Dutch Cowardice on Protecting Free Speech: The Case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum has a terrifically fierce op/ed ripping the spinelessness of the Dutch government in the face of Islamist threats against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. A former Dutch parliamentarian, Ali was put under police protection in 2002 when she was threatened by Islamists for her criticisms of how women were treated in the immigrant Muslim community. In 2004, Theo van Gogh, the Dutch film maker with whom Ali worked on a movie portraying the oppression of Muslim women, was murdered by an Islamist fanatic. The murderer thrust a knife bearing a note threatening Ali into van Gogh's chest.

Now the Dutch government wants to end Ali's police protection. Why? Applebaum writes:

The reasons given were financial, but there was clearly more to it. To put it bluntly, many in Holland find her too loud, too public in her condemnation of radical Islam. She doesn't sound conciliatory, in the modern continental fashion. Compare her description of Islam as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" with the German judge who, citing the Koran, in January told a Muslim woman trying to obtain a divorce from her violent husband that she should have "expected" her husband to deploy the corporal punishment his religion approves. Hirsi Ali herself says she is often told, in so many words, that she's "brought her problems on herself." Now the Dutch prime minister openly says he wants her to deal with them alone.

Even more shocking to me was the fact that some of her Dutch neighbors...

...went to court ... to have her evicted from her home (they claimed the security threat posed by her presence impinged upon their human rights).

I would be proud to have her as a neighbor. She can move in next door to me any time.

Applebaum concludes:

Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech.

Whole column here.

Heads up: If you had subscribed to Reason you could already have read an excellent interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the current issue.

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  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ronald Bailey,

    She lives in the U.S., correct?

  • ||

    SofS: Yes. Apparently somewhere in the DC area, so maybe she is a neighbor.

    As Applebaum further notes, Ali is still a Dutch citizen and the Brits have not caviled at the cost of protecting Salman Rushdie.

  • ed||

    I fully support her right to be heard and her courage for speaking out against radical religion, especially against a sect that has proven so willing to use violence as a means to an end. But does that alone warrant lifetime protection by the state?

  • Ashish George||

    Why should the Dutch government provide extra protection for any one citizen? The Dutch have created the conditions for Hirsi Ali to voice her opinions, and that is all that should be expected of them. Or to put it in more libertarian terms: It is unjust to ask citizens to provide the resources and funds to give extra protection to individual citizens unless those citizens are under living in danger because of services they provide the community (witnesses who testify against the mob, for example).

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ron Bailey,

    She wants to become an American citizen, correct?

  • zero||

    What do you expect from the same people that rolled over for the Nazis?

    /nothing intellectual to add
    //dutch

  • ||

    Why can't the Dutch be more freedom loving..

    Like the Brits http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7030096.stm

    A British teen has been brought up on terror charges for possessing a copy of the Anarchist's Cookbook

  • ||

    ed: IMHO everyone's free speech deserves lifetime protection by the state. And if some are more threatened than others, then they obviously merit more protection.\

    I also note that during the infamous Danish cartoon crisis, Flemming Rose, editor of the Jyllands-Posten was moved by his government with his police protection to the U.S. for several months. See my colleague Michael Moynihan's excellent interview with Rose here.

  • excimer||

    ashish,

    So you're saying it's unjust, say, for citizens to be expected to pay for the costs of protecting a woman and her children from her homicidal ex? I am thinking that death threats, threats which left another person dead as a "warning," constitute a reasonable justification for police protection. I don't mind paying for that.

  • ||

    I am not calling anyone's bravery into question, but it's worth each of us asking ourselves just how courageous we would be if we thought that something we said would provoke fanatics into threatening our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

  • ||

    So you're saying it's unjust, say, for citizens to be expected to pay for the costs of protecting a woman and her children from her homicidal ex?

    So does the US provide a personal security detail for everyone who has been threatened with death for some reason or another? Or do they merely provide restraining orders that allow the police to arrest that person if that person violates the terms of the court order? And how are those court order enforced? By someone keeping guard around the clock??
    hmmmmm

    Last I checked, most people who are being threatened with death don't get a personal security detail.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ron Bailey,

    Depends on whether one is a consequentialist or not.

  • ||

    And just to finish my thought.
    ...just how courageous we would be if we thought that something we said would provoke fanatics into threatening our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Especially if we believed our government and its agents would not protect us from those fanatics.

  • Ashish George||

    Hirsi Ali lied on her asylum application, so she hasn't exactly become entitled to even the normal protections of Dutch citizenship through immaculate means. That doesn't mean she doesn't deserve to be protected against violence, but it does make this snide talk of Dutch cowardice ring a little hollow when the Dutch have been more forgiving of her untruthfulness than they perhaps should have been.

    By the way, I realize that she has had some very traumatic experiences in her life, but Hirsi Ali comes across like a mix between Victor David Hanson and Michelle Malkin in her interview with Reason. Not exactly a libertarian poster child, that one.

  • ||

    So, Ron Bailey, are you saying that freedom of speech includes the right to have taxes forcibly extracted from citizens to pay for extremely expensive measures for the rest of your life protecting you from the consequences of that free speech?

    Shouldn't a writer for a libertarian website applaud a statist government for easing off a bit on the level of government spending?

    Maybe Ali should just buy herself some guns?

    Oh, right, she lives in DC.

  • Jesse Walker||

    She lives in the U.S., correct?

    I thought she just moved back to the Netherlands.

  • Episiarch||

    If you want to speak out and piss certain people off, you have that right, but don't expect the rest of us to pay for your protection. Buy some guns or hire some guards. I doubt she is poor.

    Oh, right, she lives in DC.

    True, but since she is not a peasant like the rest of us (she was in the Dutch government, after all), I would think she could get some Federal permits or the like.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Jesse Walker,

    *shrug*

    Dunno.

  • ||

    I am not calling anyone's bravery into question, but it's worth each of us asking ourselves just how courageous we would be if we thought that something we said would provoke fanatics into threatening our lives and the lives of our loved ones.



    I was working in a bookstore when Salman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" came out. We were the only bookstore in a major metropolitan city that sold the book the first few weeks it was out. We had copies proudly on display in the windows, and the sold out faster than we could open the boxes they came in. While never directly threatened, some in the radical Muslim community did call for extending the threatened violence to the booksellers.

  • ||

    Jesse: According to the Applebaum column Ali's back in the U.S. See also this interesting Dutch blogpost which also says she returned here.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ashish George,

    Care to elaborate?

  • ||

    Ron,
    Would you support police protection for a neo-Nazi? Free speech != costless speech. Lots of people say controversial things, but I don't think that Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern or Don Imus deserve round the clock protection if they piss off fanatics.

    excimer,
    Women terrorized by a homicidal ex do not get lifetime round the clock police protection. If they get any round the clock protection, it's for a limited amount of time, like when the threat is "imminent".

    Ashish,
    The irony of the lie on her asylum application is that she advocated immediate deportation of immigrants found to have lied on said applications.

  • ||

    prolefeed: The chief point of government is protect us (and our property) from the aggression of others. And yes, taxes pay for this protection.

  • ||

    If you want to speak out and piss certain people off, you have that right, but don't expect the rest of us to pay for your protection. Buy some guns or hire some guards. I doubt she is poor.

    Protecting one's freedom of speech or any other right falls directly into acceptable use of government force in this libertarian opinion. But then in my opinion far too many libertarians feel that the most imporant issue at stake are taxes.

  • dhex||

    By the way, I realize that she has had some very traumatic experiences in her life, but Hirsi Ali comes across like a mix between Victor David Hanson and Michelle Malkin in her interview with Reason. Not exactly a libertarian poster child, that one.

    that's basically the sense i got from it as well. i cringed a few times.

    hell, though, at least she hasn't murdered anyone.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Was Ali the individual who debated Avi Lewis a month or so ago?

  • ||

    So does the US provide a personal security detail for everyone who has been threatened with death for some reason or another?

    It is worth noting that Ayaan's colleague Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered on the streets of Amsterdam, with a note affixed to his chest (with a large carving knife) saying that she was next. There are, of course, degrees of seriousness here. So a "detail for everyone" ever threatened would be absurd. But to not provide protection to Hirsi Ali would be deeply irresponsible.

  • thoreau||

    I also agree with Ashish George. She has some good points informed by experience, but then she goes batshit crazy and paints more than a billion people with a very broad brush. She's railing against a collectivist mentality, but by refusing to draw any distinctions between different members of a group she makes the same error.

