On Ezra Levant and Glenn Greenwald

I have no interest in defending those attacked by Glenn Greenwald in this blog post—they are more than capable of defending themselves—but a few words on his denunciation of this Reason piece by Canadian journalist Ezra Levant, in which he details his Orwellian experiences with Alberta's "human rights commission." The article is excerpted from Levant's new book Shakedown, which Greenwald calls "self-glorifying," a book that "relentlessly depict[s] himself as a modern-day Thomas Paine battling against Muslim censors and their leftist, free-speech-hating Western allies." For those who have read Levant's account of his creepy ordeal with the Canadian thought police, the description of "Muslim censors" seems a perfectly reasonable. (Also, Greenwald might want to actually read Levant's book/Reason piece, where he would discover that proceedings were initiated not for publishing an "anti-Islamic screed" but for reprinting the Danish "Mohammad cartoons.")

According to Greenwald, pundits defending (the almost always indefensible) Michael Savage, who was recently barred from entering the UK, are "blatantly insincere" and interested in "nothing more than a means of opportunistically elevating and justifying their anti-Islamic animus." This is a verifiable "fact," he argues, "conclusively demonstrated by how selectively self-interested is the application of their free speech 'principles.'" Greenwald wonders where Levant, Mark Steyn, and Jonah Goldberg were when Norman Finkelstein was bounced from Israel; when George Galloway was prevented from entering Canada; and when Tariq Ramadan denied a visa to teach at Notre Dame.

On one of these points, I partially agree with Greenwald. As the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz editorialized, while it is "difficult to sympathize with [Norman] Finkelstein's opinions," such as outspoken support for Hezbollah and Hamas, "It is not for the government to decide which views should be heard here and which ones should not." The Israeli government made no claim that Finkelstein was offering financial or logistical support to either terrorist group, and later acknowledged that it was his furious anti-Zionism that precipitated the ban. Though I think the ban unjustified and counterproductive, I'm not convinced that if Levant (or Steyn, Goldberg, or any of the others mention by Greenwald) didn't spring to Finkelstein's defense this necessarily qualifies as hypocrisy. Must one make a public statement on every such case? Does not speaking on Finkelstein's behalf "conclusively demonstrate" that these writers are not interested in free speech? If Canada's version of Normal Finkelstein—whoever that might be—were dragged before a so-called Human Rights Commission in Alberta and quizzed on his motivation for publishing an anti-Zionist article—and Levant remained silent—perhaps Greenwald's case would be more compelling.

The other two examples, though, are rather more complicated. Greenwald's suggestion that the U.K.'s banning of the obnoxious and subliterate Savage is the moral equivalent of Canada's ban of the obnoxious and subliterate Galloway is either disingenuous or greatly misinformed. Galloway was told by the Canadian government that, because of his well-documented financial support for Hamas (designated a terrorist organization in Canada), he would not be welcome in the country. This was, as University of British Columbia professor Terry Glavin points out, a decision taken following these events:

Galloway had delivered roughly $2 million (Cdn.) in vehicles, various goods and cash, directly to Hamas boss Ismail Haniyeh. Galloway boasted about this, and openly dared British and European authorities to charge him for breaking the sanctions against Hamas, and he went so far as to stage an event for Al Jazeera television in which he handed over a wad of cash in the equivalent of about $50,000 (Cdn.) directly to Haniyeh. Around the time Orr was composing his letter to Galloway, the British Charity Commission was preparing an investigation into the transactions Galloway was involved with in Gaza.

Writing in Slate, Christopher Hitchens defended his old adversary against the Canadian ban but later amended his column, writing that he "may have done an injustice to the government and people of Canada in the matter of George Galloway's canceled visit to that country."

On the subject of Tariq Ramadan, it seems rather clear that Greenwald is correct that the American government was determined to exclude him based on his radical political views alone. As my friend Michael Weiss observed a few weeks back, "judging by the revised mealy-mouthed language and muddled chronology of his visa revocation process that the State Department was simply looking for any excuse to keep him out."

