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Freedom to Speak Offensively

Posted by Average Gay Joe at 6:27 pm - January 22, 2006.
Filed under: Free Speech,Gay PC Silliness,General

Recently on a gay message board I post at on occasion, I came across many responses to statements by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain. Most of these were from those of a more liberal persuasion, highly critical to the point of seeking to force Sir Iqbal into silence with the power of the State. As reported in BBC News, Sir Iqbal is quoted as saying:

Asked if he believed homosexuality was harmful to society, he said: “Certainly it is a practice that in terms of health, in terms of the moral issues that comes along in a society – it is. It is not acceptable.”

“Each of our faiths tells us that it is harmful and I think, if you look into the scientific evidence that has been available in terms of the forms of various other illnesses and diseases that are there, surely it points out that where homosexuality is practised there is a greater concern in that area.”

I can understand someone objecting to his reported views, I myself have some difficulty with them, but not to the point of branding him a criminal. He made no statements advocating violence against homosexuals but simply expressed his opinions which stem from his religious beliefs. That Sir Iqbal is being investigated by police in the UK for his comments is chilling. It is always amazing to me how some liberals are so quick to sacrifice freedom of speech because they dislike the fact that someone has a differing view from their own. Since when do a person’s “feelings” trump our fundamental rights? Nowhere in the Constitution or in any semblance of common sense is there any ‘right’ to not be offended. Putting subjective qualities like “feelings” above the freedom of speech only opens Pandora’s box and is a short route to tyranny. One is free to voice their objections to Sir Iqbal’s expressed opinions, but the moment they seek to use the law to punish him for protected speech they will find themselves at the mercy of the State as well. When it comes to protecting one or the other I’ll take freedom of speech any day because that saves my butt and yours from being harassed by a majority that finds our views on any subject offensive and disagreeable.

We have seen this corrosive mentality on the part of some liberals in university and college campuses where speech codes are selectively enforced to silence those with a differing viewpoint. Freedom of speech is a right all of us have and benefits society, mostly by allowing the expression of ideas even from a minority that may or may not have some influence on the population at large. If someone expressed an opinion that they believe homosexuality is morally wrong, or “harmful to society” as this fellow did, I may not like what they say but I defend their right to say it. When speech is censored through force of law, as many on this message board were advocating, then that erodes the very freedoms they claim to be protecting. Have gay liberals forgotten that many of the freedoms we enjoy today were once out of the mainstream, in the minority of views? The very idea of a gay publication, parade, or even something like this website was impossible at one time. The same freedom of speech which gives Sir Iqbal the right to criticize homosexuality allows them and any of us to state otherwise.

When it comes to protecting our freedoms, even those of people we disagree with or are offended by, I am reminded of this scene from one of my favorite movies A Man for All Seasons which perhaps those in Her Majesty’s Government would benefit from watching again:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

When you allow the State to fully decide what speech is protected and what is not, good luck maintaining freedom. If these liberals keep it up, it won’t be long until the very chains they think they are avoiding will encase us all tighter than Marley’s ghost. The shadow of Thought Police is not something any free society can survive for long.

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48 Comments

  1. The libs are very good about mandating our lives, but of course they don’t want those same rules to apply to them. They piss & moan about the erosion of freedoms, yet their the very ones doing the digging to undermine them.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 22, 2006 @ 7:54 pm - January 22, 2006

  2. #1

    There’s a word for that. It starts with an “H”…..hmmmm.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 22, 2006 @ 7:54 pm - January 22, 2006

  3. The Germans have a term for it: Andere Laender, andere Sitten–other countries, other practices. I recognize that Americans seem to believe that their practices should be practiced in other countries, but they disagree with you. BTW, “free speech” has often been forbidden in the US. I will merely cite you to the Alien & Sedition acts of 1798, and the sedition acts during the 1st world war. Regarding the latter, do a search for the cases of US v. Schenck and US v. Frohwerk.

    The Germans also have a law against Volksverhetzung, which basically means “incitement.” It may very well be that this person is being investigated for a crime of incitement. I don’t know what the standard for incitement is in the UK, but freedom of speech does not include the freedom to incite. As any lawyer knows, all of this depends on the facts and circumstances, and that is probably what is being investigated. Given the rather significant disruption by Muslims in France, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, and, more recently, northern Germany, I suspect that you will be seeing more of this in the near future.

    Comment by raj — January 23, 2006 @ 3:40 am - January 23, 2006

  4. The Germans have a term for it: Andere Laender, andere Sitten–other countries, other practices. I recognize that Americans seem to believe that their practices should be practiced in other countries, but they disagree with you.

    Ah yes, turn this into an “arrogant Americans” harangue. Typical and hypocritical particularly when the EU and some of its members frequently see fit to instruct us in how to live.

    BTW, “free speech” has often been forbidden in the US. I will merely cite you to the Alien & Sedition acts of 1798, and the sedition acts during the 1st world war. Regarding the latter, do a search for the cases of US v. Schenck and US v. Frohwerk.

    Yes indeed, and you will find more examples in our history such as President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. No one suggested that the US has been perfect in living up to its ideals, far from it at times. You will note a common element in all these case: they occurred during a time of war or the threat of imminent invasion. In addition, the Alien & Sedition Acts caused a firestorm which cost Adams the White House (though he never used them) and the new president Thomas Jefferson pardoned all those convicted while his party in Congress allowed the controversial acts to expire. The sedition act of WWI was repealed 4 years later.

    The Germans also have a law against Volksverhetzung, which basically means “incitement.” It may very well be that this person is being investigated for a crime of incitement. I don’t know what the standard for incitement is in the UK, but freedom of speech does not include the freedom to incite. As any lawyer knows, all of this depends on the facts and circumstances, and that is probably what is being investigated.

    You know of course that incitement is also against the law in the US and is not considered protected speech. If Sir Iqbal had advocated violence against homosexuals he would have been liable to prosecution here. Yet he didn’t engage in incitement. He expressed an opinion that disagreed with homosexuality based mainly on his religious beliefs. That’s it as far as I’ve seen reported.