    Plus, she has the zeal of a convert.

  • ||

    Why should the Dutch government provide extra protection for any one citizen?

    Protection against violence and coercion is one of the few legitimate functions of the state.

    Anyone suggesting that it is unjust for a citizen that has been publicly identified as a target of violence (via a note driven into a colleagues chest with a knife) to be given any particular protection is either (1) a drooling idiot or (2) a troll (and not of the amusing Urkobold sort).

  • thoreau||

    a troll (and not of the amusing Urkobold sort).

    Anybody who wants protection should kneel before General Zod and ask for protection.

  • ||

    As for the analogy with a restraining order--I'm curious on whom does one think the police should serve it, Osama bin Laden perhaps?

    thoreau: So you disagree with her (as do I on some points). But I'm pretty sure that you're not planning on knifing her.

  • ||

    It is worth noting that Ayaan's colleague Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered on the streets of Amsterdam, with a note affixed to his chest (with a large carving knife) saying that she was next. There are, of course, degrees of seriousness here. So a "detail for everyone" ever threatened would be absurd. But to not provide protection to Hirsi Ali would be deeply irresponsible.

    What about a woman whose husband has a history of violence and physical abuse against her and gets threatened with death when trying to break up with that man. Clearly there is a similar degree of serisouness of the threat. Yet most women who are threatened by their mates do not get a security detail.

    It is worth noting there that there are quite a large number of people who have a very high "degree of seriousness" to the threats they receive that don't even get considered for the types of protection being advocated for this woman. What exactly is so much more compelling about her when compared to countless others who have been killed by their threateners (is that a word?) ?

    Oh I get it now. It's because she was speaking up against scary Muslims. That entitles her to more protection then the average citizen, apparently.

  • ||

    Anyone suggesting that it is unjust for a citizen that has been publicly identified as a target of violence (via a note driven into a colleagues chest with a knife) to be given any particular protection is either (1) a drooling idiot or (2) a troll (and not of the amusing Urkobold sort).

    Just so that we are clear -- is it that the threat came in the form of a knife in the chest of another that entitles one to a personal security detail, or is the public identification as a potential target of violence. If its the latter, then there must be tons of drooling idiots in our law enforcement and courts because most of these people do not get security details

  • thoreau||

    Ron-

    Oh, I'm definitely opposed to violence against her. And since she faces a very credible threat, I'd say that protection for her is a legitimate use of police resources.

    As to whether the Dutch or US should provide the police resources when she's in the US, well, I don't know what the custom is for foreign nationals facing this sort of threat. Especially if that foreign national is seeking a change of citizenship (as was alleged in this thread). And if that foreign national obtained her previous citizenship under complicated circumstances, that may complicate the issue of which country is responsible for her. OTOH, if she was a public official in her previous country, that may also change things.

    So, at the risk of sounding like Cathy Young, it seems like a complicated matter to sort out which police service bears responsibility here. I think it's better to treat this as a matter of jurisdiction rather than a matter of cowardice.

  • ||

    What about a woman whose husband has a history of violence and physical abuse against her and gets threatened with death when trying to break up with that man. Clearly there is a similar degree of serisouness of the threat. Yet most women who are threatened by their mates do not get a security detail.

    So you feel that police defeciencies in handling of domesctic abuse cases are best served by ignoring credible threats from other 'non-domestic' offenders?

  • ||

    on this very narrow issue: "Especially if we believed our government and its agents would not protect us from those fanatics."

    I don't believe my government will protect me from anybody. Hasn't the Supreme Court affirmed that it doesn't have to? That the purpose of the "justice system" is to arrest people for crimes?

  • thoreau||

    Then again, if the people most likely to attack her are in the Netherlands, and she's here, it's not clear how much protection she needs while here.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    In general whether someone merits this sort of protection would depend on factors like the seriousness of threat (which by itself includes a number of factors), the ability of the individual to pay for private security, etc.

  • ||

    You know, I think I see a market opportunity here.

    Someone should invent a mechanical device that would be small and light enough that one could carry it on their person.

    Said device, in addition to being capable of being easily carried should also allow one to defend themselves from one or more attackers out to a distance of, oh, say, fifty yards.

    That way, there would really be no need for the state to hire guards to follow Ayaan around all the time, ensuring her safety while billing the taxpayers for the privilege.

    Now, if only some smarty-pants engineering type could get to work designing the device I sketched out above.

  • ||

    Ron Bailey -- I understand your point, and for the sake of argument we'll ignore for the moment that I'm a borderline anarcho-capitalist who thinks police protection should be privatized via the equivalent of an insurance policy with a private protective service. And yes, her life is in more danger because of what she chose to say.

    My life is in more danger because of a huge lump of metastatic melanoma that I had removed. Am I entitled to have the state pay for protective medical treatment because I'm at higher risk than others? Why should security protection be any different from medical care (or housing, or food, or ...)? Why should the government run it, when the private sector can do so as well or better?

    Reminds me of the scene from "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress", where the political rabble start demanding more and more "free" stuff as a "right".

    Weird deal -- the staff on a libertarian website are less libertarian than most of the commenters on their post.

  • ||

    So you feel that police defeciencies in handling of domesctic abuse cases are best served by ignoring credible threats from other 'non-domestic' offenders?


    No I feel that the limited resources of the police should be allocated in the fairest way possible rather than prioritizing certain people who hold the "correct" political beliefs/positions. This woman deserves the exact same level of protection that a victim of domestic abuse would have. No More, No Less.

    You want to tell me why she deserves better than what normal people would get?

    Should a Neo-Nazi get a police detail if he is exercising his free speech rights and in turn drawing death threats? If not, why not?

  • thoreau||

    Weird deal -- the staff on a libertarian website are less libertarian than most of the commenters on their post.

    Drink!

  • ||

    "Yet most women who are threatened by their mates do not get a security detail."

    correct

    "So you feel that police defeciencies in handling of domesctic abuse cases are best served by ignoring credible threats from other 'non-domestic' offenders?"

    it's not a deficiency. it's simply not their JOB. there is also (at least one) SCOTUS case that says cops have no duty to any individual (unless a special relationship has been established) to protect them from danger.


    "don't believe my government will protect me from anybody. Hasn't the Supreme Court affirmed that it doesn't have to? "

    yes. unless a special relationship is established (endless case law about this i won't get into)

    fwiw, there is a woman in oregon right now who is suing because she cannot carry concealed at work (school teacher) because her workplace bans it (note there is no state law prohibiting her from carrying on campus).

    there was also a woman nearby where i live (UW) whose husband came on campus, walked into her office and shot and killed her. of course, she considered him a threat, campus police knew about it blah blah blah. but did she get a ccw and a gun? of course not

    any person's first line of defense is their own self.

    it amazes me (not really) that the same feminists who (frankly overstate, but that's another story) wail about domestic violence and violence towards women are so adamantly opposed to concealed (or open) carry.

  • ||

    Weird deal -- the staff on a libertarian website are less libertarian than most of the commenters on their post.

    It's not weird once you figure out the dynamic.

    It's more important for some staffers to be anti-Islam than to be pro-libertarianism or anti-government intervention.

  • ||

    Should a Neo-Nazi get a police detail if he is exercising his free speech rights and in turn drawing death threats? If not, why not?

    YES

  • ||

    Weird deal -- the staff on a libertarian website are less libertarian than most of the commenters on their post.

    Hurray, lets get into the, 'I'm more libertarian then you' contest again.

  • ||

    Should a Neo-Nazi get a police detail if he is exercising his free speech rights and in turn drawing death threats? If not, why not?

    YES



    So every crank with an opinion enough that might evoke threats by others deserves a private security detail? Really? Wow.

    As someone who would potentially be paying for all these security details, no thanks. Feel free to set up a private fund or something, though.

  • thoreau||

    It depends on the credibility of the threat. If there is good reason to believe that somebody is actually preparing to engage in violence against a person who exercised his free speech rights (even odious speech), then sure, protect him.

    OTOH, real world experience shows that 99.999% of hate mail, even threatening hate mail, is never acted on. So if the guy just got hate mail, I'd say it's not worth a security detail.

