THOUGHTS ON FREE SPEECH

December 16, 2006

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.”

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KEITH ELLISON & THE KORAN

December 2, 2006

You guys are all probably well aware of the news that the first Muslim elected to congress, Keith Ellison (D-MN), “has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the Koran.” And that it has raised some ire among my Christian brethren. For instance, at Townhall.com, Dennis Prager has written that:

[I]t is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism — my culture trumps America’s culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Now one could argue that what Americans in general hold as their holiest book is not what “America” holds as its holiest book, that America’s culture, being a nation of immigrants, is multiculturalism, that the American government, being a secular institution, a nation of laws, does not, in fact, have a holiest book, and that the first amendment, stating that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” pretty much says exactly what Dennis Prager complains that leftists are saying, namely, that what is of most importance is what “any individual holds to be his holiest book,” as well as his right to express that belief (or lack of belief in the case of atheists — yuck). One could even argue that since Keith Ellison does not hold the Bible to be his holiest book, his swearing on it could, to him, be the equivalent of swearing on an equally fictitious Stephen King novel (I recommend The Stand, for obvious reasons — and I hasten to add that he would in fact be wrong, as the Bible is obviously not fictitious), and he might feel no obligation to stand by his oath, but that, since what matters is the oath itself, not the thing that makes the oath important to the individual, his swearing on the Koran, which he views as holy, and which adds importance to the oath to him, makes him more likely to take the oath seriously, which is better for all Americans. And further, one could argue that since “no religious test” may be required of a person before they can hold public office, and requiring one to swear on a specific religion’s holy text would be the definition of a religious test, requiring it would be doubly unconstitutional.

All right, so those are the arguments that could be made in favor of Keith Ellison being allowed to take his oath of office on the Koran rather than the much, much better Bible. I want to say, in case it’s not obvious, that those, however, are not arguments that I’m making. I do not in fact hold to any of those views, much less all of them. Americans have decided by majority vote that we are a de facto Christian nation, because the majority of them are, in fact, Christians. They say they’re Christian, and I’ll take their word at that, because a Christian wouldn’t lie about being a Christian if he wasn’t. And so they expect their congress to have Christian values.

So, sure, it’s unconstitutional to require that Ellison take his oath on the Bible — I’ll agree with that and even agree that’s it’s doubly unconstitutional; I do not deny “reality” — but so far as I can tell, and I think most Americans would agree, that is a flaw of the constitution, not of the Bible.

Which is awesome. After all, the Bible was written by God. The constitution was only written by a bunch of aristocrats with bad teeth.


PERSONAL UPDATE

December 2, 2006

I know I haven’t posted for a long time, and for that I am deeply sorry. How deeply? Real deeply. If my remorse was a hole, it’d be about seventeen feet deep. Maybe eighteen.

I know it’s no excuse, but with school and my job at Hot Dog on a Stick I have been impossibly busy. But I now have a little reprieve from school, as I have been expelled (more on that in a moment), and so I thought I would pop in with a new post, update on my life, and maybe, with the Dumbocrats having evilled their way into both houses of congress,  I can even pick up where I left off in more posts, since, with school no longer a concern, I have a bit more free time on my hands.

As I said, I have been expelled from school. I can’t go into great detail, as I signed an agreement with the college that I would not discuss the matter, and I try to be an honest Christian, so I’ll just say this: I have — had, in fact; the past tense is important — a roommate who got Tom Waits’s new album, which is called Orphans, and he was listening to it while I was trying to do my homework, and I suddenly felt this chill in my bones. I had never heard Tom Waits before, nor had I heard of him, but I knew immediately I was hearing the voice of Satan (“Well, they call me William the Pleaser / I sold opium, fireworks and lead / Now I’m tellin’ my troubles to strangers / When the shadows get long I’ll be dead,” he sings in a voice that sounds like the bubbles that surface in a tar pit), so I picked up the boom box on which the album was playing — moved like a puppet by the power of God — and I threw it through a window. It stopped the music. It also fell two storeys and hit an important faculty member on the head, putting him into a coma for three weeks. When I explained what happened, I voiced my opinion that, since I was obviously moved by the power of God, God wanted this person to be put into a coma — for reasons obviously beyond our understanding — and who were we to question God, but for whatever reason, stupidity is my guess, the dean did not quite follow my argument, and my academic career at the bible college was finished.

Truth was obviously too much for the dean, and he turned his back on it in favor of “reality.” As I walked out the door, still emoting my protests, the dean even said, “Maybe God wants you to be expelled, for reasons beyond your understanding,” but since he wasn’t moved by the power of God, that was obviously crap he was spewing.

When will people learn that they can’t just say something is God’s will, it has to be true? It was obviously God’s will that I throw a boom box out a window; my being expelled for it was the dean’s choice.

That the dean of a bible college turned his back on God only goes to show how corrupt this world has become.