    Given the rather significant disruption by Muslims in France, the UK, Spain and the Netherlands, and, more recently, northern Germany, I suspect that you will be seeing more of this in the near future.

    If such a sloppy standard of incitement is going to be used where any Muslim is held under suspicion and their rights are subject to be violated at the whim of the State, then the people of Europe are in for a new round of totalitarianism. Sir Iqbal’s reported statements are nowhere close to the recent hooliganism in France and the other countries you mention. Freedom of speech cannot be denied to one section of the populace without it affecting everyone. The biggest problem I see in your comments here are that they smack of bigotry in that you seem to be advocating a different standard for Muslim citizens than for non-Muslims. Such is how tyranny starts. One would think that Europe had learned the lessons on that before.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 4:43 am - January 23, 2006

  5. You misunderstand the german law against “Volksverhetzung”. Historically, it was passed to punish any form or racial hatred ( Mostly against jews and other foreigners ). It would never been used in a situation like this one.
    And this “Andere Laender, andere Sitten” also couldnt be applied here, because everywhere in the “western” world, most people would definetly say that freedom of speech exactly defends comments like this one by Sacranie ( Even if most ppl would think its bull).

    Comment by Till — January 23, 2006 @ 6:58 am - January 23, 2006

  6. You misunderstand the german law against “Volksverhetzung”

    No, I do not misunderstand the German law against Volksverhetzung. I analogized it to an American legal concept against incitement. The degree to which an individual incident or series of incidents might be considered “incitement” might differ among the various countries. Context is everything, a fact that some people wish to ignore.

    A couple of years ago, when Wowereit, a gay politician (I believe SPD), was running for mayor of Berlin, the NPD, a far right party, posted signs against gays–the implication being obvious that they were intended to be anti-Wowereit. The local prosecutor brought charges against the NPD under the Volksverhetzung laws.

    Comment by raj — January 23, 2006 @ 8:39 am - January 23, 2006

  7. Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 4:43 am – January 23, 2006

    Ah yes, turn this into an “arrogant Americans” harangue.

    Typical response. The obvious rejoinder is “if the shoe fits, wear it.” BTW, I have yet to see the major countries of the EU telling the US what to do within the borders of the US. On the other hand, I see more than a number of Americans who seem to be willing to tell the Europeans how to run their countries.

    Regarding …such as President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War… I’m not a particular fan of Abraham Lincoln (he should have just let the Southern states secede) but the suspension of habeas corpus in times of rebellion, which the unilateral secessions were, were definitely times of rebellion.

    You will note a common element in all these case: they occurred during a time of war or the threat of imminent invasion.

    Actually, this is preposterous. The US was not at war in 1798. Who was going to invade the country then? The Indians (aka native americans)? There was a war when Schenck and Frohwerk were convicted under the WWI sedition acts, but there was no indication that Wilson’s selected enemy had any interest in invading the US. It is clear that the prosecutions were nothing more than anti-German American animosity.

    If such a sloppy standard of incitement is going to be used where any Muslim is held under suspicion and their rights are subject to be violated at the whim of the State, then the people of Europe are in for a new round of totalitarianism.

    Christian Europe is under siege, primarily but not exclusively by Muslims from Northern Africa. Pim Fortuyn, the gay politician in the Netherlands, was murdered a few years ago by someone who was officially referred to as an “animal rights activist”–which made no sense. He had been head of what was called the “Fortuyn list,” a new political party. France’s problems arise from the immigrants from their former colonies in Algeria. Spain’s problems arise from immigrants from Morocco. I don’t know where the UK’s immigrants come from. Most of Germany’s immigrants come from Turkey, and any of their problems have arisen from the Turk/Kurd problem, which the PKK (Kurds) in the 1970s and 1980s had elected to fight out in Germany.

    Your grand pronouncement that Freedom of speech cannot be denied to one section of the populace without it affecting everyone. is sweet, but it ignores the fact that other people are facing the real world. Freedom of speech is fairly worthless unless those on the other side is willing to listen to your speech. Do you have any evidence that they are?

    Comment by raj — January 23, 2006 @ 9:20 am - January 23, 2006

  8. It’s not another country. He lives in the UK.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 23, 2006 @ 10:33 am - January 23, 2006

  9. Please dont talk crap about european muslims if u dont have a clue. stating that “europe is under siege” is just plain stupid, and non of the problems of the german-turks has anything to do with the whole PKK issue. And it’s also just untrue saying that all of europes problems arise because of muslim immigrants. it takes a real ignorant to state that, and it shows a deep lack of understanding the european society to say that.

    Comment by Till — January 23, 2006 @ 1:48 pm - January 23, 2006

  10. Good post Average Gay Joe.

    Another instructive moment in the play comes when all the King’s men can’t put down or trip up Thomas More on trial and his ol’ chum, Sir Richard Rich, comes forward to do the final, terminating deed by deceit and profit. Remember that?

    Thomas More in the Accused box. Richard Rich offering tainted testimony. Thomas More calls Rich forward and inquires of the new medallion of office being worn by Sir Rich. On inspection, Thomas More indicts Rich for suborning the truth and giving false testimony in return for the officeholder’s title in Wales –attorney general of Wales.

    More: “For Wales. Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?”

    I think of that line when Kennedy, et al, blather on about the Bush Administration “undermining American civil liberties”, or Republicans running “plantation-styled” politics in DC… the out-of-power LibLeft will say anything, do anything, allege all for what?

    Momentary partisan gain… much less a prize than an office in Wales.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 23, 2006 @ 2:18 pm - January 23, 2006

  11. Good post Average Gay Joe.

    Another instructive moment in the play comes when all the King’s men can’t put down or trip up Thomas More on trial and his ol’ chum, Sir Richard Rich, comes forward to do the final, terminating deed by deceit and profit. Remember that?