  • ||

    The story I read (sorry, don't remember where) said she went back BECAUSE they were revoking her security detail because the Dutch government would not pay for it while she was living abroad. She is apparently living in hiding in the Netherlands, with protection I believe. I can certainly see the Dutch government's reluctance to provide security for someone who no longer lives in their country.

  • Episiarch||

    Seeing as the police have no obligation to protect you from Jack shit (and Jack left town), I don't see why a connected, probably wealthy ex-politician considering asylum claims can't provide for her own defense.

    I mean, even if you are for police protection for anybody threatened, doesn't a poor domestic abuse victim need it more than Ali?

  • ||

    found it.

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gKV_xMslgvBj2p15LuiTBvtdBFewD8S3AFFO0

  • ||

    So every crank with an opinion enough that might evoke threats by others deserves a private security detail? Really? Wow.

    As someone who would potentially be paying for all these security details, no thanks. Feel free to set up a private fund or something, though.


    Oh fuck, of course, its the taxes thing again.

    We have information that a this abortion clinic is about to be pipe bombed? So? Set up a fund. They brought it on them selves.

    Those neo-nazis are gonna string up that black-man? Who cares, im not paying for his security detail...

    Right?

    I mean battered wifes dont get the protection, no else should either.

  • Syloson of Samos||

  • Syloson of Samos||

    val,

    We have information that a this abortion clinic is about to be pipe bombed?

    I don't know if this is a very good analogy.

  • ||

    We have information that a this abortion clinic is about to be pipe bombed? So? Set up a fund. They brought it on them selves.

    The distinction here, I think, is that having the state act to stop something that is 'likely' or 'imminent' is not the same as having the state act on a 'possibility'.

  • ||

    Oh fuck, of course, its the taxes thing again.

    It's not just the taxes. It's not even feasible to assign a personal security detail to everyone who does something to elicit threats from others. There aren't enough police/security personnel to do that.


    We have information that a this abortion clinic is about to be pipe bombed? So? Set up a fund. They brought it on them selves.

    Talk about being purposely obtuse and dishonest.

    No one, NO ONE is advocating not acting on information that someone is planning on committing a specific crime against a specific person.

    But what you seem to be saying is that any crank who elicits death threats deserves a security detail.

    Last I checked there have been plenty of abortion clinics that have been bombed -- so by your logic every abortion clinic that has received a threat should have a security detail. Yet this doesn't happen. Why is that, hmmm??

  • ||

    val,

    We have information that a this abortion clinic is about to be pipe bombed?

    I don't know if this is a very good analogy.


    Are you making fun of my awsome grammar?

    Or is there a reason its not a good analogy? Do you mean because more then one person are now in danger its different? Or does the threat seem more credible, so its different?

    The distinction here, I think, is that having the state act to stop something that is 'likely' or 'imminent' is not the same as having the state act on a 'possibility'.


    Right, so it is a matter of likeliness and credibility? Maybe the threats against Ali were more credible then you are privy to?

  • ||

    The distinction here, I think, is that having the state act to stop something that is 'likely' or 'imminent' is not the same as having the state act on a 'possibility'.

    val apparently doesn't care about distinctions.

    All threats are apparently equal and deserving of a personal detail.

    A personal security detail for all.

  • ||

    Right, so it is a matter of likeliness and credibility? Maybe the threats against Ali were more credible then you are privy to?

    Or maybe they are not and that is why the gov't decided to pull security?

    No that can't be it. It must be some other reason. It must be because the government is in bed with Freedom Hating Terror Loving Islamists.

  • Episiarch||

    Right, so it is a matter of likeliness and credibility? Maybe the threats against Ali were more credible then you are privy to?

    Doubtful. The threat is basically "some Muslim dude might come out of left field and whack you". It's too vague to do anything about--that's why certain people like making death threats. They scare the shit out of the recipient and make their life hell, all with the tiniest bit of work: a phone call or letter.

    For the assholes who make such threats, it's a great bargain. But it doesn't mean we should foot the bill. If she takes it seriously, buy guns, alarms, and security.

  • ||

    It's not just the taxes. It's not even feasible to assign a personal security detail to everyone who does something to elicit threats from others. There aren't enough police/security personnel to do that.

    Ali would be a high-pofile target, that is why the threats against her are more credible then random quacks. Killing her would send a very loud message. I suppose if you treat a death threat, attached to a bloody corpse of her colleague, the same as any any other hate mail, then I have nothing else to add.

    P.S. Tom you are being obtuse by implying that anyone that disagrees with you is a racist and Islamophobe. Have you read Ali's interview in this month's Reason? She almost mentions you by name

  • ||

    I admire Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and certainly hope she doesn't get killed.

    But it is odd to read American conservatives and libertarians (and whatever Hitchens is) criticizing a western European country for *not* providing millions per year in social services, cradle to the grave, to one of its citizens.

  • ||

    Jonathan and S of S: On the eviction, the Washington Post has another take from May 2006 on Ali's neighbors here. To wit:

    ... Ms. Hirsi Ali was evicted from her apartment by a Dutch court last month: Her neighbors brought a lawsuit against her on the grounds that her outspokenness was violating their "human rights" by exposing them to a terrorist attack.

    Being exposed to a possible terrorist attack could, of course, be more nicely phrased as "burdened by her security arrangements." In any case, I suspect their motives were mixed, but still not even modestly courageous.

  • Former Muslim||

    The Dutch realized that Hirsi Ali has become a huge liability. Her hateful racist views haven't solved anything..on the contrary they have created more tensions in the Netherlands...mosques have been burned down in Holland for the first time, Islamic schools have been attacked and of course the Muslim-Dutch community has suffered most.

    It looks like the editors of the Reason Magazine are waiting for Muslim death camps to be built to speak up (or to cheer).

    Since I am an atheist (and a former Muslim who is pround of his heritage), I only hope that an Alien force comes save my people (1.3 billions) from the neo-Nazis that you are.

  • thoreau||

    It looks like the editors of the Reason Magazine are waiting for Muslim death camps to be built to speak up (or to cheer).

    Actually, they're too busy trying to find market-based solutions to all the CO2 put out by the strawman you're burning.

  • ||

    thoreau:

    Thanks. :-)

  • ||

    "The Dutch realized that Hirsi Ali has become a huge liability. Her hateful racist views haven't solved anything.."

    What does "liability" mean here? I'm pretty sure what you're saying is that her speech incites people who feel violence is an appropriate response to speech, so everyone is afraid. Who is the problem again?

    It is intolerable for any person or group to opt for violence or threats in response to speech. Coddling that view will only lead to more misery.

  • ||

    Should a Neo-Nazi get a police detail if he is exercising his free speech rights and in turn drawing death threats? If not, why not?

    When the pathetic marching moron Nazis march, police protection during the march is a given. Why? The potential for violence is huge at these constitutionaly protected events.

    The distinction here, I think, is that having the state act to stop something that is 'likely' or 'imminent' is not the same as having the state act on a 'possibility'.

    Theo van Gogh's lifeless body pretty much satisfies the likely caveat. Imminent? Apparently the Dutch are determined to get an answer that question.

  • Former Muslim||

    thoreau:

    "Actually, they're too busy trying to find market-based solutions to all the CO2 put out by the strawman you're burning."

    Wit set aside, which you seems good at, please stop buring your head in the sand.

  • ||

    Which race is Ayaan Hirsi Ali racist against?

  • ||

    P.S. Tom you are being obtuse by implying that anyone that disagrees with you is a racist and Islamophobe. Have you read Ali's interview in this month's Reason? She almost mentions you by name

    val I am implying nothing of the sort. I am merely inferring that the reason some people believe she deserves more protection than the average person would have is because of the political opinions she espouses.

    It just seems to me that Baily and Moynihan
    have different standards of what the government should do to protect the right kinds of thinkers.

    I don't think anyone is a racist - So fuck you and your bullshit accusations.

    When the pathetic marching moron Nazis march, police protection during the march is a given. Why? The potential for violence is huge at these constitutionaly protected events.

    Do those marchers then get a police escort home and have cops watching their house around the clock? Because that actually would be relevant to the discussion at hand.

  • ||

    Libertarians should set up a fund to pay for her security. So what if her native state failed to protect her rights, it could be arranged otherwise.

  • ||

    Theo van Gogh's lifeless body pretty much satisfies the likely caveat. Imminent? Apparently the Dutch are determined to get an answer that question.

    So again I have to ask.

