Embassy Attacks

'The West seems to be falling out of love with free speech'

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Speaking of anti-blasphemy agitation vs. free expression, Jonathan Turley has an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post on precisely that subject, headlined "Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech." This section in particular is chilling:

Religious critics in France, Britain, Italy and other countries have found themselves under criminal investigation as threats to public safety. In France, actress and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot has been fined several times for comments about how Muslims are undermining French culture. And just last month, a Greek atheist was arrested for insulting a famous monk by making his name sound like that of a pasta dish.

Some Western countries have classic blasphemy laws — such as Ireland, which in 2009 criminalized the "publication or utterance of blasphemous matter" deemed "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion." The Russian Duma recently proposed a law against "insulting religious beliefs." Other countries allow the arrest of people who threaten strife by criticizing religions or religious leaders. In Britain, for instance, a 15-year-old girl was arrested two years ago for burning a Koran. […]

Dutch politician Geert Wilders went through years of litigation before he was acquitted last year on charges of insulting Islam by voicing anti-Islamic views. In the Netherlands and Italy, cartoonists and comedians have been charged with insulting religion through caricatures or jokes.

Even the Obama administration supported the passage of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council to create an international standard restricting some anti-religious speech (its full name: "Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief"). Egypt's U.N. ambassador heralded the resolution as exposing the "true nature" of free speech and recognizing that "freedom of expression has been sometimes misused" to insult religion.

At a Washington conference last year to implement the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it would protect both "the right to practice one's religion freely and the right to express one's opinion without fear." But it isn't clear how speech can be protected if the yardstick is how people react to speech — particularly in countries where people riot over a single cartoon. Clinton suggested that free speech resulting in "sectarian clashes" or "the destruction or the defacement or the vandalization of religious sites" was not, as she put it, "fair game."

Whole thing here.

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161 responses to “'The West seems to be falling out of love with free speech'

    1. No, the statists won.

      1. Which was the whole point of the Statists inventing and funding the Terrorists.

      2. No, the statists won.

        At the request of the terrorists.

        1. Sure, split hairs. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT.

          Who saw Brady’s face when Wilson landed that throw to Rice? The look on his face was FUCKING AMAZING. Cry me a river, Tom!

          1. Every year the Pats’ secondary sucks and every year they fail to address the problem. I wish they would stop relying on scoring 75,000 points per game.

            1. Hey, it’s worked for a couple Stupid Bowl wins.

              The Lions are trying the same thing….less successfully of course.

              Well, other than the college JV secondary – they have that part NAILED this year.

            2. They’re only contending because of the woeful state of defense in the NFL the last few years. Though that trend does show some signs of reversing.

              1. You mean like the #1 defense in the league stopping the Patriots in the last two minutes?

                1. You’re setting yourself up for a very painful fall.

                  1. Probably. What of it?

                    1. Nothing, just wanted to warn you.

                    2. I always have the Giants to fall back on, ProL.

                    3. Yeah, I don’t think that’s a good idea, either.

                    4. Hey, they won the Superbowl last year. That’s something.

                    5. Yes, but I don’t think they’re going to do it again. In fact, I’m not sure how it happened last year.

                    6. ELI HAPPENED.

                    7. Last season put me off, because defense was MIA. In the playoffs, about the only decent defensive team was San Francisco, but it wasn’t quite ready for prime time.

                      Manning had a great playoff run last year. He’s still not as good as his brother, though. Not even close.

              2. The question is, are they not concerned about the defense because it takes them 1:30 to put up 7, or are they forced to put up 7 in 1:30 because they’re not concerned about the defense?

          2. Sure, split hairs. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEANT.

            If I had them to split, I would split them… and how.

          3. I hate you, Epi. I was wondering when you’d get around to this.

      3. Yeah, that happened 5000+ years ago.

        1. So I am reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars and apparently the Gauls would make giant wood statues of their gods fill them with criminals (if they did not have criminals they would fill them with whoever..most likely slaves/serfs) and burn them.