    Thomas More in the Accused box. Richard Rich offering tainted testimony. Thomas More calls Rich forward and inquires of the new medallion of office being worn by Sir Rich. On inspection, Thomas More indicts Rich for suborning the truth and giving false testimony in return for the officeholder’s title in Wales –attorney general of Wales.

    More: “For Wales. Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?”

    Perjury is bad for the society and legal system; but so is patently disceitful grandstanding.

    I think of that line when Kennedy, et al, blather on about the Bush Administration “undermining American civil liberties”, or Republicans running “plantation-styled” politics in DC… the out-of-power LibLeft will say anything, do anything, allege all for what?

    Momentary partisan gain… much less a prize than an office in Wales.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 23, 2006 @ 2:23 pm - January 23, 2006

  12. It is always amazing to me how some liberals are so quick to sacrifice freedom of speech because they dislike the fact that someone has a differing view from their own. Since when do a person’s “feelings” trump our fundamental rights?

    I agree with your main point. But in this case you are being a bit simplistic. I think the investigation would have occurred even if Thatcher had been in office instead of Blair. Especially in the period after the subway bombings. It’s not a liberal or conservative tendency, it’s a human one. Keep in mind that conservatives in our country try and suppress speech or opinion all the time, particularly on topics such as abortion, contraception, the environment, GLBT, etc. They just tend to use other means than simply outlawing the speech. Although at times they even do that by outlawing things as “obscene” material. Often they try to use money as a tool. For example, they deny international aid to any NGO that even discusses abortion as an option, – not for performing them. Money is used in a similar way to put restrictions on the discussion of condoms and other forms of birth control in sex-ed and health classes. This is also done with funding for AIDS education and prevention. During the Bush Administration medical professionals attempting to get grants for research have been told to leave the words “gay” or “lesbian” out of grant proposals. Even for AIDS research or breast cancer. They have even been doing this regarding topics such as global warming.

    Some might say of course that simply withholding funding isn’t censorship. That is mere empty rhetoric. The intent in withholding the funding is to suppress specific ideas from being discussed or said in the public sphere. There is little difference.

    When it comes to trying to suppress speech, there is no difference between liberals and conservatives, Democrats or Republicans both are equally guilty. Republicans try to ban talking about having an abortion, Democrats try to ban discussion of outlawing the practice. No difference.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 23, 2006 @ 2:27 pm - January 23, 2006

  13. Good post Average Gay Joe.

    Another instructive moment in the play comes when all the King’s men can’t put down or trip up Thomas More on trial and his ol’ chum, Sir Richard Rich, comes forward to do the final, terminating deed by deceit and profit. Remember that?

    Thomas More in the Accused box. Richard Rich offering tainted testimony. Thomas More calls Rich forward and inquires of the new medallion of office being worn by Sir Rich. On inspection, Thomas More indicts Rich for suborning the truth and giving false testimony in return for the officeholder’s title in Wales –attorney general of Wales.

    More: “For Wales. Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?”

    Perjury is bad for our legal society, but in a real way political pandering is bad for our civil discourse.

    I think of that line when Kennedy, et al, blather on about the Bush Administration “undermining American civil liberties”, or Republicans running “plantation-styled” politics in DC… the out-of-power LibLeft will say anything, do anything, allege all for what? Momentary partisan gain… much less a prize than an office in Wales.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 23, 2006 @ 2:29 pm - January 23, 2006

  14. Good post Average Gay Joe.

    Another instructive moment in the play comes when all the King’s men can’t put down or trip up Thomas More on trial and his ol’ chum, Sir Richard Rich, comes forward to do the final, terminating deed by deceit and profit. Remember that?

    Thomas More in the Accused box. Richard Rich offering tainted testimony. Thomas More calls Rich forward and inquires of the new medallion of office being worn by Sir Rich. On inspection, Thomas More indicts Rich for suborning the truth and giving false testimony in return for the officeholder’s title in Wales –attorney general of Wales.

    More: “For Wales. Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. But for Wales?”

    Perjury is bad for the legal system as is political falsehoods for our civil society.

    I think of that line when Kennedy, et al, blather on about the Bush Administration “undermining American civil liberties”, or Republicans running “plantation-styled” politics in DC… the out-of-power LibLeft will say anything, do anything, allege all for what? Momentary partisan gain… much less a prize than an office in Wales.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 23, 2006 @ 2:34 pm - January 23, 2006

  15. Sorry guys… I didn’t appreciate all those aborted comments would be showing up. Gheez. And regrets.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 23, 2006 @ 2:45 pm - January 23, 2006

  16. Till — January 23, 2006 @ 1:48 pm – January 23, 2006

    You might reside in the UK, but apparently English is not your first language. I did not say, for example, that the entire problem that Germany were due to emigres from Turkey who were PKK. However, the fact that the PKK sought to engage in terrorist activities in Germany in support of their dream of a “greater Kurdistan” (southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, Northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran) in the late 1970s is beyond dispute.

    The fact is that Algerian immigrants into France, in areas around Paris, have engaged in terrorist activities at least in their neighborhoods. What do you propose that they do about it?

    The fact is that Muslim immigrants into the Netherlands from “who knows where?” are attempting to change Dutch society. Dutch society have never been particularly liberal, but they have been a “let people be” society. The immigrant Muslims are not like that. That is one reason why Chris Crain, general editor of the Triangle Publications chain of newspapers, was beaten by Moroccan immigrants when he was walking with his partner in Amsterdam. And that is why gays resident in Amsterdam have been advised to move outside the city.

    The fact is that the the Madrid subway bombing was carried out by immigrants from Morocco.

    Yes, Europe is under siege. They will have to figure out some way to address the issue, and I would suggest that it won’t be pretty.

    rightwingprof — January 23, 2006 @ 10:33 am – January 23, 2006

    He lives in the UK.

    I don’t particularly care where he lives.

