Sunday, March 19, 2006

Free Speech

Cathy Seipp makes some interesting observations about the hypocrisy of the lefty "free specch" people who are happy to ban books they don't like, showing they were never principled to begin with:
March 11, 2006 -- A FRIEND of mine took his daughter to visit the famous City Lights in San Francisco, explaining that this store is important because years ago it sold books no other store would - even, perhaps especially, books whose ideas many people found offensive. So, though my friend is no Ward Churchill fan, he didn't really mind the prominent display of books by the guy who famously called 9/11 victims "little Eichmanns."

But it did occur to him that perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci's new book, "The Force of Reason," might finally be available, and that, because Fallaci's militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

"No," snapped the clerk. "We don't carry books by fascists."

Just savor the absurd details of this for a minute. City Lights has a long and proud history of supporting banned authors - owner Lawrence Ferlinghetti was indicted (and acquitted) for obscenity in 1957 for selling Allen Ginsberg's "Howl," and a photo in the store's main room shows Ferlinghetti proudly posing next to a sign reading, "BANNED BOOKS." City Lights also has been featured in the ACLU's annual Banned Books Week events.

Yet the store won't carry Fallaci - who is being sued in Italy for insulting religion because of her latest book, and also continues to fight the good fight against those who think that the appropriate response to offensive books and cartoons is violent rioting.

It's particularly repugnant that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by a snotty San Francisco clerk.
This contradiction led one commenter at LGF to note,
I'm beginning to wonder if the free speech movement ever really existed. Maybe we already had free speech (except for obscenity), and what was disguised as a 'free speech' movement was actually a 'get America' movement. What actually came of the 'free speech' movement is PC controls over speech. Speech is no longer free largely because of the free speech movement.
That surely explains the observed facts.

Seipp continues,
Strangest of all is the scenario of such a person's disliking an author for defending Western civilization against radical Islam - when one of the first things those poor persecuted Islamists would do, if they ever (Allah forbid) came to power in the United States, is crush suspected homosexuals like him beneath walls.
This is no idle comment. Just last week Sistani, the "moderate" Supreme Spiritual Leader of Iraqi's Shiite population, officially declared that gays and lesbians
should be killed in the worst manner possible.
Some might morally equivocate and say we have Pat Robertson or something. I note that unlike Sistani, who can start or end a civil war with a single word, wielding the power of life and death over millions, Pat Robertson is just a guy with a tv show.

I.e., the decrees of one of these men, vis-a-vis the treatment of gays, has real world significance.

And those of the other man do not.

But oddly many on the left can't see that.

Otherwise, how to explain a group like Queers for Palestine, when the ruling party of "palestine" summarily executes gays in the streets?

Seipp concludes (and the whole article should really be read),
one of the great paradoxes of our time is that two groups most endangered by political Islam, gays and women, somehow still find ways to defend it.

David Warren sees similar double-standard forces at work in the "Free speech" demands of the MSM to continually publish photos from abu Ghraib, but to cower from reprinting the Danish Mohammed cartoons or of islamic atrocities and celebrations of 9/11:
the media both here and in Europe go to extraordinary lengths to suppress just the sort of material that could incite ill-feeling that way [against islam]. This began the morning of 9/11/01, with the non-coverage of street celebrations in Arab ethnic neighbourhoods of Brooklyn and Detroit. As recently as last month, mainstream media were editing out London cartoon protesters carrying signs reading, “Behead Those Who Insult Islam”, “Europe You Will Pay”, etc.

On the other hand, there is patient, exhaustive coverage of anything that might incite anti-Western hysteria in the Islamic world. For even while the largest media outlets were refusing to show those bland Danish cartoons -- and doing so out of a pretended “respect for Islam” -- they were dredging up additional sordid photos from the Abu Ghraib outrage in 2004, and running those prominently.

I have often noted, that editorial decisions in the Western media could not be more useful to fanatical Islam if we were taking instructions directly from some Afghan cave. Ask yourself, when reading or watching, if the consistent message is not: “Fear Islam, but do not dare to criticize it.”

There is no conspiracy, however. The violent audacity of a generation of Muslim neo-jihadis happens to correspond precisely with the self-loathing of a generation of Western post-hippies.

Perhaps never before, in the history of interaction between the “Dar al-Islam” (Muslim-ruled world), and the “Dar al-Harb” (the external world with which it is perpetually “at war”), have aspiring Muslim conquerors met such willing candidates for “dhimmitude”.
We have to re-learn how to be "rude", especially when speaking of the Third World.

Because our civilization is better.

And we're unashamedly proud of it.

Because that's free speech, isn't it?

And yet somehow people are more annoyed with me as a knee-jerk reaction when I point out the moral objectionableness and indefensibility of following the teachings of a "prophet" who liked to rape little pre-pubescent girls -- according to their own scriptures! -- rather than being annoyed at the people who venerate the pervert.

Because, you see, I'm being rude.

To Third Worlders.

There is no greater sin!


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