What’s so hard about the First Amendment?

I would have thought that the most understood and accepted amendment to the Constitution would be the First Amendment. After all, how hard is it to grasp what freedom of speech means? Put simply, it means you can express yourself and your point of view without being silenced by someone else. Seems simple, right? Well, apparently the folks over at IO9 have only the most strained grasp of what our natural right to freedom of speech is all about.

The first thing we need to understand about freedom of speech, as it was laid out by our founding fathers, is that it is implicitly designed to cover the speech we hate the most. If it wasn’t there would be no reason to acknowledge it in an amendment. Those words should remind us that there is no need to protect a right that we can all agree with – so the intent was to cover ALL speech – particularly the speech we despise.

theworstpartofcensorshipThere is also an implicit acknowledgement of the ability of each person to decide for themselves what is right and wrong. In other words, we are all smart enough to hear what someone says and think it through and either accept it or reject it. There is an implied respect for the individual and the individuals ability to make their own decisions.

However, in the progressive wonderland we all seem to find ourselves in these days, this implied respect for the individual does not exist. Free speech is only protected when it is the kind of speech we can get behind. The individuals of society apparently need to be protected from all those words! They might get inside someones brain and lay evil thought eggs! After all, the individual is too stupid for us to simply allow information into their head and count on them to think critically. Those ideas will just get in there and run rampant! Of course, the system seems rigged to keep everyone as stupid as possible so that those that say they need to do this can point to a reason for it. That is a topic for another time.

Paul Weston of Liberty GB Party Arrested for quoting Churchill under Hate Speech laws in UK - 2014

Paul Weston of Liberty GB Party Arrested for quoting Churchill under Hate Speech laws in UK – 2014

So that brings us to the good folks over at IO9 where their writer, James Whitbrook, makes it very clear that he has not got the slightest clue about what freedom of speech is really all about. James celebrates the defacing of one persons views with views he finds more progressive and agreeable! He is there to stand for the folks who want to silence one viewpoint in favor of his own – or at least that of those he considers his ideological pals. Now he does make reference to being in the UK in his article. So I suppose we can forgive him for not having a complete grasp of what it means to enjoy freedom of speech. After all, the UK is a country where you can go to jail for saying nasty things.

At the core of this article was an advertisement placed on buses by an organization called the “Freedom Defense Initiative”. In all honesty, I had never heard of these folks before. What is also interesting is that the IO9 article shows only the defaced advertisements and helps us all not have to be violated by the original advertising by letting us know what we should think about them. He lets us know that the advertisement was:

“Islamophobic” ,”Promoting hatred” and “ridiculous garbage”

Well, there you go. No need to use up more brain cells than necessary folks. Why actually make a case for what makes the advertisement “Islamophobic” ,”Promoting hatred” and “ridiculous garbage” when I can just tell you what to think about it! It’s so much easier! Now you can head on down to your local fair trade coffee house and get that soy latte and intelligently discuss with your tragically hip cohort how “Islamophobic” ,”hatred promoting ” and “ridiculously garbage like” those ads on the buses in San Francisco are! All that without ever having to actually seen the original ads! What a time saver! Just make sure to keep your conversations bumper sticker length – the tragically hip can get lost so easily when things start getting mired in all those details some of us call “facts”.

So what about that ad? Was it completely nuts? Lets take a look and decide for ourselves. (CAUTION: The next image IS THE AD. If you are concerned that you brain could be overwhelmed and your ability to resist a call to islamaphobia could be circumvented by the powerful magic of these words, then you are a moron.)



The offending ad – LOOK AWAY!

So there are three things in this ad that are suggested as facts, along with a follow up call to action.

The first item would be that Hitler was allies with the leader of the Muslim world in World War 2. The man in the photo is Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was considered a substantial figure in the Muslim world. The argument could be made that he was at the top of that list, when you consider the part he played during that time. There is also evidence of his involvement in the holocaust – at least his knowledge it was happening.  It is well documented that he met with Nazi leaders, toured various areas in Germany was very much aligned with Germany and its goals and saw Germany as a partner in furthering his goals for a united Muslim world.

The next point made is that there are anti-Jew sentiments expressed in the Quran. I simply googled this idea and went with a concise page that listed references to Jews in the Quran. However, there were plentiful sites from which you can get just about the same information. After a review of this material, I don’t think you are going to conclude that there was much love expressed for Jews in the Quran. I would actually suggest that everyone should read the Quran.

Upon reading the Quran himself, Thomas Jefferson had copies printed in 1806 that were the first American translation of that book. He believed all Americans should be aware of this book that the world of Islam followed. Remember, he was dealing with the Barbary Pirates – who were Islamic. The ambassador from Tripoli told Jefferson that the reason they kept attacking, killing and enslaving American sailors was because their holy book – the Quran – required it. He had to use the navy (created under Adams specifically to deal with the Islamic Barbary Pirates) to finally end the long period of paying bribes to the Muslim leaders of the day to leave our ships alone.

First Barbary War - Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat

First Barbary War – Decatur Boarding the Tripolitan Gunboat

By the time we defeated the pirates, we had been paying more than HALF of our entire budget to the pirates in tribute. It’s also interesting to note that the first folks to ever declare war on the United States were the Islamic leaders of Tripoli and Algiers. The editors introduction in this American translation of the Quran ended with,

 “You will wonder that such absurdities that are found in this book have infected the better part of the world.”

The next claim is that 2/3 of all foreign aid goes to Islamic countries. I found some good sources on this and the number claimed in the ad seems pretty close, you can review this 2011 story from Fox News that backs up the claim and links to the stats. However, if you google the topic, there are other folks who have gone down the list and give similar numbers on how much of our foreign aid goes to Islamic countries. In the end, I suppose it is up to you to decide if that is a good thing are not. Frankly, I would worry more about policies. For instance, if there is a country considered Islamic that has stood against terrorism, allows free speech, does not force women to wear the hijab and do not condemn gays and dissenters to death, I would be fine with working with them. I am not aware of an Islamic nation that falls into that category however.

So next is the call to action. These folks want us to support a policy change that would eliminate foreign aid to Islamic countries. Now I don’t think they actually list off the most compelling reasons to do this. World War 2 was a long time ago and virtually none of the folks that were partying with the Nazis are still around. I am not in the habit of condemning the child of a racist asshat simply for being a racist asshats child.

The real call to action should be to cut off foreign aid to any country that is not either a) in line with our principles and values as a free country or b) working diligently to become a country that is at least in some way in line with our principles and values. I don’t care if it’s an Islamic state or the United Kingdom. In fact, I would love to see someone from the United States offer some choice words to the UK regarding there policies on free speech.

Oh, and yes, I did notice that I did not show the defaced advertisements here. I dislike bullies who go out of their way to silence others, so I will leave it to the folks over at IO9 to show the work of those that act directly against the exercise of free speech.


Sources :

  1. http://toybox.io9.com/islamaphobic-bus-ads-in-san-francisco-are-being-defaced-1681857271?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+io9%2Ffull+%28io9%29&utm_content=Netvibes
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relations_between_Nazi_Germany_and_the_Arab_world

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