Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Employee: Innocence of Muslims 'doesn't meet free-speech test' UPDATED

Writing at the L.A. Times, the Carnegie Endowment's Sarah Chayes, a former special assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, argues that the First Amendment should not* protect the anti-Islam film Innocence of Muslims, due to reasons of inciting imminent violence. Excerpt:

While many 1st Amendment scholars defend the right of the filmmakers to produce this film, arguing that the ensuing violence was not sufficiently imminent, I spoke to several experts who said the trailer may well fall outside constitutional guarantees of free speech. "Based on my understanding of the events," 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, "I think this meets the imminence standard."

Finally, much 1st Amendment jurisprudence concerns speech explicitly advocating violence, such as calls to resist arrest, or videos explaining bomb-making techniques. But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

This would be a novel standard indeed. Instead of whipping up your ideological compatriots to attack a common nearby enemy (think: Klan speech before a church-burning), this is an attempt to provoke your common enemy several thousand miles away to do whatever they might do. What was once an appropriately difficult standard of incitement becomes a much broader unprotected category of provocation, one that depends most of all on the potentially violent proclivities of the group being provoked. Is it unprotected speech to walk into a Red Sox bar in a Yankee jersey at 1 AM? How about passing out NAMBLA literature at a skinhead picnic?

As much as I am disappointed by Anthony Lewis (whose writing on civil liberties I have long enjoyed), the real worry here is that Chayes' view is on the grow in the military, Foreign Service, and executive branch writ large. There is an effort afoot in the culture, being pushed most heavily by government, to redraw the limits of free speech in the wake of the embassy attacks. This, I believe, is ultimately much more dangerous than the ability of cranks to put up 14-minute YouTube clips.

Meanwhile, news from countries that don't have First Amendment protections:

Germany is weighing a ban on public showings of the controversial anti-Islam video that sparked violent protests in the Middle East, pitting advocates for free speech against those worried about unrest.

Russian authorities, meanwhile, said they are moving to ban online distribution of the video for extremism.

* UPDATE: Sarah Chayes writes to me in response:

If you read my article, you'll see I do not say that the First Amendment "should not" protect Innocence of Muslims.  The initial headline put on the online version of the article did not reflect its contents and was changed by the LA Times....What I said was, given potentially provable "intentionality," and depending on how judges might decide on "imminence," this film might not fall within the range of protected speech.  My point was that it's at least debatable.

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  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    So the way to make everyone stop saying things you don't like is to react with extreme violence. I'm sure that's a sane incentive structure.

  • o3||

    just because one can say something doesnt mean one should.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    You're certainly proof of that. But (as usual) your point is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

  • Jeff||

    Just because one can respond to Oral doesn't mean one should.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Your wife tell you that?

  • Jeff||

    Yours did.

  • MJGreen||

    Therefore, one can't be allowed to say such things.

  • Suki||

    Right, which is silly. How come none of these free speech haters is going after "Egyptian cleric and talk show host Khaled Abdallah, one of the first to broadcast scenes from the film" on Egyptian television days before the violence? (I don't advocate going after him either, I just 'wonder' why all of the misplaced rage)

  • sloopyinca||

    Thanks for standing up for free speech and acknowledging that these people have a right to say this. It's god to see.

    And yes, people have rights to do things they shouldn't all the fucking time. Look at those assholes from Westboro Baptist Church. They shouldn't be doing what they do because it's distasteful and classless. However, they have every right to do so and I'll defend them every time.

  • o3||

    the westboro jackasses also incense violence and are subject to reasonable restrictions as to time, place, and duration...limits Utube doesnt impose but could.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    What the fuck are you talking about? Youtube censors videos all the time.

  • albo||

    Edits by deleting, not censors.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Deleting a video isn't a form of censorship?

  • sloopyinca||

    Deleting a video isn't a form of censorship?

    IMO, not when Youtube is a private company. The feds asking them to do so and them subsequently deleting it, however, is.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. If a private publisher goes through a book and blacks out every instance of the word "shit", I'd still call it censorship. I don't know how YoutTube decides which videos to delete, but it could be censorship. Just not the illegal/unconstitutional kind backed by force of law.