    Comment by raj — January 23, 2006 @ 3:20 pm - January 23, 2006

  17. Not to mention the Muslims in Denmark, also refusing to assimilate, yet wanting to dictate to the Danish Press what kind cartoon is or is not acceptable. This time the Danes are growing a spine.

    I n France ,the “jeunes” (code word for muslims), with full citizenship, on the dole, free education, paid vacations ; burn their own banlieues (neighborhoods), because they feel second class. Boo Hoo.
    In ten years France will be a Muslim country, and from the looks of it England won’t far behind.

    Till, wake up and smell the coffee.

    Comment by hank — January 23, 2006 @ 4:51 pm - January 23, 2006

  18. Continuing on the theme, a decade ago, the Wall Street Journal idiotorial page was bashing the German government for the difficulties that they put up regarding “Einburgurung” (naturalization). Naturalization, of course, would give the emigres the right to vote in local, state and federal elections. It was very difficult for a foreign citizen to become a German citizen, and, unlike in the US, just because a child was born in the Germany, doesn’t mean that the child is a German citizen. And Germany does not allow for dual citizenship. Decendents of Turks who emigrated to Germany during the Wirtschaftwunder are still considered–Turks.

    I basically ignore the WSJ and its idiotorial page nowadays, but I suspect that they have stopped bashing the German government for their Einburgurung policies. Actually, I don’t particularly care what the idiots on their Idiotorial page are publishing.

    Comment by raj — January 23, 2006 @ 5:08 pm - January 23, 2006

  19. BTW, I have yet to see the major countries of the EU telling the US what to do within the borders of the US. On the other hand, I see more than a number of Americans who seem to be willing to tell the Europeans how to run their countries.

    Don’t get out much do you? Two words for starters: Kyoto Protocols. And tell me, by this reasoning of yours, by what right does the EU have to criticize any of the Arab nations for violations of human rights? The Iraqis certainly would like to have them butt out of their prosecution and likely execution of Saddam Hussein.

    Regarding …such as President Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War… I’m not a particular fan of Abraham Lincoln (he should have just let the Southern states secede) but the suspension of habeas corpus in times of rebellion, which the unilateral secessions were, were definitely times of rebellion.

    I’m not about to re-fight the Civil War, but let’s just say that the suspension involved more than this and included the jailing of Lincoln critics.

    Actually, this is preposterous. The US was not at war in 1798. Who was going to invade the country then? The Indians (aka native americans)?

    Oh please! Pick up a history book sometime and learn of the times before you comment. There was a great fear of invasion, whether we think it’s justified or not, which included hysteria of American Indians joining along. Why exactly do you think these Acts were passed in the first place?

    There was a war when Schenck and Frohwerk were convicted under the WWI sedition acts, but there was no indication that Wilson’s selected enemy had any interest in invading the US. It is clear that the prosecutions were nothing more than anti-German American animosity.

    Undoubtedly anti-German bias was a part of this, such happens during war. You also forget about the U-boats and the Zimmerman telegram.

    Christian Europe is under siege, primarily but not exclusively by Muslims from Northern Africa.

    Then quit the pretense, round up all Muslims in Europe and deport them.

    Pim Fortuyn, the gay politician in the Netherlands, was murdered a few years ago by someone who was officially referred to as an “animal rights activist”–which made no sense. He had been head of what was called the “Fortuyn list,” a new political party. France’s problems arise from the immigrants from their former colonies in Algeria.

    And this has, what exactly, to do with Sir Iqbal’s remarks?

    Spain’s problems arise from immigrants from Morocco. I don’t know where the UK’s immigrants come from. Most of Germany’s immigrants come from Turkey, and any of their problems have arisen from the Turk/Kurd problem, which the PKK (Kurds) in the 1970s and 1980s had elected to fight out in Germany.

    And this has, what exactly, to do with Sir Iqbal’s remarks?

    Your grand pronouncement that Freedom of speech cannot be denied to one section of the populace without it affecting everyone. is sweet, but it ignores the fact that other people are facing the real world.

    Which means, what exactly? You believe Muslim citizens in Europe should be denied the freedom of speech? Why stop there? What group is next? When you become part of this disfavored group, what then?

    Freedom of speech is fairly worthless unless those on the other side is willing to listen to your speech. Do you have any evidence that they are?

    Why should I care whether they listen or not? It would be nice, but there is no right stating that one must listen to your speech.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 7:25 pm - January 23, 2006

  20. I agree with your main point. But in this case you are being a bit simplistic. I think the investigation would have occurred even if Thatcher had been in office instead of Blair. Especially in the period after the subway bombings. It’s not a liberal or conservative tendency, it’s a human one.

    Possibly, bear in mind that conservatives in the UK are generally more liberal than here and liberals in the US are generally more conservative than those in the UK. Nevertheless, in the US movement to restrict speech happen quite frequently among our liberals usually in the name of defending the feelings of some group.

    Keep in mind that conservatives in our country try and suppress speech or opinion all the time, particularly on topics such as abortion, contraception, the environment, GLBT, etc. They just tend to use other means than simply outlawing the speech.

    When it comes to my rights I trust neither party completely and hold all politicians as suspect. When I see so-called conservatives advocating the restriction of free speech I call them on it but again usually I find this from the liberal side particularly on college campuses.

    Although at times they even do that by outlawing things as “obscene” material.

    Which regularly gets struck down by the Courts.

    Often they try to use money as a tool. For example, they deny international aid to any NGO that even discusses abortion as an option, – not for performing them. Money is used in a similar way to put restrictions on the discussion of condoms and other forms of birth control in sex-ed and health classes. This is also done with funding for AIDS education and prevention. During the Bush Administration medical professionals attempting to get grants for research have been told to leave the words “gay” or “lesbian” out of grant proposals. Even for AIDS research or breast cancer. They have even been doing this regarding topics such as global warming. Some might say of course that simply withholding funding isn’t censorship. That is mere empty rhetoric. The intent in withholding the funding is to suppress specific ideas from being discussed or said in the public sphere. There is little difference.