    Abortion clinics have in fact been bombed, as well as abortion performing doctors. That means that an abortion clinic being bombed/abortion performing physician being killed is "likely". So the state should be providing round the clock security to every abortion clinic and every abortion performing physician that has received a threat, right?

    That is an example of the logical conclusion of your point, is it not?

  • ||

    That means that an abortion clinic being bombed/abortion performing physician being killed is "likely".So the state should be providing round the clock security to every abortion clinic and every abortion performing physician that has received a threat, right?


    Yes, as soon as we're aware which one it is. We know somebody is going to get killed in a robbery tonight. Who? In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's case we have that information.

  • ||

    You do see the logical difference there. Don't you?

  • thoreau||

    Tom-

    If an abortion clinic bomber says "I'll do it again" but doesn't specify a target, it's hard to argue that any clinic in particular is especially deserving of a police detail. It would be better to devote scarce resources to finding the bomber. But if a bomber leaves a note specifying the address of his next target, that's very specific threat by a person with demonstrated willingness and capability. Protecting that target would be a worthwhile use of scarce resources (although they should still devote most of their resources to just plain finding the guy).

  • thoreau||

    Regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I will agree that her speech is hardly helpful. But there's a big difference between unhelpful speech and speech undeserving of protection. As unhelpful as her speech is, the people who would kill her are by far a bigger problem.

    The best solution to the problem of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's speech is more speech. The best solution to the people who would kill her is a jail cell. See the difference?

  • ||

    Weird deal -- the staff on a libertarian website are less libertarian than most of the commenters on their post.

    Hurray, lets get into the, 'I'm more libertarian then you' contest again.


    My bad. Didn't realize that sort of free speech was taboo here. But, in the interest of not sidetracking an unusually interesting debate, I'll apologize for my inadvertent faux pas.

    Do I need to get a gun now to protect me from people peeved at my violation of the unspoken social contract here?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ron Bailey,

    In any case, I suspect their motives were mixed, but still not even modestly courageous.

    Hypothetical:

    Say one of the folks who lives around has a couple of children and they moved there long before Ali moved there. Now say they feared that attacks on Ali might inadvertantly harm one or a number of their children. What exactly is a parent to do in that situation?

  • ||

    It's not just the taxes.

    Val, arguing that the thugs running our government taking our money without our consent isn't important, that it's JUST money and not something really important, that it's OK to violate our economic liberties so long as we protect our social liberties, leads to having neither.

    Yes, I feel sorry for the woman in this case being threatened by a thug. I feel sorry for everyone everywhere suffering in any way. Do I conclude from this that we need to have a really large government confiscating most of what we earn to hand out a few goodies to the most politically favored people suffering in any way as cover for other, more wasteful and/or nefarious schemes?

    *run standard video clip of joe jumping up and down here, going "ooh, ooh, I vote yes -- see you at the polls!"

  • iih||

    I also agree with Ashish George. She has some good points informed by experience, but then she goes batshit crazy and paints more than a billion people with a very broad brush. She's railing against a collectivist mentality, but by refusing to draw any distinctions between different members of a group she makes the same error.

    Very well put, thoreau. I disagree on most of the things Ali has to say. I actually do believe that she is either (a) very ignorant person given too much attention by virtue of her (horrible) personal experience (I can find the experiences of at 3,000,000 American Muslims who see no conflict between being American and being Muslim -- may be they ought to be heard too), or (b) willfully dishonest (she did lie on her asylum paperwork, and was legislating anti-immigration laws, as someone pointed out above).

    I usually give her the benefit of the doubt and assume that she's ignorant and is violently reacting to a tumultuous childhood experience. But that is besides the point.

    Does she deserve to be protected? Yes. May be more than others, given her unique situation.

    But why the government? She does have some very powerful and wealthy friends at the AEI. Why don't they pay for her security? They brought here anyways, right? May be she ought to open a bank for donations. I'd be the first to donate for her protection (and I am not being sarcastic).

  • ||

    Yes, as soon as we're aware which one it is. We know somebody is going to get killed in a robbery tonight. Who? In Ayaan Hirsi Ali's case we have that information.

    Protecting that target would be a worthwhile use of scarce resources (although they should still devote most of their resources to just plain finding the guy).

    To what ends? Do these people get 24 hour security details forever?


    Further, let's look at the hypotheticals.

    If whoever bombed an abortion clinic leaves a message: "And I'm gonna keep bombing abortion clinics in my state/county/city/whatever until abortion is outlawed" he is in fact specifying his target? Maybe not the specific clinic, but chances are if we don't protect them all he will go after the one without protection.

    What about women who are threatened by their husbands/lovers/boyfriends if they try to leave them. Very specific, no? Meets the "likelihood" threshold, no?
    Yet they wouldn't get 24 hour security, would they?

    So I guess I don't see why this one lady is so much more significant than countless others who don't have the means to protect themselves. What is the difference between her and someone whose lover has a history of violence and is making pointed threats?

    There are many likely threats that occur in the world where targets are specified. Should every instance get a personal security detail provided by the government? I don't think so. I think this is a job for bodyguards and a private security detail.

  • iih||

    JasonL:

    What does "liability" mean here? I'm pretty sure what you're saying is that her speech incites people who feel violence is an appropriate response to speech, so everyone is afraid. Who is the problem again?

    I see her hateful speech as a source for fueling more hate towards ordinary Muslims (the majority of them). While some Muslims respond violently (but in very pointed ways against specific targets), which is absolutely barbaric and criminal, some ignorant non-Muslims (also few of them) in the West often respond by systematic profiling, racism, and hate towards all Muslims in a collectivist way.

    Her speech (which I know is not an accurate description of the realities of Islam and Muslims, part of which is the criminal jihadist-type mentality, which is only part of the whole and certainly not the whole) does hurt ordinary people like myself by misrepresenting what ordinary Muslims stand for. Her absolutist collectivist opinions are very dangerous. She is free to say what she wants (and I will protect her right to do so), but I have the right to say with the loudest of my voice in saying that she is either a liar or an ignorant.

  • ||

    S of S: You write:


    Hypothetical:

    Say one of the folks who lives around has a couple of children and they moved there long before Ali moved there. Now say they feared that attacks on Ali might inadvertantly harm one or a number of their children. What exactly is a parent to do in that situation?
    \

    So hypothetically it is better to teach them to be cowards? To allow bullies to win? May I suggest that will make their children neither secure nor free in the long run?

  • ||

    She paints with an awfully broad brush, but that's forgivable. I think having her fun-bits cut off may have made her a bit bitter.

  • ||

    Heads up: If you had subscribed to Reason you could already have read an excellent interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali in the current issue.

    I subscribed to Reason and have yet to see an issue! Where are you, my love? Where?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ron Bailey,

    So hypothetically it is better to teach them to be cowards?

    It is not necessarily a cowardly act. I don't have enough facts to draw any conclusion on the issue.

    To allow bullies to win?

    How did the bullies win again? Because she no longer lives in one particular presumably mutli-family housing complex in the Netherlands?

    Then again, I'm not going to sit on my rather safe perch here and snipe at people I've never met.

    May I suggest that will make their children neither secure nor free in the long run?

    How breathlessly did you write that?

  • stuartl||

    If whoever bombed an abortion clinic leaves a message: "And I'm gonna keep bombing abortion clinics in my state/county/city/whatever until abortion is outlawed" he is in fact specifying his target? Maybe not the specific clinic, but chances are if we don't protect them all he will go after the one without protection.

    Depending on the credibility of the threat, the police are likely to keep a closer eye on the local clinics.

    We now pretty much have a permanent police presence at schools, even without specific threats.

  • iih||

    Ron Bailey:

    Why doesn't reason interview a Muslim sometime? You know people on the other side of the story (above I suggested at least of 3,000,000 of them right here in America).

    But on a more serious note, there are those who actually do not believe in a clash of civilizations, or the elimination of one over the other (e.g., OBL and Ali as she states in her recent reason interview), but a clash of extremists like Ali, Steyn and their ilk, on one side, and OBL and Ahmadinajad and their ilk on the other.

    reason did interview Imad A. Ahmed here. How about this guy?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Anyway, whatever the merits of Ali's remarks, the threats against her should be taken seriously.

  • iih||

    S of S:

    Anyway, whatever the merits of Ali's remarks, the threats against her should be taken seriously.

    Most certainly.

