Posts

‘Batman’ cartoonist Frank Miller dropped from comic convention over accusation of ‘anti-Muslim hate’

Frank Miller himself is not defending “Holy Terror,” so I’m certainly not going to defend it on his behalf, and I don’t endorse torture or killing of innocent people, as his hero seems to in the illustration. But that is not what the controversy is about here. It’s over the claim that “Holy Terror” is “anti-Muslim.” I myself am frequently accused of being anti-Muslim, but the claim is false, baseless, and defamatory. It is no more anti-Muslim to oppose jihad violence than it was anti-German to oppose Nazism. It is worth nothing that “Holy Terror” is described below as “a graphic novel in which an original character known as The Fixer sets out to battle Al-Qaeda.” Meanwhile, “many believed the story depicted the religion of Islam, rather than the specific terrorist group of Al-Qaeda, as the book’s villain,” but no evidence is offered to substantiate that claim. Nor does Miller state this in his disavowal of his work. Maybe it’s true. I don’t know; I’ve never read “Holy Terror.” However, it is also true that it is routine for Islamic supremacist groups in the West to claim that opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women is opposition to Islam itself. They also routinely conflate criticism of Islam with hatred of Muslims, and numerous people fall for this, although they have no trouble whatsoever seeing the distinction between criticism of Christianity and hatred of Christians. If Frank Miller had written a comic book about fighting against Christian “right-wing extremists,” and some people accused him of attacking Christianity itself, would this convention had dropped him? Of course not. It would be celebrating him as a hero.

Frank Miller Removed From Thought Bubble Comic Convention Guest List After Being Accused Of Propagating ‘Abhorrent Anti-Muslim Hate

by Spencer Baculi, The Mix, July 29, 2021 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

Legendary comic book industry veteran Frank Miller, whose bibliography includes Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, and 300, has been removed from the guest list for the upcoming Though Bubble UK Comic Convention after a number of attendees threatened to boycott the event based on their belief that the creator “is responsible for propagation of abhorrent anti-Muslim hate”.

Miller was first announced as a guest for the North Yorkshire, England-based comic convention on June 2nd, with his name being emphasized to the same degree as fellow special guests Joëlle Jones (Wonder Girl) and Christian Ward (New Mutants) on a promotional poster for the event released that same day.

Though Miller’s initial invitation announcement seemed to come and go without any incident, on July 27th, award-winning cartoonist and small press publisher ShortBox founder Zainab Akhtar revealed that they would “no longer be attending Thought Bubble festival this November” in protest of Miller’s attendance.

In a statement announcing her protest of the convention, Akhtar asserted, “As a proud Muslim woman, I cannot in good conscience attend a festival that deems it appropriate to invite and platform Frank Miller, a person who is responsible for the propagation of abhorrent anti-Muslim hate, particularly via his work.”

“Anti-Muslim bigotry is repugnant and condemnable yet has become so deeply rooted, so widely accepted in society that it is not even given a cursory consideration, as evidenced once again in this situation,” Akhtar continued. “I cannot comprehend how time and time again, festivals and communities within comics espouse values regarding inclusivity, diversity, ‘comics being for everyone’, zero tolerance on hate, but all that lip-service evaporates when they are asked to enact those same values.”

In a follow-up tweet, Akhtar stated that though she had “first contacted Thought Bubble about this privately, 8 weeks ago” and had been “assured action would be taken”, Miller’s continued invitation made her feel as if “it’s been communicated to me that I am the acceptable loss: repercussions to my career/income over repercussions to theirs.”

Though Akhtar does not cite any specific instances of anti-Muslim bigotry from Miller, it is assumed that she is referring to his creation of Holy Terror, a graphic novel in which an original character known as The Fixer sets out to battle Al-Qaeda.

Originally developed for DC as a Batman story, Holy Terror would release to widespread criticism, as many believed the story depicted the religion of Islam, rather than the specific terrorist group of Al-Qaeda, as the book’s villain.

However, while Miller stood by his work upon its publication in 2006, he has since changed his opinion of the self-admitted “propaganda” story.

“When I look at Holy Terror, which I really don’t do all that often, I can really feel the anger ripple out of the pages. There are places where it is bloodthirsty beyond belief,” Miller told The Guardian’s Sam Thielman in 2018. “I don’t want to go back and start erasing books I did,” he replies. “I don’t want to wipe out chapters of my own biography. But I’m not capable of that book again.”

As Akhtar’s tweet soon sparked calls to boycott the entire convention amongst her supporters, Though Bubble ultimately announced on July 28th that “Frank Miller will not be attending Thought Bubble.”

“Over the last fourteen years Thought Bubble has grown into an amazing community of comic creators and fans who we love, trust and respect. We have let you down, and in our commitment to maintaining Thought Bubble as a safe space for all, we have fallen short,” read the convention organizer’s statement. “We exist to share the art form and its worlds with people. If any individual, group or community feels uncomfortable or excluded from our show then we’ve failed.”

“We know that many of you are disappointed in us, and have been expecting a comment on this before now,” they continued. “We are sorry for our silence while we’ve been trying to fix this. Frank Miller will not be attending Thought Bubble.”

Continuing their statement, the organizers further affirmed that they were “deeply sorry, particularly to those who we should be standing up for the most,” and hoped “that you can give us the opportunity to make this better and we thank you for holding us accountable.”

“We know there is still more to discuss and we will be replying to those who have been in touch, we hope you can bear with us while we do this,” the statement concluded. “We won’t let you down again.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Al-Qaeda calls for vehicular jihad attacks in U.S., calls truck ‘the ultimate mowing machine’

Qatar: Indian woman abused and tortured, ‘they told me I was a slave they had bought’

UK: Man converts to Islam, travels to the Islamic State, shares jihad beheading videos

Germany: Muslim migrant stabs man, then beheads him

Muslim migrant suspected of raping and murdering 13-year-old flees to London despite international arrest warrant

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Islamophobia and the Threat to Free Speech

My latest book, Islamophobia and the Threat to Free Speech, is available now from Center for Security Policy Press.


CLICK HERE TO ORDER ISLAMOPHBIA AND THE THREAT TO FREE SPEECH


It shows how the demonization of foes of jihad violence and Sharia oppression was a dry run for the Left’s attempt now to silence and criminalize all opposition to its agenda.

“Free speech, the cornerstone of our freedom, hangs by a thread. This book is an essential read to understand how we reached this point, and the key role ‘Islamophobia’ played in normalizing the assault on our most basic right to free expression. May it serve as a wake up call for us to exercise this right, and prevent Trojan Horse blasphemy laws of all types from superseding our freedoms before it is too late.” — Noor bin Ladin, writer and advocate dedicated to defending freedom and those threatened by the adherents of oppressive ideologies

“Robert Spencer provides a chilling account of the ongoing campaign against free speech. He reveals a sinister timeline of decades of deliberately dismantling the most important right we have. It requires much courage to disseminate that truth. As restrictions continue to gain ground in the free world, this book should inspire all to protect freedom of speech and to stand up to the policy of criminalizing words in order to silence us. And make it unequivocally clear that we will never be silenced.” — Geert Wilders

“The most important war that people face today is the global war to limit, and ultimately destroy, the freedom of speech, the indispensable foundation of any free society,” begins best-selling author Robert Spencer, noting the successful “cancellation” of the elected president of the United States by big tech social media companies.

How did we get to this point where presidents, college professors, business leaders, and of course regular citizens face silencing (and worse) at the hands of political zealots?

In Islamophobia and The Threat to Free Speech, Spencer argues that America, and the larger Western world was primed and prepared to surrender its free speech in a campaign that goes back more than three decades,

The unprecedented and disquieting acceptance by so many on the Left of the need to force their foes into silence and deny them access to the primary means of communication today did not spring up out of nowhere in 2020. In fact, the groundwork for it had been laid for it, and the pattern set, years before, in the treatment of opponents of jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women and others. Long before “cancel culture” became a common phrase, the Left and the establishment media canceled foes of jihad terror, defaming, demonizing, marginalizing, and deplatforming them without any rational consideration of the points they made.

Spencer takes the history of the war on free speech back to the 1989 death fatwa pronounced upon author Salman Rushdie by the Ayatollah Khomeini, and then takes us through how a once robust western tradition was steadily undermined by international pressure, jihadist violence, and U.S government and corporate influence. He traces the rise of the “new brownshirts” on college campuses who have used techniques of slander, disruption and threats to turn bastions of free expression into indoctrination centers.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Netherlands: Supreme Court upholds conviction of Geert Wilders for insulting Moroccans

‘This is the book, there is no oil in it’

Boston: Muslim Who Stabbed Rabbi Is ‘Violent’ and ‘Very Much Anti-Semitic’

Karzai: ‘NATO failed to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan’

France: Muslim student defends jihad massacre of Muhammad cartoonists, is suspended — but only from art class

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Twitter Bans Three More Dissenters

The social media platform has no problem boasting about interfering in elections for the Left—but a big problem with people objecting that it was done.


They’re going to silence us all, eventually, if they can. On Saturday, the sanctimonious and hypocritical censors of Twitter came for Gateway Pundit’s Jim Hoft, radio host Wayne Allyn Root, and freedom activist Pamela Geller. Their crime? It appears to have been the heinous act of skepticism toward the official line, specifically, their refusal to accept at face value the official line about the 2020 election.

Root said:

“I am in shock. It appears to be a permanent ban. Although I don’t know. Twitter never warned me. . . . And never sent any communication saying I’ve been suspended or banned. I simply tried to tweet yesterday afternoon and could not. But unlike a previous suspension . . . My followers suddenly said 0.”

What Twitter wrote to Geller made clear what was going on:

Your account, PamelaGeller has been suspended for violating the Twitter rules.

Specifically, for:

Violating our rules about election integrity. You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, or how to vote.

Note that if you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts. If you wish to appeal this suspension, please contact our support team.

Thanks,

Twitter

This is absurd from start to finish. Neither Pamela Geller nor Root nor Hoft did anything to “suppress voter turnout or mislead people about when, or how to vote.” Twitter apparently hasn’t even bothered to update its ban notice since before November 3. Nor did they do anything along the lines of “manipulating or interfering in elections.”

Still, there is no doubt that if Geller did take Twitter up on its magnanimous grant to her of a chance to appeal, the appeal would be denied. Twitter’s nameless, faceless wonks are judge, jury, and executioner, and no one can question their sagacity or righteousness of their decisions.

What Geller, Root, and Hoft did, of course, was simply report and highlight the many irregularities and unanswered questions surrounding the 2020 presidential election. Twitter, along with the other social media giants and the establishment media outlets, are labeling all questioning of the election as “lies” and are busy banning any suggestion that there was anything amiss about the election at all, without even bothering to explain all the issues. This is the way a guilty person who is trying to cover up his misdeeds acts, not the way a victor behaves when he knows he has won fair and square and is happy to set the record straight.

Meanwhile, these new bans came just two days after Time published an article titled, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election.” In it, Time’s Molly Ball boasted of

a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it.

Not rigging the election, but fortifying it. Right. And how exactly does one “fortify” an election? From the looks of Ball’s article, by rigging it.

Ball presents abundant indications of manipulation and chicanery in a fulsome self-congratulatory tone that works assiduously to turn reality on its head. A photo of Detroit campaign workers covering the windows so that no one could see what they were doing as they counted the votes—not exactly a hallmark of a free and fair election—is spun with the caption: “Trump supporters seek to disrupt the vote count at Detroit’s TCF Center on Nov. 4.”