    This is where we differ. The speech itself is not outlawed and those person you mention are quite free to state their opinions. They are not entitled to taxpayer money in support of their views however. You gave some from the conservative side, let me give you an exampe from the liberal. Let us pretend that the Democrats sweep the elections and win the Executive and Legislative branches (stick with me now, don’t slip into fantasy for too long). Through legislation it is decided that family planning groups which do not offer contraception or abortion (“abstinence only” groups) will not be entitled to Federal funding. Is this legal and constitutional? You betcha. I do not have to agree with either side completely but I do recognize that the party in power does have some leverage which falls within the bounds of the Constitution.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 7:38 pm - January 23, 2006

  21. Michigan-Matt: It is indeed an awesome movie. I highly recommend some of his writings which have been re-published by Ignatius Press.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 7:39 pm - January 23, 2006

  22. Actually, I believe that’s Marley’s ghost with the chains–if Marlowe’s ghost is chained up, he’s probably getting a kick out of it.

    Comment by Balabusta in Blue Jeans — January 23, 2006 @ 10:49 pm - January 23, 2006

  23. #22: Oops! Thanks, I corrected the gaff.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 4:21 am - January 24, 2006

  24. #3

    How many more times do we have to read about Raj humping Germany’s leg?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 24, 2006 @ 4:50 am - January 24, 2006

  25. #3,#6,#7,#16, & #18

    Read: FOOLISH HUMANS!!! I HAVE LIVED IN GERMANY! I HAVE A HOUSE IN GERMANY! I HAVE READ GERMAN NEWSPAPERS! I HAVE WATCHED GERMAN NEWS! GENUFLECT IN THE PRESENCE OF MY NUANCE OR BE PUT TO DEATH!!!!

    TO THE “SHOWERS” WITH YOU ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 24, 2006 @ 6:04 am - January 24, 2006

  26. ThatGayConservative — January 24, 2006 @ 4:50 am – January 24, 2006

    Some of us have access to different perspectives. The post upstream “Another anti-Bush Government Voted Out” is quite in keeping with a British woman we were talking with on the plane a couple of years ago. She commented “Amercans are very keen on themselves.” Not everything in the world revolves around the US or its president.

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 8:35 am - January 24, 2006

  27. #26 Rajbaby, we gotta get you some seirous history books. Right, not everything in the world revolves around the US or the President –but when he/she is a strong leader on the world stage, just about everything that MATTERS does revolve around that center of power. Govts rise and fall in Europe and Asia, but America dominated the 20th C, had defined the 21st C, and will continue as the center or focus of world power as long as we keep the appeasers, the accomodators, and BlameAmericaFirst crowd out of the White House.

    And european sensibilities and euro-centrist cultures of fading economic and political power just don’t like the reality of that truth.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 24, 2006 @ 9:00 am - January 24, 2006

  28. Michigan-Matt — January 24, 2006 @ 9:00 am – January 24, 2006

    Matt, baby, that was largely during a time when there was a common enemy, primarily during WWII and the Cold War. There is currently no evident common enemy. NATO is largely failing in its clean-up operation in Afghanistan. And most of Europe disagree that Saddam was a threat sufficient to warrant an invasion.

    Feel free to believe whatever you want to. But the fact appears to be is that the US is ending up being a leader with no or very few followers–that it hasn’t paid for. Have you ever wondered how much the GWBush administration paid to the Kingdom of Tonga for the 44 members of the Kingdom’s military–one-tenth of its total military manpower–to be deployed to Iraq a few years ago? I doubt it.

    The Kingdom of Tonga? Another member of the Coalition of the “Willing.”

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 9:15 am - January 24, 2006

  29. Michigan-Matt — January 24, 2006 @ 9:00 am – January 24, 2006

    Continuing

    Govts rise and fall in Europe and Asia, but America dominated the 20th C, had defined the 21st C,…

    More evidence of the British lady’s assertion that “Americans are very keen on themselves.” The US inserted themselves into a war (WWI) in which it had no interest–Germany didn’t have the ability to invade the US. The US got itself intermixed in the European war by aiding one side (the British and the French) against the other (Germany). Why? The rather extensive anti-German sentiment here in the US. The elites in the US were predominantly Anglophiles and Francophiles and anti-German–especially anti-German immigrant. (The US elites were also anti-Irish immigrants, but that’s a different issue.)

    Following WWI, the US government largely ignored the international scene, allowing the French (primarily) to exact draconian measures in the Treaty of Versailles and ignoring the League of Nations. Those are examples of leadership? In your dreams, perhaps.

    The US government largely avoided WWII for a number of years because of the conservative American Firsters. Japan had begun its expansionism in 1933–the Japanese Rape of Nanking (China, the secret Holocaust of WWII) occurred in Dec 1937-March 1938, and the American Firsters apparently believed that they could keep the US out of the war. The war in Europe officially began in Sept 1939, but it actually began several years earlier with the Nazi’s support for Franco’s revolution. The US did nothing. The US did nothing in response to France’s call for help when Hitler re-militarized the Rheinland in contravention of Versaille. The US did nothing when the Nazis annexed Austria (the “Anschluss”) and Czechoslovakia. The US did nothing when the Nazis invaded Poland.

    The US dominated the 20th century? In your dreams. The US dominated the latter half of the 20th century, but that was largely because there was a common enemy–the USSR–with the countries of western Europe. It is ironic that, prior to the end of WWII in Europe, the FDR administration had set up a plan to “pastoralize” Germany. The US started that shortly after the end of WWII (and Germany had been divided), but in late 1947-early 1948, that came to a screeching halt, when it became clear that the USSR was communizing eastern Europe under the guise of the Warsaw pact. It was at that point that Gen. Marshall proposed, and congress approved the Marshall Plan. The Marshall plan was not passed out of the goodness of the US gov’t’s heart–it was a defensive measure to try to stem the expansion of Soviet communism.

