There Is No Distinction Between “Freedom Of Speech” And “Hate Speech”

Some people in the media can't seem to get it through their heads that speech they consider hateful is entitled to as much protection as speech that they support.

bill-of-rights

As I noted in my initial post about the attempted attack on a community center in Texas by two men with apparent Islamic Jihadist sympathies, at least some members of the media felt the need to respond to the attack not by talking about the attackers, but by questioning the motives of the people holding the event they wanted to attack. The main argument appears to be that Pamela Geller and those who took part in the event were not holding a free speech event, they were holding an anti-Islam event that was designed to mock the Muslim faith. Along those lines, Lindsay Wise and Jonathan Landay at McClatchy openly wonder whether the lesson to draw from the thankfully failed attack should be whether or not there should be limits on so-called “hate speech”:

Organizers of the Muhammad Art Exhibit in Garland, Texas, knew violence was a possibility.

They shelled out $10,000 for extra security to patrol the controversial event, which featured a speech by a Dutch politician who’s on al Qaida’s “hit list” and a contest for the best cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Local law enforcement was on the alert. A SWAT team and a bomb squad patrolled.

The two gunmen who opened fire with assault weapons outside the exhibit on Sunday were killed by a police officer. They have been identified by law enforcement as Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, both of Phoenix. They appear, from social media posts, to have been motivated by a desire to become mujahedeen, or holy warriors.

The attack highlights the tensions between protecting Americans’ treasured right to freedom of expression and preserving public safety, and it raises questions about when – if ever – government should intervene.

There are two exceptions from the constitutional right to free speech – defamation and the doctrine of “fighting words” or “incitement,” said John Szmer, an associate professor of political science and a constitutional law expert at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

“Fighting words is the idea that you are saying something that is so offensive that it will lead to an immediate breach of the peace,” Szmer explained. “In other words, you are saying something and you should expect a violent reaction by other people.”

The exhibit of cartoons in Texas might have crossed the line, Szmer said.

“I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect what they were doing would incite a violent reaction,” he said.

Organizers knew, he said, that caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, which many Muslims consider insulting, have sparked violence before. In a recent case that drew worldwide attention, gunmen claiming allegiance with the self-described Islamic State killed 12 people in an attack on the Paris offices of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was known for satirical depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

On the other hand, “fighting words can contradict the basic values that underlie freedom of speech,” Szmer said. “The views being expressed at the conference could be seen as social commentary. Political and social speech should be protected. You are arguably talking about social commentary.”

As Ken White points out in his detailed deconstruction of the argument that Wise and Landay appear to be making here, the article doesn’t even get the law right when it comes to very basic issues like incitement and so-called “fighting words”:

Moreover, “incitement” and “fighting words” are not the same thing. “Incitement” is urging others to break the law, and only falls outside the First Amendment when it is intended and likely to produce imminent lawless action. “Fighting words” are, in effect, a direct challenge to fight.

As to the claim that the exhibit that was the subject of the attack constitutes incitement, it’s clear that this isn’t the case. As White notes, incitement for First Amendment purposes refers to speech that is intended to convince someone to do an illegal, typically violent, attack. The most recent time that this issue came up was back in November after a St. Louis County Grand Jury declined to indict Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, and event that was met with protests in Ferguson that quickly became violent. During the course of that evening, Brown’s stepfather allegedly said something in the crowd that some interpreted could be construed as encouraging the crowd to commit violence. Because of that, police were reportedly investigating to determine if the stepfather could be charged with incitement based on his words. As I argued at the time, the law clearly stated that charges would have been completely inappropriate based on the facts alleged. While the Supreme Court has interpreted “incitement’ more broadly in the past, its most recent pronouncement has been that law of the land since 1969. In that case, Brandenburg v. Ohiothe Court struck down the conviction of a Ku Klux Klan leader in Ohio who had been convicted  based on a speech in which had allegedly called for some unspecified action against African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and others. In that case,, the Court established a three part test that stands to this day as the standard for when speech crosses the line from protected speech to something that can potentially be punished. In short, the Court ruled that such speech is protected by the First Amendment “except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.” Leaving aside the fact that the speech represented by the event in Garland was not even directed at the gunman, it’s obvious that it would not meet this test in even the slightest degree, and indeed that it does not fall under the type of speech that is typically considered “incitement.”