But I must object to Greenwald's lazy description of Ramadan as a "Swiss intellectual and leading scholar of the Muslim world" who is "widely considered to be a moderate Muslim scholar." Is this the same man who, as Ibn Warraq wrote in 2008, "called the terrorist acts in New York, Madrid, and Bali 'interventions'"? And according to various European intelligence services, Ramadan's ties to violent extremism  are very real indeed. One example, from a Swiss intelligence report, notes that "brothers Hani and Tariq Ramadan coordinated a meeting held in 1991 in Geneva attended by Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Omar Abdel Rahman." Zawahiri, of course, helped plan the September 11 attacks. Abdel Rahman is the "blind sheik" sentenced to life in prison for his role in planning the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center. For further into Ramadan's connections to radical Islamism, see Paul Berman's exhaustive piece in The New Republic or French journalist Caroline Fourest's book Brother Tariq.

Again, Greenwald is right that the decision to reject Ramadan's visa was politically motivated and should be overturned. The point, though, is that his ties—both intellectual and financial—to an extremist version of Islam prevent any serious comparison to the cases of Savage and Levant.

It should also be stressed that it isn't odd, as Greenwald writes, that Alan Dershowitz, who has been engaged in a long-running and deeply personal spat with Norman Finkelstein, would upbraid Israel for banning him. Nor was it particularly surprising to see Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel, speak out against his imprisonment by the Austrian government. That I haven't heard either of them denounce the British government rulings on Savage and Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders means nothing. Indeed, I can find no reference on Greenwald's blog on the Wilder's case, though I am confident that, if asked, he would judge the decision silly and counterproductive.

As Greenwald writes, "One either believes in free expression or one doesn't, and if one does, it means opposing efforts to circumscribe those ideas with which one vehemently disagrees." Indeed. But in the cases of Galloway and Ramadan, it is wrong to suggest that the issue is only about the right to offend.

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  • Elemenope||

    All he's saying is that it is likely that those on the Right advancing "glorious freedoms" arguments are doing so only when situationally beneficial to allies and thus generally in bad faith.

    I find little to disagree with there.

  • ||

    I am far less troubled by the insincerity of the folks screaming for free speech than the sincerity of the people explaining to me, slowly, that surely I must understand that there have to be *LIMITS*.

  • ||

    I read Grunwald's piece with an escalating sense of disbelief. Earlier this week, he did a splended takedown of Jeffrey Rosen for lazy, sloppy journalism in Rosen's piece on Sonia Sotomayor, then he comes back with his own lazy, sloppy piece that applies a broad brush argument to a very disparate group of individuals.

    Good for Michael C. Moynihan for laying this out.

  • dhex||

    "All he's saying is that it is likely that those on the Right advancing "glorious freedoms" arguments are doing so only when situationally beneficial to allies and thus generally in bad faith."

    i tend to agree with him in this instance, but he does have a case of ideological blinders kickin' it. and i say this as someone who generally loves the shit out of greenwald.

    principled stands are definitely rare, especially when it comes to punditry and polarizing figures.

  • jtuf||

    As Greenwald writes, "One either believes in free expression or one doesn't, and if one does, it means opposing efforts to circumscribe those ideas with which one vehemently disagrees." Indeed. But in the cases of Galloway and Ramadan, it is wrong to suggest that the issue is only about the right to offend.

    It's impossible for one person to track every violation of liberty and comment on it. I follow five criteria for prioritizing my efforts.

    (1) The serverity of the violation.

    (2) The recency of the violation.

    (3) The proximity of the place where the violation occured to me.

    (4) The smallest jurisdiction that I share with the place where the violation occured.

    (5) The reliability and quantitiy of any information I have about the violation.

  • ||

    All he's saying is that it is likely that those on the Right advancing "glorious freedoms" arguments are doing so only when situationally beneficial to allies and thus generally in bad faith.

    I find little to disagree with there.



    Perhaps. On the other hand, there's more than a little irony in Glenn Fucking Greenwald castigating people for tendentious, bad-faith argument and fair-weather fealty to expressive freedom.

  • Elemenope||

    Perhaps. On the other hand, there's more than a little irony in Glenn Fucking Greenwald castigating people for tendentious, bad-faith argument and fair-weather fealty to expressive freedom.

    I take it from this you mean to say that he has habitually made such bad faith arguments in the past, and while I've only been reading him for about a year-and-a-half or so, he seems fairly consistent (and certainly more consistent than those who he here criticizes for employing bad faith arguments). So please, bring on the examples.

  • Paul L.||

    (though ultimately dismissed) formal proceedings brought against Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant
    Like with FIRE and the University of Delaware Ideological Student Reeducation program, progressives will forgive/dismiss any authoritarian overreaches when the culprit backs off due to negative publicity from the Right.

