2010 October 05 Tuesday
Americans, Unlike Dutch Politicians, Support Free Expression

While Dutch political leaders schemed to silence Dutch MP and political party leader Geert Wilders for saying things about Islam that are unpopular with Muslims here in America we are pretty much resolved that people should be able to say unpopular things (excepting those ideas suppressed by the forces for Political Correctness). An overwhelming majority of Americans believe we should be free to express unpopular ideas without fear of our lives.

While most Americans said they valued freedom, Baker wanted to learn more about just what "freedom" meant to them, so he asked "To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of these statements:"

"Freedom is being left alone to do what I want;" and

"Freedom is being able to express unpopular ideas without fearing for my safety."

Only about a third of Americans agreed that freedom is being left along to do what they want. But over 90 percent of Americans agreed that freedom meant being able to express unpopular ideas without fearing for their safety. "There was no difference between liberals and conservatives. The vast majority on both sides agreed," Baker said.

But some Americans have expressed ideas about Islam in ways that forced them to go into hiding. A cartoonist formerly known as Molly Norris has gone into hiding with a new identity. So in addition to having to worry for her life, she has to move somewhere and get a job doing something without being able to demonstrate what she's done in the past. That's harsh.

At the urging of the FBI, the Seattle cartoonist behind "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is "going ghost" leaving town, changing her name, creating a new identity because of the death threat issued in July by an Islamic cleric linked to the failed Times Square bombing, the Seattle Weekly says of its former contributor.

This Islamic cleric, Islamic Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, was born in New Mexico.

She's not the only American on that Jihadist kill list that the FBI is advising to change their lives.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 October 05 09:44 PM  Freedom Speech


Comments
Amanda Song said at October 6, 2010 1:40 AM:

While I personally support free expression, I think certain moral issues should be taken into account when expressing your own opinion.
Among these is respect. "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is disrespectful to believers or followers of Islam, and certain drawings made
during this "holiday" are shocking or even repulsive.
Was "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" really necessary?
Free expression is beneficial, in my opinion, for society because it allows you to share your perspective in order to spread awareness about
a particular issue others may not know about. This can, in positive cases, lead to constructive discussion in which a solution can be found
, or a new understanding introduced. Where would the world be if we blatantly disregard the views or beliefs of others?

Black Death said at October 6, 2010 5:51 AM:

"Where would the world be if we blatantly disregard the views or beliefs of others?"

We'd be in the United States of America, land of the First Amendment. Freedom of speech means freedom to say what you want, even if others find it distasteful, offensive or cruel. If you don't like it, ignore it. An idea, a drawing, a printed page won't bite you. That's how our society operates. Those who don't like it are perfectly free to go elsewhere. There are 57 nations in the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and I'll bet that all of them will prohibit anything offensive being said about Mohammed or Islam. So those who find "Let's Draw Mohammad Day" intolerable should move to one of those enlightened lands. I'm sure they'll be happy.

Rohan Swee said at October 6, 2010 7:52 AM:

Amanda - I find what I consider to be your profound misapprehension of free speech "shocking", and yes, "repulsive". Was it really necessary to express your opinion in such a way as to be so blatantly disrespectful of my deeply held beliefs? In fact, your statements made me very angry. Now, was that really necessary, Amanda? Why are you misusing your right to free speech in a way that only contributes to discord and division?

Couldn't you have taken the trouble to phrase your opinions in a "positive" way that could have led to more "constructive" discussion, instead of just royally pissing me off?

Well, no you couldn't have, not without gutting your statement of meaning and honesty. So tell me, Amanda, if you "personally support free expression", but don't want anybody to feel hurt or "dissed", how am I, who sincerely holds that some views, beliefs, etc., are vile and oppressive, supposed to go about expressing that view? N.B., considering somebody's views contemptible and mock-worthy does not equal "disregarding" them, as if one mocked or sneered only out of ignorance or constitutional lack of tact and empathy. (Not that we restrict rights on those grounds, either.)