  • sloopyinca||

    Personally, I'd call it editing. I'd be pissed about it if I were the writer, but I'd then market it to someone and contractually agree that the text be published in full or I'd refuse to sign the agreement.

    I've always considered censorship to be by the government or without consent of both parties. If the author contractually allows a publisher to black out the words he doesn't like, then I fail to see how that's censorship.

    Maybe I'm just being a pedant here. If so, I apologize.

  • BarryD||

    Incense violence?

    Is that a hippie thing?

  • ||

    After all of the ugliness we've seen lately, a fragrant war might seem like a wonderful blessing.

  • BarryD||

    If a few thousand people come running at you with patchouli, don't you have the legal right and moral obligation to open fire, though?

  • ||

    What was once an appropriately difficult standard of incitement becomes a much broader unprotected category of provocation, one that depends most of all on the potentially violent proclivities of the group being provoked.

    Yep. Imagine what would have happened to the civil rights campaign in the 60s if this standard had been applied

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Don't say that! You'll rile up the Darkies!

  • sarcasmic||

    "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

    Time to ban the Declaration of Independence.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm curious about the definition of "imminence" that encompasses a delay of three months.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Go the government, that's a ridiculously fast turnaround. Earlier this year they took a month after receiving a letter from me to say "Thanks for that letter we got a month ago. We'll look into the evidence you sent us later."

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, like this isn't an established area of the law. Next, let's get rid of the doctrine of disfavoring prior restraints.

  • jester||

    If you are a woman and you dress really sexy, you are inviting a gang bang (which is essentially a riot.)The woman should be punished for inciting rape, the fucking home-wrecking harlot.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Just because she can look hot doesn't mean she should.

  • sarcasmic||

    Why do you think Muslims force women to cover up?

  • ||

    "If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat? "The uncovered meat is the problem."

    http://www.theaustralian.com.a.....1112419114

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Why is it OK for Muslims to equate themselves with unthinking animals but not for others to do so?

  • o3||

    because animals dont luv em sum god real goods

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Do you always post/type like an oxygen starved Japanese school girl?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    So he's saying that Muslims are no better than ferrule cats? Because that's what I hear.

    That Mulsims don't have the normal human capacity for gathering information, synthesizing it, and reacting in a manner that says "maybe burning embassies and schools while killing ambassadors en route is a bad idea."

  • SKR||

    Ferrule cat? Is that when you take a dead cat and shove a stick up its ass and use it as a paintbrush?

  • BarryD||

    GOddammit, beat me to it!

  • Rich||

    Stefon?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I hereby state that anyone who says something good about Obama, Obamacare, or Roberts will get punched in the face.

    This threat of imminent violence means that this type of speech is no longer protected by the 1st Amendment.

    (Good alternative: I hereby state that anyone who says there is a "violence inducing" exception to the 1st Amendment will get punched in the face)

  • ||

    "I hereby state that anyone who says there is a "violence inducing" exception to the 1st Amendment will get punched in the face."

    I second that. That idiot cunt Sarah Chayes should be jailed for inciting violence.

  • DJF||

    “””’Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. established that the right to free speech in the United States is not unlimited. "The most stringent protection," he wrote on behalf of a unanimous court, "would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic."“”’

    They always bring this up but never point out that the case it was used in had nothing to do with shouting, fires, theaters, panic nor falsehood. It had to do with if someone could peacefully protest WW1. Holmes said they couldn’t.

    So anyone who bring this quote up is really saying that you can’t protest wars.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What else *would* a former Joint Chiefs employee say?

  • Joe R.||

    The larger picture takeaway is that Sarah Chayes is the kind of tyrant that seeks jobs in government. Explains a lot.

  • jester||

    I have always thought that OWH unjustly famous 'yelling fire in a crowded theater' gotcha is lame and unrealistic.

    I notice that often in public places such as airports fire alarms go off and no one reacts. That's because they aren't getting any feedback indicating that there really is a fire.

    What Holmes forgot to add was, 'and lighting a smoke bomb and throwing it.'

    That will get folks in a panic. So I agree with you and raise it one more level of bullshit.