  • ||

    Giving verbal support to an extremist ideology that also has violent supporters - no ban or sanctions.

    Giving financial support to violent supporters of an extremist ideology - ban.

    That strikes me as reasonable.

    Under that standard, the actions against Ezra Levant, Michael Savage, or Norman Finkelstein should not have been occurred, as none gave financial support to violent extremists.

    However, the actions against George Galloway are justifiable, as he did give financial support to violent extremists. Actions have consequences, George. You lay down with dogs, etc.

    The only hard case (so to speak) is Tariq Ramadan, who associated with and facilitated violent extremists, but as far as we know did not give financial support.

    All he's saying is that it is likely that those on the Right advancing "glorious freedoms" arguments are doing so only when situationally beneficial to allies and thus generally in bad faith.

    Ah, but the great thing about such arguments is that, once made, they cannot be limited to your allies. If everyone made such arguments with respect to their allies and had the good grace to keep silent on their enemies, then everyone would be making arguments for glorious freedoms. No, the real hypocrisy is in taking one stand on freedom of speech for your friends, and taking the opposite stance, not remaining silent, when it is your enemies in the dock.

  • ||

    Liberty and limited government have no chance in the long run if partisans are going to keep excusing abuses of power simply because the abuses are being committed by "their side."

  • ||

    The more I ruminate on his complaint, the more it reminds me of this guy I used to know who made fun of me for buying a Pearl Jam album. "Mother Love Bone was better, more authentic."

    We want *MORE* people yelling for (among other things) free speech and human rights extending to homosexuals, dude. It doesn't fucking matter if they're insincere.

    Jesus, how can you look at the bigger problem and fixate on the sincerity of the people calling for unalloyed goods?

  • ||

    I find Greenwald to be usually quite intellectually honest, even though I disagree with him on things...but not here. That's disappointing. Levant can be the biggest douchebag since Doug Niedermeyer and it still doesn't change anything about a bullshit commission trying to silence him.

  • MNG||

    "On one of these points, I partially agree with Greenwald. As the liberal Israeli paper Haaretz editorialized, while it is "difficult to sympathize with [Norman] Finkelstein's opinions," such as outspoken support for Hezbollah and Hamas, "It is not for the government to decide which views should be heard here and which ones should not." The Israeli government made no claim that Finkelstein was offering financial or logistical support to either terrorist group, and later acknowledged that it was his furious anti-Zionism that precipitated the ban. Though I think the ban unjustified and counterproductive"

    Well, though it was followed by a "but," I think this was well said by Moynihan.

  • MNG||

    I think Galloway's case is a bit more problematic. I think anyone who provides support for Hamas is not only becoming in giving that support an enemy of the Israeli state but also the Israeli people, and they are becoming the enemy of the Palestinian people as Hamas rules those people like the brutal thugs they are while also acting in wicked and irresponsible ways that bring down much misery upon their people's head (of course the one's who drop bombs on civilians are morally culpable too despite the provocation).

    But here is the thing, why should Canada ban the guy for his support for Hamas? Hamas has not to my knowledge targeted Canada or Canadians. I mean, it would be like Bolivia banning some American for giving money to the Viet-Con back in teh early 1970's.

  • ||

    LMNOP: Well, to begin with, I seem to have missed Greenwald's full-throated denunciation of the Canadian human-rights sham back when Levant and Mark Steyn first got brought up on charges. If the standard for fair-weather fealty to expressive freedoms is merely failing to vociferously oppose efforts to circumscribe views with which one disagrees, then one cannot help but note the irony.

    As for Greenwald's propensity for tendentious, bad-faith argumentation, um, dude. The underlying premise of Greenwald's entire ouvre is that anybody who disagrees with him is some combination of stupid, corrupt, or evil.

  • ||

    Hamas has not to my knowledge targeted Canada or Canadians.

    Hamas targets anyone in Israel. There are Canadians in Israel. QED.

    I seem to recall a lawsuit brought against Hizbollah by Canadian victims of its rocket attacks.

  • Elemenope||

    Jaybird --

    The danger is, as we are not more keenly aware after the last eight years of GOP-mouthing-libertarian bullshit, is that if people make the mistake of taking such people at their word and then place them in power, they are doomed to suffer the fruits of the arguer's bad faith; when they have the power they do not in fact give a shit about people-other-then-them's freedom to do and say things they don't like.

