Journalism Dean: “There are limits to free speech”

January 21, 2015
"Free speech means the freedom to offend."

“Free speech means the freedom to offend.”

It’s a measure of how craven and corrupt our political culture has become that even the Dean of a journalism school in a nation founded on free speech and freedom of the press should say “there are limits, however:”

Charlie Hebdo has gone too far.

In its first publication following the Jan. 7 attack on its Paris office, in which two Muslim gunmen massacred 12 people, the once little-known French satirical news weekly crossed the line that separates free speech from toxic talk.

Charlie Hebdo’s latest depiction of the prophet Mohammed — a repeat of the very action that is thought to have sparked the murderous attack on its office — predictably has given rise to widespread violence in nations with large Muslim populations. Its irreverence of Mohammed once moved the French tabloid to portray him naked in a pornographic pose. In another caricature, it showed Mohammed being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State.

While free speech is one of democracy’s most important pillars, it has its limits.

So says DeWayne Wickham, Dean of the School of Global Journalism and Communication at Wayne State University. In a very limited sense, he’s right: I cannot go yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater (1), for example (2). Nor can I incite to violence by, for example, standing before a crowd and telling them to go now and beat up a certain person or persons.

But that’s it. All other political speech is within bounds, regardless of whom it offends. You cannot have a free society unless the it includes the right to freely criticize those in authority — and not just criticize, but to satirize and mock, too. If I as a Catholic want to question Original Sin and the need for Divine Grace, or that Jesus was not Divine until adopted by God, then the Church might well denounce me as a heretic and excommunicate me, but the law cannot punish me for my beliefs, nor should I fear physical violence. If I want to be truly outrageous and place the Crucifix in a beaker of urine, I would be a jackass, but I still should not have to fear either legal sanction nor physical violence.

And the same is true of any religion. If I want to question Muhammad’s status as a prophet, or even if he existed at all; if I want to argue that his earliest biography shows he was a bandit, a warlord, and a torturer; and if I want to criticize Sharia, Islam’s divine law, for calling for the execution of homosexuals, that is my right as a free man — even if I want to draw questionably funny satirical cartoons.

This is the right of any human being and well-within the “limits” of free speech.

Let’s be honest. It’s not a regard for the proper limits of free speech that motivates Mr. Wickham. If he or one of his students offended some Amish who then complained, I’m willing to bet he’d be on his soapbox screaming about “free speech” and “freedom of the press.”

And that leads us to the truth. Amish might shun you. Catholics won’t invite you to Bingo Night. A Buddhist would probably just decide you’re an annoying illusion and don’t really exist.

But all too many Muslims would be quite willing to kill you for insulting their Muhammad. Just ask the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo, or Theo van Gogh.

The limit to Dean Wickham’s freedom of speech is his fear of punishment, and thus he is not free at all.

via Michael Walsh

Footnote:
(1) Popehat points out the serious flaws with that particular justification for censorship.
(2) When it’s not true, that is.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Dear God. That lackwit John Kerry really did take James Taylor to Paris.

January 16, 2015
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

I used to think our national dignity couldn’t sink any lower, nor our embarrassment get any worse, after our foray into “hashtag diplomacy.”

I was wrong:

After enduring a firestorm of criticism for failing to send a high-ranking official to last Sunday’s massive anti-terror rally in France, Secretary of State John Kerry finally made it to Paris on Thursday — where he immediately cemented his reputation as an international laughing-stock.

In perhaps the most pathetic diplomatic apology ever enacted without actually saying “I’m sorry,” Kerry offered a “big hug” to a room full of survivors, family members and first responders involved in the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

And then he trotted out James Taylor, looking on proudly as the 70s-era guitarist serenading the shell-shocked survivors with a soulful rendition of “You’ve Got a Friend.”

I… I… I’ve got nothing. There are no words to describe how monumentally stupid and farcical a move this was. It’s bad enough that we didn’t send any high-ranking official to the rally in Paris, but then to compound our mistake by trotting out a 70s retread singer to lead everyone in a group therapy session? Nearly a score of people were massacred by Muslims waging jihad against everything we stand for, and this buffoon thinks the right response from the Western World’s leading nation is to relive the Summer of Love? Forget “incompetence.” John Kerry should be impeached for humiliating us.

France lies bleeding, and we offer it… a song.

We’ve become an international joke.

RELATED: Leslie Gelb is right: If we’re to get through the next two years without experiencing  major disaster, Obama has to fire everyone. Starting with the James Taylor groupie at Foggy Bottom.


Breaking: Paris massacre caused by shape-shifting Jews looking to frame Muslims

January 13, 2015

 

satire tinfoilhat conspiracy

But, of course:

He also called the Paris terrorist attacks “un complot,” or conspiracy, and launched into a lengthy explanation of the “magical Jews” behind it. They were not ordinary Jews, he said, but a “hybrid race of shape shifters” who have extraordinary abilities. “They know how to get in everywhere,” he said. “They are master manipulators.”