  • Invisible Finger||

    That's because everyone is dulled to the THREAT LEVEL warnings over the PA every two minutes.

    Perhaps if we say "Mohammed sucks Allah's cock" enough times the fundies will get dulled to it. They come from countries without a freedom of speech so maybe they aren't used to it.

    In any case, that lack of freedom is a shortcoming of their culture, not ours. And believe me, our culture has shitloads of shortcomings.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    In any case, that lack of freedom is a shortcoming of their culture, not ours.

    ^^This^^

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I hate lawyers.

    And Holmes was a douchebag.

  • ||

    Hear! Hear!

    I hate that retarded quote. I could shout fire in a crowded theater today, tonight, and it wouldn't cause a panic. People aren't that stupid.

  • Y||

    Oh I see the 1st Amendment protects only popular speech, I had forgotten that was the speech that needed protecting.

  • DJF||

    Its worse then that, the 1st amendment protects speech unless someone of a protected class finds it so offensive that they will riot and kill.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Cute, cuddly bunnies are cute and cuddly! There! I said it, mutherfuckers!

  • ||

    You offensive sonofabitch! I'll have your corpse dripping blood by midnight

  • ||

    The image of a fuzzy bunny fills me with rage and is in imminent danger of inciting me to storm an Embassy in the Middle East.

  • jester||

    No dummy. It is poplar speech that is protected. Have you ever sat in a grove of aspen, a type of poplar? The wind rustling through the leaves is one of the most aesthetic experiences you'll ever have.
    We, the people, are protected from all other speech because it could be bullying, hateful or injurious to our proper patriotic education.

  • ||

    The image of softy whispering aspens fills me with rage and is in imminent danger of inciting me to storm an Embassy in the Middle East.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    #alpinerage

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Hey, Raimondo says Matt is just a cocktail-sippin' pussy or something and that the whole Muhammad video thing is an act of provocation that means, well, well, I guess I don't know what the fuck Raimondo's trying to say.
    You gonna take that lyin' down, Welch? (See, I'm playing provocateur here. Why? Because it's my right, mutherfuckers!)

  • tarran||

    I remember a time when I liked Raimodo. It was a happier, more innocent time, when I used to wonder why John Kennedy of No-Treason.Com was so harsh in his denunciations of movementarians.

  • tarran||

    Speaking of which, No Treason is back!

  • ||

    BLASPHEMY GARBLE BARGLE RARGLE!

  • jester||

    I think Raimondo (as an anti-War blogger) is taking the tack that neo-cons will use the Al-Qaeda payback explanation as a reason to sabre-rattle.

    His strategy is to paint the 'enemy' as not worthy of our attention, so let's get out.

    I think you can hold both views simultaneously as they are not mutually non-inclusive. I don't think anyone at Reason has been sympathetic to Islam's West-Virginia-of-the-East ways, just saying that the primary impetus was payback for specific drone attacks.

    Raimondo certainly understands that rubes will be rubes.

  • BarryD||

    "His strategy is to paint the 'enemy' as not worthy of our attention, so let's get out."

    The problem is that this doesn't really hold water. 9/11, much as it has been used and abused politically, did show that we have to pay some attention.

    That doesn't mean I think that we're doing the right things, necessarily. Our reactions to 9/11 were, on the whole, not good.

    But I'm not reflexively anti-war, either. History does not look kindly on those whose only priority is to avoid fighting at any cost.

  • jester||

    Agreed. I am not justifying Justin. I appreciate most of what he has to say. I think in this instance he is wrong and that it is important for a site like Reason to voice against using terror attacks as a cristalnacht against free speech.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    ++that

  • kinnath||

    But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

    I got nothin to say that wouldn't be a crime under this guy's view of the world.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    If I hear one more person say how much they love their mamas, I'm gonna fucking kill somebody. You've all been warned.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I love your mama.

  • Atanarjuat||

    This from a person who, presumably, swore to uphold the Constitution. We might as well do away with that little formality.

  • DJF||

    Unfortunately, while the military and the rest of government is required to swear to uphold the Constitution, they are not required to read it.