    But, if I may, threats to the sense of security of peaceful Muslims should also be taken seriously. One only needs to listen to right-wing talk radio to understand why some Muslims are worried about the anti-Muslim rhetoric (surveillance of Muslims, watching your Muslim neighbors, not trusting Muslims, etc -- listen to Jay Severin or Michael Graham in Boston, among others.)

    I am disturbed by Ali saying something like "we are at war with Islam" or when asked about defeating radical Islam, she answers "[n]o. Islam, period." (both and more are from the recent reason interview.

  • ||

    Syloson,

    It's pointless. In Baileyworld, people who don't want to pay for embryonic stem cell research are murderers and people who don't want to pay for 24/7 security for some moonbat are cowards.

    I would find it interesting that Mr Bailey hasn't responded to ChicagoTom's excellent arguments, but I've too much experience arguing with Ron to be surprised.

  • ||

    I am not calling anyone's bravery into question

    Well, except for her neighbors, right Ron?

    but it's worth each of us asking ourselves just how courageous we would be if we thought that something we said would provoke fanatics into threatening our lives and the lives of our loved ones.

    This woman isn't exactly communicating her ideas in the most diplomatic way possible, Ron. Discretion is the better part of valor, so I'm not sure I'd file her actions in the "courage" folder.

    While I support free speech as much as anyone else here, I'm not interested in subsidizing anyone's speech. As ChicagoTom points out, if we were talking about neo-Nazis getting threatened, if you're going to be consistent you should support lifetime security details for them as well. Otherwise, it would seem that you're advocating for special treatment for a speaker who tickles your fancy.

  • iih||

    crimethink:

    And you really have to read about her views in reason to see why even peaceful Muslims are alarmed by her propositions.

    For example:
    "we are at war with Islam."

    When asked about defeating radical Islam, she answers "[n]o. Islam, period."

    She says: "There comes a moment when you crush your enemy." (Referring to Islam, not radical Islam). Bakel then asks: "Militarily?", she responds: "In all forms, and if you don't do that, then you have to live with the consequence of being crushed."

    Then there is her proposition to close all Muslim schools.

    She suggests that the Bill of Rights and Constitution are infallible in defense of asking for closing all Muslim schools.

    When asked if she met any American Muslims while here, she simply says that she did not have time to meet any. But still she's for closing all Muslim schools.

    I have a lot of trouble with her views (and still believe she has every right to her free speech). She should also be protected, because if a radical Muslim hurts her, it is the ordinary peaceful Muslims who end having to live with the consequences in the public discourse. But I think that she should be protected by contributions from private donors (and I'd be more than happy to contribute, as I am sure her AEI friends would want to do, too).

  • iih||

    Correction:

    She suggests that the Bill of Rights and Constitution are not infallible in defense of asking for closing all Muslim schools.

  • thoreau||

    Hmm, I'm open to arguments that we should give greater priority to protecting people from politically motivated violence, on the grounds that such violence can spiral out of control and cause greater problems than other forms of violence.

    I'm not convinced, but I'm open to considering the possibility. Of course, this could quickly take us into hate crimes territory, and I'm generally uncomfortable with punishing one malicious and violent act more severely than another malicious and violent act, just because one such act was motivated by personal animosity while another had an ideological component.

    OTOH, punishments and protective details are different matters.

    Anyway, I'm not convinced of this, but I'm open to the possibility. Anybody care to argue pro or con?

  • ||

    thoreau,

    Also, there's the sticky details of what "politically motivated" means in practice. ChicagoTom's thought experiment of the neo-Nazis is a good one. Would violent threats in response to their speech count as politically motivated? Or does that label only apply to people who are threatened for expressing more mainstream positions..in which case, you're on shaky 1st Amendment ground, since denial of protection based on content could amount to selective chilling of speech.

  • thoreau||

    crimethink-

    That's a good point. Politically motivated violence against an unsympathetic member of a small and unsympathetic group would probably not lead to a larger conflagration...unless you had reason to believe that retaliation was nonetheless likely.

    But is the threat of retaliation then a form of blackmail to receive special treatment by police?

    Hmm...

    I guess I'm leaning toward the position that scarce resources should be prioritized based on the likelihood of the threat being carried out, regardless of who the target is. And since resources are fairly scarce, a protective detail should be a rare occurence.

  • thoreau||

    As I think about it more, I realize that if you can assess a very, very high probability of a threat being acted upon then you probably already know quite a bit about the person issuing the threat. Once you know that, it makes more sense to just arrest the person and charge him or her with making violent threats and be done with it.

  • iih||

    thoreau, crimethink:

    If one wants to make very controversial comments, then one has to consider the risks involved. If willing to take the risks, may be arm yourself to the teeth, or hire someone to do that, and either case not paid by the public (it was not the public that made the controversial speech). If someone attacks her, then that person committed a crime and has to be prosecuted according to the rule of law. Simple.

  • iih||

    ... or, to continue my point, that person can decide to fight against a perceived evil the smart way diligently, one step at a time, protecting yourself and promoting your sense of security, and with time eliminate the perceived evil.

  • Mad Max||

    Although I'm open to persuasion, I think it would be more consistent with sound principle and limited budgets (neither of which the Dutch care much about, by the way) would require that people facing these sorts of threats should get weapons and self-defense training from the government, not a permanent police detail.

    If the Dutch gave Ali and her friends a few of Uzis and showed her them to use them, I would understanding of them not giving her a permanent police detail - although I note that many politicians get such details, and in the U.S. even retired Presidents have Secret Service tagging along with them everywhere. Ali is, I understand, a former member of the Dutch Parliament.

    I wonder whether the Prime Minister of Holland relies solely on private protective services to safeguard himself (herself?) and family.

    I'd also be interested in what would happen if some fascist or militant atheist terrorist group issued threats against some radical imam who preached war against "infidels." Would the organized Muslim community say that the imam had brough it on himself, and didn't deserve police protection?

  • ||

    Im still very confused about the argument that she lacks tact and her speech offends? What does that have to do with anything?

    iih, she offends you so she doesnt deserve protection, but if someone was being polite and diplomatic and was still threatened then they do deserve protection? Are you then the one to deside whats polite and what offends?

    If she kept the 'war on islam' remarks to herself, but kept going with close down all Islamic schools, is that less offensive? Does she deserve protection yet? What if she says war only on 'radical Islam', will you then weigh what is correctly considered radical vs orthodox and then decide if she is worth protecting. iih, as far as I can see, your argument revolves strictly around the content of Ali's message.

    But why the government? She does have some very powerful and wealthy friends at the AEI. Why don't they pay for her security? They brought here anyways, right? May be she ought to open a bank for donations. I'd be the first to donate for her protection (and I am not being sarcastic).

    WTF? for real? it should be her friends that should pay for her security? And if she cant afford it and her friends arent willing to pay? So then all poor people should just STFU? I guess I can afford about one day of security detail, maybe two. So thats the only time Im alowed to open my mouth and offend people, eh?, otherwise to bad for me and the knife in my chest, I brought it on myself.

    It is said often but apparently not often enough, inoffensive speech does not need your protection.

    And you seriously feel that the only way to for police to address this, is acting only after an act of violence is commited not before?

    Should we do away with all security detail then? Secret service for the president? Why is W, Clinton, Obama, Paul etc.... any more deserving of protection the Ali?

    P.S. In the intreview Ali specificaly says that she feel American muslims are much better intergrated then their European conterparts.

  • iih||

    iih, she offends you so she doesnt deserve protection

    val, this is a mis-characterization of the point I make above. I am certainly not saying that she does not deserve protection because she offends Muslims. In fact, I said that I am willing to pay from my personal money to help fund her security system.

    I am appalled however at the double standard. Clearly most (if not all, including myself) people on this thread are unhappy about the fact that her free speech is under attack by violent extremists.

    However, she clearly says pretty crazy stuff from a libertarian point of view: Battle Islam? Close schools? Militarily fight Islam (not ideologically, but militarily!)? She's will to do away with the first amendment, freedom of association and the Bill of Rights! I did not see many people (certainly not Ron Bailey) concerned about these preposterous statements. What if a Muslim extremist said: "Her speech should be shunned!" Isn't clearly anti-libertarian?

    So when I posted these quotes from the article I was not trying to say that she should not be protected because I find her offensive, I was just trying to highlight the double standard committed by both Ali, and some of the posters (including Ron Bailey).

