Saturday, September 15, 2012

Do Liberals Still Believe in Free Speech?

Everyone has by now heard of the terrible events surrounding American embassies throughout the Islamic Middle East. Muslims, ostensibly inflamed by a very irreverent and technically cartoonish film that lampoons the Muslim Prophet Mohammed, have burned a number of embassies and killed four Americans at the Libyan embassy including the ambassador. Despite the film's appearance it's creator is not a thirteen year old middle schooler, as you might expect, but rather a Coptic Christian with a legally troubled past named Nakoula Bassely Nakoula.

Nakoula may have violated terms of a probation by using computers to help create his film, but, that aside, the film is surely protected by the First Amendment, and yet during the last week there have been calls from liberals - the very people who used to proclaim that they would fight to the death for your right to say offensive things - for Nakoula's arrest. Here, for example, is Mike Barnicle, on MSNBC yesterday:
Mary Katherine Ham has a summary of the "eight dumbest things" said about free speech in the context of this incident here. Her post is an eye-opener for those who might still think that liberals care much about free speech, and it's worth reading. It's remarkable that people think this way, especially those on the left who for decades wrapped themselves in the mantle of protectors of the First Amendment.

It'd all be astonishing, in fact, if we hadn't grown so accustomed to the hypocrisy. An artist named Andres Serrano immerses a crucifix in a jar of urine and calls it art and he's defended by liberals because artists have the right to express themselves. We're told that if we don't like it we just shouldn't look at it. Bill Maher makes a movie mocking Christian belief and he's defended on the grounds that he's just a comedian who's an atheist and he mocks religion all the time so we shouldn't make too much of it, as Geraldo Rivera rather bizarrely argued on his radio show Friday. But let someone mock Islam and liberals join the mob screaming for his head.

Why is it that instead of blaming the savages and barbarians who would sodomize and then murder a U.S. ambassador over a video he had absolutely nothing to do with, some Americans seek to vent their anger on a man who was simply doing what Andres Serrano and Bill Maher do?

If Christians reacted to Maher the way Muslims have reacted to Nakoula or Salman Rushdie would liberals demand that Maher be arrested? Is only speech that doesn't offend anyone henceforth to be protected?

Surely these liberals see that by blaming Nakoula and seeking punishment for him they're effectively giving violent mobs a veto over both the freedom of speech and the freedom of religion. They're saying, in effect, that if people still living in the seventh century are incensed by something someone says then we'll punish the speaker. Where does this end? Will it soon be illegal in this country to say anything at all critical of Islam? Given the reaction of people like Mike Barnicle and the others Ham cites that seems to be exactly the direction some on the left want us to go.

Meanwhile, all around the globe Muslims are murdering Christians with impunity. They're seizing their property burning their churches, throwing acid in the faces of young girls, raping and torturing them, for no other reason than that they're Christians, and our President and Secretary of State, who were not reluctant to condemn Nakoula's amateurish commentary, have been silent about the real atrocities occurring every day in the Muslim-dominated world. Why?