Ian Bassin, cofounder of Protect Democracy, is quoted boasting that “the system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.” It has to be executed by someone else, and it looks as if Bassin and others like him were only too happy to serve as executioners.

Contrary to Bassin’s statement, our “democracy” (which, as you may know or should know, is—or was—actually a republic), is set up to be “self-executing,” that is, the process should not be more complicated than each candidate making his case before the voters, and the voters freely voting. Ball details how corporate interests silenced opposing views and manipulated laws to ensure their desired result, all while writing darkly about Trump and his “henchmen” attempting to steal the election and destroy our “democracy.”

Time and Molly Ball may not have intended it, but now the cat is out of the bag. So the next step of the political and media elites is to silence those who keep pointing out the abundant signs of voter fraud, claim that they’re “lying,” and that they have to be muzzled for the public good.

Hence the banning of Wayne Allyn Root, Jim Hoft, and Pamela Geller. But as of this writing, Molly Ball and Time still have their Twitter accounts. See, there is “manipulating or interfering in elections” and there is “manipulating or interfering in elections.” Twitter is fine with boasting about doing it for the Left. Twitter is not fine with people who oppose it pointing out that it was done.

It’s all reminiscent of an older charge that has been leveled against Pamela Geller: that of being an “Islamophobe.” When she would quote bloodthirsty Islamic jihadis justifying their actions by quoting the Koran, she—not the jihadis—was called an “Islamophobe.” Her words—not those of the Koran—were dismissed as “hate speech.”

It has all been a shell game from start to finish, and the game isn’t over. The Left has arrogated to itself the right to judge what can and cannot be said in the public square. The Hoft, Root, and Geller Twitter accounts are not the first casualties of their fascist suppression of dissent, and they won’t be the last. Freedom of speech? Pah! That is so 20th century. Don’t you want to join Molly Ball and Time in the brave new world, in which one saves democracy by destroying it? You may not ultimately have any choice, comrade.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Pompeo: Revoking Houthi terror designation is ‘gift to the Iranians,’ Houthis will ‘continue to foment terror’

California: Mother of San Bernardino jihad mass murderer gets home confinement and probation for destroying evidence

UK: Muslim bought sword, knife, body armor, rapped about murdering non-Muslims

UK: Illegal Muslim migrants housed in four-star hotel get free covid vaccines before British citizens

Palestinian Authority: Muslim with long record of terrorizing Christians tried to kill noted Christian physician

Ilhan Omar named Vice-Chair of House subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Biden Transition Official Believes the First Amendment Has a ‘Design Flaw’ — His Remedy Is to Curb Free Speech

Richard Stengel, according to the New York Post, “is the Biden transition ‘Team Lead’ for the US Agency for Global Media, the U.S. government media empire that includes Voice of America, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.” He is also a menace to our constitutional protections and to free society in general. If he is any indication of what is coming, we’re in for a rough four years, or longer.

Stengel wrote last year in a Washington Post op-ed that the freedom of speech must be restricted, for “all speech is not equal. And where truth cannot drive out lies, we must add new guardrails. I’m all for protecting ‘thought that we hate,’ but not speech that incites hate.”

What kind of speech “incites hate”? As far as Stengel is concerned, the answer is any speech that Muslims find offensive. He wrote: “Even the most sophisticated Arab diplomats that I dealt with did not understand why the First Amendment allows someone to burn a Koran. Why, they asked me, would you ever want to protect that?”

Well, maybe because a law forbidding criticism (including mockery) of any group establishes that group as a protected class that cannot be questioned, and that in turn would allow this group to do whatever it wanted without fear of any opposition even being allowed to articulate its case. The freedom of speech is, in sum, our foremost protection against tyranny. Without it, a tyrant can work his will without any fear of his opponents uttering even one cross word.

But instead of explaining and defending the freedom of speech, Stengel agreed with his “sophisticated Arab diplomats,” answering their query about Qur’an-burning with this: “It’s a fair question. Yes, the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another. In an age when everyone has a megaphone, that seems like a design flaw.”

Many other nations are fixing that “design flaw,” according to Stengel, and so the U.S. should also: “Since World War II, many nations have passed laws to curb the incitement of racial and religious hatred. These laws started out as protections against the kinds of anti-Semitic bigotry that gave rise to the Holocaust. We call them hate speech laws, but there’s no agreed-upon definition of what hate speech actually is. In general, hate speech is speech that attacks and insults people on the basis of race, religion, ethnic origin and sexual orientation.”

The destruction of the freedom of speech is an idea whose time has come, says Stengel. “I think it’s time to consider these statutes. The modern standard of dangerous speech comes from Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969) and holds that speech that directly incites ‘imminent lawless action’ or is likely to do so can be restricted. Domestic terrorists such as Dylann Roof and Omar Mateen and the El Paso shooter were consumers of hate speech. Speech doesn’t pull the trigger, but does anyone seriously doubt that such hateful speech creates a climate where such acts are more likely?”

Yes. I’m not in favor of the burning of any book, and I believe that people ought to read and understand the Qur’an rather than burn it. However, note that Stengel is calling for legal “guardrails” against “speech that incites hate.” If someone burns a Bible, no one cares. If someone burns a Qur’an, there are riots and death threats. So for Stengel, burning a Bible would not be “speech that incites hate,” but burning a Qur’an would be. Saying that “speech that incites hate” must be criminalized is tantamount to calling for the heckler’s veto to be enshrined in law.

Stengel’s statement that “the First Amendment protects the ‘thought that we hate,’ but it should not protect hateful speech that can cause violence by one group against another” means that if Muslims riot over burned Qur’ans, we must outlaw burning Qur’ans. That would only signal to Muslims that they can get us to bend to their will by threatening violence, and ensure that we will see many more such threats.

In Richard Stengel’s ideal world, non-Muslims are cowed into silence by Muslims who threaten to kill them if they get out of line, and by non-Muslim officials who react to the threats by giving the Muslims what they want.

Note also that Leftist and Islamic groups in the U.S. have for years insisted, with no pushback from any mainstream politician or media figure, that essentially any and all criticism of Islam, including analysis of how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, is “hate speech” and “speech that incites hate.” Thus Richard Stengel will silence that as well, and the global jihad will be able to advance unopposed and unimpeded.

In a year or two I might tell you “I warned you this was coming,” but by then I probably won’t be able to. 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Liberal Media Suggests Biden Should Take Aggressive Approach To Censoring Conservative Media

When Democrats Tell You They’re Going to Establish Truth and Reconciliation Commissions, Believe Them

H. R. McMaster’s Advice to Joe Biden

Muslim preacher says one who insults Muhammad ‘is to be put to the sword. We ask Allah to destroy these people.’

Iran’s Rouhani: ‘To insult a prophet is nothing more than an encouragement to violence and an immoral act’

Australia: Muslim gets 12 years for ‘imminent’ knife jihad attack, screams that hearing is ‘Islamophobic’

Germany: Muslim migrant admits he faked right-wing attack on himself, leftists demonstrate anyway

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Religious Liberty Coalition Director Reminds Us to ‘Stand Together’ to Protect Religious Rights

Pastor Todd Coconato’s acceptance of the role of Director for the Religious Liberty Coalition (RLC) comes at a time where discrimination against people of faith has intensified. We are proud to be affiliated with the RLC, which works to protect religious freedom at a public policy level and affirms that religious liberty is an “inherent human right.” As government officials and corporations continue to take actions that suppress the rights of pious individuals, a commitment to preserving religious principles has become increasingly more critical.

Lawmakers have been using the coronavirus to restrict the First Amendment right to worship. The state of California has been particularly egregious when it comes to subjecting churches to unfair rulings. The Grace Community Church in Los Angeles cannot hold indoor church services, and the San Francisco County Department of Health will not even allow outdoor worship services if more than 12 people are present.

State and local officials have decided worship attendance is too dangerous, but massive Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests can take place without any excessive restrictions, and bars can have people in them up to 50 percent capacity.

Unfortunately, these attempts to limit religious liberty are not new. Influential corporations like Amazon (1.29) and Apple (1.00) took a clear stance against traditional religious values when they signed an amicus brief that urged the Supreme Court to rule against Jack Philips –  a Christian baker who declined to make a cake for a gay wedding. The backlash Philips faced exposed how corporations often use their platform to enforce a left-wing agenda.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said Christians who disagree with his secular views are pushing “hate,” and they have “no home” on his company’s platform. Ironically, Cook has no problem doing business with the oppressive Iranian regime. Much like the officials limiting church services, behavioral standards are whatever Cook selectively determines them to be, and religious people happen to be an easy target.

We have to stand together to protect our religious liberties. If you or your church are interested in learning more about the Religious Liberty Coalition, please email Todd.Coconato@RLCUS.org

EDITORS NOTE: This 2nd Vote column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Donald J. Trump. Jr. on Twitter’s Dialectical Negation of Conservatives No Matter What They Say

Dialectical negation:

The dialectical movement involves two moments that negate each other, something and its other. As a result of the negation of the negation, “something becomes its other; this other is itself something; therefore it likewise becomes an other, and so on ad infinitum”.


Tucker Carlson speaks with Donald J. Trump, Jr. on Twitter’s dialectical negation of conservatives no matter what they say.

This video published by on the Vlad Tepes Blog is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Here Come the Speech Police

Recently, I ran across a piece in The Philadelphia Inquirer that lays out four racist words and phrases that should be banished from the English language. It begins like this:

“Editor’s note: Please be aware offensive terms are repeated here solely for the purpose of identifying and analyzing them honestly. These terms may upset some readers.”

Steel yourself, brave reader, here they are:

  • Peanut gallery.
  • Eenie meenie miney moe.
  • Gyp.
  • No can do.

The same grammarian who authored the piece had previously confronted the “deeply racist connotation” of the word “thug,” noting that President Donald Trump “wasn’t the least bit bashful” when calling Minneapolis rioters “thugs” in a tweet, despite the word’s obvious bigoted history.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


In 2015, President Barack Obama referred to Baltimore rioters as “thugs” as well. He likely did so because “thug”—defined as a “violent person, especially a criminal”—is a good way to describe rioters.

It’s true that not everyone in a riot engages in wanton violent criminality. Some participants are merely “looters”—defined as “people who steal goods during a riot.” That word is also allegedly imbued with racist conations, according to the executive editor of the Los Angeles Times and others.

Attempting to dictate what words we use is another way to exert power over how we think.

Few people, rightly, would have a problem with referring to the Charlottesville Nazis as “thugs.” Only the “protester” who tears down a Ulysses S. Grant statue or participates in an Antifa riot is spared the indignity of being properly defined.

The recent assaults on the English language have consisted largely of euphemisms and pseudoscientific gibberish meant to obscure objective truths—“cisgender,” “heteronormativity” and so on. Now, we’re at the stage of the revolution where completely inoffensive and serviceable words are branded problematic.

CNN, for instance, recently pulled together its own list of words and phrases with racist connotations that have helped bolster systemic racism in America.

Unsuspecting citizens, the piece explains, may not even be aware they are engaging in this linguistic bigotry, because most words are “so entrenched that Americans don’t think twice about using them. But some of these terms are directly rooted in the nation’s history with chattel slavery. Others now evoke racist notions about Black people.”

