As you may recall, last month former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich made a statement that raised a few eyebrows, saying that the first amendment to the Constitution may need to be reevaluated. Well, recently he “defended his call to limit freedom of speech to combat terrorism.” Good for him. So far as I can tell, the only people who can logically be opposed to curbing the speech of terrorists are the terrorists themselves.
Now, I guess one could say that if we don’t allow speech for those whose opinions we disagree with, then we don’t have free speech at all. And since freedom of expression is one of our most treasured American values, we’d be sacrificing part of what makes America great in order to protect America — but if the America we’re “protecting” no longer possesses the qualities which make it America, then we have, in effect, shot the horse to keep it from getting stolen.
Glenn Greenwald, who writes from Unclaimed Territory, said that “if you advocate the criminalization of ideas which you don’t like (or which you believe are “dangerous”), you really have no ground to object to efforts to do the same thing […] when applied to ideas that you do like…”
And Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who would sacrifice freedom for temporary security deserve neither.”
But come on, we’re talking about terrorists who are trying to terrorize!
Now, of course, a liberal could point out that there are already laws that outlaw speech which incites immediate violence, so Gingrich must have been talking about some other kind of speech. In fact, he pretty much says he is. He says that suspected terrorists should be “subject to a totally different set of rules.” So, it’s not just the kind of speech he wants to limit, but who can speak. And who can’t? Suspected terrorists. And the problem liberals have with this is that, in their hyperbolic language, besides slicing away our free speech with a rusty machete, it completely eliminates due process, which the Bush administration is not a big fan of anyway, as it has claimed the right to simply disappear indefinitely anyone it suspects is a terrorists, such as Pulitzer winning photojournalists who take pictures it doesn’t like.
As is obvious, these liberal arguments are dangerous in part because they can be rather convincing to soft minds. Which is, of course, part of the reason we must support Gingrich in his reevaluation of the first amendment and free speech. And once we have erased free speech for suspected terrorists, we must label the entire liberal media as suspected terrorists…for their liberal arguments which would grant suspected terrorists free speech are knowingly enabling terrorism, which, I’m fairly certain, is illegal.
And then, well, then if someone has a problem with something I say, I can tell them to shut up about it, because I support my government, and their disagreeing with me is terroristic.
I can say, “Shut up!” while smirking my best Jack Bauer smirk. And when they say “Why?” I can say, “It’s the law.”