    Would you agree with me on this?


    Should we do away with all security detail then? Secret service for the president? Why is W, Clinton, Obama, Paul etc.... any more deserving of protection the Ali?


    I can only say that these are public figures, not to be confused with private citizens. By the way, the first secret service was established in 1901, 125 years without presidential secret service.

    But, I admit, you are right police does of course have a role in protecting citizens.

    So I guess, I was a bit carried away. I would have no problem with her being under police protection, but as ChicagoTom points out above, there are many people who are under the threat of violence, so?

    P.S. In the intreview Ali specificaly says that she feel American muslims are much better intergrated then their European conterparts.

    Read it carefully, she adds by saying "Of course, being assimilated doesn't necessarily mean that you won't be a jihadist, but the likelihood of Muslims turning radical here seems lower than Europe."

    I am fine with that statement except for the fact that being assimilated (which by definition means you are pretty much American), you are very prone to being a jihadist. Simply put, a Muslim may seem assimilated, but don't be fool, his/her jihadist inner self may turn on any moment.

    If she had said some un-assimilated may turn jihadist, I would have no problem with that statement.

  • iih||

    I guess, each one of us is more sensitive to certain aspects of the same story. Most here do not seem to see the danger of her talk. Most (including myself) see her as a symbol of free speech. But, I, from my unique perspective as a Muslim (especially in light of world events and the vulnerability here in the West), would be more sensitive to Ali's preposterous propositions than most others on this thread and in the public figure in general. When Bush uttered the word "crusade" a few years ago, my jaws dropped instantly, but it took a while until the damage was noted by the general public.

  • ||

    thoreau wrote:

    "Regarding Ayaan Hirsi Ali, I will agree that her speech is hardly helpful."

    Calling her hate filled speech "hardly helpful" is not only an understatement, it is an endorsement on your part.

    Most of you here refuse to recognize the dangers of such speech when it is directed exclusively towards an easily recognisable minority which ultimately becomes threatened with verbal abuse, discrimination, racism and sometimes violence.

    But of course you do not care about any of this since I am sure most of you have no Muslim family members, or Muslim friends.

    The right to critic a religion or a belief is not the issue here. Islam was not born yesterday, it has been more 1400 years.

    Stop treating "Freedom of Speech" like a sacred religious commandment that no human being on this planet can challenge or regulate in some way. The majority (if not all) of Western countries regulate speech including the United States. It amazes me how some in America believe they and only they hold the truth over what "Freedom of Speech" ought to be. I mean really. You'd think God spoke to Jefferson in person and handed him the golden tablets.

    When hate speech violates social justice and promotes social discrimination against a minority that is not able to counter-balance the assault on its most vulnerable members, it becomes a problem and any civilized reasonable person should condemn it.

  • iih||

    Former Muslim:

    Most here will staunchly disagree with this:

    Stop treating "Freedom of Speech" like a sacred religious commandment that no human being on this planet can challenge or regulate in some way. The majority (if not all) of Western countries regulate speech including the United States.

    But I hope that commenters do not get distracted by this from the other points that Former Muslim and myself make regarding the double standard, and the other anti-libertarian implications of Ali's speech.

  • ||

    Crimethink: First, I have comprehensively responded to your arguments that stem cells are babies. I even came to Rochester to spoke for more than hour on Liberation Biology and where were you? Anyway, what sort of argument would ever persuade you that that stem cells aren't babies? Devise a soul meter for testing its ethereal presence or absence in embryos?

    Anyway, I haven't responded to Chicago Tom's arguments because other people have been doing so nicely. In any case, I would have thought that it would go without saying that I believe that a neo-Nazi deserves round the clock police protection if he faces a credible threat of deadly violence. Although must admit that I am curious about when was the last time a neo-Nazi was murdered by an irate leftwinger in the U.S.?

    Former Muslim: Without going into all the arguments, freedom of speech is pretty much the moral equivalent of "sacred" for me. I'm generally against speech codes, free speech zones, bans on pornography, hate speech laws, state secret laws and so forth.

  • iih||

    Ron: Nothing for me? What do you think of my post at 11:48? I think that there is a clear double standard (though Bakel was quite critical in the original article, and I thank him and reason for that). You could have given a one-liner highlighting the problems with the anti-libertarian collectivist statements she makes.

  • ||

    Mad Max:

    "I'd also be interested in what would happen if some fascist or militant atheist terrorist group issued threats against some radical imam who preached war against "infidels."

    It depends on who is the majority and who is the minority and how easily the minority is recognisable.

    By the way, the use of "infidel" is getting old.

  • iih||

    some radical imam who preached war against "infidels."

    Correct me if I am mistaken, isn't incitement of violence, hate, and threatening others a crime? If yes, not only does the imam not deserve protection, he should be arrested.

  • ||

    Ron wrote:

    "Although must admit that I am curious about when was the last time a neo-Nazi was murdered by an irate leftwinger in the U.S.?"

    Wrong parallel. The classic neo-Nazis are a small minority by which the majority does not feel threatened in any way. Even the neo-Nazis don't feel insecure as a minority because they can blend in society (they are also white).

    The right parallel that most of you refuse to consider are the LA riots. While there are no longer any public denigrations or dehumanizations of blacks in the US, the incident in LA was serious enough to trigger the riots against the "white order".

  • thoreau||

    First, I must completely disagree with this:
    Stop treating "Freedom of Speech" like a sacred religious commandment that no human being on this planet can challenge or regulate in some way.

    I completely disagree. Our freedom of speech is the best tool we have for combating the bigotry of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the fanatics who would kill her, and numerous other ideologues of every sort.

    Second, it was suggested that when I referred to her speech as "hardly helpful" my understatement was some sort of complicity in her venom. I did not intend it that way.

    Third, others suggested that by critiquing her speech we are downplaying the violent threats against her, or implying that the threats are somehow partly her fault, or something. So we're getting it from both sides. (Cathy Young takes a drink! :) I can't speak for everybody in this thread who has criticized her, but I saw nothing wrong with veering a bit from the original topic (violent threats against her) to a tangent (what she says).

    Finally, on the issue of protective details: I think most of us in this thread (including ChicagoTom, who has been critical of such details) would agree with the principle that the state should not tolerate violence against her. The practical (as opposed to principled) issue is how best to allocate scarce security resources. I am open to being persuaded that the threat against her, at least when she's on US soil, is not so clear that she merits round-the-clock use of scarce police resources. I've gone back and forth on that issue in this thread, and ultimately it depends on just how credible and immediate the threat is while she's on US soil.

    There's no principled way to resolve that matter, it all depends on the threat assessment. Now, some might say that we can't afford to take chances. My answer is that when resources are scarce the cop who's protecting her is a cop who isn't protecting somebody else. Risks have to be accepted at some level, based on how credible and immediate the threat is.

  • ||

    Stop treating "Freedom of Speech" like a sacred religious commandment that no human being on this planet can challenge or regulate in some way. The majority (if not all) of Western countries regulate speech including the United States.

    eegad man this is how you plan to convince people on a libertarian board, by attacking libertarian first principles (and I would imagine 99.99% of libertarians consider free speech a fundamental first principle), and saying that we might as well ignore them because some governments regulate it?

    My rights are not granted to me by either god or government, they are mine to begin with, the role of government is to protect those rights not to decide which rights it will choose in its infinite wisdom to bestow upon me, else it becomes and oppresive government. And yes I realize that there are variying dregrees of opression, and if you are regular here, the topics most often revolve around rights trampled and/or ignored...

  • JMR||

    Ayaan was interviewed by Dennis Prager in March and it was replayed a couple weeks ago (mp3 here)

  • iih||

    val:

    You, Ron, and, to a far less extent, thoreau have decided to hide behind Former Muslim's weakest/poorest statement. I predicted that in my comment at 12:06. I told you so, Former Muslim!

    val and Ron, do you mind responding to the rest of my and Former Muslim's arguments (especially mine)?

  • ||

    There's no principled way to resolve that matter, it all depends on the threat assessment. Now, some might say that we can't afford to take chances. My answer is that when resources are scarce the cop who's protecting her is a cop who isn't protecting somebody else. Risks have to be accepted at some level, based on how credible and immediate the threat is.

    Completely agree, if anyone on this thread has insider information as to the veracity of the threats against her then we can have an objective discussion.