Similarly, the distinction that their supposed expert, who I will point is neither a Law Professor nor an Attorney, attempts to make between “political and social speech” and “social commentary” is not supported in the law and makes no sense from a logical point of view. The “fighting words” doctrine, for example, is a very narrow exception to the First Amendment that, as White points out, generally only applies in a face-to-face confrontation where one person says something to another person that goads that person into a physical altercation. That wasn’t even the situation in this case since the event, whatever it can be called, most certainly cannot be called a face-to-face confrontation between Geller and her supporters and either of the two gunman killed on Sunday evening. Additionally, the distinction between “political and social speech,” which apparently would be exempt from the “fighting words” doctrine and “social commentary,” which potentially would not. There isn’t a single case where the Supreme Court makes that kind of distinction among types of speech, and it’s unclear exactly what Professor Szmer believes would be the distinction between those two forms of speech, and why one should be protected but the other should not.

The effort to analogize Geller’s event to either “incitement” or “fighting words”  simply cannot be logically sustained.

Beyond the law, though, the attack in Garland has revived the old debate about offensive or “hate” speech and the question of how it ought to be responded to. Max Fisher seems to be hitting on this argument when he argues at Vox that the Garland event should be referred to as a “anti-Islam” or “hate” event rather than a “free speech” event. In the end, though, it strikes me as a distinction without a difference. Even if you consider the things that Geller has to say and what Sunday’s event represented to be offensive or hateful, that should not be an excuse to treat the speech in question as if it is somehow inferior to other forms of political speech. Hence we get pieces like the McClatchy article, as well as numerous segments on cable news over the past two days raising the question of what the Los Angeles Times called the “fine line” between freedom of speech and “hate speech.” There’s only one problem with that argument, and it’s the fact that, in the end, there is no distinction between “free speech” and “hate speech.”  So-called “hate speech,” a concept with is quite often entirely subjective depending on the speaker and the listener, is protected by the First Amendment  and it does not in any sense justify violence. If someone chooses to respond to something they consider “hateful” with violence, then they are the ones who are wrong, not the speakers themselves. As I said yesterday, one would think that people who work in a business that depends on the First Amendment and upon an ethos that encourages freedom of expression for its very existence would understand that.

As I’ve said, I find pretty much all of Pamela Geller’s rhetoric to be both utterly offensive and idiotic. Many would consider it bigoted as well, and I can’t say that I would disagree with that assessment. That being said, the First Amendment and the ethos of Freedom of Expression that it enshrines in the law, protects her as much as it protects any of us. More importantly,  a discussion about two guys who were thankfully stopped before they could commit mass murder should not turn into a discussion of how bad the speaker they were trying to attack is, because that concedes that they had some cause for the attack.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    It’s not an either/or, it’s an “all of the above.” It is hate speech, and it is free speech. It’s less filling and it tastes great.

    People just love simple dichotomies.

  2. appleannie says:

    Oh, it was hate speech and I figure that Gellar feels vindicated by the result but it was protected by the 1st Amendment. She deliberately poked a hornets’ nest and the result was predictable. Sometimes I wish there were better laws about being stupid.

  3. Sometimes I wish there were better laws about being stupid.

    I don’t.

    It’s because people have the right to say stupid things, or things that some people might find offensive, that the First Amendment is necessary, and it’s why, even outside of the law, attacks on people for speaking and attempts to shut them up should be discouraged and condemned

  4. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    attacks on people for speaking and attempts to shut them up should be discouraged and condemned

    For example

    A lofty sentiment more honored in the breach than in the observance, methinks 🙄

  5. DrDaveT says:

    they were holding an anti-Islam event that was designed to mock the Muslim faith

    Mockery is the freest of speech, and deserving of the most protections. (Indeed, satire gets special status under copyright law, for example.)

    That said, let’s not be naive about just how many exceptions there are to “freedom of speech” under US law. In addition to defamation, incitement, and “fighting words”, there are also the classic shout of “Fire!” in a crowded public space, extortion and other threats, attempted bribery of certain officials, saying anything at all when a police officer has just told you to shut up, contempt of court, etc.

    Laws against hate speech, for good or ill, do not constitute a difference in kind from existing laws against various kinds of speech. I am neither categorically for nor against them — I consider the merits of proposed hate speech legislation on a case-by-case basis. I will say, though, that my First Amendment bar is fairly high, and my opinion of the drafting skills of most legislators is very low.

  6. Mu says:

    It’s the direct equivalent of burning the flag at a veteran’s 4th of July rally. Long been determined to be protected speech. Some people just don’t get it.

  7. Modulo Myself says:

    Of course the attack was caused. You can believe in the free speech as a universal right and also understand that there is controlled meaning to speech. For example, it is wrong to respond to an act of speech with murder, violence, or power, but it is not wrong for there to be a conscious response. This weird obsession of Americans where free speech is not only a right but something that operates in a way that grants an end to thought is pretty much contrary to everything expressive that matters. Personally I do not understand the belief that free speech gives one the right not to be contradicted, mostly because I would not want that.