CNN tells us the term “peanut gallery”—as in “please, no comment from the peanut gallery”—is racist because it harkens back to the days when poor and black Americans were relegated to back sections of theaters.

Now, I hate to be pedantic, but “peanut gallery” isn’t “directly rooted” in the nation’s history of “chattel slavery.” As CNN’s own double-bylined story points out, the cliche wasn’t used until after the Civil War. For that matter, few of the words and phrases that CNN alleges are problematic are rooted, even in the most tenuous sense, in the transatlantic slave trade.

Not even the word “slavery,” which is a concept as old as humankind, is in any way uniquely American. Yet, last week, Twitter announced that it was dropping “master” and “slave” from its coding, to create a “more inclusive programming language.”

Only in this stifling intellectual environment is striking commonly used words considered “inclusive.” Other tech companies are now “confronting” their use of these innocuous words to atone for their imaginary crimes.

We should feel no guilt using the word “master.” Her performance was masterful. She mastered her instrument. The score was a masterpiece. The composer was a mastermind.

Even CNN concedes that “while it’s unclear whether the term is rooted in American slavery on plantations, it evokes that history.”

It’s not unclear, at all. The etymology of the word “master” is from the Old English and rooted in the Latin “magister,” which means “chief, director, teacher, or boss.” “Master’s” degrees were first given to university teachers in the 14th century in Europe.

Until a few months ago, the “master bedroom” evoked visions of the larger bedrooms, and the Masters Tournament evoked images of golfing legends like Tiger Woods, winner of four titles.

Simply because the Nazis used the word “master” in their pseudoscientific racial theories—not in the 1840s, but in 1940s—doesn’t mean I am offended by the postmaster general. We’re grown-ups here, and we can comprehend context.

Or we used to be.

Honestly, I’m disappointed that CNN missed the commonly used “blackmail” —a word that appears in 439 stories on its website. The phrase was first used to describe protection money extracted by mid-16th-century Scottish chieftains. Maybe it’s the Scots who should be offended.

In and of itself, depriving Americans of “eenie meenie miney moe”—a phrase with an opaque and complicated history—isn’t going to hurt anyone. Allowing ideological grievance-mongers to decide what words we’re allowed to use, on the other hand … well, no can do.

“If thoughts can corrupt language, language can also corrupt thoughts,” George Orwell famously wrote. Every time some new correct-speak emerges, CNN and all the media will participate in browbeating us into subservience.

Progressive pundits will laugh off concerns about the Orwellian slippery slope. If we allow the seemingly innocuous attempts to control words and thoughts go uncontested, more-nefarious control will be a lot easier in the future.

COMMENTARY BY

David Harsanyi is a senior writer at National Review and the author of “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: 1619 Project Stokes Racial Division, but Offers No Real Solutions


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

Leftists Are Using Race to Push an Anti-American Agenda

Our country is under attack from radical leftists. Mobs rampage through our streets, monuments are being destroyed, and the very law and order that ensures our communities’ peace and security is being undermined.

In far too many instances, those bent on destruction have hijacked protests, creating violence and division, and ultimately attacking the very foundation of our nation. For them, it’s not about resolving race issues; it’s about using racial discontent to forward their anarchist agenda.

One such group is Antifa. While it is widely recognized as a far-left fringe group, another organization—just as radical—has managed to drape itself in more mainstream clothes, gaining significant support with the public, politicians, and the business community.

While Americans of every color agree with the sentiment that black lives matter, Black Lives Matter the organization actually advocates an agenda that is completely out of step with American values.

In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>

One look at the Black Lives Matter organization’s website shows that the idea of protecting black lives and seeking justice is merely a vehicle to advance a different, radical set of ideas. The organization is more dedicated to gaining political power and remaking America according to Marxist ideology. Two of the group’s three co-founders are even “trained Marxists,” according to one of them.

And it shows. The group’s platform includes planks unrelated to improving black lives, like trying to get the U.S. to divest from Israel, which it calls an “apartheid state” while accusing Jews of committing genocide against Palestinians.

The organization also has called for dismantling the family, saying, “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”

The breakdown of the black family and the rise of single-parent households is one of the root causes of poverty, crime, drug abuse, and poor educational achievement in many black communities. Why would anyone who’s supposedly working for black progress want to tear down the very thing that helps to achieve it?

Just as disturbing is the fact that some of America’s biggest corporations are giving hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars to this organization and others whose misleading names conceal a more expansive and dangerous agenda.

Groups such as Antifa and the Black Lives Matter organization want to impose an ideology on America that would only bring greater poverty, a loss of freedom, destruction to churches and civil society, and violent law enforcement tactics to enforce compliance—exactly what we’ve seen in places such as Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea.

In fact, we’ve already seen a vision of what their America would look like.

We’ve seen videos of leftist protesters physically and verbally attacking police officers.

We’ve seen an entire neighborhood turned into a violent “autonomous zone” with spineless politicians telling the police to stand down and let anarchists rule over innocent residents.

We’ve seen violent mobs defacing and toppling statues of historical figures such as soldiers and abolitionists. Some are even calling for the removal of images of Jesus in which he is perceived as “too white.”

We must stop the violence and destruction and bring those committing criminal acts to justice while protecting the rights of good people to protest peacefully.

We must support our police officers who risk their lives every day to protect us no matter our color, religion, sex, or nationality—while also making needed reforms to weed out bad cops and end unacceptable policing procedures.

Calls to defund the police are calls for chaos, and calls to disarm them are lunacy. We’ve seen what happens in Seattle, Minneapolis, and other cities when criminals are allowed free rein.

Finally, we must combat the Marxist agenda. This agenda has wrought destruction on nations for generations. It expands government control and takes every opportunity to limit freedom—and it must not take root in the United States.

The most desperate communities in America have been run by the left for a generation or more. We’ve seen what that leadership has brought: generational poverty, fatherless families, worse educational outcomes, more disparity, and higher crime rates. Lurching even further left would be even more disastrous.

Instead, we must implement policies to ensure America’s promise of liberty and opportunity is a promise for all Americans. Conservatives always have had the policies that can help solve many of the difficult issues that Americans face.

We know how to create jobs, end poverty, provide better access to health care, improve education, and strengthen families better than anyone. And our fundamental belief in the inherent dignity of every human being can help bring about the healing our nation so desperately needs.

America is a land of promise, and conservative policies can make those promises ring true for all Americans. It is time for conservatives to take a message of hope to every American to end the racial strife and build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish for all.

Originally published by Fox News

COMMENTARY BY

Kay C. James is president of The Heritage Foundation. James formerly served as director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and as Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources. She is also the founder and president of The Gloucester Institute. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

Watch: Black Conservatives Laugh as They Stumble Upon BLM Protest Missing 1 Important Thing

Gingrich Calls on Conservatives to Focus on ‘Black Success,’ Not ‘White Guilt’

Problematic Women: Sen. Martha McSally, Air Force’s First Female Combat Pilot, on ‘Doing Things Afraid’

Don’t Allow a Vocal Fringe Minority to Cut Our Much-Needed Defense Investments

4 Points to Understand the COVID-19 Surge in Texas


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

VIDEO: YouTube Won’t Let a Medical Doctor Say This Sentence . . .

“See, if you want to cut off a leg or an arm, you’re mentally ill, but if you want to cut off healthy breasts or a penis, you’re transgender.”

Those are the words of Dr. Michelle Cretella, a pediatrician with many years’ experience and the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, in a Daily Signal video published in 2017.

It’s a sentence YouTube will not allow the doctor to say about children and gender identity issues.

The Daily Signal recently learned that our video of Cretella had been removed from YouTube. In its place, YouTube displayed this message: “This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on hate speech.”


The demand for socialism is on the rise from young Americans today. But is socialism even morally sound? Find out more now >>


Over the past few months, The Daily Signal worked with YouTube to try to reach a resolution. Ultimately, we were told the only way we could get the video back on YouTube was to delete the previously mentioned sentence.

In other words, we had two choices: censor the doctor’s words or have no video on the world’s biggest video platform.

This should horrify every YouTube user—and anyone who values the importance of a public square featuring a variety of perspectives.

Cretella’s words are no doubt controversial. She is no stranger to criticism, and neither is The Daily Signal. We welcome debate.

But we don’t want to be censored.

We agree with the spirit behind YouTube’s hate speech policy, which states, “Hate speech is not allowed on YouTube. We remove content promoting violence or hatred against individuals or groups based on any of the following attributes” including “Gender Identity and Expression” and “Sex/Gender.” We believe transgender individuals, and any individual struggling with gender identity issues, should be treated with love and respect.

But we also believe that on a topic where medical treatments have such serious ramifications, from infertility to permanent alteration of body parts, it is worth having a robust, fact-driven discussion.

Cretella is a doctor. She is making a point in that sentence that may not be popular but remains true: There is no society-wide push right now to allow patients suffering from Body Integrity Identity Disorder to amputate limbs.

Furthermore, just this May—18 months since Cretella’s video was published—the World Health Organization removed transgenderism from its list of “mental disorders,” moving it to a section about sexual health.

But as of July, Cretella’s sentence—which did not even state transgenderism was a result of mental illness, but simply pointed out that our culture sees amputation of body parts differently depending on the body parts in question—is apparently so outrageous YouTube can’t fathom allowing it on its platform.

That is unbelievable.

We are especially disappointed with YouTube’s decision because other social media platforms have allowed the video on their platforms. In fact, the video has more than 70 million views on Facebook. It might have even more if Facebook hadn’t temporarily removed it in July 2018. After our appeal to Facebook, it was quickly restored and remains on The Daily Signal’s page today.

Here at The Daily Signal, the multimedia news arm of The Heritage Foundation, we believe that private companies, including YouTube, should be allowed to set and enforce their own rules.

But we also believe consumers have a right to protest. And if you are upset that YouTube—the biggest video platform in the world—is refusing to let a doctor speak without censorship on gender identity and children, please reach out to YouTube and its parent company, Google.

Tweet at them: @YouTube and @google. Leave a message on Google’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Google/) or YouTube’s (https://www.facebook.com/youtube/).

Make it clear that while we may often be silent, many, many people want to have a free debate on controversial topics.

Join us in calling on YouTube to reverse this decision and allow this doctor to speak her mind freely on this vital issue.

This is not about how you think children experiencing gender identity issues should be treated, but whether you think there should be an open conversation on this topic, so that parents can make informed decisions about what’s best for their child.

Censoring a medical doctor doesn’t put YouTube on the right side of history. It just shows that it’s a big tech company prioritizing the preferences of the activist left over free speech for all.

This article has been corrected to reflect that Cretella is the executive director of the American College of Pediatricians.

COMMENTARY BY

Katrina Trinko is editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal PodcastSend an email to Katrina. Twitter:

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Students Who Fight for Free Speech, and Win

The Absurdity of Thinking Disparities Prove Discrimination


A Note for our Readers:

With the demand for socialism at an all-time high among our young people—our future leaders and decisionmakers—the experts at Heritage stopped and asked a question that not many have asked:

Is socialism really morally sound?

The researchers at The Heritage Foundation have put together a guide to help you and our fellow Americans better understand the 9 Ways That Socialism Will Morally Bankrupt America.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET YOUR FREE COPY NOW! >>


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal video with commentary is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

Judicial Secularists Attack Religious Freedom

On June 7, the U.S. District Court of the Middle District of Florida dealt the latest blow to religious freedom in our country.