  • sarcasmic||

    What would it matter if they did?

    I mean, the document is so full of subtlety that only someone who is highly trained in the legal profession is capable of understanding it.

    For example an untrained person might read "Congress shall make no law" and actually believe that that means Congress shall make no law. Only a trained legal professional can see all the hidden exceptions in those words.

    Likewise with "shall not be infringed".
    You or I might think that means what it says, when in fact it means "shall be highly regulated and in many cases banned".

    So there's no point in the military or government reading the Constitution since there's no way that they could possibly understand it.

  • BarryD||

    Besides...

    Or else what?

    If they were bound to uphold the Constitution, or face crucifixion, then they'd err on the side of caution.

  • sarcasmic||

    If they were bound to uphold the Constitution, or face crucifixion, then they'd creatively reinterpret the Constitution to mean whatever it needs to mean to justify whatever bullshit they want to do.

    Oh wait, that's what they do now!

  • BarryD||

    Constitutionality of actions, and sentence, to be determined by a regular jury.

  • BarryD||

    (Fully-informed jury)

  • ||

    I posted "Happy Constitution Day" on my Facebook yesterday and got two likes. As an unscientific experiment, I'm going to post "Happy Cheeseburger Day" and see how many likes I get.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    + 1 Like (urp).

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Now I might have to go to Five Guys for lunch.

  • ||

    MMMm...yes. Good ideer. Too bad I work in the food black hole of DC, with nary a Five Guys in sight. Maybe dinner...

  • NoVAHockey||

    really, there are at least 2 within walking distance for me.

  • ||

    Yeah, 23rd C ain't a hotbed of culinary delights.

  • Ted S.||

    How would you know the 23d century isn't a hotbed of culinary delights? :-p

  • BarryD||

    Like -- but I have no idea where to find you on Facebook.

  • ||

    I got one like and a comment. From my wife. Sigh.

  • The Hammer||

    It was Constitution Day? Maybe the problem is publicity.

  • The Hammer||

    I don't see where she was ever in the military. She was a bureaucrat, nothing more. It's not surprising that she would have no problem curtailing freedom of anything. She expects to not be subject to any restrictions.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    So if the Tea Party started burning down campaign headquarters of Democrat candidates anytime Paul Krugman said something, would that lead to Krugnuts being shut out of the NYTimes?

    Or would that be a completely different situation?

  • o3||

    only if the mob attacks the NYT otherwise analogy FAILZ

  • Fatty Bolger||

    So the US government made the video?

    What's up with you? You're dumber than usual today.

  • o3||

    the DNC didnt make the vid either to use ur conflation

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Seriously, man. Are you drunk? On new meds? What is wrong with you today?

  • Zeb||

    Why? No one attacked YouTube. They attacked completely unrelated businesses and US government property, neither of which has anything to do with the video.

  • Joe R.||

    Why does the analogy fail? The supposed anti-film mob didn't attack the filmmaker, or YouTube. It killed a diplomat who may or may not have agreed with the contents of the film.

  • OldMexican||

    But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result [sic] is violence, and that violence was intended [super sic], then it meets the standard."

    But why wait? Just ban the thing outright because as you and me know (wink-wink, nod-nod) it will incite violence!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    It's hard to call the video a call for imminent violence when it was sitting on YouTube for over 2 months before anyone decided to use it as an excuse to kill and pillage.

    The video is nothing more than a pretext for the attacks.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Like I said yesterday, the video is a scapegoat--the President Not My Fault administration was caught completely flat-footed by the protests and attacks, and had to find something to deflect blame towards.

    Now his supporters are repeating the line like the good, intellectually stunted parrots they are.

  • o3||

    so the clerics accidently used this video which has no bearing anyway?

  • BarryD||

    There's strong evidence that the protests were a diversion.

    They used it on purpose. But I suspect they had to go digging for something to use, because nobody had heard of the thing before.

  • ant1sthenes||

    How many of them had heard of the video before the administration started blaming everything on it? Bear in mind that Libya is claiming there was no protest before the attack in Benghazi, which means that nowhere other than possibly Egpyt is there evidence of protestors knowing about this video without the help and guidance of Uncle Sam.

