The threat to free speech from Muslim extremists in and out of this country and tacitly supported by so-called liberal politicians and some liberal columnists is very real. And the threat isn’t confined to religious issues. That Pamela Geller, organizer of the “draw a Muhammed cartoon” did it to antagonize Muslims is irrelevant. That both of the would-be murderers were themselves shot and killed is irrelevant.
Murder, or attempted murder, as a response to an insult is not recognized by law in the United States, nor most anywhere. It is in Sharia Law, and Sharia Law does not belong in a free and open society nor do supporters of that response. Accepting that Geller and her supporters would deserve what they almost got is to accept a clamp on free speech and open the door to anarchy. There are more just causes out there than the Muslim religion.
I don’t recall widespread support for those who murdered people performing abortions even though the rationale for the murderers (and bombing and arsons) was that they were stopping murder. Many people have been upset about the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church group and the “Piss Christ” art exhibit in New York, or the proposed statue of Satan at a courthouse in Oklahoma. Christians are mocked in this country often, and Jesus is the subject of many a cartoon. If one sect decided that Jesus was as untouchable as Muhammed, would violence and intimidation be valid?
To be certain, mocking someone else’s religion, color, ethnicity or exposing yourself to obvious dangers doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, it doesn’t mean that violent responses are justified.
To accept that premise is to put a clamp on free speech and all its broadest applications. Our society requires open and free debate however unpleasant.
Unfortunately, our society has become so politically correct that free speech in itself is dangerous. Universities, those bastions of open and free debate, often set up “zones” for free speech. All other areas are subject to university-controlled speech. Conservative speakers are not only booed, but threatened on some campuses. In another case, a hotel owner that caters to a gay clientele was threatened with a boycott because he talked with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a man- woman-only marriage advocate.
When we get to the point that citizens of this country cannot speak out without fear of death or intimidation personally or fear loss of business or jobs, we descend to mob rule. The mob, or mobs, supporting the cause du jour. It’s only a matter of time before the target is you.
Somethin’ On My Mind is an opinion column written by Bill Northrop. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Gabber publishers, staff or advertisers.