          That was 2000 years ago.

  1. The problem with parliaments is that minority parties not only get in, they frequently decide elections. So the yammering of these constantly pissed off idiots tends to be given great weight.

    1. You mean the Nazis, right?

      1. Illinois Nazis.

        1. I hate Illinois Nazis!

          1. See, hate speech. The prosecution rests.

  2. (its full name: “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief”).

    This is so Obama. God he keeps making it hard to not vote for Romney.

    1. Tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance.

    2. CINSSDIVVAPBRB?

      What a lousy acronym. It doesn’t even spell out something cute.

      1. How about “Fair, Appropriate, and Sensible Curtailment of Insensitive Speech for Tolerance”?

        1. Holy shit, that’s brilliant.

          1. I second PB’s endorsement. I suggest you send the white house an email with your most appropriate name for its latest transgression against the constitution.

    3. CINSSDIVVAPBRB?

  3. In the words of Eddie Murphy, “YO MASSAH! SUCK MY DICK!!! SUCK MY MOTERHFUCKIN’ DICK!!”

    *SNAP!*

  4. “falling out of love” implies that the West (as a whole) was in love with free speech at some point in the past.

    Except, isn’t America the ONLY country in The West that actually claims to guarantee Freedom Of Speech? (your implementation mileage may vary) Don’t Canada and Most of Europe have laws AGAINST free speech, or at least banning various types of speech?

    1. Yes… some western nations have no mention of freedom of expression– it’s just presumed to be there based on cultural norms, and other nations do give a weak-tea nod to freedom of expression, but also stipulate that it can be suppressed if there’s a “compelling state interest”.

    2. As far as I can tell, in the Western Hemisphere, only the US, Canada and Brazil have protected freedom of speech in their core documents.

      But of course, all of them have big exceptions (Brazil’s exceptions being so ridiculous that they might as well not even have put it in there in the first place).

      1. I believe that Canada’s can suppress if there’s a “compelling state interest”. Can’t speak for Brazil.

      2. The Canadian speech right has a hole for speech against religion/ethnicity that you could drive a truck through.

        1. Exceptions like that pretty much go for most of our “granted rights” (ick).

    3. The New Zealand parliament passed a law a few years back banning the criticism of parliament.

      1. Must make campaigning as a challenger just a bit more difficult.

  5. At a Washington conference last year to implement the resolution, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declared that it would protect both “the right to practice one’s religion freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear.”

    What’s great about that link is you don’t have to get the parsed version from FreeRepublic or the Washington Times. The whole, ugly, gag-inducing sordid affair is right there on the State Department’s website:

    And yet at the same time, it’s one thing if people are just disagreeing. That is fair game. That’s free speech. But if it results in sectarian clashes, if it results in the destruction or the defacement or the vandalization of religious sites, if it even results in imprisonment or death, then government must held those ? hold those who are responsible accountable.

    1. Fucking traitors.

    2. hold those who are responsible accountable

      You mean, Muslim extremists?

  6. I’d rather have free speech than the United States. Assuming I had to pick.

    1. After the United States Government self-destructs, i’d like to see a Loosely Affiliated States replace it, including the provinces/states of Canada and Mexico.

      Negotiate interstate and international conflicts, defend the oceanic borders, and that’s about it. MAYBE a uniform currency.

    2. But you don’t have to pick. You have both now. Consider yourself fortunate.

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

        HE’LL BE HERE ALL WEEK, FOLKS!! TRY THE CHICKEN FINGERS!!

        1. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn good.

      2. Where’s your buddy Locke?

    3. I’d rather have pie.

        1. Pizza Pie! Half pumpkin, half pepperoni!

          1. good riddance, those movies are horrible.

            1. But they have Alysson Hannigan.

              1. She is truly the Nuclear Option of hotties.

  7. UN Article 19, in the Declaration of Human Rights (1948):

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Unless it offends someone I guess.