    Regarding Govts rise and fall in Europe and Asia…

    Apparently you do not understand the nature of parliamentarian government. I’ll give you an example: Italy. When I was paying attention to Italian politics, it seemed odd that they would have so many “governments” in so few years. Later, it was explained to me: a parliamentary government is characterized by (i) a head of state (usually, but not always, virtually powerless), (ii) a head of government (usually, but not always, a person selected by the party who holds the plurality in the lower house in parliament), and a cabinent (selected by the head of government and his political party, plus members of whatever parties might be required to form a coalition, if necessary, to get the gov’t beyond a vote of no confidence). After I became a sentient being a number of years ago, it became clear to me that the variations in Italien government were little more than rearranging the deck chairs on the cruise ship. They would re-arrange the cabinet slots, and that would represent a different government. Unlike the US, parliamentary governments do not have fixed election cycles. Elections must be held within a fixed period (four or five years) but they can be required earlier if a vote that is considered a “vote of no-confidence” passes.

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 9:55 am - January 24, 2006

  30. He lives in the UK.

    I don’t particularly care where he lives.

    You did when you made your irrelevant “Andere Laender, andere Sitten” remark. He lives in the UK. What they may or may not do in Pakistan or SA is irrelevant, because he lives in the UK.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 24, 2006 @ 10:23 am - January 24, 2006

  31. Raj baby, your world view sounds much more like BlameAmericaFirsters rather than a balanced, enlightened perspective. The euro-centrist sensibility you fashion for yourself and the lady on the plane are rooted in romantic notions of what you’d like to think the world should be rather than in what the world truly is –I still think you need some serious history lessons, raj baby.

    “No common enemy now”? How about terrorists? The War on Terror? WTF? While you’ve been reading those German papers and dancing around the ballroom with every euro-centrist you can squeeze onto your dance card, even your highly regarded and well-loved Germany has been involved in helping America and the Free World with the terrorist wars. America’s led on that one without peer. Most of the Free World –even the Frogs– have followed, lifted heavy water, and been engaged for fear the frontline may show up on their respective doorstoop someday and because they understand the real threat in the intn’l arena.

    No common enemy, my ass. My good man, how exactly do you spend all that time hiding from world events and still think your opinion merits notice?

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 24, 2006 @ 10:36 am - January 24, 2006

  32. And raj baby, thanks for the lessons on paralimentary succession in Italy but I had that one already covered… save the pedantic, condescending lectures for another venue… may I suggest OutSports? They’ve got the whole “the world is going to Hell to in a handbasket” view down pat over there… with a healthy dose of BlameAmericaFirst tho’.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — January 24, 2006 @ 10:44 am - January 24, 2006

  33. rightwingprof — January 24, 2006 @ 10:23 am – January 24, 2006

    You did when you made your irrelevant “Andere Laender, andere Sitten” remark. He lives in the UK.

    I am not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean. The UK has had a love/hate relationship with Europe for some time. They dragged themselves kicking and screaming into the EU. But still are not part of the Euro-zone, even though their exchange rate vs. the US$ seems to be close to that of the Euro vs. the US$.

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 12:56 pm - January 24, 2006

  34. I am not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean.

    It means that your multiculturalist nonsense is irrelevant. He’s a UK citizen.

    Comment by rightwingprof — January 24, 2006 @ 2:25 pm - January 24, 2006

  35. This is where we differ. The speech itself is not outlawed and those person you mention are quite free to state their opinions.

    Unless what they are talking about gets defined as “obscene” or as treason. McCarthy ring a bell?. Then they get thrown into the gaol.

    Besides, it’s a philosophical difference, not an actual one. The intent is to censor the speech. Witholding funds is a means to do that while giving Conservatives “cover” on whether they are sincere about supporting the right to free speech. On the converse side of that, they are perfectly willing to spend funds on groups who’s speech fits their political goals. Hence the adoption of “faith-based funding” and the funding of a program to “encourage marriage” aka, traditional family values as they see it.

    And by the way, it’s clear we are not talking about liberals or conservatives at this point. We are discussing Democrats and Republicans. And it is just self-evident that neither camp is any better than the other when it comes to respecting “free speech”.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 24, 2006 @ 2:35 pm - January 24, 2006

  36. BTW, I really like the artwork on your website of the soldier and the fireman. Where did you get it?

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — January 24, 2006 @ 2:38 pm - January 24, 2006

  37. The US government largely avoided WWII for a number of years because of the conservative American Firsters. Japan had begun its expansionism in 1933–the Japanese Rape of Nanking (China, the secret Holocaust of WWII) occurred in Dec 1937-March 1938, and the American Firsters apparently believed that they could keep the US out of the war. The war in Europe officially began in Sept 1939, but it actually began several years earlier with the Nazi’s support for Franco’s revolution. The US did nothing. The US did nothing in response to France’s call for help when Hitler re-militarized the Rheinland in contravention of Versaille. The US did nothing when the Nazis annexed Austria (the “Anschluss”) and Czechoslovakia. The US did nothing when the Nazis invaded Poland.

    Pardon me for briefly interrupting your blame America harangue, but you are forgetting the rest of the Allied powers in this such as the UK and France. It is true that a majority of the American people did not want to get involved in either World War, such was ingrained in our culture from at least the time of George Washington’s Administration and his warning about “entangling alliances”. Until the mid-20th century (not counting the Cold War), Europe seemed to play a game of having a war every generation and most Americans simply did not want to go along.

    This is their neighborhood, not ours, yet somehow we seem to catch the blame when things go wrong there. We saw this even in more modern times with Bosnia-Hercegovina & Kosovo when the EU was completely incapable of any military operation without the direction and muscle of the United States. Pity that, one would think the vaunted EU would be able to keep its own neighborhood in check.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 4:22 pm - January 24, 2006

  38. Unless what they are talking about gets defined as “obscene” or as treason.

    Which the former regularly gets struck down by the Courts while I don’t believe anyone has been convicted of treason since the Rosenbergs — not even well-deserving persons like Hanoi Jane. I may be mistaken on this, it may be that some of the espionage cases like that of the Walkers included charges of treason but I don’t know. What I do know is that treason is a legal charge very rarely imposed and one even more difficult to gain a conviction on. Ask John Lindh.