  8. Tyrell says:

    This is a big issue on college campuses. Many a time a speaker has their invitation cancelled because some find them and their message offensive.
    Iook for some politicians to try and pass hate speech laws.

  9. appleannie says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Sorry. Should have indicated I was speaking tongue-in-cheek with that line.

  10. george says:

    @appleannie:

    Sometimes I wish there were better laws about being stupid.

    Except all of us are sometimes and in some circumstances stupid. The jails would contain 100% of the population.

    Even in our areas of expertise we’re sometimes stupid. Which is why engineers work in teams on important projects (bridges that shouldn’t collapse for instance).

  11. David in KC says:

    Should they have the right to utter hateful speech, absolutely, can we also voice our condemnation of said speech, also absolutely. Geller is a small mined hateful woman, who deserves as much ridicule and condemnation that can be mustered, but she is entitled to say what she does.

  12. CSK says:

    The whole concept of “hate speech” makes my skin crawl. Who decides what it is? The very idea that there could be such a thing as “hate speech” abrogates the whole idea of free speech. And if we don’t have free speech, we have nothing.

    Does someone have the right to say something repugnant to me? Sure. Do I have the right to counter him or her with a devastating riposte? Sure.

    First Amendment law, if you’ve ever studied it, specifically protects religious, political, and cultural and artistic commentary.

  13. Tillman says:

    I like how they keep referring to their contest as “draw the best cartoon of Muhammed,” not best picture. A small word choice like that gives away the game, really.

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    A lofty sentiment more honored in the breach than in the observance, methinks

    You seem to be confused between “attacks on people for speaking and attempts to shut them up” and someone accurately citing to things you actually said. “Free speech” doesn’t mean that you get to say whatever you want and then we all take a collective pact never to mention it again. It’s not the absence of responsibility, however much you wish it were you. You’re perfectly free to lie and to engage in a drunken racist rant — and we’re equally free to point it out the history of your lies and drunken racist rant whenever you pop up.

  15. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Personally I do not understand the belief that free speech gives one the right not to be contradicted, mostly because I would not want that.

    I’ve not seen anyone claiming the principle of protecting free speech should be some magical insulator against criticism or contradiction.

    What it is, and should be, is a protection against people who believe some perceived insult to their particular interpretation of religion–even something as totally and utterly harmless as a cartoon–creates a right, even an obligation, to murder the person delivering it.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Geller wasn’t in Garland, with a huge Muslim population, for nothing. Of course she was looking to incite something she could capitalize on. And already she is using it to try to marginalize moderate Muslims.

    This is war,” Geller responded on her blog. “This is a war on free speech. What are we going to do? Are we going to surrender to these monsters

    She may have been exercising perfectly legal free hate speech…but she is far from any kind of first amendment hero. Let’s recognize her for the cancer she is and ignore her…not give her a platform. The 1st guarantees her right to spew hate…it doesn’t force us to listen to her lies or to be silent in response to this hatred.

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    How lucky that we have Saint Rafer here!

    You know, I read this:

    Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.

    again just now, and I can’t help but wonder how calling someone a drunk, or a racist, or endlessly parsing and reposting their commentary off-topic across multiple threads now, doesn’t constitute personal attacks, or attempting to shut someone up (which is absolutely what you’re trying to do), or attacks on people for speaking, or for that matter attacking someone’s integrity & decency instead of their ideas.

    Like I said, it’s a BS talking point sentiment, for that matter it’s a site policy, that is mostly honored in the breach. Amazing how that works, isn’t it?

  18. C. Clavin says:
  19. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    And before the trolls jump…I’m not defending the radicals that are dead. They deserve to be dead.
    I’m saying Geller is free to speak…but no one should listen.

  20. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    or attempting to shut someone up (which is absolutely what you’re trying to do),

    How am I attempting to shut you up? Do I have a gun to your head? Am I deleting your posts? Am I threatening to run to Mommy and have you banned from the site? No, no, and no. All I’m doing is posting more speech in response to your speech. The First Amendment is not a shield against criticism. If you find repeated references to your writing shameful, it may be because what you wrote was shameful.

    or attacks on people for speaking, or for that matter attacking someone’s integrity & decency instead of their ideas.

    If you want to have some fun, you might read the above and then jump over to the thread below where HarvardLaw92 called some of the regular commenters here “effete bleeding heart assholes,” “assclowns,” and said of one “I literally hate the guy.”