    1. Your “freedom of speech” stops at my ears.

    2. You missed the fine print in Article 29(2):

      “In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.”

      http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

      1. Kind of the “commerce clause” of free speech, then.

      2. Yeah, the UN is awesome for self-negating beauracracy. Probably second only to the bible.

        They pre-empted Article 19 (and more explicitly than Article 29) with Article 11:

        “The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.”

      3. I couldn’t read that without getting dizzy.

    3. I think if you ask the UN and the nations that ratified that declaration, they prefer to think of this free speech right as a right granted by their individual governments to the people, rather than a natural right the people have that cannot be abridged by their government.

      1. I’m sure you’re right. Which is probably why they named it “The Declaration of Human Rights”.

        It’s just hilarious how self-negating they are.

    4. The entire U.N. Declaration of Human Rights offends Muslims, which is why they wrote their own “Declaration on ‘Human Rights'”.

      Jus’ sayin’

      1. You have the right to submit.

      2. “which is why they wrote their own “Declaration on ‘Human Rights'”.”

        That is so gay!

        1. I propose that from now on instead of calling something that is lame or stupid “gay” we should say “muslim”. IOW “That is so muslim!”

  8. Again – I believe in your right to say whatever you want, and will protect to the death my right to kill you for saying it.

    /jihadist-type freak

    1. DON’T CALL THEM FREAKS!

      Are you trying to give our Jihaditarians heart-attacks?

      Oh, and drones.

      And fried chicken.

      Drone fried chicken.

      1. You had me at drone

      2. Fried chicken drones? Send some over my house please.

      3. Deep-dish drone fried chicken.

        1. BLASPHEMER! PREPARE TO DIE!!!

          *pulls out “New York Style” sword*

          1. Is a New York-Style sword floppy and has to be folded in half the long way to use?

  9. “Hate speech is not free speech.” — A college campus near you.

    1. On various other sites I’d visit thoroughout the whole Muhammed video kerfuffle, each forum thread would invariably have some earnest young doofus pipe up, “but this video is hate speech, and that’s not protected by the first amendment.”

      It’s appalling as it is sad. As the maitre’d said to Ferris Bueller, I weep for the future.

    2. I’ve tossed around the idea of having an enforced “Free speech zone” at my Halloween party, which will be right before the election. The zone will be at least 500 feet from my house, up the hill, in the middle of the woods. All political discussion will be limited to the Free Speech Zone on penalty of being cut off from the beer taps. The Zone will have a diameter of three feet and only one may speak at a time. Occupancy of the cidcle will be determined by pugilistic contest.

      1. Or you could just force them to abide by “occupy” speaking rules.

        1. Or the whole party could that creepy “human microphone” thing.

          “Would you pass me the chips?”

          “WOULD YOU PASS ME THE CHIPS!?!”

      2. Can I come to your party? I plan on dressing as Ron Swanson, which means I’ll bring Lagavulin.

        1. I had to look up who Ron Swanson is, but whisky is always welcome.

          1. “It’s never too early to learn that the government is a greedy piglet that suckles on a taxpayer’s teat until they have sore, chapped nipples.”

            -Ron Swanson

  10. Woo-hoo! Yet another example of where progressives and Democrats are libertarian on social issues!

  11. “The right to practice one’s religion speech rights freely and the right to express one’s opinion without fear of some religious whacknutjob taking a shot at me.”

  12. A conspiracy theorist – not me, of course – might suggest that the Administration saw an opportunity to start the ball rolling on a discussion on limiting speech and pushed the Innocence of Muslims video narrative to do that very thing. Crisitunity.

    1. Well just think how easy it’d be to get a warrant for suspicion of preparing inciteful speech.

    2. Crisitunity

      Copyright 2012 Wylie, Trademarked, Patent Pending.

        1. Family Guy will do it next!

    3. Just look at the stats on the video as I did 9/12, there was barely any traffic before the previous evening.

  13. I will just note here, in support of free speech, that Siruis radios services sucks DONKEY DICKS. FUCK YOU, SIRIUS RADIO!!! I love the Sirius in the cars – I HATE fucking with their “service” department to actually make it happen. I’m THIS close to going without just to avoid ever having to talk to them again…but then I think, “A one-year subscription….I won’t have to call for 12 months!”