    McCarthy ring a bell?. Then they get thrown into the gaol.

    McCarthy? You mean the pompous windbag who actually was more right than he ever knew about communist infiltration? I’m not certain why you raise this.

    Besides, it’s a philosophical difference, not an actual one. The intent is to censor the speech.

    Irrelevant. The Courts have already ruled that such does not constitute violations of freedom of speech because these groups are not entitled to Federal funding. Their right to speak their views is not abridged by the government since they are under no obligation to accept the funding and may reject it at any time.

    Hence the adoption of “faith-based funding” and the funding of a program to “encourage marriage” aka, traditional family values as they see it.

    Oh that will be part of my next post which deals with freedom of religion. IMO these groups are setting themselves up and may not even be aware of it.

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 4:33 pm - January 24, 2006

  39. BTW, I really like the artwork on your website of the soldier and the fireman. Where did you get it?

    It’s something that went around the WWW after 9/11. If I recall correctly there is a dispute over who the actual artist is.

    Here’s something on it: http://www.theflagpole.com/image_full_size_pages/pass_the_colors.htm

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 4:36 pm - January 24, 2006

  40. Average Gay Joe — January 23, 2006 @ 7:25 pm – January 23, 2006

    Don’t get out much do you? Two words for starters: Kyoto Protocols.

    This is a joke, right? If there is to be a protocol to protect the communal well-being, such as but not limited to the environment, it strikes be as being incumbent on all comers to help to protect the communal well-being. I’ll give you another example: GATT, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. You know, the latest update of which gave you the World Trade Organization. The US has prospered under GATT, in no small measure because of its protection for Intellectual Property (patents, copyrights and trademarks). Suppose the Europeans, or other countries, just ignored patents, copyrights and trademarks of US companies?

    Oh please! Pick up a history book sometime and learn of the times before you comment. There was a great fear of invasion, whether we think it’s justified or not, which included hysteria of American Indians joining along. Why exactly do you think these Acts (the 1798 Alien & Sedition Acts were passed in the first place?

    I know precisely why they were enacted:

    In 1798, the Federalist-controlled Congress passed a series of laws which, on the surface, were designed to control the activities of foreigners in the United States during a time of impending war. Beneath the surface, however, the real intent of these laws was to destroy Jeffersonian Republicanism.

    http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h463.html

    Going on further on that page

    The Sedition Act, which provided for fines or imprisonment for individuals who criticized the government, Congress or president in speech or print.

    The Alien Acts were never enforced, but the Sedition Act was. A number of Republican newspaper publishers were convicted under the terms of this law. The Jeffersonians argued quite rightly that the Sedition Act violated the terms of the First Amendment and offered a remedy in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.

    While these laws were either repealed or allowed to expire in the next administration, they were significant as rallying points for the Jeffersonians. The heavy-handed Federalist policies worked to the advantage of the Republicans as they prepared for the Election of 1800.

    So, the alien acts, which the article states “were designed to control the activities of foreigners in the United States during a time of impending war” were directed to aliens and were enacted to control the activities of foreigners in the US during a time of impending war. They were never enforced. But the sedition acts, which were designed to eliminate criticism of the government by anybody resident in the us was enforced.

    I’m sorry, but your explanation of the 1798 Alien & Sedition acts strains credulity to the breaking point. Irrespective of the Alien Acts, the Sedition act, which criminalized speech and press, was passed a mere couple of years after the ratification of the 1st amendment. You know, the amendment that states that “congress shall pass no law…”?

    I could go on about the 1919 opinions in Schenck and Frohwerk, but I’ll refrain. It is clear that they resulted from the anti-German sentiment in the US during WWI, a war that the US had no interest in.

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 5:56 pm - January 24, 2006

  41. #31

    Matt, it would seem that he believes Robert Scheer who wrote of a BBC documentary explaining how Al-Qaeda is a figment of our imagination.
    Note how this idea is from the same people who whine that Bush didn’t do enough to stop the 9/11 terrorists.
    Now, apparently, we’re supposed to believe, despite their own rhetoric, that Al-Qaeda doesn’t exist.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 24, 2006 @ 6:06 pm - January 24, 2006

  42. Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 4:22 pm – January 24, 2006

    Pardon me for briefly interrupting your blame America harangue, but you are forgetting the rest of the Allied powers in this such as the UK and France.

    Actually, not I have not–the issue hasn’t come up. I’m not sure why you are harping on the European theater–which was important. The Pacific theater was probably much more important since the Japanese had a quite formidable navy, as they showed at Pearl Harbor.

    Quite frankly, if the British had not ignored French warnings when Hitler remilitarized the Rheinland in 1936 in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, it is likely that WWII in the European theater never would have happened. The fact that all of Hitler’s military advisors advised against it, and he succeeded, merely emboldened him to push further ignoring his advisors. If the British had joined the French–who didn’t believe they had the wherewithall to oppose Hitler’s expansion on their own–in opposing Hitlers expansion–he probably could have been nipped in the bud.

    Lest you misunderstand, I am blaming American isolationism and the America Firsters for acting like ostriches who put their heads in the sand. Interpret that as you wish.

    For your information:

    This is their neighborhood, not ours, yet somehow we seem to catch the blame when things go wrong there. We saw this even in more modern times with Bosnia-Hercegovina & Kosovo when the EU was completely incapable of any military operation…

    EU is largely an economic union, not a military alliance. The EU does not have a military, and it does not have a unified military command. The EU has made noises in that direction, but I haven’t read that it has happened.

    Comment by raj — January 24, 2006 @ 6:22 pm - January 24, 2006

  43. I agree – very nice comment.

    Comment by Puck — January 24, 2006 @ 6:56 pm - January 24, 2006

  44. >>The US was not at war in 1798. Who was going to invade the country then?

