Sunday, April 3, 2011

Don't let violent mobs destroy freedom of speech

While the stupidest thing to happen in the past week was the murder of 12 people in Northern Afghanistan by a mob angered by a recent Quran burning in Florida, the second stupidest thing happened today when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) suggested we let that same mob write our policies for us.

Graham told Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation this morning that "Free speech is a great idea, but we're in a war" and we should put legal restrictions on blasphemy.

That's not how it works, people. America should not pass legislation against specific messages just because certain groups promise to use violence when that message is expressed.

Instead, let us behave like civilized adults and remind people that the answer to speech we don't like is more speech, not violence or suppression.

I will lead by example. Terry Jones, the Florida pastor who burned the Quran, is irresponsible. We get it Terry, you've proven for us once again that Islamic extremists currently present a great danger than the extremists of the other major religions. One would have to be a fool to think otherwise. If someone burns a Bible or Torah people get offended, if someone burns a Quran people get beheaded.

So knowing that, why would Jones go ahead and make a gesture that he knew would cause the death of innocent people? I don't want the law to stop people from desecrating holy books, but I thought common sense and human decency would have kicked in by now.

There is a lot of shame to go around here. Most of it belongs to the rioters, but Graham and Jones deserve plenty as well. There are no good guys here, and and I don't expect anything positive to come from this whole wretched incident. This is just awful.


  1. They should absolutely pass legislation against blasphemy and outlaw a bunch of other speech while they are at it.

    I welcome showdowns in the court and I have every confidence that it would be ruled unconstitutional at every turn, thus closing the conversation for a long while.

  2. Sounds kind of like the "let Obama win so the voters won't touch the Democrats for a few years" strategy.

  3. This reminds me of the South Park two-parter "Cartoon Wars". While it is always done immaturely and in jest, that show wows me consistently and the message in those two episodes was loud, clear and bold.

  4. Well clearly it's not the optimum plan.

    The best thing to do would be to get people to simply understand freedom, instead of whittling it away bit by bit.

    Sometimes I think a nice little island in the Bahamas is calling my name... "Hey Nate, free drinks, big umbrella, no democrats"

  5. Nate, in fairness, it was a republican who said we should limit free speech in wartime.

    And I agree Abner. That was the episode that inspired death threats.

  6. That doesn't change my dream Bahamas vacation.