    To not call them out is to allow the more causal observer to come to the conclusion that the arguer is in fact a friend of freedom and not an opportunistic shit ready and willing to tear down the very freedom argued for if given the opportunity.

    Wolf in sheep's clothing, et cetera.

  • MNG||

    That's silly RC. At the rate the IDF kills UN employees I'm betting I could dig up a Canadian one if you really want to get into it, but that would not mean that IDF members should be banned from Canada.

  • Les||

    I mean, it would be like Bolivia banning some American for giving money to the Viet-Con back in teh early 1970's.

    Or the folks who proudly supported the terrorist Contras in the 1980's. Or Luis Posada Carriles, the Cuban terrorist, living comfortably in Miami. I guess if the terrorists are supported by the government, you get a pass.

    Maybe we should begin by not pretending that governments have ever been consistent with their policies regarding the material support of terrorists.

  • MNG||

    There's such a huge difference between a group or nation trying to inflict damage on another nation and a person from a third nation happens to be visiting there and gets hurt and a group or nation specifically targeting persons from the third nation. Huge. C'mon, don't let your IDFophileness make you say dumb things.

    If you have some evidence of Hamas targeting Canadians or Canadian interests, then of course Canada has a strong reason to retaliate against those who support them.

  • ||

    Elemenope, I would much rather take the chance that the guy calling for Freedom is lying than the chance that the guy calling for restrictions of Freedom is.

    When Ezra starts calling for people to be silenced, let's jump on him.

    When Mark Steyn is calling for people to be silenced, let's jump on him.

    In the meantime, let's not say "well, they're all part of 'the right' so, therefore, they're the equivalent of Cheney pulling strings to get PATRIOT passed."

  • MNG||

    I think Steyn is one of the most pandering fools around, but if the Canadian government acted against him, I imagine under one of its wicked and silly anti-speech laws, then his cause in that area I fully support. The anti-speech codes that have swept Europe and Canada are shameful and very disturbing.

  • Fluffy||

    It should also be stressed that it isn't odd, as Greenwald writes, that Alan Dershowitz, who has been engaged in a long-running and deeply personal spat with Norman Finkelstein, would upbraid Israel for banning him.

    Greenwald didn't write that it was odd. Citation please. Oh wait, this is Moynihan, who is a fucking douchebag. I forgot.

    The simple fact of the matter is that every word Greenwald writes here is accurate. Please, produce any evidence - any at all - that, say, Jonah Goldberg has stood up and denounced the state department for refusing entry to foreign nationals based on their political statements. I'll wait. If you can't, it means that Jonah Goldberg is a hypocritical douchebag when he defends Savage.

    Well, to begin with, I seem to have missed Greenwald's full-throated denunciation of the Canadian human-rights sham back when Levant and Mark Steyn first got brought up on charges

    Greenwald links back to examples of his statements about these matters in the very blog post we're talking about, dumbass.

  • ||

    Well, to begin with, I seem to have missed Greenwald's full-throated denunciation of the Canadian human-rights sham back when Levant and Mark Steyn first got brought up on charges. If the standard for fair-weather fealty to expressive freedoms is merely failing to vociferously oppose efforts to circumscribe views with which one disagrees, then one cannot help but note the irony.



    Right in the very post he's responding to, I wrote:

    That said, concerns about the erosion of free speech rights in the Western world -- as part of a misguided attempt to suppress "hate speech" and other forms of religious and racial bigotry and as a way of accommodating the growing Muslim populations of Europe -- are both legitimate and warranted. I vehemently condemned Canada's investigations of Steyn and Levant despite finding them and their "ideas" noxious in the extreme, and I oppose with equal fervor use of "hate speech" laws in Europe and Canada to punish those who express bigoted views.



    The words "vehemently condemn" were in red, rather than black, signifying that if you click on it, it will take you to what is referenced, which is this:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/01/13/hate_speech_laws/

    in which I wrote about the Levant and Steyn proceedings the following:

    Here are the noxious fruits of hate speech laws: a citizen being forced to appear before the Government in order to be interrogated by an agent of the State -- a banal, clerical bureaucrat -- about what opinions he expressed and why he expressed them, upon pain of being punished under the law. This is nothing short of stomach-turning: . . .

    People like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant are some of the most pernicious commentators around. But equally pernicious, at least, are those who advocate laws that would proscribe and punish political expression, and those who exploit those laws to try use the power of the State to impose penalties on those expressing "offensive" or "insulting" or "wrong" political ideas. The mere existence of the "investigation," interrogation, and proceeding itself is a grotesque affront to every basic liberty.