The case arose from a request by Cambridge Christian High School, which had earned the opportunity to compete in the 2A division playoffs finals, to use the stadium’s public announcement system in prayer prior to the beginning of the game. The team’s opponent was another Christian school equally devoted to serving God and to conducting itself in His image with every activity it undertakes.

Citing issues of potential coercion and fearing that such prayer might be offensive to others, Dr. Roger Dearing, the executive director of the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA), declined the request.

Of course, in so doing, Dr. Dearing dismissed the fact that the same FHSAA had approved such a request in 2012. He also dismissed the national tradition of engaging in prayer prior to the start of a football game. And most astoundingly he ignored that both teams, meaning all parties involved, wished to engage in a unified prayer as one community under Christ.

Following the denial, Cambridge Christian brought the case to the judiciary for consideration. After all, they weren’t asking for the announcer to lead everyone in prayer. They weren’t asking for the FHSAA to buy new equipment. They weren’t even asking for the game to be delayed for one moment because, in point of fact, the two teams were going to pray on the field and in front of the fans anyway.

No. The only question they were asking was, “Hey, man, can I borrow your microphone?”

Court predictably quashed religious freedom

But almost predictably, the court ruled against religious freedom citing issues of perceived endorsement of religion by government and of the infringement praying might have on the rights of others (yes, this is not a misprint).

Every time I learn of a case like this, I am baffled at the extent to which the state squashes the public’s ability to pray in an open forum merely because of government’s presence. This catastrophic road upon which the Supreme Court of the United States has placed us suppresses our right to worship and to pay reverence to God — in direct violation of the original intent First Amendment.  It ignores the spiritual aspects of human existence, and most importantly, casts aside the foundational roles of religion and religious worship in our nation’s birth.

Repeatedly, I am told that the reason for following this road is the wall of separation between church and state espoused by Thomas Jefferson in his letter written on the first day of 1802 to the members of the Danbury Baptist Church.

But there is so much that runs counter to this assertion.

First, President Jefferson’s comment was completely extrajudicial in nature.

Second, the concept of a wall of separation between church and state has been tainted by the agenda-driven nature of the Supreme Court’s 20th-century opinions. Following the 19th-century Court’s introduction of Jefferson’s wall into the legal corpus, the first two 20th-century cases invoking it did so in an effort to keep the government from interfering with state-based, religious-supporting programs.

But in 1947, the Court changed direction to one that would inhibit, rather than support, religious worship. With its McCollum decision, the court prohibited Bible verses from being recited in public schools, and later, it struck down prayer in schools as well as the observance of even a bland and neutral moment of silence.

The subsequent deterioration in the nation’s moral posture and the breakdown in the family as a central societal unit are the predictable consequences of these actions.

An alternative route ensuring freedoms

But lost in these recitations is the overt bias the Court displayed in selecting Jefferson’s wall of separation in its interpretation of the First Amendment.

Let’s consider a few similarly applicable observations made by some of the nation’s foundational greats in equally extrajudicial fashion.  George Mason, in writing the Virginia Bill of Rights, wrote, “all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and. . . it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.” His proposed amendment was subsequently approved by the Virginia legislature, the same legislature Madison and Jefferson inhabited — a far greater weight of influence than one man’s personal letter.

Based on Mason’s language, would it not have been more appropriate for a 20th century court to hold that in interpreting the First Amendment we should recognize that our nation was created with the purpose of guaranteeing that all men be able to engage in Christian forbearance? If so, wouldn’t using a public microphone for spontaneously requested prayer be not only allowed, but encouraged?

Or how about using John Marshall, the most prolific justice in the history of the Supreme Court? When asked about the nexus of Christianity and the nation’s government, he wrote in a letter, just like Jefferson did, that, “The American population. . . is entirely Christian, and with us, Christianity and religion are identified. It would be strange indeed, if with such a people, our institution did not presuppose Christianity.”

Consequently, wouldn’t a more appropriate truism for the Supreme Court to follow in its interpretation of the First Amendment be that the United States of America, through its foundation and its culture, presupposes Christianity?

Or consider the observation made by Justice Joseph Story, one of the early members of the Supreme Court, who extra-judicially wrote, “My own private judgment has long been (and every day’s experience more and more confirms me in it) that government cannot long exist without an alliance with religion to some extent; and that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests and solid foundations of free government.”

From this, wouldn’t a more appropriate guide for the interpretation of the First Amendment be that Christianity is indispensable to the true interests, foundations, and existence of these United States of America?

Back the need for a legislative override

If any of these guides had been adopted instead of, or perhaps in addition to, Jefferson’s wall of separation, imagine how different American jurisprudence would be as it relates to religious liberty and our freedom to worship! Sharia law would be an impossible legal threat, and the concepts of love for one’s neighbor and respect for the dignity of man would be freely taught in our schools under the direct supervision of the community’s parents.

From this analysis a few conclusions may be reached.

First, there is no inherent reason for Jefferson’s wall of separation, at least as the courts apply it today, to be the only compass in interpreting the First Amendment of the Constitution. So long as all religious views are respected, the government can peacefully cohabitate with worshipers be they Christian, Jewish, or any peace-loving faith.

Second, neither the people of this great nation nor its elected representatives selected the road our nation has traversed regarding religious liberty. Instead, it was embraced by an oligarchy of legalists unaccountable to the will of the people.

Consequently, if it is true that the Courts have interpreted the Constitution in a manner inconsistent with the will of the people, then isn’t it up to We The People, as the true purveyors of the Constitution, to override an opinion of such a Court and reverse an ill-conceived opinion? We know, through their writings, that at least Jefferson and Madison would think so.

Truly, the road we are following regarding our religious freedom is nothing short of harrowing. It has diminished our sense of morality and has curtailed our abilities to teach our children that there are things bigger than themselves.

It is time for our country to navigate back to the road built upon Christian forbearance; the same road that would lead us to the shining city on the hill.

RELATED ARTICLE: 2 Cases Threaten to Shut Down Public Prayer. Why the Supreme Court May Need to Act.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

The Left’s Assault on Civil Discourse

The left often supports anti-western radicalism the way their predecessors supported Communist dictatorships.

left anarchistsDonald Trump’s presidency has exposed deep divisions in American society which are being exploited by zealots seeking to suppress speech and quell dissent.  In aping European-style social democracies that are imploding under the weight of unsustainable economic programs and collectivist mediocrity, foot soldiers of the left are hawking an agenda that leaves no room for debate.  They claim diversity as a virtue but reject diversity of opinion, and seek to impose oppressive homogeneity on popular culture through stultifying political correctness.  They also display contempt for western values – often expressed as knee-jerk affinity for anti-western radicalism – in much the same way their intellectual forebears shilled for Communist dictatorships during the last century.

It seems useful idiocy never goes out of style.

It’s not opposition to Trump that’s the problem.  Indeed, American citizens are free to support or oppose him as they will.  Rather, it’s the demonization of all who disagree with the progressive establishment and mainstream media – and the absence of civility in political discourse.  Conservatives may have disagreed with Barack Obama’s policies, but they never took to the streets in violent protest or delegitimized the institutions of government.  And they never took direction from a partisan press or academic elites who use the classroom to indoctrinate, intimidate, and stifle originality.

The left has a penchant for labeling opponents as fascists, but seems itself possessed of the worst totalitarian impulses.  Progressive intolerance for dissent has evolved pursuant to a dictatorial philosophy which demands that individualism yield to the collective will and seeks to enforce ideological conformity through suppression and shaming.  Though progressives claim to champion the freedoms guaranteed by the US Constitution, their attempts to squelch opposing viewpoints are antithetical to the ideals for which it stands.

Regulation of speech often starts surreptitiously with seemingly principled initiatives like hate-crime legislation.  Such efforts may be well-intended, but they open the door to censorship while doing little to reduce crime and lawlessness.  There is no inherent logic, for example, in viewing homicide instigated by bigotry as somehow worse than that motivated by personal animus, hatred, or greed.  Murder is socially abhorrent regardless of impetus.  When statutes base gradation of offense on the presence of hateful intent, however, it becomes unclear whether their goal is to curb objective conduct or control abstract thought.  Or whether the definition of hateful intent could be manipulated by partisan hacks to criminalize speech with which they disagree.  The interdiction of even odious language can pave the way for repression of political speech and the free exchange of ideas.

Those who don’t believe government would ever seek to curtail speech should consider the constraints imposed by the Federal Communications Commission, whose regulatory enforcements have often been criticized as discretionary and capricious.  Or the now defunct “Fairness Doctrine,” which required media networks to run opposing viewpoints to counterbalance their own editorial opinions (particularly conservative ones), and effectively constituted regulation of content.

Though hate-crime statutes are at least subject to legislative debate and judicial review, street censorship through progressive intimidation, disapprobation, and bullying is not.  The latter is far more insidious because there is no oversight for political correctness, which elevates favored interests over groups and ideas that progressive society deems unworthy of protection or respect.

Rejecting the sacred cows of liberalism invites slander and abuse.  Those who criticize Black Lives Matter, defend the State of Israel, or question the revisionist Palestinian narrative, for example, are condemned as racists and bigots by a left-of-center establishment that increasingly excuses – and often endorses – intellectual and physical thuggery.  Moreover, mainstream liberals are often reluctant to condemn a leftist flank that rationalizes progressive anti-Semitism as political expression, defends Islamism as the voice of indigeneity, sanctions violence against police as legitimate protest, and denies the right to express opposing views.  The recent violent protests on American college campuses highlight the dangers of progressive indulgence and suggest the fascist threat comes from the left, not the right.

When students rioted at the University of California Berkeley and Middlebury College to protest appearances by conservative speakers, they engaged in vandalism, caused property damage, threatened or perpetrated physical assaults, and generally behaved like Nazi Brownshirts.  Rather than being condemned for anarchic excess, they have been defended by many as exemplifying the spirit of American protest – just as they are lauded for engaging in political anti-Semitism, including Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (“BDS”) and Israel Apartheid Week activities.  But what they really represent is a tyrannical millenarianism bent on eradicating individuality and original thought in favor of collectivist similitude.  Their mob mentality does not evoke visions of the Founding Fathers as media advocates and Democratic operatives claim, but rather the “Reign of Terror” unleashed by Robespierre and the Jacobins in eighteenth century France.

The words of Robespierre in 1794 have an eerie relevance today.  In his “Report on the Principles of Political Morality,” he extolled the use of political terror thus:

“If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.”

Though it is doubtful many of today’s college demonstrators have bothered to study the French Revolution (having eschewed western studies as culturally insensitive), their Jacobin-style intimidation and persecution of dissenters cannot be ignored.  They haven’t brought back Robespierre’s guillotine; but their terror tactics should be recognized as representing the same twisted character.

In the political arena, this malevolent spirit has fostered legislative obstructionism for its own sake, with the left seizing control of the Democratic Party and discouraging conciliation and compromise.  The goal of many Congressional Democrats is not to seek common ground, but to impede and disparage the Republican majority; and if their intent is to emulate the turmoil and fecklessness of European social politics, they have succeeded all too well.  Obstructionism has become a political end, not a means, and progressive extremism has made for some very strange bedfellows, as illustrated by the “red-green” alliance between Islamists and the left.