    It is more painful than dealing with the city gummint or my cell phone provider. LITERALLY.

    Fuckers.

    As you were.

    1. I’ll join your semi-random rant with one of my own. Fuck whoever invented vanilla chai tea. Fuck who ever invented it with the necrotic dick of a leper elephant.

      You say, well, you don’t have to buy it. Well, you are not me with the advantages that come with being me. Guest to my house know to bring tribute. They know I enjoy chai tea. When they go to buy it for the purpose of gaining favor, they see this vanilla shit on the shelves and assume ‘hey, if he likes chai, he’ll love this!’

      Four fucking times I have received this shit as a gift. Four fucking times!

      1. Vanilla chai is gross, but it’s not as disgusting as Chicken-fried Steak. In theory, it sounds like it should taste delicious, but in reality, it’s noxious. Especially when they pour that white sauce on it. What is that sauce anyway? I think it might be bull semen, but I’m not sure as I refused to taste both the white sauce and semen of any species.

        In short, chicken-fried steak is an offense to nature and should be outlawed.

        1. I guess I have been fortunate to have never been exposed to chicken fried steak. I recognize each of those words individually, but as a single concept, not even getting a visual.

          1. Yeah, what the hell is it? Chicken or Steak?

        2. That “white sauce” is cream gravy, a Texas/ southern delicacy. Or as some people call it “liquid heart attack”. Seriously though, go to any small town diner in Texas and repeat this rant word for word loud enough for everyone to hear you. See what happens, I dare you*.

          *…and HM was never seen or heard from again.

          1. Oh, and while you’re there ask the waitress “what is sweet tea?”

            1. I love sweet tea, actually.

              1. Yuck. I like my iced tea just plain. I’d rather a glass of bull semen.

          2. Come on now, Texans are reputedly gruff, but not brutes. Surely, they would take criticism of this odd hybrid without reacting like a Musulman defending his precious Koran.

            1. They would, I’m just joking around. I’m from TX, and I do like chicken fried steak (although I don’t eat it very often for obvious reasons), but to each his own.

        3. Fuck you! Chicken fried steak with pepper gravy is delicious.

          However, you’re rant has brought to mind the time I saw, on the menu of a prominent restaurant, chicken fried chicken. I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea of putting that on a menu.

          1. Why is it called chicken fried steak and not fried steak?

            1. Because the batter is the same stuff they use on fried chicken (or at least very similar).

          2. Many southern states, especially Texas where I grew up, specialize in chicken frying meats that aren’t chicken. So maybe the restaurant felt the need to specify that “yes, this is in fact chicken and not some other kind of meat that has been battered and deep fried.”

            Hell, a lot of southerners will pretty much deep fry anything: pickles, Coke, candy bars, twinkies, you name it, it’s probably been fried by some southerner somewhere. And some people wonder why the southern states lead the nation in obesity rates.

            1. That’s probably due to the Scottish influence on Southern culture.

            2. I’m a Southerner with roots in Piedmont Virginia and New Orleans. Mom is a damn good traditional cook, and my late grandmother was too in what would traditionally would be called Spanish Creole, currently referred to as Isle?o. Chicken fried steak is not part of either tradition. It sounds like a typical Midwestern abomination like Rice Krispie Treats. The very name is aesthetically and rationally repugnant like many other things of Midwestern origin. Why refer to it as ‘chicken fried’ when it is not chicken? It is steak battered and fried. That doesn’t make it chicken. Chicken is not inherent to the process of frying. You don’t call it chicken fried okra? Just fried okra. Damn.

              1. According to Wiki, it’s German in origin.

                1. Yeah, we just call it schnitzel here. Thin veal, or even ground veal in thin patties. Hollandaise sauce goes well with it. So does a simple mix of sour cream and dill, or sour cream and horseradish.