    Oh, but we were, it just wasn’t formally declared. From 1789 to 1800 America was embroiled with both England and France, often heatedly, over various items. Both were, for instance, seizing our merchantships at sea, confiscating the cargos and — in the case of England — forceably conscripting our citizens to serve in their armies and navies.

    Both countries treated America as nothing more than a puppet in the struggles with each other.

    In July, 1798 Congress, bowing to popular demands, declared the treaties with France void — on the grouds that they had already been violated by the French government — and authorized the capturing of French warships. In August, George Washington was formally recalled from retirement to command the Army that was being raised.

    The undeclared war with France, confined totally to the sea, lasted two and a half years. In all, the United States captured more than eighty armed French ships, mainly privateers operating in West Indian waters against American merchantmen.

    As part of the Franco-American talks in Paris, France agreed to stop their actions and cancel anti-American treaties they had entered into if the United States would drop the demand that France pay $20 million for the seizures of its merchant ships.

    -Stephen

    Comment by Stephen Kinney — January 24, 2006 @ 8:05 pm - January 24, 2006

  45. Actually, not I have not–the issue hasn’t come up. I’m not sure why you are harping on the European theater–which was important. The Pacific theater was probably much more important since the Japanese had a quite formidable navy, as they showed at Pearl Harbor.

    You brought up the European theater, not I. Not that it matters in this discussion, but I disagree with you as Pearl Harbor was a lucky shot with the US practically lighting the whole way for the Imperial Fleet. You overestimate Japan’s military prowess at the time which while definitely capable was not a match for the US unless they could win demoralize us a la Giap in Vietnam. They knew this and were hoping for what never came. FDR was right and the European theater was more important not only in terms of which enemy was stronger but to free up the Allies to help in the Pacific (that was the theory at least).

    Quite frankly, if the British had not ignored French warnings when Hitler remilitarized the Rheinland in 1936 in contravention of the Treaty of Versailles, it is likely that WWII in the European theater never would have happened. The fact that all of Hitler’s military advisors advised against it, and he succeeded, merely emboldened him to push further ignoring his advisors. If the British had joined the French–who didn’t believe they had the wherewithall to oppose Hitler’s expansion on their own–in opposing Hitlers expansion–he probably could have been nipped in the bud.

    All true which was exactly my point: you neglected to mention any of this when you attempted to lay blame at the US feet.

    Lest you misunderstand, I am blaming American isolationism and the America Firsters for acting like ostriches who put their heads in the sand. Interpret that as you wish.

    Oops, and you were doing so well. Such indeed contributed to Hitler being able to consolidate and strengthen his power, yet it is extremely inaccurate to lay this solely on the US. The UK and France didn’t need the US to nip this in the bud as you pointed out above.

    EU is largely an economic union, not a military alliance. The EU does not have a military, and it does not have a unified military command. The EU has made noises in that direction, but I haven’t read that it has happened.

    Of course not, they’d rather rely upon the Americans footing the bill while the fritter their own money on social programs that are going bust. Such was the legacy of the Cold War. Nevertheless, members of the EU such as the UK, France, and Germany have the financing, materiel, and manpower to put a force in the field which would have been able to handle both Bosnia and Kosovo on their own. Yet they were unable to. Why is that?

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 9:50 pm - January 24, 2006

  46. This is a joke, right? If there is to be a protocol to protect the communal well-being, such as but not limited to the environment, it strikes be as being incumbent on all comers to help to protect the communal well-being.

    Oh I see. So we can dress meddling up with flowery language and therefore it’s okay, but God forbid the US make any criticisms of European affairs… Please, spare me the double-standard.

    Suppose the Europeans, or other countries, just ignored patents, copyrights and trademarks of US companies?

    We’d find ourselves in a nasty trade war that would hurt the US a lot, but Europe even more.

    I know precisely why they were enacted:

    In 1798, the Federalist-controlled Congress passed a series of laws which, on the surface, were designed to control the activities of foreigners in the United States during a time of impending war. Beneath the surface, however, the real intent of these laws was to destroy Jeffersonian Republicanism.

    You skipped over the “impending war” portion. I have no doubt politics played a part in this, which unfortunately works it was in to just about everything, but the website’s editorial commentary doesn’t negate the fact about that the Acts were passed out of fear of imminent invasion.

    The Sedition Act, which provided for fines or imprisonment for individuals who criticized the government, Congress or president in speech or print.

    Which indeed made them unconstitutional and hence the firestorm that helped cost Adams a second term, which I believe I mentioned.

    The Alien Acts were never enforced, but the Sedition Act was. A number of Republican newspaper publishers were convicted under the terms of this law. The Jeffersonians argued quite rightly that the Sedition Act violated the terms of the First Amendment and offered a remedy in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions.

    Oh so that’s why Jefferson pardoned those convicted when he took over as president. Okay, now that we’ve waltzed over ground already covered where would you like to go now with this?

    I’m sorry, but your explanation of the 1798 Alien & Sedition acts strains credulity to the breaking point.

    Interesting. Perhaps you’d care to explain how, exactly?

    Comment by Average Gay Joe — January 24, 2006 @ 10:01 pm - January 24, 2006

  47. Pardon me, but is it possible to have any comment threads that don’t mention Germany in some form or fashion?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — January 24, 2006 @ 10:02 pm - January 24, 2006

  48. #44 Stephen Kinney — January 24, 2006 @ 8:05 pm – January 24, 2006

    Assuming for the moment the veracity of your post (American ships were being pirated by Tripoly, too), please explain why none of the Alien acts were enforced, while the Sedition act was enforced. It was enforced against Jeffersonian Republican newspapers–in obvious violation of the 1st amendment that had been ratified only a few years before. It seems to me that the Alien acts would have more import in regards a potential war with England or France, than the Sedition act, which was used to shut down criticism of the Adams government by Americans themselves.

    Comment by raj — January 25, 2006 @ 7:14 am - January 25, 2006

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