  • SKR||

    The fighting words standard doesn't just require immediate provocation to violence, but also that the speech be personal. The video doesn't insult any of the violent people directly. It insults a person they really like. Now if the prophet showed up and was provoked to violence they might has a point. However, I don't see that happening.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    So, if you have a big enough mob and enough bazookas, you can define the parameters of the U.S. First Amendment? No matter where in the world you are?

    What happens when some guy with an armed mob decides that Playboy is offensive and threatens violence unless it's banned? Or Lady Gaga, the writings of Mark Steyn, or a cookbook which uses bacon? An anti-American mob of sufficient size and deadliness can decide that these artists and works are outside the scope of the First Amendment.

    And in many of these cases, the "outrage" is based on what the mob members have been told about the work in question. Eg, the Danish cartoon mobs were told that the cartoons had Mohammed doing something with a pig, which wasn't the case. So we can ban a work, not only based on its "inflammatory" content, but on what the mob *thinks* is in there.

    "We are banning the whole Twilight series because of the scene where Mohammed does it with a dog."

    "But there is no such scene in Twilight!"

    "Are you going to quibble over details when the National Security is in danger, you traitor?"

  • Calidissident||

    "We are banning the whole Twilight series because of the scene where Mohammed does it with a dog."

    "But there is no such scene in Twilight!"

    "Are you going to quibble over details when the National Security is in danger, you traitor?"

    I could actually get behind this

  • Mongo||

    decides that Playboy is offensive

    I had a Playboy mag ca.1980 that had some renowned photographer showcasing his work.

    Some of his images had models with hijabs and burka head coverings...but with their lithesome legs spread wide open!

    I cut-out the photos and sent them to my pal in Paris during France's mix-up with the Muslims in the 1990s.

    I'm still keeping my eye out for that issue in used booksellers....

  • ant1sthenes||

    I can't wait to see the reaction of the progtardosphere when foreign rioters demand the U.S. take all gay-friendly shows off the air or they'll keep killing random people.

  • Restoras||

    I find this...chilling.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Read your Heckler's Veto Clause in the First Amendment. Speech is only protected from state reaction as long as no one finds it offensive.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I find what you are saying offensive. Stop it or I'll call the Joint Chiefs.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I find your name offensive. Change it or I'll nuke the site from orbit.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I'll see you in People's Court, bitch.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I find your communism offensive. I am entering the launch codes as we speak.

  • albo||

    "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

    Jeez. No wonder Eugene Volokh's head has practically spun itself off over the past week, with remarks like this from presumably smart people.

  • sloopyinca||

    I can't believe people are missing the bigger point here, which is this: The media and the Obama Admin have managed to twist the narrative from "these crazy people hate us and will use anything as a pretext to act violently, and we shall not make any concessions regarding our First Amendment" to "These pople are reacting because someone said something they shouldn't have. Therefore, we will use the full force of government to chill their First Amendment rights".

    It's fucking disgusting, and the compliant media are all too happy to help them along. How would those assholes feel if the crazies overseas started rioting and killing Americans because they say a free press is an affront to Allah? Would they be so quick to abandon that provision of the 1A as well? I guess it would depend on whether or not Obama told them they should.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    How would those assholes feel if the crazies overseas started rioting and killing Americans because they say a free press is an affront to Allah?

    You're assuming they have spines.

  • John||

    It is totally disgusting. And these people hate the first Amendment. Have you forgotten their conniption over Citizens United?

    Here is the Holder Justice Department refusing to promise that DoJ will never advance proposal to criminalize speech against any religion. Watch the video. It is sickening.

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/2012.....ize-s.html

  • o3||

    so speech has no limits? what about classified info, child porn, and non-disclosure clauses?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    You really are pushing the envelop of foolishness today, aren't you?

    An NDA is a commercial/civil matter,
    Classified info - ever hear of The Pentagon Papers or read an NYT during the BOOOOOSH Administration?
    Child pron is made by exploiting or hurting someone underage/legally considered unable to consent.

    And you equate these with some 14 minute YouTube clip that is being waved about as an excuse for shoddy intel, security and DoS and Admin awareness of what is going on overseas?