Whereas progressives tend to disparage religion, they are protective of Islam and accepting of its radical manifestations based on the twin premises that (a) Muslims are a persecuted class with legitimate grievances against the West, and (b) Islam is an indigenous voice wherever it exists.  This obtuse viewpoint ignores that the global Muslim population numbers more than a billion (hardly a minority) and that the Islamic world has a long history of religious war against non-Muslims – including Europeans, who were targeted for jihad starting in the eighth century.  However, the real reason the left embraces Islamism is a shared hatred of western culture, though this hatred springs from distinct, irreconcilable ideologies.  How else to explain progressive support for proposed anti-blasphemy laws seeking to criminalize criticism of Islam?

Indeed, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010 voiced support for the UN’s “Defamation of Religions Resolution,” which would have undermined free speech where discussion of Islam was concerned.  Few if any liberal civil rights organizations, moreover, seemed perturbed by the prospect of an international mandate overriding our Constitutional liberties.  The willingness to subjugate their own interests to Islamist sensibilities illustrates the ignorance of secular progressives, who excuse Islamic radicalism while condemning any perceived intrusion by other religions on secular society.

The religious left goes even further by making radical chic and opposition to Israel doctrinal virtues, as evidenced by the extreme policies endorsed by some mainline Christian denominations.  Many Presbyterians, Methodists, and Unitarian Universalists, for example, engage in anti-Israel activism (including BDS) and support the Kairos Palestine Ecumenical Declaration, which delegitimizes the Jewish State.  While political anti-Semitism is a natural extension of repugnant replacement theology, it is also consistent with the embrace of progressive “social justice” as a faux religious creed.

Not surprisingly, the religious left has made opposing Trump an article of faith, though he has supported faith-based initiatives over the years.  And Jewish progressives have attempted to label him anti-Semitic despite his respectful treatment of Israel and historical support for Jewish institutions.  If liberals are now so concerned about Jew hatred, why were they silent when more than seven-thousand acts of anti-Semitism were being committed during Obama’s administration (much of it by progressives and Islamists) without clear condemnation from the president?  Where was their outrage when Obama used implied stereotypes to demean opponents of his Iran deal, or when his proxies invoked anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to portray its critics as a chauvinistic minority with divided loyalties?

The liberal silence was deafening – and deeply disturbing.

Though reality seems inconvenient for leftists whose partisan goals include historical revisionism and legislative obstruction, they nevertheless have every right to criticize Trump, his policies, and his gaffes.  However, their denunciations of him as inherently evil are getting tiresome, and their efforts to project their own intolerance onto him are hypocritical and perhaps pathological.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Intimidation Game

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in Israel National News.

VIDEO: On the War against the First Amendment

The ground we’ve lost during the Obama years — and the dangerous consequences for national security. I’ve posted this video before, but here is a transcript as well.

Below are the video and transcript to Robert Spencer’s speech at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 10th-13th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida.

Robert Spencer: Thank you very much.  It’s great to be here on this occasion.  I’m here year after year and this is certainly the happiest Restoration Weekend I’ve been to and very happy to say we won’t have Chick Nixon to kick around anymore.  Come on.  The fact is that Hillary Clinton’s defeat is a very, very serious victory not only for the Second Amendment, but for the First and this is something that has been insufficiently appreciated in all the commentary before the election and after.  Donald Trump, of course, he went after her many times saying Hillary Clinton is against the Second Amendment, she’s going to stop the sale of lawful weaponry in every way she possibly can, but he never spoke about the threat that she posed to the First Amendment and that is an ongoing threat and a still existing threat and it’s very important to bear that in mind because even though she was defeated, this threat has not gone away.  The left is in a full court press and a year’s long effort to destroy the First Amendment and essentially to criminalize any point of view that is not their own and this is a struggle that they are going to continue.  Now, there are many, many facets of this.  One is, of course, the most notable one I should say, is the organization of Islamic cooperation, which is 57 Islamic governments around the world, 56 states and the Palestinian Authority, the largest voting block at the United Nations, and they of course for years now since the publication of the Danish Cartoons of Mohammed in 2006 they have been working to restrict the freedom of speech and to compel Western states to restrict the freedom of speech at the UN.

I know a lot of you are familiar with that effort and that they have, under the guise of what they call “incitement to religious hatred,” been trying to compel Western governments to criminalize essentially criticism of Islam.  Obviously, when you talk about incitement through religious hatred, any kind of incitement, unless it’s absolutely direct and explicit, is a subjective judgment in the first place.  Secondly, nobody cares when people put crucifixes in jars of urine or mock Israel and Judaism.  Nobody cares about those things.  They only care about religious hatred in an Islamic context, and the most insidious aspect of this endeavor, this initiative, is of course that any honest discussion of how Islamic Jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence is classified explicitly by the OIC as incitement to religious hatred.  So, what they want to do is criminalize any discussion of the motivating ideology behind Jihad terrorism and the goal of that, of course, is to enable Jihad terrorists to advance unopposed and unimpeded.

Now, this has been going on for years.  It’s been going on since the Bush Administration and the Bush Administration at the UN vetoed these initiatives every year, but then of course came Barack Hussein Obama and twice the United States signed on to these initiatives and actually cosponsored one with Egypt in 2009 and even more notoriously signed on to Resolution 1618 of the UN Human Rights Council, which once again called upon UN member states to criminalize incitement to religious hatred and then had a little asterisk going to a footnote explaining that yes, the UN understood that there were certain countries that had protection for the freedom of speech and they would have to devise other ways to implement this initiative that would not collide with their laws.  Now that was the most insidious aspect of the whole thing and Hillary Clinton explained what it was all about not long after that in a speech in Istanbul to the OIC. And she said, and I know many of you have heard this quote, many of you are very well aware of what she said in this, but I think that not many of you are aware of exactly how this initiative is proceeding.  What she said of course was that we value the freedom of expression, which she doesn’t, but she said that she did and that in light of protecting the freedom of expression as well as protecting religious sensibilities, in order to compel people not to do what we don’t want them to do, we have to resort to, she said, old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming. Remember when she said that?  This is exactly how the Western media has proceeded in order, essentially, not to criminalize, but to rule out of the realm of acceptable discourse any honest discussion of these issues.

What happened to Oleg in his presentation just now is actually a case in point.  He’s not facing a felony charge for using the wrong kind of glue.  C’mon, we weren’t born yesterday.  We know that if he had been putting up posters for the Palestinians there would have been no problem at George Mason University, but because he was putting up pro-Israel posters from the David Horowitz Freedom Center suddenly all these rules about glue kick in and he goes to jail.  Now, peer pressure and shaming is essentially a strategy that makes it impossible for us to discuss these matters because of exactly that kind of bias and favoritism.  Only one point of view is acceptable and any other point of view is something that we’re going to be shamed out of.  You can just think about how many times Trump supporters were mocked, ridiculed.

I read a piece by Paul Berman from December 2015.  I re-read it a few months ago.  I recommend that you find it and read it.  It was in Tablet Magazine and he explains how Trump gives his poorly educated, redneck racist supporters permission to hate.  Now what is that but peer pressure and shaming?  People read that in Tablet and they think, “Oh, well, I don’t want to be one of those.  I don’t want to have permission to hate.  I don’t want to be a racist redneck yahoo,” and so they’re shamed out of it. The objective, the goal is — I would hope that nobody was foolish enough to read that and think, “Oh, I better not support Donald Trump” — but the goal of it was to shame his supporters out of it and this is something that goes on. It manifests itself in all kinds of forms.  Of course, the primary vehicles for this peer pressure and shaming is the whole concept of hate speech.  Now, hate speech is really pretty straightforward.  If somebody is speaking hatefully and saying that you’re a terrible person, you ought to be killed, you ought to be beaten up, that’s pretty hateful, but hate speech as a concept, hate speech as something that ought to be a consideration in determining who gets a platform and who doesn’t is an entirely spurious fiction, an invention of the left in order to silence those with whom it disagrees in order to silence us.  That’s what hate speech is all about.

I was speaking a couple years ago at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo, wonderful little town, and very nice crowd and some very good questions during the presentation.  At one point I said that there was actually restriction on the freedom of speech on the Cal Poly campus and people said, “What? What are you talking about you racist, bigoted Islamophobe That’s not true,” and I said, “Well, take me as a case in point.  I’ve written all these books.  I’ve written a biography of Mohammed.  I’ve written a guide to the Quran.  Several studies of Jihad from various angles.  I guarantee you,” I said to the students, “that the point of view that I represent is not discussed in your classes on Middle East studies or Islam and if it is it is only discussed in order to be dismissed if not reviled outright,” and a young lady said, “Oh no, you’re wrong.  We did discuss your books.  We did discuss your work in a class that I just took.” And I said “Oh that’s very interesting.  What was your conclusion?” And she said, “Hate speech is not free speech.” That was the first time I heard that. Have you ever heard that?  Hate speech is not free speech.  This is an increasingly common slogan that is going to be used and is being used right now to shut us down.  What the young lady at Cal Poly was saying was that she had supposedly read my work and decided that it was hate speech and that hate speech in and of itself does not enjoy the protection that the freedom of speech ought to be given, that hate speech is not speech that we ought to respect even to the extent of saying I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.  And so I said, “Okay, that’s very interesting.”

I asked the young lady this following question.  Then who gets to decide because I don’t think what I’m doing is hate speech, unless the Quran is and I quote it, but you think it’s hate speech.  Now, which one of us has the right to determine what’s hate speech? What governing authority, to whom should be entrusted this governing authority so that we know what hate speech is and rule it out of free speech protection? And she said, “Well, the relevant governing authority. That’s not important for this discussion. That would be something that would be determined by Congress and the president.” And I asked her, “You really want to give them that kind of power?  Do you realize that to give anybody the right to determine what hate speech is and silence it on that basis is a tool of the powerful to silence the powerless and the tool of the tyrants to silence their critics?” And she said, “That’s just a Hobbesian argument against the powerful.” And I thought, “Oh, now I’m stretched because I had to remember okay who’s Hobbes and what does she mean by that?” I haven’t been to college in 30 years, but of course she meant Thomas Hobbes, who wrote Leviathan. I had to look it up and Leviathan is a political treaties from the 17th century that posits that the only thing that can save us, because we’re all sort of brutal and violent and selfish and vicious, the only thing that can save us from an all-out war of all against all is a strong government that keeps everybody in line. And there are some countries you can say that’s true about, but what she was saying was that I was manifesting an alarming lack of trust and that really I ought to just relax and let the relevant authorities determine what is hate speech and quietly go to jail with Oleg.

But the thing is, of course, that she only thinks that because her position is the dominant one that’s in power.  The problem that she manifests however, the problem of which she is an example, is the fact that there’s a whole generation of young people who are growing up with the idea that there is a concept of hate speech and that we are it and that we are way beyond the pale and ultimately to be criminalized and this is happening.  As a matter of fact, no less a constitutional authority that Chris Cuomo articulated this last year when we dared to try to stand up for the freedom of speech in Garland, Texas and, of course, in January 2015, 13 people who had dared to draw Mohammed were murdered by Islamic Jihadis in Paris and in response to that we thought we have two choices.  When they say we’re going to kill you for drawing Mohammed you either have to draw Mohammed or you have to submit and say yes you can get me to do what you want by threatening to kill me, and so you can manipulate me into silence and slavery. And so to stand up for freedom and for freedom of speech of course we had a Mohammed art exhibit and cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. Jihadis attacked it and there was a great deal of media coverage there for a while about it at which time Chris Cuomo actually stated that the First Amendment does not apply to hate speech and what we were doing was hate speech and therefore it was ruled out.