    However, this thread quickly degenrated to 'Oh I get it now. It's because she was speaking up against scary Muslims. That entitles her to more protection then the average citizen, apparently.', which was about nothing else but the content of the message.

    And yes she does sound like a bigot at times. Which really has nothing to do with wether she deserves any more or any less protection.

    BTW: no one here feels that her work on opression of women is a positive worth of note?

  • thoreau||

    iih-

    I have very few good things to say about her. The main (but not sole) topic of this thread has been violent threats against her, so I've focused on that. And then a poster in this thread got the crazy idea that he could be persuasive on a libertarian forum by arguing against the principle of free speech, and we couldn't let that pass.

    I haven't followed Ayaan Hirsi Ali closely, but I did read the interview in the recent print issue of Reason, and I think she's fucking nuts. She fits in perfectly with AEI, since she's clearly itching for WWIII, or WWIV, or WWV, or whatever the AEI people think the next big war will be.

    Is that strong enough condemnation for you?

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Ron,

    First, I have comprehensively responded to your arguments that stem cells are babies.

    Did crimethink claim that they were babies? I don't recall that being his claim.

    You say you disagree with Ali in a number of areas. Can you tell us something about that? Furthermore, what makes the interview that you point "excellent?"

  • iih||

    thoreau:

    Is that strong enough condemnation for you?

    You are not the problem. I was hoping to here back from Ron or val (both responded after my post, but neither cared to respond to me. "Former Muslim" was either just worthy of responding to (unlike this "Muslim"), or they found his little bit about "regulation of speech" easy to address. (Actually, now, I am just provoking Ron to respond, sorry if I sound offensive, but I am a bit mad at the lack of responsiveness).

    Either way, what saddens me is that my favorite forum and my now most favorite and intellectually interesting magazine are so bent on not doing justice to the whole Islam/Muslim "issue". I have seen very little positivity in reporting about Islam and Muslims here. I am disturbed by the lack of balance on this issue.

  • iih||

    In fairness, reason did interview one Muslim (in July 2003!). See last line in my comment at 8:38.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    val,

    Don't know much about her.

    I am more familiar with the writing, etc. of Irshad Manji. I recommend them.

  • Mad Max||

    "some radical imam who preached war against 'infidels.'

    "Correct me if I am mistaken, isn't incitement of violence, hate, and threatening others a crime? If yes, not only does the imam not deserve protection, he should be arrested."

    iih,

    The answer to your question is "yes and no." The U.S. Supreme Court, in its infinite wisdom, says that a person can be prosecuted for a speech which incites to violence only if the speech urges, and is likely to produce, "imminent lawless action." That was in a case where a Ku Kluxer gave a speech advocating "revengeance" against alleged enemies of the white race.

    Therefore, if some imam got prosecuted for preaching murder, he would argue that the violence he was urging wasn't sufficiently "imminent" to be prosecutable.

  • Mad Max||

    Here's the opinion I mentioned:

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/395/444/case.html

  • iih||

    Mad Max:

    I would not sympathize with such an imam. I, for example, thought that the actions of the 6 imams in Minneapolis reckless, to say the least. They deserved what they got for their stupidity. But the imam situation is very different from Hirsi's, so I would not want to draw parallels. What she preaches is clearly not inciting of violence, but can be much cause for alarm. From a libertarian point of view, it is quite problematic.

    But thanks for caring to respond. I am off to bed. Will check back later.

  • Justin Slotman||

    Coming in late here--but yeah, she came off really bad in that interview. Like, Malkinesque. That's going to be a fascinating thread once that interview gets posted...

  • ||

    However, she clearly says pretty crazy stuff from a libertarian point of view: Battle Islam? Close schools? Militarily fight Islam (not ideologically, but militarily!)? She's will to do away with the first amendment, freedom of association and the Bill of Rights! I did not see many people (certainly not Ron Bailey) concerned about these preposterous statements. What if a Muslim extremist said: "Her speech should be shunned!" Isn't clearly anti-libertarian?

    iih, she has some batty views, however I didnt address them because I was not discussing her message but wether she deserves protection or not. I know some people dont mind tangents in these discussions, but I was trying to stick on topic, and some people equated the protection argument with some kind of bias against muslims.

    I can see that you're eager to discuss this, and Im sure, like Justin says, that once this interview goes up here for discussion, you will have plenty of opportunity.

    just so we are clear,all her ideas towards the end of the interview are completely unliberatarian, closing down school, restricting speech, etc... all crazy

  • ||

    S of S: By "excellent" interview, I mean that the interviewer did a very good job of getting Hirsi Ali to describe and explain her views. If you don't the time or interest to read her book, this interview is a good short alternative

    iih:

    As for what I disagree with her about - closing Muslim schools, or violating the free speech rights of any Muslims (or anyone else), and of course, I'm against as you put it, "systematic profiling, racism, and hate towards all Muslims in a collectivist way."

    On the other hand, there was that somewhat disturbing Pew poll earlier this year in which a goodly percentage of young Muslims living in the U.S. said that suicide bombing in defense of Islam can sometimes be justified. For an alternative view of the poll see this column by Hasan Rahim, editor of Iqra, here.

  • ||

    Ron Bailey,

    I never said "stem cells are babies", you dishonest twerp. The fact that you have to so completely misrepresent my position speaks volumes about your inability to counter my arguments.

    And regardless of the moral status of embryos, the fact that you support my being forced to fund the research you like, and lifetime security details for the people you like, shows your true statist colors.

  • iih||

    Dear Ron, val:

    Thanks for getting back to me on this.

    First val:

    iih, she has some batty views, however I didnt address them because I was not discussing her message but wether she deserves protection or not.

    Sure, and I said that she does deserve (privately-funded, or through the police like everyone else) protection. But to answer that question, one has to ask: protect her from whom (clearly, the radical jihadist Muslims), what is it that makes her targeted by jihadists, how her free speech makes many ordinary Muslims, themselves, feel uncomfortable. The fact that none of this brought up in the original post, I found strange. It is important to put things in perspective.

    Ron: Thanks again for responding (and I do sincerely apologize if I have been aggressive, but I wanted to make sure that you'd respond ;-) ). But by not highlighting the issues on which you disagree with Ali, implicitly implied that you condone the content of her free speech. That might have been a big assumption on my side.

    Yes, these statistics were scary when they came out and, of course, I am aware of the alternative views. But, seriously, Ali here is far safer than anywhere else in Europe. And I sincerely believe that is good, not only for her, but for ordinary, law-abiding Muslims, for if something happens to her here, it will not be pleasant for these ordinary Muslims for quite some time.

    In any case, thanks.

    S of S: I did think that the interview was very good by the way. She let it all out.

  • iih||

    And... should all dissident speakers be given protection?

  • ||

    crimethink: Why so humorless, so angry? Is it not true that you believe embryos deserve essentially the same moral status as born people? And I have too comprehensively countered your arguments many times despite your odd claims that I have not. However, if you're really interested in further arguments, please read my book Liberation Biology.

    And in general I do not favor government funded scientific research as you suggest--however, if the government is going to fund research such funding should be decided on the scientific merits, not on the basis of specious moral objections. That's what the argument is about.

    As for lifetime security details, be sure to always limit your speech so that you never receive credible death threats.

  • iih||

    Ron: You gave the wrong link to Rahim's article. Here is the correct one.

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Bailey,

    How is liberation biology different from transhumanism?

  • Former Muslim||

    iih:

    Thanks for the heads up. I knew that few would jump on my comment on "free speech" but my point was that someone better comes up with a good reason-able argument than invoking what some may consider a sacred dogma.

  • JMR||

    have seen very little positivity in reporting about Islam and Muslims here. I am disturbed by the lack of balance on this issue.

    Maybe Islam doesn't get much good press in libertarian forums because it is so comprehensively anti-liberty.

  • Former Muslim||

    JMR:

    "Maybe Islam doesn't get much good press in libertarian forums because it is so comprehensively anti-liberty."

    What makes you said that?

    How many Muslims have written for reason?

    I, even as a former Muslim, feel very uncomfortable writing for this magazine because it is non-stop Islam bashing.

  • JMR||

    I, even as a former Muslim, feel very uncomfortable writing for this magazine because it is non-stop Islam bashing.

    Funny that you think Reason engages in non-stop Islam bashing, because Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch bashes Reason as a "dhimmi publication".