  • ||

    Because in the liberal mindset, adult Ay-rabs (as well as every other third world denizen) are childlike savages who know not what they do and need the direction and benign influence of Uncle Sam to guide them. We exercise our benign influence by limiting free speech here, so as not to arouse the hyperactive anger of those childlike brown savages. They know not what they do.

    See?

  • John||

    Yup. If a crazy right wing mob showed up and burned down the NYT headquarters because of a Pauli Krugnuts column. Krugnuts would be hailed as a hero of free speech and the rioters held entirely responsible.

  • BarryD||

    How do I sign up to be a blameless noble savage?

    It does sound like an advantageous position to be in.

  • Atanarjuat||

    Yep. It seems like that is the talking point/meme that has come down. I guess they are a pimping it because it distracts from Obama's failure to protect our consulates and embassies, as well as from the crap economy.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    It's final proof that the mass media is no longer liberal, and is now simply a branch of the Democratic party.

    Defend the Constitution

  • jester||

    Yes. Blowback from our freewheeling lifesyles, NOT from our freewheeling lack of diplomacy. Very rich, indeed.

  • ||

    Yes, exactly. When the embassey statement condemned the film instead of saying the filmmaker had freedom of speech, and when administration officials go on TV condemning the film, instead of clearly stating that we have freedom of speech, they are subtly undermining the first amendment.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Doesn't seem that subtle to me.

  • ||

    They're protesting insults to Mohammed now. Next year it will be anything that portrays Muslims negatively. When they start rioting any time the media reports that they've been riot that when we'll be off the deep end.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    THIS SORT OF STUFF REALLY PISSES ME OFF. #HitNRage

    Consider yourself vetoed Ms Chayes.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    But words don't have to urge people to commit violence in order to be subject to limits, says Lewis. "If the result is violence, and that violence was intended, then it meets the standard."

    Taking this at face value, at what point is the speech subject to muzzling? I suspect they are working their way toward a "reasonable person's" (that is to say, that of your typical Top Man) expectations as justification for prior restraint.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I hate "reasonable". There has never been a word so completely tortured and twisted as that one.

  • Joe R.||

    Stop being so unreasonable.

  • jester||

    You tried to hide it but sneaked in two drinks. Keep it up.

  • Brian D||

    "Based on my understanding of the events," 1st Amendment authority Anthony Lewis said in an interview Thursday, "I think this meets the imminence standard."

    Is that the most blatant example of the appeal to authority fallacy ever?

  • John||

    And Lewis is an idiot. Imminence means I tell you an the rest of the mob to go do some criminal act. That is not what happened here. The film in no way advocates violence. It just said some things some Muslims didn't like. It never told them to go burn anything down. They decided to do that. Lewis has the standard completely wrong.

  • ||

    and note that under brandenburg, mere advocacy of violence is not enough anyway...

  • Joe R.||

    Worse, it's an appeal to authority that proves that the authority is not an authority.

  • John||

    So I guess this woman thinks the Nazis shouldn't have been allowed to march through Skokie, Illinois?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "A riot is an ugly thing. And I think it's just about time we had one!"

  • LTC(ret) John||

    +1 one "to the lumberyard!"

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Oh crap.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    For once The Onion gets something wrong. Usually their satire turns out to be oddly prescient, but their story about the ACLU defending the free speech rights of Nazi's doesn't seem to hold water anymore.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "the real worry here is that Chayes' view is on the grow in the military"

    Not, I think, in the actual uniformed part (maybe certain flag officers/plate lickers). But the vast, parasitic pile of 'civil servants' latched onto DoD like barnacles...sure.

  • Invisible Finger||

    If all I have to do to have my violent proclivities okayed by the US Govt is to declare myself Muslim, then just call me Invisible al-Finger.

    Are Musilms allowed to be photographed by surveillance cameras or is that a violation of their religious freedom? This Muslim conversion may turn out pretty good!

  • ||

    I like Invisib al-Finger better.