Now, actually, if you read the First Amendment it doesn’t say anything about hate speech nor is there any legal thing in United States law called hate speech.  There is no such concept because of course what’s hateful to you is not hateful to me.  One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor.  Everybody has a different evaluation of what is true and good right and what is evil and hateful for that matter, but just the advance of this idea, that Chris Cuomo could think that, a major commentator on a major network, that in itself indicates how deep the rot has gone and how far advanced this concept is, that there is an idea of hate speech and that we are it.  Now, the peer pressure and shaming advances of course by charging us with this hate speech and recently — there are so many examples of this I could talk all evening (I promise I won’t) — but there are so many examples of this where opinions that are perfectly valid and have a claim to truth and in an earlier and saner age would have been evaluated on their merits are instead dismissed as hate speech, labeled as such and that is all part of this overall initiative of peer pressure and shaming that Hillary Clinton told us they were going to do.

One example of course is our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that actually did valid work in the ’60s for civil rights, but now has completely gone off the rails and become a tool for the left. The Southern Poverty Law Center recently, as you may know, issued a report on the 15 top anti-Muslim extremists in the United States, which included of course David Horowitz and me, Frank Gaffney, Pamela Gellar, many others, 10 or 12 others obviously and two of the people on the list of these anti-Muslim extremists were a reformist Muslim from the UK, Maajid Nawaz and the ex-Muslim from Somalia, the famous freedom fighter Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  Now, this made this all very interesting because Frank, David and I and the others we’re used to being defamed in this way, although this was a new one.  To call us anti-Muslim extremists, if you think about that for a minute, what does the Obama Administration call terrorists?  Extremists.  Their whole program to fight Jihad terrorism doesn’t say “Jihad” or “Islam” because that’s forbidden in the Obama Administration and it’s called “countering violent extremism.”  So, to call us extremists the SPLC is saying we are terrorists.  We are the equivalent of Baghdadi, the ISIS Caliph and Osama Bin Laden and Al Laki and all the rest of them.  We are just the flipside of the coin.  Now actually it’s true.  David and I do plan to fly a plane into a high-rise building later on tonight, but in the meantime, I do think that that is an absurd categorization, but what happened in the wake of this was that Maajid Nawaz, in particular because he is very prominent on the left and particularly popular among the atheist critics of Islam and Jihad, Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and so on, the atheists’ spokesmen who have actually spoken about Islam, there was a petition to get Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan off the list and of course the implication was it was perfectly fine for us racists and bigots to be on it, but now they had crossed the line.  Now, there was a certain touching naïveté to this.

You see, these supporters of Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali were thinking that those 13, those terrible deplorables, they belong on the list, but our friends, they don’t.  These people, no, they’re just unjustly maligning Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan.  They’re taking their statements out of context and misrepresenting them.  They are claiming guilt by association, indicating that they have associations with unsavory types and they’re questioning their motives and so on.  Well, what do you think happened to the rest of us?  This is just what the SPLC and its allied groups have been doing to us for years.  It’s exactly the same thing.  It’s all been a large-scale effort at peer pressure and shaming, making it so that we are toxic so that nobody else wants to speak out in the same way because they don’t want to be toxic and the whole idea of speaking out is stigmatized so that everybody is mute and silent as the Jihad advances.  It’s very well thought out.  I’ve really got to give them credit.  It’s a very skillful plan.  It’s very clever and very imaginative and deeply evil, but there’s always a silver lining, and the uproar about Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan being included among us anti-Muslim extremists it woke up a lot of people who I think had no idea that the SPLC is just a propaganda machine, but it is part of this propaganda machine that is working to extend the peer pressure and shaming to every honest critic who explores the motivating ideology of the Jihad terrorists and so we see it in all kinds of contexts.  Quite aside from the Southern Poverty Law Center.  We even see it at ESPN.

Now, ESPN is where I go when I want to not think about this, but it intruded even there.  Of course you probably know that Curt Schilling, the great baseball pitcher, after his pitching years were over he joined ESPN as a sports analyst of some kind.  I guess he probably talked about baseball and Curt Schilling actually is a conservative.  He now has a conservative talk show in the Boston area and he’s got very sound views on pretty much everything as far as I know and he actually dared to tweet out on his Twitter account some statements about Islam, most notoriously one where he said you say that only a tiny percentage of Muslims are Jihadis.  Well, only a tiny percentage of Germans were Nazis.  How did that work out?  For daring to say that he was suspended.  For saying other things that were outside the realm of what is acceptable he was ultimately fired by ESPN.  So, apparently, in order to talk about baseball on ESPN you have to have the right opinions or you will be shamed out of your job and the wrong opinions are of course the ones that probably most of us hear hold today.  It’s being taken for granted that we represent hate speech and it’s being extended into every aspect of society.

The ultimate goal of course is to make everyone afraid to hold these opinions because everyone will be afraid of losing their job, of being stigmatized as a racist and a bigot and so on and of course we’re so used to this we’ve heard ourselves called this for so many years, but it has never been so far advanced into the mainstream.  It is a tremendous blow to this whole initiative that Donald Trump was elected president.  Above all, because it shows that people don’t just buy this off hand.  I actually started to get some hope.  All summer and all fall the news was so bleak, the polls were so bad and Hillary was saying, “Why aren’t I ahead by 50 points?” And everything was so bleak, but I saw one thing that made me just dare to hope that things might turn out better and that was that trust in the media was at the lowest point it had ever been since anybody started keeping track of this sort of thing. And so while they are working to shame us and to apply peer pressure to silence us and while they are working to label what we do as hate speech, more and more people are waking up to it and 60 million of them did not buy it and voted for Donald Trump.  What we have now, however, is a president of the United States who commits hate speech and is subject to peer pressure and shaming and it’s an extraordinary position because after working so hard to delegitimize half of the American electorate and half of the spectrum of opinion that Americans legitimately hold, now that opinion is in power against their best efforts.

Now things are really going to get interesting and one of the best things actually that’s come about in this election cycle besides the election of Donald Trump was also the WikiLeaks exposure of just what the media really is and that’s one of the reasons why the trust in it is so very low because we grew up – I remember my father yelling at Walter Cronkite.  Walter was not in the room.  He was on the screen, but it was just what he was saying, and I remember Nixon, the first one, saying that he had faced bias from the press when he was running against John Kennedy in 1960.  Now that’s an awfully long time ago and that’s a lot of elections.  We’ve all grown up taking for granted media bias, but now we know that it’s far worse than that.  I took an online tour of the major news outlets in the early fall and the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Politico, The Hill, all the major names, and every last one of them had story after story after story about what a dangerous scoundrel Donald Trump was and stupid to boot.  There is an inherit self-contradiction in how they classify all conservatives.  They did this with George W. Bush, too.  He was a monkey, he was a marginal idiot, but he was also an evil genius who had somehow thwarted all their plans while being an idiot monkey.  Really astonishing talents. And of course Trump is the same way. And every last media outlet had anti-Trump, anti-Trump, anti-Trump stories.  Not even the pretense of trying to be balanced news outlets anymore.  Not even pretending to have any objectivity.  It was just all wall-to-wall anti-Trump all the time and then it came out in WikiLeaks.

George Soros-funded organizations paid those august, trusted news outlets, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, you name it, they paid them for favorable coverage of the Iran nuclear deal.  They paid them for favorable coverage of the Muslim migrant influx into Europe.  They paid them for reports on the terrible Islamophobes.  They probably paid for that Southern Poverty Law Center anti-Muslim extremist list, but they certainly paid for other reports about how David Horowitz and I and others are these terrible, hateful, evil people who no decent person should have anything to do with.  And so we now know this is not news outlets at all.  These are bought and paid for propaganda outlets and their hegemony has been broken.  Even if Hillary Clinton had won, they would never have the hold that they had.  They will never have it again.  And so, we have every reason to be upbeat.  This is an ongoing initiative, as I said, and it’s not going to go away.  There are going to be continued efforts to stigmatize us, continued efforts to smear Trump as he becomes president, as he does anything, continued efforts to say that this is just some anomaly, sunspots, an accident of the Electoral College, something happened so that this maniac got to be president, but he’s still a maniac and any decent ordinary person will think he’s a maniac.  Nonetheless, the blades of grass have broken through the concrete, and it can’t be repaired, and so there’s every reason for hope.

But I will close with noting what exactly it is that we’re up against, what the effect of this stigmatization really is.  We have heard for decades now, and particularly after 9/11, that any honest discussion of how Islamic Jihadis use the text and teachings of Islam, which you can see in my Guide to the Koran and biography of Mohammed, available now, any honest discussion of that is hateful in itself, bigoted, racist, beyond the pale of acceptable discourse.  No.  This is how this works.  A few years back there was a Jihad plot against Fort Dix in New Jersey, and a group of Muslims were going to go into Fort Dix and shoot as many American soldiers as possible before they themselves were killed because the Koran promises paradise to those who kill and are killed for Allah.  It’s the only promise of paradise in the Koran.  It’s Chapter 9, Verse 111 if you want to look it up, and it says you’ll go straight to paradise if you kill and are killed.  These Muslims were going to go into Fort Dix and kill and be killed and go straight to paradise.  But they were foiled.  Now, they were only foiled — it was on a shoestring.  As it happened, these guys were Islamic Jihadis.  Islamic Jihadis love death.  They always tell us that.  They love death, they love bloodshed, they love gore. And they went to a video store because they had their bloody Jihad videos, their beheading videos and their bombing videos, they had them on VHS tapes, and so they asked the young man at the video store, 17-year-old boy, they asked him to transfer their VHS Jihad tapes to DVD.  As he’s doing the job, he saw what was on the tapes and he got alarmed, and he went to his boss, and he said, “Dude, I’m seeing some very weird shit on these videos.  Should I call the police or would that be racist?”  Now, I should tell you, these Jihadis were Albanians; they were Albanian Muslims.  Albanians are blond-haired, blue-eyed white guys, so there was nothing remotely racist about what they were doing, not by any stretch of the imagination.  The idea that turning them into the cops would be racist was just something that had been drummed into this young man’s head all his life, that Muslims are victims and that any movement against Jihad terrorism, there’s something wrong with it.  And you think that that’s outlandish; it’s not.

A very successful program of surveillance in Muslim communities, a completely legal program that had been challenged in court and held up to the challenge, in New York City, was shut down by Mayor de Blasio on the grounds that it was hateful.  Now, what’s hateful about trying to defend ourselves against these people?  If you think about it, you know, how Trump is Hitler because he had proposed a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration.  Now, you may recall the real Hitler, in 1940, he banned the immigration of Jews so that he could kill them.  And Trump, not Hitler, wants to ban the immigration of Muslims so they won’t kill us.  Those two things are not exactly equivalent.  But the idea that it’s a terrible anti-Muslim thing completely obscures the fact that he doesn’t have something against Muslims.  He doesn’t have something against brown people.  That’s the way it’s always put.  He does not have some racist agenda here because, for one thing, he’s not saying let’s have a ban on Hindu or Buddhist or any other kind of immigration of people of the same brownness as supposedly the Muslims are.  The problem is that he’s trying to address in suggesting this ban is that there are going to be Islamic Jihadis among the Muslims who get into the country.  How do you keep them out?  You can’t tell the Jihadis from the peaceful Muslims.  They don’t carry membership cards in Al-Qaida.  So how are you going to tell?  There’s no way to tell to distinguish the one from the other, so you either have mass immigration of Muslims into the United States or more Jihad massacres or you have a ban on the immigration, but the idea that it’s racist and hateful is just more of this peer pressure and shaming that almost worked with that young man at Fort Dix.  He did turn them in.  He decided to go ahead and be racist, and so he saved a lot of people from being killed, but the stigma had already worked or he wouldn’t have hesitated, and the stigma is what they are trying to apply to any and every form of resistance to Jihad terror, that it’s anti-Muslim, it is hateful, and therefore, it must be ruled out of polite society.