                2. Also from wiki: chicken fried bacon.

                  Holy shit.

                  1. You see? It is out of control!

                3. And they couldn’t/refused to pronounce wiener schnitzel in Texas.

            3. Frying stuff wasn’t a big deal when a lot of these folks worked in their fields all day, or did physical labor of some kind. Yeah, Greenies like to complain how folks back then ate a lot of fresh fruits and veggies–and they did, if they were in season.

              But a lot of the southern/rural diet was loaded with salt and fat, because those foods were filling and provided energy for working, not to mention all the canned foods they would eat through the winter. The difference now is that most of our economy is based on sitting at a desk, and we have to actually make time to exercise out of our free time.

        4. I’ve had good chicken-fried steak in some greasy spoons down South, but my introduction to it was horrible: at the hands of U.S. Navy cooks. We generally referred to it as “chicken-fried snake”. In truth snake would have been preferable because the meat that the military calls “steak” is barely fit to make cat food.

  14. Man I’d hate to live in one of those benighted countries where the Supreme Leader can dispatch his goon squad to throw someone in jail on trumped up charges when they say something that displeases the clergy.

    1. Yeah, me too. That would be terrible!

      –Nakoula Bassely Nakoula

      1. Nakoula “Lee Harvey Oswald” Nakoula

    2. What miserable drones and traitors have I nourished and brought up in my household, who let their lord be treated with such shameful contempt by a low-born cleric

      1. That was just Henry exercising his right of free speech.

        1. Will no one rid me of this troublesome free speech?!?

            1. PWN’D

              1. I’m pretty sure I posted first, but Reason’s NTP server is undoubtedly effed up. That has to be it.

      2. Who will rid us of this troublesome speech?

    3. Well, fortunately, there is still a big difference between being able to throw someone in jail and being able to throw anyone in jail.

  15. This is just incredibly sad.

  16. The House responded with new legislation that would criminalize lies told with the intent to obtain any undefined “tangible benefit.”

    When is a lie ever not told for some kind of “tangible benefit”? If there was no benefit, real or percieved, then why would someone lie? Seems like just a back door to be able to lock up anyone for telling any “lie” at anytime. Just one more stupid law to selectively enforce anytime the government needs to make someone disappear for a while.

      1. I’m sure there’s some way to get around that pesky consititution thing. Maybe some king of penaltax?

        So if you’ve been good little boy or girl, the government daddy will let you have some money back on your tax returns.

    1. The House responded with new legislation that would criminalize lies told with the intent to obtain any undefined “tangible benefit.”

      Which would turn every election campaign into a crime spree. So, there’s an upside.

  17. Jonathan Turley has an excellent op-ed in the Washington Post on precisely that subject, headlined “Shut up and play nice: How the Western world is limiting free speech.”

    There should be no surprise there: The Western world has ALWAYS suppressed or limited free speech in various levels and in various times.

    Even the Obama administration supported the passage of a resolution in the U.N. Human Rights Council to create an international standard restricting some anti-religious speech[…]

    It must be deeply offensive for Barry, to the personal level, that people use forums and soapboxes to insult and defame the character of

    the Prophet Zarquon.

  18. Time to set up a “Church of Libertarianism” so we can toss in jail those who insult us as “assclowns, lunatics, nutjobz, goofballs” or anything else that hurts our liddle feelwings.

    1. Fuck you! I demand to be greeted as an assclown, lunatic, nutjob, and/or goofball by my fellow congregants as I approach the church*!

      *”Church” in this context meaning the country club/gun range/swingers’ club where the Church of Libertarianism hosts its meetings, of course.