    Making claims of intellectual dishonesty is easy when unaccompanied by examples.

  • Mr. Faded Glory||

    Hamas targets anyone in Israel. There are Canadians in Israel. QED.

    Perhaps true, but does it really matter? Isn't it reasonable to ban someone who helps carry out attacks on innocent people, regardless of whether those attacks are against "people like you"? I mean if Canada were all white (wait, is it? anyway...) should it welcome someone who only helped to attack blacks?

  • MNG||

    WhoooDaddy.

    So will Moynihan do the right thing and make a correction/retraction?

  • Fluffy||

    It's also important to note that there are many more cases of state department visa denial we could also discuss. Here is a partial list:

    http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/pubsres/academe/2007/SO/NB/excluded.htm

    What we have here is a routine US government activity, stepped up during the Bush years, that everyone in Bush apologist / The Corner type circles was hunky-dory with until Michael Savage got the same treatment from Britain.

  • MNG||

    "Isn't it reasonable to ban someone who helps carry out attacks on innocent people"

    I don't know, that's my question. Should governments enact bans against supporters of groups or nations that carry out attacks on innocent people, though those attacks were not targeted against the citizens or interests of that nation? I can think of some reasons and examples that would make me say yes (America and a visit from Mussolini circa 1940), and some rather strong isolationist/entanglements type reasons that say no.

    I mean, should Canada have banned Ariel Sharon from visiting after the Sabra thing?

  • ||

    And as for this from Michael Moynihan -- "Must one make a public statement on every such case?" -- the answer is "no." A mere failure to speak up in one or even a few cases of free speech abridgment would not, by itself, call into question anyone's sincerity.

    But where someone parades around under the banner of free speech, and yet only objects when such abridgments are targeted at political allies, while remaining silent when directed at political enemies, that most certainly does raise questions about sincerity. Note how both the ACLU and CAIR -- with views as far away from Savage's as you can get -- today denounced his exclusion. That's what authentic devotees of free speech do.

    The commenter above suggests various criteria for determining when the obligation increases to speak out. While I could quibble with the hierarchy, that's helpful. The fact that Steyn, Goldberg and friends condemn England (for its exclusion of Savage) while ignoring similar acts from their own Government (and from the Government about which many of them write second-most if not most: Israel) speaks volumes. The U.S. Government, by statute -- the Patriot Act -- vested itself with the very power they claim to decry in England: the power of ideological exclusions. What explains their silence about the much more potent and proximate act?

    And then there's Levant, who defended Galloway's exclusion from Canada on the ground, in part, that Galloway was a foreigner and thus had no right to enter:

    http://ezralevant.com/2009/03/george-galloway.html

    I'd love to see someone reconcile that -- not on the facts of the Galloway exclusion but on the principles Levant is defending -- with the criticisms from the Right of the decision by England to exclude Savage and others they consider miscreants.

  • Fluffy||

    The underlying premise of Greenwald's entire ouvre is that anybody who disagrees with him is some combination of stupid, corrupt, or evil.

    By the way, I can't speak for Greenwald, but on civil liberties issues [which is the area where my judgments and his overlap] if you disagree with me you are, in fact, some combination of stupid, corrupt, or evil. Those are the breaks. If I didn't think that, there would be no point to my being a libertarian, now would there?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    wait, why are you asking Moynihan to retract, MNG?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    f you disagree with me you are, in fact, some combination of stupid, corrupt, or evil.



    Being reasonably and intelligently mistaken never entered into your mind, did it?

    That explains a lot about you.

  • Mr. Faded Glory||

    So will Moynihan do the right thing and make a correction/retraction?

    For what? Seems you can disagree with his criticism of Greenwald in part or in whole, but it's largely a matter of opinion / interpretation. What did he say that was correction or retraction worthy? Greenwald's entirely justified slap-down of the intellectual dishonesty claim was in response to commenter "BC" not Moynihan.

    Should governments enact bans against supporters of groups or nations that carry out attacks on innocent people, though those attacks were not targeted against the citizens or interests of that nation?

    . . .

    I mean, should Canada have banned Ariel Sharon from visiting after the Sabra thing?

    Maybe. I was saying that it seems justified to do so in general. What criteria a country uses to label some group or person a "terrorist" or whatever is debatable to be sure. But to say that it could ban someone who had not directly attacked it if it deems that person's actions bad enough, seems clear to me.

