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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hitch On Free Speech

For John, BLUF:  If you won't protect the right of the ignorant and foolish to say what they will, you don't have free speech.

Law Professor Ann Althouse gives us a link to a 2006 talk by the late Writer Christopher Hitchens, in Toronto, talking about free speech.

And, a nice little discussion of Justice Holmes and the case where he introduced us to "shouting fire in a crowded theater".

I would like to draw a distinction.  If Joe Bagadonuts derides your video it is fine.  If he refuses to have it in his house, fine.  If YouTube bans it, not so good.  If the Government lifts a finger against it, that is very bad.  At that point every right-thinking American should stand up and say "Shame on the Government".

Here is the link to the Althouse blog.

Regards  —  Cliff


Jack Mitchell said...

Dude. We have regulations on speech. Can Ford Motor Co. tell you buying a Mustang will cure cancer?

Isn't this 'limitation' based on a type of protection?

The gov't even compels speech. They make sellers of products tell us certain things.

Enlighten me.

John Mitchell said...

Is this thing on? Could someone explain the speech restrictions we deal with everyday?

C R Krieger said...

I believe that free speech should be free.  How do you judge this?  Is the woman wrong?  The cleric?

In this country we try to maximize free speech.  That we use the Commerce Clause to suppress deceptive ads by business, who you say are not persons, is acceptable.  On the other hand, there are some pretty fanciful car ads out there.

This video was not an ad for medical treatment.  Shut down this video and we will truly be in an era of PC.

We need to realize that most of what happens in the Arab/Muslim world isn't about us.  We are just involved for anger displacement.  You can't tell your parents you just hate them, so you kick the puppy.

John McCreary says:
Readers need to know that since 11 September 2012, US diplomats, military forces and a cabinet secretary have been subjected to attacks, insults, property damage and the murder of an ambassador and three other men.  The affronts and killings have occurred in East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.  This explosion of anti-American sentiment, over two weeks, is without precedent in the past 45 years.

I think that Egypt and other nations in the region are still going through their revolutions.  We have a correlation, not a causation.

Regards  —  Cliff

Jack Mitchell said...

I'm less concern about how sovereign nations measure up to American values.

The question is not about losing free speech. In America, we have managed speech.

The question is whether it is appropriate to limit speech which provokes a "clear and present danger" situation to Americans on our soil and abroad.

C R Krieger said...

In the book I am currently reading the Moscone-Milk Assassinations are blamed on Milk's resistance to an anti-Gay Proposition recently defeated by the voters.  So, was Harvey Milk's exercise of his free speech rights the cause of this action?  Should Harvey Milk's free speech have been curtailed to avoid the ensuing violence?  (I go with the theory that the shooter, Dan White, was a financially strapped and disgruntled office seeker.  Remember the Twinkie Defense—too much sugar in his diet?)

regards  —  Cliff

Jack Mitchell said...

The Milk assasination involves the muder of an activist by a madman. Why didn't you pick MLK or RFK as examples.

If speech is used to incite a society to act against our national interests, then we are in different territory.

When ObL was switched off, a crowd gathered outside the White House. If the "New Black Panthers" opted to start slogannering, inciting that crowd to attack the White House, would our Constitution aid and abet the speech?

If an "active speaker" can be dragged off the soapbox for reasons within our law, why can't we account for a "delay" in the speakers effect?

At some point the "intent" of the speech becomes vital. Is the intent to inform? What if it ratchets to "persuade?" What if it ratchets to "incite."

Yet, all candidates use all 3 intents to turn out voters in their favor? That's cool.

Torches and pitches are not cool.

Craig H said...

There being no torches nor pitchies here on our soil where our laws actually apply, what possible grounds exist for investigating any "limitation"???

Jack, if we're extending US legal and Constitutional protections to Libyans, Egyptians, Sudanese and others, I think we've absolutely lost our minds. I can't help but once again imagine your reaction were a Republican administration pursue action against a US citizen for speech.

C R Krieger said...


I picked the Dan White case because I had just read about it in the history book I am reading and the author's mischaracterization is sort of like the mischaracterization of what happened in Benghazi.  Apparently no riot.

Now we are hearing (New York Post) that the Egyptian riots were about the Blind Sheik.  Returning him to Egypt would, supposedly, calm the Arab Street.

Regards  —  Cliff

Jack Mitchell said...

OK. We are not learning anything here. I propose that American speech is limited, as I have supported with examples.

Kad goes on with his libertarian view and dares to presume what is in my head. Boring.

Cliff cites an obtuse reference that is so outside the frame, only he sees the connection. Then he goes on talking about the gripe about the blind shiek. Did the also riot because of mistreatment of the Palestinians or torture at Abu Ghraib?

It's fine for Americans to demand Libyan and Egyptian authorities cull out the bad guys, but heaven forbid we question the asswipe that made that video?

Context matters. That's why we have courts.