... Americans need to learn that the rest of the world—and not just Muslims—see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.
Let that sink in for a moment. "Free speech must yield to other values and the need for order." Now, that second part actually makes some sense. In our (US, that is) history, during times of war and domestic disturbances (riots), limits on free expression have certainly be implemented. But even with these, as Posner notes, the second half of the last century witnessed an expansion of 1st Amendment rights during such moments, notably during the Vietnam War.
But consider the first part of the statement: "Yield to other values. Folks, this is precisely what the Left wants. Because it'll be their values that will supercede free speech. Don't believe me? Check out what goes on at college campuses. Universities routinely impose "speech codes" and other provisions based on the "values of the community." Fortunately, thus far, groups like FIRE have been quite successful in thwarting many (most) of the more egregious examples of this anti-First Amendment nonsense.
But for how long?
... has as one of its foundations the idea that the American (and Western, for that matter) political system -- equal justice for all, due process, equal rights ... even freedom of speech -- is still oppressive if it doesn't take into historical account the plight of minorities. This is at the heart of "white privilege" -- since whites have constructed the very system under which we [all] live, it inherently will "maintain" the dominant culture (or race).
You see what this means, right? The freedom to post a video which insults the prophet Mohammed doesn't apply to a white person -- because since the whole political and legal system was constructed by whites, it is for the benefit of them, not minorities, so the "white privilege" of the video maker "blinds him" to the injustice his video has done to [Islamic] minorities. (Of course, Muslims are not a minority in the countries in which they rioted; however, I am certain CRI would posit that since the white/Anglo world power structure has "exploited" these countries historically, and on a "transnational basis" the videographer still does not possess freedom of speech if it insults Islam.)
Make no mistake about our current administration's posture on this. Boss Obama talks about freedom of speech, but his entire academic and legal background was flooded by stuff like Critical Race Theory. If you're a product of the Martin Luther King Jr. era and utter something like "I don't see color," or "I treat everyone the same regardless of race," that is a huge no-no according to this academic sophistry. To adherents of CRI, "that is the most overt kind of racism." Or, "to ignore race is to be more racist than to acknowledge race." CRIers call that "neo-racism."
Posner, in his Slate article, points out that "progressives" may be having second thoughts about all their hard-fought free expression gains during the late 20th century ... just as conservatives have now embraced them. In addition to campus speech police, liberals have been keen on hate crimes legislation and sexual harassment laws. But, "for the left, the [1st] amendment today is like a dear old uncle who enacted heroic deeds in his youth but on occasion says embarrassing things about taboo subjects in his decline."
Ironically, Posner writes that
Salman Rushdie recently claimed that bad ideas, “like vampires … die in the sunlight” rather than persist in a glamorized underground existence. But bad ideas never die: They are zombies, not vampires. Bad ideas like fascism, Communism, and white supremacy have roamed the countryside of many an open society.
And what did the Left do when the Right trounced on the First Amendment, especially during the 1950s during the Red Scare (see: Communism in the above quote)? Right -- they (rightly) screamed bloody (unconstitutional) murder at guys like Joe McCarthy. And "progressives" today still admire Communism -- that "bad idea" that's like a zombie, according to Posner. Indeed, academics and Hollywood types have little qualms about hanging out and lauding guys like Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro ... and no one can do a thing about it. Because these mental midgets have free speech. Yet these very same people would squelch others' First Amendment rights if it offended some value of theirs. Just. Like. Chavez. And. Castro. Have. Done. Routinely.
If it's scary that our president believes in such legal principle, it's even more worrisome that members of the US Supreme Court do, too. Recall this post where Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg expressed agreement with many similar legal precepts. If judges like Ginsberg ever gain a majority sway on the high court, especially together with a liberal chief exec like Boss Obama, you can kiss the 1st Amendment as we know it today goodbye.
Maybe this will never happen. I certainly hope so, and there are bright spots of legal sanity among Ginsberg's philosophical brethren. The highly liberal Ninth Circuit's Alex Kosinski tore asunder concepts put forth by Critical Race Theorists, stating CRIers "have constructed a philosophy which makes a valid exchange of ideas between the various disciplines unattainable." Indeed.
But that won't stop Critical Race Theorists and other "progressives." No way. These "theories" are merely yet another exercise in their grabbing of power -- the power to stop the speech of their political and philosophical opponents. And all in the name of "community values," "tolerance," and "mutual respect." But these excuses weren't good enough for them when it was their speech being quelled ... and they won't be sufficient for non-"progressives" today. Not as long as we remain vigilant.Posted by Hube at September 26, 2012 12:19 PM | TrackBack