No, Amanda, "spreading awareness" to the unenlightened of what you've already decided is the "correct perspective" is not why we cherish the right to free speech in this society.

sestamibi said at October 6, 2010 8:46 AM:

Over 90 percent? That means as many as 10 percent think one should be put to death for expressing an "offensive" idea.

The fact of the matter is that this 10 percent share is growing, and the remaining 90 percent isn't quite so sold on the idea when the issue is framed in terms of "hate speech" or some other bullshit. Even the ACLU, which was purportedly founded to support the First Amendment is wracked by internal dissension on the issue, with some chapters actually taking the position that the First Amendment must yield to some mythical "right not to be offended".

The feminist Left must be smashed if we are going to remain free.

no i don't said at October 6, 2010 2:01 PM:

What does free expression mean anyway?

Does it mean that you can say anything you want? And without affecting the world around us?

Don't think so...

no i don't said at October 6, 2010 2:14 PM:

"Freedom of speech means freedom to say what you want, even if others find it distasteful, offensive or cruel."

Not really Black Death; insults, slander, cursing and threats are illegal in different forms. So your right to slander, curse and threaten somebody is really very limited. Your "free speech" stops right where the right of your neighbour starts. (Or the government's)

I'd like to see anybody at an airport terminal, parking lot, bank or high school shout, "the hell with all these cameras watching me even in the toilet; get a life!"

Wolf-Dog said at October 6, 2010 2:46 PM:

The problem with free speech is that although on paper it looks very noble, given the modern combination of psychology and computer science, it is becoming possible to manipulate public opinion very effectively once there is access to a large enough budget. Many elections are won and lost by statisticians and psychologists behind computer terminals. Although we can say what we want, we are still accountable for the effects of our free speech. Goebbels would not have even dreamed of the modern media technology that is being used to manipulate public opinion.

Now the issue about extremist Islam being a threat to the freedom of Europeans is certainly quite a vital subject to discuss and take action, but it is at the same time very likely that in a the not-so-distant future, when the political and social tension connected with Islam escalates in Europe, far right groups will try to turn the religious war into a race war. It might take just one (1) instance of Islamic nuclear terrorism in Europe for the religious war to become a race war. At that time, the poor Indian Hindu immigrants will be hard pressed to prove that they are not Muslims, and they might even accidentally be put in the same jail cells as Muslims.

Jehu said at October 6, 2010 3:35 PM:

Wolf-Dog,
Seems to me the simplest solution is simply to stop Islamic immigration into both the US and Europe, and to encourage those already there to leave. Requiring everyone to walk on eggshells avoiding saying things that are manifestly true is no way to run a society.

Rohan Swee said at October 6, 2010 5:07 PM:

"Freedom of speech means freedom to say what you want, even if others find it distasteful, offensive or cruel."

Not really Black Death; insults, slander, cursing and threats are illegal in different forms. So your right to slander, curse and threaten somebody is really very limited. Your "free speech" stops right where the right of your neighbour starts.

Uh, no. Your right to slander is more than "limited" - there has never been a right to slander. (Note to the touchy - expressing antipathy or contempt is not "slander".) Same with real threats to person or property. The right to indulge in "distasteful, offensive, or cruel" comments that are not slander or real threats is not, as a matter of fact, "really very limited" but very, very broad. No matter how desperately certain people want to believe there is some deep set of precedents for bringing actions against people who say "Islam sucks" out loud in public.

Wolf-Dog said at October 6, 2010 6:20 PM:

The party of Geert Wilders is trying to legislate that only well-educated and employable people will be allowed immigrate to Netherlands, and that there will also be an interview for general culture and Dutch, etc. There are many atheists born in Muslim countries dying to assimilate in the Western world. Many Iranians who escaped to Europe after the fall of the Shah, actually converted to Christianity in order to become Europeans. Geert Wilders is not against the latter group of immigrants. It is certainly possible for the immigration officials to "certify" that the the candidate is not a religious Muslim, since there are many lie detector machines and other methods to investigate.