    But, feel free to enumerate the ways in which Islam is ideologically in-line with libertarianism.

  • Former Muslim||

    Ron:

    "On the other hand, there was that somewhat disturbing Pew poll earlier this year in which a goodly percentage of young Muslims living in the U.S. said that suicide bombing in defense of Islam can sometimes be justified."

    What do you think of the following survey:

    "The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified."

    Contrast those numbers with 2006 polling results from the world's most-populous Muslim countries - Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. Terror Free Tomorrow, the organization I lead, found that 74 percent of respondents in Indonesia agreed that terrorist attacks are "never justified"; in Pakistan, that figure was 86 percent; in Bangladesh, 81 percent."

  • iih||

    JMR:

    Maybe Islam doesn't get much good press in libertarian forums because it is so comprehensively anti-liberty.

    No, you are wrong. That is what the media wants you to believe.

    See this. You may want to google Imad Ahmed's articles as well. And also see these comments from last weekend's thread:

    First.
    Second.
    Third. (and a couple of other comments immediately below that).

    Then there was an interesting (and very honest) discussion on Islamic finances here.

    So, this points to the fact that, while it is not ideologically in line with libertarianism, at least they do not necessary collide as much as one may think.

  • Former Muslim||

    JMR:

    Jihad Watch doesn't appreciate being criticized by the "Reason".

    It has nothing to do with what the "Reason" often writes about Muslims/Islam.

    I understand that Reason is not as bad the Jihad Watch. I guess there is a lot of bitterness from 9/11.

  • JMR||

    @FormerMuslim, I will read these, with an open mind, when I get a chance. I do have a job to get to.

  • iih||

    Hey JMR, you are short changing me! It was me who offered the reading material, and you thank Former Muslim ;-) just kidding :-)

  • iih||

    Former Muslim:

    That is a an excellent organization to have. The advisory board has McCain and Lee Hamilton on it. Very impressive and good to see that.

  • ||

    iih:

    I sympathize with your plight as a minority viewholder. I'm skeptical that you will get any traction whatsoever within the greater context of Islam. It would seem to be rift down to fundamentals when you look at theocratic dictates imposed by the vast majority of the world's majority muslim nations. Women have to be equal under the law. It must be permissible to mock what is sacred to some without fear of violence. Any cleric has to be subject to a dressing down by a free press and public. No one is above the law. I just don't see it.

    Former Muslim:

    ""The survey, conducted in December 2006 by the University of Maryland's prestigious Program on International Public Attitudes, shows that only 46 percent of Americans think that "bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians" are "never justified," while 24 percent believe these attacks are "often or sometimes justified.""

    Many people don't see Hiroshima as the worst of the options to end that war. The context Ron mentioned was the use of bombs in defense of Islam. Does that mean drawing a cartoon a muslim finds offensive? That would be the concern.

  • iih||

    JasonL:

    Your statement is full of misconceptions. Let me pick on one:

    theocratic dictates imposed by the vast majority of the world's majority muslim nation

    Other than Iran and Saudi Arabia, where else do Muslims have theocracies. They mostly have secular dictatorships, other forms of secular governments. Any well read person would know that.

  • iih||

    Let me pick up on this one too:

    Any cleric has to be subject to a dressing down by a free press and public.

    Sure. As I repeatedly said above, I am not against her free speech. The content of her free speech is what disturbs me.

  • ||

    "Other than Iran and Saudi Arabia, where else do Muslims have theocracies. They mostly have secular dictatorships, other forms of secular governments. Any well read person would know that."

    Formally, you are correct. Part of the whole problem is that even in those places without formal theocracies, theocratic dictates are the norm. Let's take one of those secular dictatorships like Pakistan. To what extent is the fear of violence by muslims and the desire for greater theocratic law the motive for government action? How about Indonesia? Saudi Arabia? These places have strong men who appease theocrats on a daily basis. I think in most cases we have a distinction without a difference.

  • ||

    In particular, in how many majority muslim nations is there a free press, the right to critice religious icons (otherwise known as free speech), legal parity for women, and so on?

  • iih||

    JasonL:

    It actually varies somewhat. But I will grant you that things are messed up over there. No doubt about. Some of it cultural, some of it extremism, and some of out plain dictatorial politics. But these things should not be confused with individual Muslims' beliefs and outlook. Islam is not a monolith. MSM, historical preconceptions, and, yes, Muslims modern stupidity (they were not like that throughout history) makes it seem like it is a monolith. But it is not. You need to make a trip to one of these countries sometime. You'd be surprised.

  • Former Muslims||

    Jason:

    There are over 50 independent Muslim countries in the world.

    Please do not generalize.

    Do Muslims judge Christian Americans by what Christian Mexicans or Christian Africans do?

    I just can not understand what is wrong with you people.

  • former muslim||

    iih:

    I really admire your patience with this rampant ignorance and bigotry in this magazine's forum.

    where are you originally from? Are you a Muslim?

    Although my handle "former muslim" could suggest that I brag about leaving Islam, I'd like you to know that I only have respect and admiration for this great diverse religion that continues to inspire and provide comfort for over 1 billion people on this planet. I just stopped beleiving in God.

    The Muslims better wake up before they are buried alive.

  • iih||

    I really admire your patience with this rampant ignorance and bigotry in this magazine's forum.

    There isn't really that many rampant ignorants. Overall, I feel very comfortable here. I have discovered that my libertarian leanings are quite very strong, and that was even before knowing what libertarianism is.

    Originally, from Egypt. Yes, I am a (practicing) Muslim.

    The Muslims better wake up before they are buried alive.

    No, not really. I think Muslims in the West will ultimately be fine, just like all the other minorities survived.

    Your organization is quite an interesting one. Good work. Where is it based? I think I know which organization member you are (there is exactly one with a Muslim name and who does polling, unless I miss-counted). I'd like to follow up on that organization.

  • iih||

    Oh, and yes, they are an aggressive bunch, but that only helps in strengthening oneself and in sharpening one's argumentative powers. The discussions are sometimes (actually most times) very delightful and inspiring -- especially on weekends. There is a core group that is just a delight to debate with.

  • ||

    "There are over 50 independent Muslim countries in the world."

    And which ones of those have recognition of rights as understood by the liberal west? My argument is that in the vast majority of muslim dominated countries, to the extent that muslims hold sway, they serve as a fundamentally illiberal force. That is, Islam in practice seems incompatible with libertarian values, all the way down to its roots.

  • iih||

    JasonL:

    And which ones of those have recognition of rights as understood by the liberal west? My argument is that in the vast majority of muslim dominated countries, to the extent that muslims hold sway, they serve as a fundamentally illiberal force.

    While Islam (I should say the wackier interpretation of which) may be the reason, but there are many many other causes to the abysmal state of affairs. But I can tell you that things are improving and will continue to improve. But it can not be all blamed on Islam.

    That is, Islam in practice seems incompatible with libertarian values, all the way down to its roots.

    Quite the contrary. See my response above to JMR. You'd be surprised.

  • former Muslim||

    Jason:

    I am not familiar with every Muslim country out there but it seems like all of you on here are.

    "liberal west" is an overstatement.

    When did Switzerland grant women the right to vote?

    When did Ireland legalize divorce?

    When did Spain legalize divorce?

    When did the US abolish Jim Crow laws?

    How many billions of dollars did the US spend on "fighting" the drug war in latin America, effectively imposing its intolerant will on people who used the plants for centuries without any harassement?

    When was the last time the so-called "liberal west" ignited a world war and killed over 10 million people, not to mention a genocide attempt against an ethnic middle eastern group (Jews)?

    "Liberal West" is an over-statement my friend. It is just a slogan.

  • Former Muslim||

    ihh:

    Well good luck.

    The Jews also thought the country of Beethoven would never drive them to death camps and gas chambers.

    It is not like there is no precendent in the US....110,000 Japanese-Americans (women, children and elderly) were forcibly removed from their homes in the West coast and locked up in camps. Even the supreme court upheld the policy.

    A congressman has threatened to nuked Mekkah twice this year and he is still getting paid by the government. In fact he is even a condidate for President.

    As minority you will not be able to use "free speech" to counter balance the abuse and assault your community suffers from.

    The Jews have the holocaust on their "side" which sadly tells you how much it takes for a minority to argue against unchecked assault on its memebers by the majority. It cost them 6 million people.

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