It Doesn't Get Any Clearer Than That: "Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war"


Here's what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said today about Florida pastor Terry Jones' burning of a Koran, which has been used an excuse by Afghanis to murder 22 people, including seven United Nations workers:

I wish we could find some way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war. During World War II, you had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy.

More politician condemnations of Jones here.

You know what? We're always going to be in a war, thanks in no small part to the Lindsey Grahams of the world. Which means if we truly value our free speech, we're gonna have to bounce out every politician who subjects American expression to a wartime litmus test. Better yet, maybe start electing some who at least occasionally refrain from supporting new wars against majority-Muslim countries that have yet to make it through a Reformation.

Because when we have a political class as routinely venal as Lindsey Graham—or Time's Joe Klein, who really did write that "Jones's act was murderous as any suicide bomber's"—that means that war-inspired censorship is always just a shout away.

I wrote against "incitement" in the April issue of Reason.