  • Fluffy||

    Being reasonably and intelligently mistaken never entered into your mind, did it?

    That would count as being "a little" stupid, so it's easily accounted for in my sets.

  • Fluffy||

    And BTW, TAO, I think you need to reread Shrugged again, since you let me know earlier today that your name used to be Ayn_Randian.

    Rand was pretty explicit that there are no "differences of opinion" over political matters that don't carry moral content.

    What did he say that was correction or retraction worthy?

    Well, there's the fact that Moynihan claims that Greenwald wrote that it was "odd" that Alan Dershowitz had defended Norman Finkelstein. The post simply doesn't say that, or anything that could be misconstrued to say that. Moynihan simply made that up by listening to the voices in his head.

  • ||

    Greenwald's article makes many completely valid points. However--unfortunately--the hypocrisy he points out is common in most people who claim to be for free speech, from all over the political spectrum. There's always someone they'd be happy to shut up if they could.

    The question becomes: do we focus on this hypocrisy, which is human nature and impossible to stamp out, or do we focus on the government's actions?

    It just seems that Greenwald's energy would have been better spent attacking the UK instead of pointing out the (admittedly true) hypocrisy of some people he doesn't like.

    It's his column, though--he should do as he likes.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Part of the reason I dropped the handle is so that fallacious appeals to Ayn Rand would stop. Ayn Rand is dead, and even if she were alive, her views do not dictate mine.

    That said, I believe that her own two minds with respect to anarchism and minarchism means that her work needs some additional work.

    Anyway, Moynihan was paraphrasing the argument. He didn't quote Glenn Greenwald in saying it was "odd", did he?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Even if differences of opinion in the political realm carry moral content, that doesn't make the other side "evil". This was David Kelly's entire point.

  • Fluffy||

    Anyway, Moynihan was paraphrasing the argument. He didn't quote Glenn Greenwald in saying it was "odd", did he?

    There's nothing in the post that can be paraphrased or shortened to Moynihan's claim, either. It's just not there.

  • Fluffy||

    Even if differences of opinion in the political realm carry moral content, that doesn't make the other side "evil". This was David Kelly's entire point.

    That depends on whether you employ the word "evil" as a descriptor for a threshold [i.e. once you do enough immoral things, you pass a cutoff point and above that cutoff point you're "evil"] or just as a synonym for immorality [in which case you would apply it to each one of the immoral acts in the previous paranthetical].

  • MNG||

    TAO
    Did you read the post? Moynihan basically says "Greenwald gets on these guys for not speaking out on other cases, but where was he on the Steyn and Levant case, a bit ironic don't you think?"

    But according to Greenwald IN THE VERY ARTICLE Moynihan draws on Greenwald actually did that very thing.

    That warrants a "my bad" doncha think.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Full quote:

    It should also be stressed that it isn't odd, as Greenwald writes, that Alan Dershowitz, who has been engaged in a long-running and deeply personal spat with Norman Finkelstein, would upbraid Israel for banning him. Nor was it particularly surprising to see Deborah Lipstadt, who was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel, speak out against his imprisonment by the Austrian government. That I haven't heard either of them denounce the British government rulings on Savage and Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders means nothing.



    perhaps Moynihan is writing that Greenwald wrote that it "isn't odd" for ideological enemies to defend each other when it comes to exclusions such as these?

    this looks like a case of poor phrasing, perhaps. Maybe a rewrite would say:

    Greenwald notes that, even though they have a long-running spat, Dershowitz defended Finkelstein. Ditto Lipstadt and David Irving. However, just because these two haven't said anything about Geert Wilders does not mean that their free speech bona-fides are to be questioned, which is the exact argument Greenwald is advancing: that silence on a subject means acceptance of the other side

  • MNG||

    Oh, it is irony, but on me, it was not MM who wrote the passage Greenwald excerpted but a commenter, BC. So I need to offer the "my bad" to MM and TAO.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Moynihan basically says "Greenwald gets on these guys for not speaking out on other cases, but where was he on the Steyn and Levant case, a bit ironic don't you think?"



    What? He does? Where?

  • The Angry Optimist||

    ah, OK, now I understand. no problem-o, as they say on the television.

  • Mr. Faded Glory||

    Moynihan basically says "Greenwald gets on these guys for not speaking out on other cases, but where was he on the Steyn and Levant case, a bit ironic don't you think?"

