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In response to a person who wrote:

I’m glad the organizers and presenters of this so called “art show” were fine with sacrificing the lives of police officers and anyone outside the community center while they were inside protected by the first amendment and the Garland TX swat team. Unbelievable that Americans would rather protect hate speech than American lives. I hope that Police officer that was shot sues the American Defense group that hosted this event.

Geller and the AFDI claimed the event was intended to promote free speech. There was, of course, no way they were unaware of the controversy they were courting, either. To the contrary, that was the point. It’s intentionally provocative, baiting, and offensive. As someone who perceives honor as a virtue worth striving for, it’s certainly not my cup of tea, but it is exactly the type of speech that needs protecting if any speech at all does. Polite words don’t need a carapace.

Evelyn Hall’s famous remark about Voltaire is especially relevant here:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

As Jyllands-Posten penned in 2006:

“Free speech is free speech is free speech. There is no ‘but’.”

Nearly a decade later, Jyllands-Posten has changed its tune. In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the paper didn’t reprint any of the offensive imagery. The editorial board explained why:

“We have lived in fear of a terrorist attack for nine years, and yes, that is the explanation why we do not reprint the cartoons… We are also aware that we therefore bow to violence and intimidation.”

Let’s try and extract the subjective cultural and political emotions from this to get at the heart of the moral judgment itself. Consider George Tiller, the conspicuous abortion provider in Kansas who was murdered in 2009 by an anti-abortionist who viewed abortion as tantamount to murder. Tiller was quite involved in the political process–he was one of Kathleen Sebelius’ top donors when she was governor of the state–and quite outspoken about the services he provided.

In other words, his public profile was comparable to Geller’s (who most people hadn’t heard of prior to this week). He could have been clandestine about the line of work that made him rich, but he wasn’t. Terminating pregnancies was his raison d’etre.

So we have a Jewish critic of Islam encouraging people to draw pictures (deemed disrespectful by their simple existence) of the religion’s primary prophet and we have an abortionist providing minors, even if lacking parental consent, with abortions right in the heart of red state America.

Although in the US abortion is, generally speaking, more morally contentious than poking fun at religion (the humiliations Christians have been subject to for decades make slights to Islam such as this pale in comparison), for the sake of argument we’ll say they are both provocative actions that intentionally court controversy of a potentially violent nature. Would you say then that, had Tiller survived his assassination and instead a bystander had been injured, you hope the family of the injured bystander would sue Tiller? Would you accuse him, rather than the shooter, of sacrificing the lives of innocent others?

Extending beyond the morality of the issues at hand, this is yet another example of how Islam and the WEIRDO (Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic, outbred) world are incompatible. Fortunately, there are more than fifty majority Muslim nations that practitioners can go to if they feel that Western societies are too unwelcoming of their practices or too degenerate for them to tolerate.

(Republished from The Audacious Epigone by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Jihadis want to rule the world. They don't want to live in some little corner. They want to kill you and enslave your sons and take your young women.

    No truce.

  2. If we recognize the right of any group to call any speech that they disapprove of "Hate Speech", and tell us that we are not permitted to speak on that account, the First Amendment is over.

    Of course, the Left has never been big on the Bill of Rights anyway, so this attitude of theirs is not surprising. The First Amendment used to be the only part of the bill of rights the Left liked, good to see that they are finally being logically consistent…

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Back in October the Daily News' Linda Stasi wrote about Jewish protests over opera "The Death of Klinghoffer":

    Art isn’t bland happy pictures sold in big-box stores. Art good, bad, and awful is supposed to enrage, encourage, inspire, anger and force conversation. Without that freedom, we may as well be living in a fundamentalist religious state. Oh, wait, is that too controversial to say?

    A few days ago she wrote about Geller's cartoon contests:

    Violence and its ugly brother, violent protest, is the lowest form of human expression and runs counter to what most of the great religious and philosophical prophets, from Jesus to Muhammad to Martin Luther King to Mahatma Gandhi, preached.

    But so is hate-filled propaganda against any one religion. Geller, like ISIS and al Qaeda, revel in hate and nothing would make any of them happier than to be the catalyst for the killing of hundreds of innocent Americans to prove a point. Geller would be a hero to the hateful. Damn the cost in innocent lives, damn the heartache.

    While we have freedom of speech, we also have freedom of religion, which shouldn’t be impinged upon.

    Typical lefty logic: Punching up to Jews is OK, but punching down to Muslims is bad. Hypocrites, all but they're in their own special world, like New Yorker movie critic Pauline Kael in the 1970s:

    I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them.

  4. danielj says: • Website

    As someone who perceives honor as a virtue worth striving for, it's certainly not my cup of tea, but it is exactly the type of speech that needs protecting if any speech at all does. Polite words don't need a carapace.

    What I've been saying for years!

    Only hate speech needs protecting.

  5. Dan says:

    The Bill Gateses and Jeff Bezoses of the world will have to stop being left wing. In the fullness of time the civilization that surrounds them will be threatened. That time is coming quickly.

    Kind of like how crime overwhelmed every major US city around 1990 and then adults (usually Democrats) had to get tough.

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