Now, you understand, we still have the First Amendment.  We still have the freedom of speech.  But we now that there are certain things that can be said in the mainstream and certain things that will immediately be branded as hateful, and that is how Hillary Clinton’s program of peer pressure and shaming works just absolutely so well, and is going to continue to do so, unfortunately, despite her defeat.  The upshot is, however, that we do have every reason to be optimistic not just with Trump’s election, but with the breaking of the stranglehold of the mainstream and the possibility that truth might now actually even breakthrough somewhere like CNN.  I’m not counting on it.  I suspect that these great news conglomerate industries will go out of business before they would moderate what they’re doing, but the people have had enough and that is our hope.  What we have is an ongoing struggle that we have to be very aware of and resolute in whatever fashion that we can be in our own sphere in life to resist, and to identify this as an insidious attempt at the peer pressure and shaming to stigmatize what is a legitimate point of view and indeed a necessary one for our common defense.  And because, ultimately, we do have the truth on our side, we know that we will, in the final instance, be victorious.  Thank you very much.

Question and Answer Session

Audience member: Robert, could you tell us how do you undo Resolution 1618 that has been signed by Hillary Clinton?

Robert Spencer: Well, resolutions in the UN are not iron dogma, but they can be reversed. They can be repealed just like in any other parliamentary body, and one thing that I think the Trump administration ought to do is make sure that the United States is clearly and explicitly and defiantly on record defending the freedom of speech at the UN.  And –

Audience member: Because in fact, they’re going forward with this 1618 resolution and making it larger and bigger, all of the states at the United Nations, so it’s something perhaps –

Robert Spencer: Hillary probably would have tried to implement it.  All you needed was a ninth justice who was a foe of the freedom of speech.  The four leftist justices on the court right now have all gone on record saying they would be in favor of various kinds of restrictions on the freedom of speech. And so all you needed was one more.  We really dodged a bullet here.  All you needed was one more to say hate speech is not free speech and does not enjoy First Amendment protection and actually codify that in a Supreme Court decision and the First Amendment would have been dead.

Audience member: One more question.  There’s 1.7 billion Muslims according to your very, very thorough research.  What percentage would you say of that 1.7 billion are a threat to the world?

Robert Spencer: There’s no way to answer that question. The reason why is because the teachings about Jihad warfare against unbelievers and subjugating them under the rule of Islamic law, which denies the freedom of speech and the freedom of conscience and equality of rights of women and so many other things, all that is in Islamic law.  It is not negotiable.  It’s not some extremist opinion.  It’s basic mainstream ordinary Islam.  Those who tell you otherwise are lying.

Now, that said, does every Muslim believe that?  Is every Muslim bound to carry those things out?  No.  Absolutely not.  Just like in any other religious tradition, there’s some people who are very serious about it and some people who aren’t and every gradation in between.  So you have in the Catholic church, contraception is illegal, is immoral according to the Pope, but surveys show most Catholics practice contraception.  Does that mean that the Catholic church does not teach that?  No, it really does, but most Catholics don’t pay attention.

Now, in Islam, it’s the same thing.  Does Islam in all its various sects and forms teach Jihad warfare against unbelievers?  Yes.  Does that mean every Muslim is a Jihadi?  Absolutely not.  Many, many Muslims don’t know about that, don’t care about that, are never going to put it into practice.  They would rather live a comfortable life than go blow themselves up, but they’re not going to lift a finger to stop the guys who are blowing themselves up because they know that it’s in there.

Who has the mic?

Audience member: I do. This is a question I wanted to ask Anne Coulter and probably would have gotten a flip, funny answer, but I’d actually rather ask it to you, which is what would you like to see happen to the UN in a Trump world?  I’d appreciate your perspective on that.

Robert Spencer: What would I like to see happen to the UN in a Trump world?  Was that the question? Well, can you imagine the mushroom cloud?  Seriously, what I would like to see happen to the UN is that certainly the U.S. should withdraw all funding from it and evict it from the United States.  We can’t shut it down because there are a few other countries in it, but we can keep it out of New York and the United States in general.  They can go to Geneva and they can raise their own money.  It’s a propaganda arm for the global Jihad, for the OIC.  It’s a propaganda arm to hit Israel above all and so we have no business allowing our ally to be subjected to this or to continue with this pretense that it’s something that actually brings anything good to the world.  It doesn’t.

Audience member: Robert, thank you.  First of all I want to thank you profusely for all of your efforts in the cause of freedom. Your courageous efforts.  Now, could you kind or explain or expound upon and assess the following two assertions that we hear all too frequently?  One of them, we are not at war with Islam and the second one, the ideology of takfirism is an existential threat to the United States.

Robert Spencer: Well, the ideology of takfirism is kind of an incoherent thing to say because takfir is the practice of one Muslim group declaring that another Muslim group is not Muslim and can therefore be killed as heretics or apostates because heresy and apostasy carry the death penalty in Islam.  So many of the groups that are more entrenched in holding on to their wealth and power, like the Saudi government, the Iranians, they declared groups like Al Qaeda, they call groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS takfiris, which means these are the people who are saying that the rest of us are not Muslims and trying to kill us, but that doesn’t mean that, of course, the Saudis or the Iranians — the Iranians say it because they’re Shiites and the Al Qaeda and ISIS people are Sunnis, but in any case, nobody should get the idea that the takfiris or that is Al Qaeda and ISIS and the other Jihad groups are the only people who hold to the view that there should be warfare against unbelievers.

This is, as I said, standard Islam, kill them wherever you find them.  It’s three times in the Quran, Chapter 2:191, 489 and 95 if you want to look it up.  Chapter 9, Verse 29 says to wage war against the Jews and Christians and subjugate them as inferiors under the rule of Islamic law, paying a special tax.  All these things are in basic Islam.

So if somebody says that it’s just these takfiri groups, Al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf and so on, that practice this, that’s just completely false on the face of it.  It’s taught by all the mainstream sects of Islam.

And the first question, we are not at war with Islam.  That also is sort of a false statement.  I mean, we’re not at war with Islam, but large portions of Islam are at war with us and the Muslims who are at war with us, they point to the Quran and Sunnah the example of Mohammed to justify what they’re doing and they recruit some unpeaceful Muslims and unless and until we recognize that, we’re never going to get anywhere.

The Obama administration in 2011 outlawed any honest discussion of the motivating ideology of the terrorists.  It actually is forbidden.  If you joined the FBI today, which I would not recommend, maybe when Trump is in, but not right now, if you joined the FBI today and you say I want to go into counterterror, you will not learn anything about Islam, anything about Jihad, even though that’s the largest global threat the U.S. faces.  You will hear about right-wing extremists and militias and constitution groups, but it is official policy of the Obama administration that there be no mention of Islam and Jihad in connection with terrorism.  The upshot is that our agents are completely unequipped to deal with what they are seeing with the Jihadis.  You can’t defeat an enemy you don’t understand and to get the intel about these people they don’t know what it means.

The Tsarnaev brothers who blew up the Boston Marathon, Russia reported them to the FBI.  They said these guys, actually Tamerlan the older one, he went to Jihad groups, he joined Jihad groups in Dagestan.  Now this was right around the time that the FBI under orders from John Brennan and Obama were erasing all mention of Islam and Jihad from counterterrorism.  So they get the intel from the Russians that says these guys joined Jihad groups right when the United States is blinding itself as official policy to the idea that Jihad is benign, nothing to worry about, nothing to be concerned with.  How could they possibly have followed through on that intel?  It went against the state policy of the administration and so the marathon blew up.

And so we have to understand that Islam, to a tremendous degree, is at war with us and that if we don’t realize that, it’s just going to get worse, but of course, Trump he made a big deal during the campaign of the fact that he would say that there was a threat from what he called radical Islam. It’s actually mainstream Orthodox ordinary Islam, but even saying radical Islam after these 8 years of denial and willful ignorance is refreshing and one would hope that he will change the institutional culture in the FBI and the CIA and Homeland Security and all the rest of them.  It’s drastically needed.

Who has the mic?  Yes, sir.

Audience member: Hi.  So I go to a high school where 99 percent of the students their parents are lobbyists or work in government.  I guess you could say I live in the swamp.  So I recently wrote something reflecting on the results of the election and as you can probably imagine it’s pretty positive and also as you can imagine I received a slew of peer pressuring shaming as you’d say.  I was told that Trump validates the KKK and white supremacy and I said no, the only reason they latched onto the campaign is because of the media’s lies and character assassination that told everybody that Trump was racist even though that’s not the case.

However, what other advice would you give to someone like me who lives in the midst of all those people to defend myself against such claims?

Robert Spencer: I think that mockery is awfully undervalued and that there’s a tremendous potential for it, particularly on college campuses.  I didn’t quite hear everything that you were saying.  Are you in a college right now or –

Audience member: No, high school.

Robert Spencer: High school, okay, even better.  Same thing really at this point.  The colleges are high schools and the high schools are middle schools and so on.  But the Muslim groups, I don’t actually know about high school, but I know that when you get to college you’ll see, the Muslim groups or the anti-Israel groups, the Students for Justice in Palestine and so on, they make a great show of their victimhood and their grievance theater is always featured on campuses.  So, for example, they have Israeli Apartheid Awareness week and they build a wall and have a checkpoint and you have to go through the mock IDF soldier to get to your class and it’s supposed to show you how terrible Israel is.

Well, we can have a lot of fun with that kind of thing if we turn it around on them and have, for example, they have Islam awareness week, well, why don’t we have Quran awareness week and put up “kill them wherever you find them” and “if you fear disobedience from your wife, beat her,” and all these things from the Quran. And they’ll say how could you have this terrible Islamophobia?  Well, it’s just the Quran.  I thought you wanted us to be aware of Islam.  And you play their contradictions back on them.

They talk about being feminists and being in favor of women’s rights and yet they are in bed with and in league with the most misogynistic and absolutely violent ideology toward women on earth.  So you have honor killing victim awareness week and put up the pictures of the unattractive women who have been killed by their fathers or their brothers for not wearing the hijab.  Actually, they have hijab week now on campuses and I’m seeing that all these non-Muslim girls are wearing the hijab to show solidarity with the poor Muslim girls who are yelled at for wearing hijab by racist, Islamophobic Trump supporters and, well, what about all the girls that have been killed for wearing hijab?  I can give you a long list and give you pictures of them.  And what about them?  Do they have any rights?  Can we have an awareness week for them?  What, you don’t care about these women?  It’s only those women?  And so on.

You see what I mean, that you have to in the first place have a very thick skin and be ready to be called everything that there is and understand that this is their tactic, to shame us out of doing what we’re doing, but you bring it back on them and shame them for their own contradictions and hypocrisy.

