Monday, May 11, 2015

If You Say "I Support Free Speech But", You Are A Liar.

Once again, there's a violent attack on an event some Muslims decide is disrespectful, and once again some cockroaches come out and start blithering about how we need to be "respectful" of other people's religions and stop being "provocative".

Except "other people" just means "Muslims", "respect" just means "obey" and "Provocation" just means "upsetting terrorist scum".

There have been a number of commentators, both from the media and on the internet generally who have taken the stance that Pam Geller, the organizer of the event, somehow "abused" her free speech rights, was needlessly provocative, or was motivated by animus towards Muslims. All of these arguments are equally meaningless.

It cannot be abuse of free speech to mock a religion, a prophet, or a god. One of the core functions of free speech is to mock the powerful without them having legal retribution available. Allowing thugs to use the power of violence to achieve the same end is just an act of cowardice.

Likewise, the calculus doesn't change just because the speech is provocative. Provocation is what free speech is for. To provoke thought, debate, other speech, emotions, and even outrage. To require speech be bland, unimpressive and uninspiring to prohibit speech entirely.

And it doesn't matter why Geller is motivated to hold the contest. She could hate Muslims just because they aren't Christian, or hate Islam because only Muslims shoot-up cartoonist shootings. But it doesn't. Regardless of why she does it, she has the right. We've tolerated Klansmen, racists, snake-oil promoters, religious desecrators, and every other kind of jackassed, hateful, self-righteous speech.

Why is this different?

Only because the adherents of the ideology being mocked showed up with guns, and the blithering fools talking all the nonsense about "respect" and "provocation" are just afraid they might get shot next. (Yes, the attackers here got killed and just scratched a guard. But the cowards live in gun-phobic jurisdictions and are generally gun-phobic themselves.)

And that's it. It's not concerns about respect, or limits. It's rank fear. Anyone who says "I support free speech, but" and doesn't end that with "I don't have the courage to stand up against violent thugs, even in the abstract." Anyone who holds a position in the media who takes that position should resign their position and take up something more suitable to their squeamish disposition.

I used to push carts at Wal-Mart. That's pretty safe. But all the cars might make them nervous, so maybe they should just be a greeter.


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