  • ant1sthenes||

    If Innocence of Muslims doesn't pass the free speech test, neither does the Koran. Sure, lots of people read the Koran without killing anyone. But lots of people view IoM without killing anyone too. As far as I know, all the people pulling this shit were exposed to both items, so one's as likely to be responsible as the other.

  • Proprietist||

    The Bible too. God told David to slaughter villages of unbelievers in his name, wiping out every last woman and child. David is somehow considered a biblical hero.

  • Mongo||

    Dave's not here!

  • ant1sthenes||

    Statute of limitations.

  • jester||

    Statue of Liberty. Fuck you preternaturalists. Not sure that is the word I'm searching for but it sounds good.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, it's a little funny that the heroic mythical leader of the Jews is celebrated for committing full on, no fooling, genocide. Repeatedly.

  • Rob Ives||

    The comments on the Times' site are wonderful. It gives me hope.

    For some time the left has been pushing the theory that anything that makes anyone mad is like "shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater."

  • Lyle||

    The second coming of Christ can't come more quickly.

  • John||

    The lake of fire is going to be awfully crowded.

  • sloopyinca||

    "Hey, where are my 72 versions and why is heaven so damn hot?" #MartyrRage

  • ||

    This is the big, big problem with the way Obama has handled this stuff.

    He's not talking about the First Amendment. He just comes out and condemns the film over and over, says it's wrong, vile disgusting blah blah (as if he has seen it). That just feeds the radical belief that they can get something by rioting, and it simultaneously chills speech by saying we're not going to do anything to protect or defend your rights if yo usay something ofeensive to Muslims.

    It's wrong and awful.

  • ||

    right. he's not a fucking film critic. he's the head of the executive branch of govt.

    assume the film *is* wrong, vile, disgusting,etc. does this make any difference in regards to the important questions? no

    it's just a way for him be seen as sympathetic

    what he needs to be is a LEADER

    AND YES, i know libertarianism isnt super stoked on the idea of us having a leader, but the point is the executive branch is all about law enforcement,etc

    the people who investigat, arrest, prosecute etc

  • ||

    who is this fucktard sarah chayes and what makes her think she knows what she is talking about

    it's pretty simple to know what you have to do.

    1) know the standard. in the US, it is currently

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brandenburg_v._Ohio

    Brandenburg v. Ohio. it's actually reasonably uncomplicated (for the law).

    Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case based on the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Court held that government cannot punish inflammatory speech unless that speech is directed to inciting, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action. Specifically, it struck down Ohio's criminal syndicalism statute, because that statute broadly prohibited the mere advocacy of violence. In the process, Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357 (1927) was explicitly overruled, and doubt was cast on Schenck v. United States, 249 U.S. 47 (1919), Abrams v. United States, 250 U.S. 616 (1919), and Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951)

    so, as long as we lay off the schenck (falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre , since brandenbnerg trumps it

    we

    2) have to apply the speech TO the brandenburg standard

    does the speech here exceed the limits of brandenburg?

    no

    ... PERIOD...

    iow, she;s wrong

    for those interested in an appeal to authoritah, LOTS of first amendment scholars have come down with the same opinion

  • Paul.||

    I'm disappointed that there are even comments on this article. It deserves none. The "free speech test".

    If your speech has to pass a "test" administered by a panel of experts, your speech isn't free.

  • Killazontherun||

    As much as I am disappointed by Anthony Lewis (whose writing on civil liberties I have long enjoyed), the real worry here is that Chayes' view is on the grow in the military, Foreign Service, and executive branch writ large.

    Oathbreakers should be tried for treason. Then shot.

  • jester||

    No, they shouldn't. Geez. Do we have to get into this again? I like what you say and then you are all police state.

    I realize that you are trying to be ironic, but you really suck at it. That may well be your intention. I understand that that may me another plan of attack. But here? Here at Reason? JHC, try your meme somewhere else. I purchased the monopoly on that meme. Go somewhwhere else or I'll sue your ass.

  • thom||

    Great. Let's find a group of foreigners who will agree to riot if the NY Times endorses Barack Obama.

  • Public Citizzen||

    When you have a "test" for what constitutes free speech that goes beyond the concept of "Is the theater, in fact, on fire?" then you no longer have free speech.

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