Audience member: Why are you so racist? No, that wasn’t my question.  My observation first of what you last said.  There are student groups working on colleges planning just that.  Saudi Arabia apartheid week. And planning to do street theater with gays hanging from – in Iran week.  But the question now, if I can remember, it was about changing the culture in our security services.  I know people from the intelligence and FBI community.  On a personal level, they are highly aware of this, but their investigations cannot be geared that way.  How long do you think it will take after 1:00 or 2:00 on January 20 for that to change? And how do we go about doing it?

Robert Spencer: You’re absolutely right.  I also know many people in the FBI and other agencies who are well aware of the nature and magnitude of the Jihad threat, but they’re keeping their head down, they’re doing their job, they’re biding their time and so things will get better very quickly.  But there’s also 8 years’ worth of agents who don’t have a clue and who have been completely misinformed.  I have a local FBI agent whenever I get death threats. He calls me or I call him and he says they’re on it and I say yes and then we go back to our business and nothing happens.

But I talk to him now and again and he was reassuring me the other day, last time I got a death threat and he’s saying, “I want you to know that I’m well aware of this problem with these guys that you’re tracking and also, we’re right on top of the other guys on the other side” and I said, “What do you mean, the other guys on the other side?”  And he said, “The people upstate, the right-wing militias, they’re just as dangerous as the guys you’re talking about,” and I thought, do they smoke opium now in the FBI as a matter of training?

Can you imagine, he thinks right-wing, when have you heard of right-wing militias, I mean, 30,000 terror attacks around the world by Islamic Jihadis acting explicitly in the name of the Quran, Islam, Mohammed since 9/11.  How many right-wing militias have done that?  And you can say, oh, yes, well, this fella or that fella or this guy had a Confederate flag, the psychopath with the bowl haircut in South Carolina.  This is hardly proportionate and hardly remotely the same magnitude of threat, but this is what they’re being taught nowadays and they can only explore the ideology of the one group and not the other.  So we can hope and I have every confidence now that that’s going to change and change quickly when the new administration comes in.

Thank you so much for being here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

France: Peugeot car plant closed as Muslim workers took “too many prayer breaks”

Reza Aslan: A Muslim “Will & Grace” will cure “Islamophobia”

Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube to Censor ‘Anti-Islam’ Speech

The censorship and discrimination against voices of freedom, along with consistent failure to act against jihad advocates and recruiters, on increasingly important social media platforms has gone on long enough. We’re suing. Pamela Geller weighs in here. AFDI press release here.

“Federal Government Authorizes Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to Censor ‘Anti-Islam’ Speech; Lawsuit Filed,” American Freedom Law Center, July 13, 2016:

Today, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, challenging Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) under the First Amendment.

Section 230 provides immunity from lawsuits to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, thereby permitting these social media giants to engage in government-sanctioned censorship and discriminatory business practices free from legal challenge.

The lawsuit was brought on behalf of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, and Jihad Watch.

As alleged in the lawsuit, Geller and Spencer, along with the organizations they run, are often subject to censorship and discrimination by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube because of Geller’s and Spencer’s beliefs and views, which Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube consider expression that is offensive to Muslims.

Such discrimination, which is largely religion-based in that these California businesses are favoring adherents of Islam over those who are not, is prohibited in many states, but particularly in California by the state’s anti-discrimination law, which is broadly construed to prohibit all forms of discrimination.  However, because of the immunity granted by the federal government, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are free to engage in their otherwise unlawful, discriminatory practices.

As set forth in the lawsuit, Section 230 of the CDA immunizes businesses such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from civil liability for any action taken to “restrict access to or availability of material that” that they “consider[] to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“Section 230 of the CDA confers broad powers of censorship upon Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube officials, who can silence constitutionally protected speech and engage in discriminatory business practices with impunity by virtue of this power conferred by the federal government in violation of the First Amendment.”

Muise went on to explain:

“Section 230 is a federal statute that alters the legal relations between our clients and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, resulting in the withdrawal from our clients of legal protections against private acts.  Consequently, per U.S. Supreme Court precedent, state action lies in our clients’ challenge under the First Amendment.”

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added:

“Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have notoriously censored speech that they deem critical of Islam, thereby effectively enforcing blasphemy laws here in the United States with the assistance of the federal government.”

Yerushalmi concluded:

“It has been the top agenda item of Islamic supremacists to impose such standards on the West.  Its leading proponents are the Muslim Brotherhood’s network of Islamist activist groups in the West and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which co-sponsored, with support from Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton, a U.N. resolution which called on all nations to ban speech that could promote mere hostility to Islam.  Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are falling in line, and we seek to stop this assault on our First Amendment freedoms.”

AFLC Co-Founders and Senior Counsel Robert J. Muise and David Yerushalmi, along with the plaintiffs in this case, Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, will hold a Press Call from 2:00-2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 13.  To access this press conference call, dial (641) 715-3655 and enter code 111815.

RELATED ARTICLES:

YouTube CRACKS DOWN on Diamond and Silk – Demonetizes 95% of Their Videos ‘For Supporting Trump’

Audio: Robert Spencer on Kevin McCullough Live on Black Lives Matter, the global jihad, and the Iran threat

Robert Spencer in PJ Media: Why Iran Might WANT To Get Nuked After Nuking Israel

Video: How Islam killed freedom of speech in just 30 years

Last Thursday, April 14, I spoke at a private event in Montreal about the Islamic war on the freedom of speech that began with the Iranian fatwa against Salman Rushdie and is now approaching final victory.

Thanks to Vlad Tepes for the video and for his indefatigable work making these videos that were filmed in less than ideal conditions watchable and listenable.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Kabul: Taliban target security team protecting government VIPs, murder at least 28

“Massive diversity” among Islamic State jihadis, many have PhDs, master’s degrees, MBA’s

Censorship Is an ‘Unjustifiable Privilege’ by Chris Marchese

Free Speech Is about the Power to Challenge the Status Quo!

Free speech is the great equalizer in our society. It doesn’t matter about your race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, class — you get the point — the First Amendment protects your right to speak freely. Despite this, some student activists — perceiving unequal social conditions, including at institutions of higher education — are fighting for social change at the expense of free speech. The sad irony, however, is that free speech only becomes privileged when it’s restricted, which is why free speech must remain a right equally applicable to all.

To understand why, consider Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s commencement speech at Wellesley College in 2015. In it, she said, “You, because of your beautiful Wellesley degree, have become privileged, no matter your background.” But, she added, “Sometimes you will need to push [this privilege] aside in order to see clearly,” because “privilege blinds” you to those who are different.

Students calling for speech restrictions are particularly blinded by their privilege, which leaves them unable to see the unjust privilege that restricting speech would further confer upon them. This is dangerous and counterproductive to their cause.

Restricting Speech Is an Unjust Privilege

First, to support restrictions on certain kinds of speech, activists must have (or at least project) unwavering confidence in both themselves and the system in which they are operating — the university in this case — to discern what’s offensive. Even if they see gray areas in expression, they are forced to present issues in absolutist terms if they are to have the perceived moral authority to police and punish those who offend.

Turning again to Adichie’s speech, we can see why this is wrong. As she said, “I knew from … the class privilege I had of growing up in an educated family, that it sometimes blinded me, that I was not always as alert to the nuances of people who were different from me.”

Sometimes, people are genuinely racist (though what’s considered racist varies widely from place to place) and their speech is identifiable as such. But what about the student who isn’t aware of the offense he or she may cause by wearing a sombrero at a party, which some consider cultural appropriation? How about the student who is aware but disagrees that it’s offensive? Should he or she be censored and punished based upon some activists’ standards of right and wrong? Different people have different experiences and different views. Because of this, nuance matters.

Second, while it can be tempting to argue that free speech maintains inequality because it protects offensive speech, this argument fails to distinguish between people and their views. That is, when you censor people — even for offensive speech — you are denying them equal access to, and protection of, the First Amendment and you are doing so from a position of privilege.  The right to free speech gives everyone an equal right to voice his or her opinions — but it does not mean that such opinions will win or even register in any given forum.

Restrictions on free speech, on the other hand, make both people and ideas unequal by subjugating them to someone else’s understanding of what’s right and therefore allowable. Indeed, to assume one’s views are so infallible as to warrant imposition on others and to assume there is no legitimate debate left to be had on certain topics — and the language used in discussing those topics — is a privilege that oppresses not only the hated racist, but the honest dissenter and everyone in between.

Lastly, some students claim that free speech is about power — that it enables and sustains privilege for some but not all. Let’s be clear: free speech is about power. It’s about having the power to challenge the status quo, question society’s deeply held beliefs, and call others to task. But free speech only becomes privileged when it’s restricted.

Understanding the Would-Be Censors

Of course words can have consequences. (If they couldn’t, nobody would bother speaking.) It would be hypocritical to argue that offensive speech will never cause harm, at least to feelings or interests, while also maintaining that speech is so vital it requires robust protection. One could also argue that the marketplace of ideas — like all markets — has negative externalities. The most evident, as campus activists assert, is that offensive speech is protected and those it’s directed at — typically thought to be minorities — are disproportionately burdened by it.

Moreover, restricting or punishing speech provides instant gratification. It’s an immediate and swift response to views one finds abhorrent. It gives the impression that justice has been served. For those who believe society is stacked against them, it’s a small beacon of hope. Restricting speech, then, isn’t seen as infringing upon someone else’s liberty, but rather righting a wrong. The emotional appeal is understandably strong.

But this is not right.

A Just Alternative

The best way to counter hateful, offensive speech is with more speech. Think of it this way: restricting speech treats the symptoms of bigotry by making its manifestations less visible. Conversely, more speech acts as a cure by attacking the underlying disease. The former method may seem effective in the short term, but it’s dangerous in the long run.

As FIRE President and CEO Greg Lukianoff has argued, when offensive speech is banned, it drives those with potentially dangerous views (however determined) underground, making them harder to identify, while also potentially making them more extreme. It also gives a false sense of social progress. And who ultimately pays the price? The people the bans were meant to help, when it turns out society wasn’t as friendly as they believed.

Countering hateful speech with more speech is not seamless. It’s hard work, and it’s not instant. It doesn’t guarantee the flushing of all bigoted and hateful opinions from society, and it often works slowly. Nevertheless, it is the only method that is both just and that makes progress last. Engaging with people who express views different from one’s own moves beyond the superficial to challenge core beliefs, assumptions, and biases — and can help a person identify and recognize his or her own. Consider the case of Megan and Grace Phelps, granddaughters of the pastor who founded the Westboro Baptist Church. After interacting with a Jewish man by email and on Twitter, the sisters decided their views were wrong and decided to leave the WBC, which also meant being excommunicated by their family.

The marketplace of ideas won’t always work this way, and not everyone is destined to see the light. But restricting speech is a privileged response that neither makes society more equal nor has any tangible benefit other than providing a false sense of justice, which, in the long term, only fuels underlying problems. We cannot afford to be blind to this reality.

None of this should be construed as a plea to accept the status quo or to disengage. Rather, it’s a call for college students who support restricting speech to recognize their own privilege. Education is a gift, and college students should use the privilege it confers to advocate for change. But this means realizing free speech is not the enemy of progress, and that restricting it will not make society more equal. To do otherwise — to restrict and punish speech — is to be so willfully blind to privilege as to become the oppressors.

This article first appeared at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Chris Marchese

Chris Marchese is a communications assistant at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.