How times have changed when it comes to free speech – just ask the NY Times
At the risk of beating a dead horse, I’m going to talk about how the left continues to attack free speech by trying to argue that somehow what they consider “hate speech” isn’t a part of it. We watched CNN’s Chris Cuomo embarrass himself (well he probably wasn’t embarrassed, but he should have been) when he admonished the right to read the Constitution because it clearly didn’t support such speech. And I pointed out yesterday the totalitarian origins of “hate-speech” exemptions from free speech rights.
That said, I’m fascinated by the attacks on this event in Texas and its sponsor, Pamela Geller. Agree or disagree with her agenda, in terms of free speech she had every single right in the world to put that on and not expect to be attacked. The presumption that she would be attacked is just that, a presumption. It isn’t valid in any terms but apparently the left feels that their presumption that an attack would happen is all that is necessary to condemn Geller’s event as a hate-fest and hate-speech. You have to wonder what they’d have said if no violence had erupted?
The usual suspects, however, attacked her. In the particular case I’ll cite, it was the NY Times. Watch how they set up their editorial “But!”:
There is no question that images ridiculing religion, however offensive they may be to believers, qualify as protected free speech in the United States and most Western democracies. There is also no question that however offensive the images, they do not justify murder, and that it is incumbent on leaders of all religious faiths to make this clear to their followers.
End of editorial. That’s the crux of the free speech argument. There are no “buts” after that. However, there is for the NYT:
But it is equally clear that the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest in Garland, Tex., was not really about free speech. It was an exercise in bigotry and hatred posing as a blow for freedom.
Pure editorial opinion masquerading as some sort of “fact”. What is the NYT doing here? Arbitrarily deciding what is or isn’t hate. And how dangerous is that? See the USSR and all previous and existing totalitarian regimes. They do that every day.
Anyway, in 1999, the NYT wasn’t in such a rush to equate an extraordinarily similar event as “an exercise in bigotry and hatred”. You may remember it:
The Times in 1999 endorsed the showing at a public museum in New York of a supposed art work consisting of a crucifix in a vial of urine, arguing, “A museum is obliged to challenge the public as well as to placate it, or else the museum becomes a chamber of attractive ghosts, an institution completely disconnected from art in our time.”
And what happened at that time?
Well, apparently the “image ridiculing” this religion was tolerated to the point that no violence occurred, meaning one can assume that leaders of that religion must have made it clear that it didn’t “justify murder” and none occurred. That’s as it should have been.
So why, then, if the Times believed in free speech in 1999 when an obviously a large segment of the population viewed the crucifix in urine as offensive, provocative and sacrilegious, does it not believe the same thing in 2015 when the same conditions exist?
Because of the “but”, of course. A “but” that didn’t exist when it was a religion being ridiculed that was not in favor with the left.
Some of those who draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad may earnestly believe that they are striking a blow for freedom of expression, though it is hard to see how that goal is advanced by inflicting deliberate anguish on millions of devout Muslims who have nothing to do with terrorism. As for the Garland event, to pretend that it was motivated by anything other than hate is simply hogwash.
The Times has yet to answer how “inflicting anguish” on millions of Christians who have done nothing to the artist is somehow “striking a blow for freedom of expression” or how that display wasn’t motivated by “hate” (hint: because their definition of “hate” is arbitrary). It sure had no problem putting it’s editorial heft in support of that “hate” then. And there’s no argument by anyone who can reason – it was as “hateful” as anything at the Garland event. And pretending otherwise is, to borrow the NYT term, “hogwash”.