But my impression is that by the time Europe decides to take the latter steps to make immigration more selective, there will already be a high percentage of hostile Muslims with EU citizenship. Within 15-20 years at least 25-35 % of France might become Muslim, and another 10 % in several large European countries like UK and Germany. It's only a matter of time that Pakistan's nukes will fall under the control of Islamic extremists. Pakistan doesn't just have dozens of nukes: it has a nuclear industry capable of building many hundreds more within a decade. When Pakistan's nuclear industry is controlled by extremists, it will no longer be necessary for them to get missiles, because they will be able to use religious immigrants who would assemble low-tech but very powerful devices in safe houses in Europe, in hundreds of cities. As long as size is not a constraint, a low-tech nuke can be made nearly arbitrarily powerful. This scenario is still 15 years away, but time passes very quickly, because Chronos was the Greek god of time, and since Christian Europeans banned the Pagan gods, Chronos may have defected to the Islamic side for revenge against Europeans who betrayed him. The moral of the story is that time is NOT on our side because Chronos is angry.

Big bill said at October 6, 2010 7:07 PM:

First off, wolfdog, the Hindus aren't "poor". They abandon their people and come here with graduate degrees to take jobs from us. They are quite well off, according to the census. Second, they never give up their citizenship in Pakistan, India, Uganda, China, the Caribbean, or wherever they came from before, so there really is no reason to jail them, just send them back home to the countries they never renounced, the countries of their temples, gods, and religions, which will always welcome them back with open and loving arms, anxious to benefit from their worldly knowledge and experience.

I certainly hope firm, persuasive measures are not required, but I expect they may be. The ones who WILL go to jail (if they are lucky) are the ones that are importing Indians, Mexicans and Chinese to drive down wages and impoverish Americans. They hope it will make us docile. They are mistaken and will discover their error in a most painful fashion in just a handful of years.

Engineer-Poet said at October 6, 2010 8:26 PM:
Pakistan doesn't just have dozens of nukes: it has a nuclear industry capable of building many hundreds more within a decade.
It's hard to do this without e.g. an electrical grid, and that's one of the first things that would vanish if Islamists took over Pakistan.  (Along with the enrichment facilities, separation facilities, and all known storage bunkers, if Western governments have a collective IQ higher than room temperature.)
mike said at October 7, 2010 5:55 PM:

I'd like to see anybody at an airport terminal, parking lot, bank or high school shout, "the hell with all these cameras watching me even in the toilet; get a life!"

There would be no legal repercussions for shouting that. Was there any point to this statement?

Wolf-Dog said at October 7, 2010 9:11 PM:

" Pakistan doesn't just have dozens of nukes: it has a nuclear industry capable of building many hundreds more within a decade.

It's hard to do this without e.g. an electrical grid, and that's one of the first things that would vanish if Islamists took over Pakistan. (Along with the enrichment facilities, separation facilities, and all known storage bunkers, if Western governments have a collective IQ higher than room temperature.) "

=================================================

Engineer-Poet,
When the Islamists took over Iran, the electric grid did not vanish ( at least not the portion of the electric grid supporting their nuclear projects) because this part of technology is one of their spiritual obligations. As for the IQ of the Western governments, their track record is not so good in long term thinking. Whatever the Western governments do will be in the interest of the Islamists. By using the 9/11 attack, the Islamists succeeded in drawing the US and Europe into the long guerrilla war, which was to the benefit of the Islamists,

Engineer-Poet said at October 7, 2010 9:17 PM:

Iran wasn't a nuclear power.  What I'm saying is that if Islamists took over Pakistan, we'd erase the grid (along with a lot else).

It's rather hard to make nuclear weapons without machine tools, petroleum fuels or reliable sources of food.  Multiple ground bursts on your crucial military and population sites will do that.

Wolf-Dog said at October 8, 2010 8:02 AM:

So far, even though Islamists in Iran are building a monumental nuclear infrastructure, it is very unlikely that there will be a Western attack on Iran's facilities. Similarly, when the Pakistani government falls, the more likely outcome would be the evacuation of the US troops from the region.


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