    Um, MNG, no he doesn't say anything like that. I'm not really into defending Moynihan, and I think much of what Greenwald says is in that piece is accurate, but Moynihan never says or implies what you attribute to him in your quote above.

    I think you're letting your animus towards him blind you a bit here. If you think he does imply that, how about a direct quote from the piece so we can understand what you're trying to point out?

  • ||

    It's pretty clear that Savage and his allies on the right are no friends of liberty except as it applies to themselves.

  • MNG||

    I do think the "odd" statement is, well, "odd" (because Greenwald seems to be offering Dershowtiz as a model of how this should be done, not as "odd") but after my mistake just now I certainly won't criticize anyone as it is probably more likely that I misread something!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    *stuffs fist in mouth to avoid fisking Tony*

  • ||

    It's funny -- if Greenwald could write a clear paragraph, and if he weren't more interested in denouncing people than persuading them, he might be a useful voice for civil liberties. But as it stands, meh.

  • ||

    Greenwald links back to examples of his statements about these matters in the very blog post we're talking about, dumbass.



    Sorry; couldn't/can't bring myself to follow the link and wade through another tiresome Greenwaldian diatribe. I expected it to be another civil libertarian fart amid his hurricane-esque denunciations of the right. If Mr. Greenwald has consistently condemned this sort of business in the most strident of terms, then he has my apologies: he's a tendentious, sanctimonious, preening asswipe who I wouldn't cross the street to piss on, but not an intellectually-dishonest one on this particular issue.

    By the way, I can't speak for Greenwald, but on civil liberties issues [which is the area where my judgments and his overlap] if you disagree with me you are, in fact, some combination of stupid, corrupt, or evil.



    The stupid/corrupt/evil premise is not limited to Greenwald on Civil Liberties; it extends to Greenwald on Torture, Greenwald on Executive Power, Greenwald on Politics In General, Greenwald on Curtain Treatments, and so forth and so on.

  • Seward||

    My reaction is this: in the age of modern telecommunications censorship doesn't have a chance. I mean, it didn't have a chance before this age arrived (thus samizdata, etc.), but it has even less of a chance now.

  • Fluffy||

    he's a tendentious, sanctimonious, preening asswipe who I wouldn't cross the street to piss on

    Translation:

    "I spent the last 8 years with Bush's cock in my mouth, and even though I can't rebut a single word Greenwald has written about the Bush administration, I'm going to denounce him for being 'sanctimonious', because that's the traditional term scumbags apply to those who point out the moral failings of the corrupt."

    Did I pretty much hear you right on that one?

  • Elemenope||

    Having a strong sense of right and wrong is "sanctimonious".
    Demonstrating an ability to use long words in complete sentences is "preening".

    I see.

    And "tendentious" is, as far as I am concerned, a compliment. It's called "having a point of view".

  • Bags||

    WhoooDaddy.

    A thread not only trashing Moynihan, but TAO to boot. I think MNG just jizzed all over his monitor screen.

  • MNG||

    Except the thread doesn't really trash MM, or TAO (seemed like a minor disagreement between him and fluffy), and I complimented MM and apologized to him and TAO for misreading a commenter's comments as MM's.

    But nice to know you're dreaming about me on these long, cold nights. Is that you High?

  • ||

    Mr. Greenwald: It may be true Levant defended the exclusion of George Galloway, but so far he hasn't opposed the exclusion of Michael Savage, so he is not a hypocrite. You can't take what Levant said on one issue and Steyn on the other and creat a non-existent hybrid hypocrite.

    While it's true that you have condemned the CHRC in the past, I would think the existence of such a powerful anti-free-speech body (one that has financially ruined innocent people who lacked the resources of Levant and Steyn) in our nearest neighbor ought to be a higher concern for civil libertarians, not something whose victims should be mocked.

  • H.F. Wolff||

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission and its junior provincial/territorial partners are indeed the most vile institutions imaginable in a free western society...

    And yet, I understand that the US congress and senate are debating and planning to vote on very similar "hate law" legislation that would have a similarly debilitating effect of stifling free speech.

    I trust that all you US free speech lovers are burning up the phone lines to your senators and congress critters, letting them know in no uncertain terms that you will campaign against them should they vote in favour of any such legislation.

    Illegitimus non Carborundum.

    H.F. Wolff

  • Elemenope||

    And yet, I understand that the US congress and senate are debating and planning to vote on very similar "hate law" legislation that would have a similarly debilitating effect of stifling free speech.

