Eric Posner, on the super-liberal site The Slate: This is that Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order.
We have to remember that our First Amendment values are not universal; they emerged contingently from our own political history, a set of cobbled-together compromises among political and ideological factions responding to localized events. As often happens, what starts out as a grudging political settlement has become, when challenged from abroad, a dogmatic principle to be imposed universally. Suddenly, the disparagement of other people and their beliefs is not an unfortunate fact but a positive good. It contributes to the “marketplace of ideas,” as though we would seriously admit that Nazis or terrorist fanatics might turn out to be right after all. Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.
Hot air: The positive good isn’t the disparagement of other people’s beliefs, it’s the freedom to “disparage,” a.k.a. criticize, those beliefs without fear of being locked up by the sensitivity police. Savor the irony of this guy hinting that we should go ahead and criminalize some especially dangerous retrograde ideas while he and a few select others on the left are busy reviving the idea of blasphemy laws to appease violent Islamist fanatics. I’m not sure how closely fascist regimes in the Middle East follow left/right debates in America, but if they do, they have every incentive to burn more buildings and kill more ambassadors in the name of avenging insults to the faith. There’s a small but apparently growing movement on one side of the aisle here that’s ready to hear them out and rebalance free-speech principles against, in Posner’s creepy phrase, “the need for order.”
And the President can’t be bothered to meet with these world leader, he has to do “The View”!
“I don’t care how offensive this video was, and it was terribly offensive. And we should shun it. But there’s never an excuse for violence, never an excuse for attacking embassies, never an excuse for killing innocent people, or assaulting our diplomats. In the age of the Internet, and you know, the way that any knucklehead who says something can post it up and suddenly it travels all around the world, you know, every country has to recognize that, you know, the best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it.”
The clip, though it aired today, was filmed yesterday in New York City. Today, however, the president did not ignore the video.
Instead, President Obama suggested a link between the video and the violence. “[A] crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. Now, I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity,” said Obama.
“It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well — for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and every faith. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion, we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.
…a fine idea that I would take more seriously if he had mentioned it before the movie was condemned by the Cairo embassy, blamed for the Benghazi attack by Susan Rice, apologized for by the State Department via TV ads in Pakistan, and then discussed at length by The One himself in his UN speech today. Scrambling to denounce the film the way the administration did made it that much more lucrative a pretext for Islamists to exploit; the U.S. government can’t ban the film, but attack an embassy or two and by golly they’ll fall all over themselves to reassure you that it’s a wicked, awful, evil piece of expression.
Even the Libyan President doesn’t buy the whole film meme:
In an exclusive interview with NBC News’ Ann Curry, President Mohamed Magarief discounted claims that the attack was in response to a movie produced in California and available on YouTube. He noted that the assault happened on Sept. 11 and that the video had been available for months before that.
“Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September,” he said. “They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message.”
“It’s a pre-planned act of terrorism,” he said, adding that the anti-Islam film had “nothing to do with this attack.”
Even though the Administration has admitted it was terrorist attack they can’t admit to themselves because in paralytic Orwellian liberal reflex they just can’t stop talking about this insignificant video. Their view of reality doesn’t include THEM being attacked. Because they are so morally superior in their multicultural, politically correct, Orwellian “free speech” and are so sensitive that they can’t possible be the problem.
It’s NOT THE VIDEO STUPID! But liberal can’t get past their politically correct mindset. It has to be the video. It can’t be…GASP!…horror! THEIR FAULT!
In no way can that possibly be. Liberals are perfect. They are never at fault for anything. They are far too superior to you mere grubby little people for that!
So the answer is to be even less tolerant and to control people even more. 🙂
As Eugene Volokh recently pointed out, “Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated.” If all it takes to earn a White House call for global condemnation of a single piece of expression is some violent protests outside a dozen or two diplomatic missions, then the perpetually aggrieved know exactly what to do the next time they pluck out some bit of cultural detritus to be offended by.
It is not any politician’s job, and certainly not any American politician’s job, to instruct the entire world on which films to criticize.
And Liberals love to reward bad behavior. Especially bad behavior that favors them politically.
Like government dependence. Entitlement greed. Union thuggery. Voter Fraud. Class Warfare. Envy. Childishness. Narcissism.
So they get rewarded for their Class Warfare, “throwing grandma off a cliff” rhetoric. So they repeat it.
And if they get defeated, like 2010, they just come back even more determined. Even more insane.
They want it even more. They don’t learn from their mistakes. They just keep making them because they pay off in very unhealthy ways.
They are addicted to them.
So they can’t stop themselves. And they just get worse and worse.
And so does everything else!
But it’s not their fault! Just ask them. 🙂