      1. Assclown = pope
        Lunatic = bishop
        Nutjob = reverend
        Goofball = parishoner

      2. So, are you saying that there is one place that is all of these things?

    2. You only get those protections if you kill a few people first.

  19. imo, this is a good demonstration of why rule of law vs. rule of man is so important. it’s clear to me that if it wasn’t for our pesky 1st amendment, that to a large extent we would have already hopped down that slippery slope that europe canada etc. has already in constantly eroding speech rights out of sensitivity for feelings, out of desire for “civility” etc.

    god knows, without the 1st and a court system willing to protect it, the nazis never would have marched in skokie. there have been a few erosions (some jurisdictions and recording police -which imo is clearly 1st amendment protected, campus speech codes even at public campuses, domestic violence protection orders in some respects etc.) but we remain the only nation on earth that i am aware of with the right to express racist, sacriligous, sexist, etc. speech and not get arrested/fined/ etc. for “hate speech”

    and that’s a glorious thing.s

    1. we are citizens, not subjects. we have the RKBA because we are citizens. WE hold the power of self defense against criminals, and rogue govt. we have the right to free speech because we are citizens. and citizens choose the best ideas in a free marketplace of ideas. they do not have govt acting as the gatekeeper preventing certain ideas from entering the public debate.

      when people routinely ridicule rule of law, i am reminded that the only thing that stands between us and european style speech laws, gun laws, IS rule of law and thank god we have such protections.

      if we remain the ONLY shining beacon of free speech on a hill of dimming lights where freedom takes a backseat to “civility” (canadian parliament actually uses that word as their excuse for authorizing restrictions of speech – that civility trumps freedom of expression), then so be it. let’s remain stalwart amidst all these pussy little countries with their precious hate speech law

      1. Oh, rule of law is back. Kewl.

        Hi, Dunphy! [waves feverishly]

        1. it never left. hysterics always try to erode it over whatever fear du jour arises – TERRORIST THREAT – who needs rule of law and that pesy constitution???!?!!

          etc. etc. there is always some cause du jour where the rsults analysis people will jump out and decry the protections recognized by rule of law and govt.restrictions put in place by rule of law

          fortunately, though, with some fucked up exceptions (like a good portion of the patriot act), rule of law remains!

        2. We only have the rule of law when it doesn’t interfere with officer safety.

          1. i guess you really believe this, even though it’s such utter horseshit.

            ofc. safety, just like the safety of a homeowner defending his home/castle is a FACTOR in the equation.

            it certainly does not do away with rule of law.

            if somebody breaks into your house, you don’t have to have ANY evidence that they intend you harm.

            0200 hrs, guy climbs in through the front window. you are coming down the stairs. wife and kid are upstairs.

            can you shoot him? yes

            is that consistent with rule of law? yes.

      2. I thought we had those rights (both in the constitutional sense and natural rights sense) because we were human beings.

        1. theoretically we do. but only the US (when it comes to speech and RKBA ) is apparently enlightened enough to recognize same

          one has the natural right to X. it doesn’t therefore follow one’s govt. recognizes X

  20. I see this as part of a world wide trend of infantilizing adults.

    We can’t expect adults to have rational responses to information that conflicts with their beliefs. We epxect them to throw temper tantrums like a two-year old. We have to make the world safe for adults to behave like two year olds, so we’re going to have to make sure other adults don’t say mean things to them.

    1. It’s part of the feminizing of culture. When the kid says “They hurt my feelings!” Mom says: “They’re mean and shouldn’t have said that” and Dad says: “Suck it up.”

      1. That wasn’t my mom and dad.

        My mom would have said it was part of a conspiracy against my Catholic heritage, and Dad would have offered to buy me a bottle of pop.

      2. It wasn’t my mom either.

  21. No mention of the biggest threat to free speech here,”hate crimes”?

  22. Way back when Khomeini first put a hit out on Rushdie, I ran into a protestor outside my local bookstore/newstand in Fairfax, VA. He was apparently upset that the store carried Rushdie’s book, and he asked me not to buy it. So, I went ahead and bought it.

    He was glaring at me as I came out of the store, and I said something along the lines of “so, you want to try to keep me from reading what I choose?” He backed down. Didn’t see him again, and I think he probably realized that several people had bought the book who wouldn’t have done so otherwise.

    Incidentally, the book is crap.

    -jcr

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