    O RLY? Is this some secret law not yet covered, or is it a case of a person being told that a 'hate crime bill' is actually a 'hate speech bill' (quit getting your news from FOX and GOP Direct Mailers, people!) and getting overheated about a non-existent speech threat?

  • ||

    Elemenope,

    Even though I don't agree with the Hate Crime Bill (either), good job on calling Wolff on obfuscating the two.

  • ||

    Or straight-up imagining something, which might be stating the situation better.

  • Elemenope||

    Or straight-up imagining something, which might be stating the situation better.

    Nah, there was a rash of slightly crazier-than-average GOP congresscritters who were eliding the difference (either intentionally or just due to being too stupid/gullible to actually know what it was they were discussing) on national news and in their weekly "The Dems are killing America!!!" flagellations on talknews and direct mail.

    Stupid shit snowballs from there. People will apparently believe anything their favorite congresscritter tells them. They were/are just repeating what they were told.

  • PR||

    Wow! Glenn Greenwald responded in this thread as Glenn Greenwald. I guess the Wilson, Ellers, Rick Ellison sockpuppetry days are over. Did you know his blog was quoted in the Senate?

  • ||

    If hypocrisy consists of speaking out on some but not every single fucking instance of state censorship, then the word has been flattened out and drained of all real content.

    On this issue, hypocrisy would consist of supporting the ban/sanctioning of some people who have spoken in favor of extremist ideologies but not offered material support to violent extremists, and opposing the ban/sanctioning of others.

    I don't see Ezra Levant or the others Greenwald attacks has having done that.

  • ||

    Really, who would you trust to defend liberty more, Greenwald or Moynihan?

    Is there any doubt?

  • ||

    This point is so important I feel it needs to be restated, from Jaybird:

    Elemenope, I would much rather take the chance that the guy calling for Freedom is lying than the chance that the guy calling for restrictions of Freedom is.

    When Ezra starts calling for people to be silenced, let's jump on him.

    When Mark Steyn is calling for people to be silenced, let's jump on him.

    In the meantime, let's not say "well, they're all part of 'the right' so, therefore, they're the equivalent of Cheney pulling strings to get PATRIOT passed."

    Further , both Steyn and Levant were forced to pay legal fees to mount a defense to what really is a kangaroo court who seems to only harass those on one side of the political spectrum (have they ever investigated Muslim hate?). Does Greenwald say anything about that, or is hypocrisy only despicable on the 'right'?

  • H.F. Wolff||

    For the politically correct there is absolutely no difference between "hate speech" and "hate crimes".

    Mind you it does take some intellectual capability and political awareness to appreciate the ulterior motives of those propounding "hate crime" laws.

    H.F. Wolff

  • H.F. Wolff||

    For those dimwits that still don't get it read the following post:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts05072009.html

    H.F. Wolff

  • max hats||

    Any response from Moynihan to the points Greenwald raised in this very thread?

  • ||

    Rand was pretty explicit that there are no "differences of opinion" over political matters that don't carry moral content.


    Fluffy, Just because Rand said something doesn't make it true.

  • ||

    If hypocrisy consists of speaking out on some but not every single fucking instance of state censorship, then the word has been flattened out and drained of all real content.

    That's not the argument. It's that Savage's political stances make him one of the least liberty-defending people in the national discourse. That makes it all the more conspicuous when he steps up for liberty in the one instance it happens to apply to himself.

  • ||

    Moynihan: for a guy who doesn't mean to respond to Greenwald, you sure do a lot of responding. Also you really suck.

  • ||

    George Galloway was banned for handing money over to Hamas plain and simple. It has nothing to do with free speech but that won't stop people from blurring the issue. Galloway has been to Canada many times before the ban and his views were well known in Canada. He was on Canadian TV after the ban and it wasn't blocked as well as video feeds to places were he was going to make speeches. The ban on Geert Wilders to enter England and show his film Fitna in England is an abuse of free speech but of course George Galloway supports the ban. It's amazing to me that people actually think they banned him from making speeches in front of a few hundred people because he is against the government..the people he makes speeches to..are already against the goverment!. He handed 45,000 in cash and right on camera. George Galloway actually supports a ban on Geert Wilders for making a movie but doesn't care somebody needs 24 hr security and gets death threats for expressing his freedom...but that's the kind of person he is.

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