has written a fair call out of her for The Daily Beast. I think it fit that they dopes who tried to shoot up this convention in Garland TX (some respect for not messing with TX--except the whole Jade Helm business, and, um, Louie Gohmert--because, really?) were taken down before they could do greater mischief is fit, but I will be damned if I offer plaudits to Geller for an event that she paid $10K to see to it was very secure and has been on the "Let's do more of this thing" circuit since.

I have to agree with BBBB--Geller is going to benefit from this event though she knew she herself wasn't in personal danger, and will use this event to keep trolling. It doesn't make it right that anyone would physically attack her for it, but she is the kind of asshole who claimed once that President Obama is the lovechild of Malcolm X. I can't really take her seriously because a person has to have a special kind of contempt of the truth to use her "freedom of speech" the way she has.

Formerly Amherst said...

Hi Vixen, clearly you know more about the history of Pamela Geller than I do. I entirely appreciate that your feelings about her are based on occurrences before this recent event. And hell, maybe you're right about her. Perhaps her motives are not pure (as if today anyone's motives are pure). So I think I get it.

However, when we come to this latest event, my view is that everything is completely justified. Whatever reservations about Pamela Geller as soon as the bullets start flying, her intentions pretty much become a moot point.

So I can understand that she may have her own political agenda. But there were a lot of people who could have been killed by these murderers. The curious, people who simply wanted to win the contest, dates of people attending, people with kids at home and/or elderly relatives to support, who all gathered in a completely Constitutionally valid exercise of their free speech. So while I can understand the reservations held about Geller, I see nothing wrong in America with free speech being exercised. I thank God that the killers got what they deserved.

Frankly, I thought we should have suspended all immigration from the Middle East after 9/11. Now we have sleeper cells waiting to be activated, we have Muslims gaining political power in some Congressional districts, people wanting to impose sharia in the United States, honor killings, female mutilations, on and on. And I ask myself, why do our politicians keep visiting these frightening problems on us? Then I'm reminded, it's the Kali Yuga.