Oh, those wacky Jews! I wish I had their cool powers!

Bearing in mind that this Great Thinker is also a self-confessed drug-dealer,we might be inclined to write his theory off as the ravings of a nut-job. And, in fact I wouldn’t be surprised to learn he’s been sampling his own wares a bit too much.

However, it’s also true that Arab Islamic society loves conspiracy theories, since it lets the believer take the role of the victim and avoid facing the real pathologies (self-)afflicting his or her world. For example, did you know Jews can cause earthquakes, or that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are works of science?  And this is not a recent development: Jew-hatred is common in the Qur’an, Islam’s foundational text. As the late Sheikh Tantawi, former Grand Mufti of Egypt and head of al-Azhar university (in other words, a deep scholar of Islam) wrote:

[The] Qur’an describes the Jews with their own particular degenerate characteristics, i.e. killing the prophets of Allah, corrupting His words by putting them in the wrong places, consuming the people’s wealth frivolously, refusal to distance themselves from the evil they do, and other ugly characteristics caused by their deep-rooted lasciviousness…only a minority of the Jews keep their word….[A]ll Jews are not the same. The good ones become Muslims, the bad ones do not. (Qur’an 3:113)

You can read the rest in a long, but worthwhile dissertation on Islamic antisemitism here, or just buy the book. With thousands of years of tradition and orthodox theology lending their approval, is it any wonder it’s so easy to blame the Jews for anything, no matter how nutty?

Even when killers shout “Allahu akbar!” and “We have avenged The Prophet!” or train with al-Qaeda in Yemen.

via Susan L. M. Goldberg

PS: Yes, I know we have our own conspiracy nuts. Try searching “fire can’t melt steel” sometime. But, thankfully, these freaks are far less common here, though still dang annoying. In the Arab Islamic societies of the Middle East, on the other hand…


Sensitivity 101: how to react during an Islamic massacre

January 9, 2015

(In light of recent events in France, I thought this appropriate to re-post. )

Andrew Klavan brings us another in his series of public-service educational videos, this time to let us know how we should behave when Muslims go nuts over a perceived slight and kill a bunch of people — how do we stop it and keep it from happening again?

The answer is simple, my friends: we give up our principles. Enjoy the lesson.


#JeSuisCharlie — the massacre in Paris and freedom of speech

January 7, 2015
Fatwa this!

Fatwa this!

You’ve probably heard the awful news from France this morning:

Shouting “God is great” in Arabic, masked gunmen stormed the offices of a French satirical magazine Wednesday, killing 12 people including the magazine’s editor, his bodyguard and a prominent cartoonist.

Police said two or three hooded attackers armed with at least one Kalashnikov rifle and pump-action shotgun infiltrated the building near the Bastille monument around 11:40 a.m. local time and opened fire on a staff meeting at the magazine Charlie Hebdo. The weekly publication has published controversial depictions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad that angered Muslims around the world.

The gunmen went to the second- and third-floor editorial offices and attacked journalists and then fled, authorities said. The men were reported to have spoken earlier in fluent, unaccented French as they entered the building.

Let’s be clear, Charlie Hebdo‘s only “crime” was to publish satirical pictures of Islam’s founder, Muhammad. For this exercise of the natural right of all human beings to speak their mind, a dozen civilians and two cops had to die, murdered by brave knights of Allah sociopathic jihadi scumbags waging jihad fi sabil Allah. This mass-murder was terrorism pure and simple. It was meant not only to punish Charlie Hebdo and its employees, but to tell the rest of us to shut up — or else.

It was an attack not just on freedom of speech, but the very idea of human liberty and the worth of the individual by religious fanatics determined that we should all be slaves to Allah and second-class citizens under Islam’s totalitarian and degrading Sharia law.

This was another atrocity in the war of barbarism against civilization. Not a “clash of civilizations,” Islamic versus Western, because there is nothing civilized about life under Sharia, which is inseparable from Islam. Under Sharia, to mock Muhammad is blasphemy, and blasphemy is punishable by death. Just as Muhammad had the poet Ka’b bin al-Ashraf assassinated for mocking him, and as Muhammad’s deeds stand as a shining example for all mankind for all time (al-insan al-kamil  see 1.C), so the jihadis felt justified by religious duty to massacre a bunch of satirists and office workers.

Over some cartoons.

This is my reply:

muhammad jyllandsposten_censor2

…and…

Muhammad jyllandsposten_virgins2

…and…

Muhammad jyllandsposten_crescent

Images courtesy of Zombie, at whose gallery you can see more. And yes, death threats were made over these, too.

RELATED: More from the scene via Claire Berlinski. From John Schindler: Parisian Terror: Will Europe Finally Wake Up?