    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/six-baltimore-police-officers-charged-in-death-of-freddie-gray/#comment-2013376

  21. bill says:

    gee, maybe i’m old but i remember my mom saying “sticks and stones…..” whenever someone tried to put me down as a kid. why is it ok for everyone to get their collective panties in a wad because someone tried to hurt them with words? and the media just edges them on for ratings.
    here’s another- “nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission”

    one cool thing about what happened up in garland- a traffic cop gunned down two heavily armed sheetheads with just his service pistol. that’s some good shooting there.

  22. Tyrell says:

    @CSK: Well there are some misguided individuals who are determined to get some laws passed that outlaw so called “hate speech”. You can also bet itvwill wind up before a federal court and they will be ruled unconstitutional .

  23. Another Mike says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Personally I do not understand the belief that free speech gives one the right not to be contradicted, mostly because I would not want that.

    Ok, so you got six thumbs up already, and I am not even sure what you are saying. Of course speech can have a conscious response. You give a speech, and I decide to vote for you or not to vote for you, for example.

    When you say “weird obsession of Americans where free speech is not only a right but something that operates in a way that grants an end to thought “, are you thinking of political correctness? Same question with the block-quoted text?

  24. S Holmes says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    When Hamlet utters the phrase “More honor’d in the breach than the observance,” he is showing disdain for his uncle’s common practice of drunken carousing. He means to suggest that it is more honorable to refrain from custom when custom consists of behavior he considers distasteful and unseemly. He is not remarking upon ignored and unenforced rules.

    Brush up your Shakespeare and they’ll all kowtow!

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    How am I attempting to shut you up?

    So when you said

    point it out the history of your lies and drunken racist rant whenever you pop up

    you didn’t mean “I’m going to attack you verbally every time that you speak on here based on prior commentary which has nothing to do with the current topic”?

    Funny, I’m left wondering why you’d expend that much energy, especially when I haven’t engaged you at all, unless your goal is to make it so uncomfortable to remain that leaving becomes the better option.

    Of course you’re trying to shut me up. You couldn’t be any more transparent about that if you tried. I mean, I realize that you can be pompous at times, but you aren’t stupid. Do the rest of us a favor and don’t try to treat us like we are.

  26. Paul Hooson says:

    And I will also argue that even obscene speech between adults by and for adults in entitled to full free speech protections as well. There was no language in the original Constitution or Bill Of Rights giving government any powers at the insistence of the religious community to arrest people for offensive religious or sexual nature jokes or material. New York City police used to sit with tape recorders and record comic Lenny Bruce for nasty religious jokes because of pressure by the Catholic Church in NYC. – There can be reasonable curbs to prevent the abuse of minors or their access to such materials, but otherwise curbs on obscene free speech should be ruled as unconstitutional in most cases…

    It wasn’t until 1840 a small Massachusetts bookseller was arrested for selling a copy of the European erotic novel, FANNY HILL. The bookseller was arrested without charge, where the legislature of Massachusetts actually were able to write a law one year later in 1841 to justify that arrest. 1841, that’s well after 1776, where there is no evidence that the founding fathers supported free speech restrictions on obscene speech…

  27. C. Clavin says:

    a discussion about two guys who were thankfully stopped before they could commit mass murder should not turn into a discussion of how bad the speaker they were trying to attack is, because that concedes that they had some cause for the attack.

    This is nonsense. Sheer and utter nonsense.
    There is no excuse for their actions.
    Their actions in no way shield Gellar from criticism.
    Wouldn’t that be stifling my free speech, after all?

  28. Another Mike says:

    @David in KC:

    Geller is a small mined hateful woman, who deserves as much ridicule and condemnation that can be mustered

    Geller is a warrior and a hero in a war you do not even know exist.

    Quoting Ace of Spades as directed at Bill O’Reilly, I believe:

    Ms. Gellar believes, as almost all on the right claim to believe, that free speech should in fact be free, but that speech is not in fact free, due to the intolerable threats of a determined and lunatic religious minority set on imposing their alien laws of blasphemy against us.

    Ms. Gellar acts, as almost all on the right claim that we should act, in defiance of benighted, medieval religious zealots who would forbid her from acting by threat of violence.

    Ms. Gellar was, along with all her fellow confreres, the target of an actual assassination plot by heavily-armed jihadists determined to murder her and others present for daring to act like Americans while within the borders of the state formerly called America.

  29. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Another Mike:

    She’s a Netanyahu shill, and a pretty obvious one. Don’t give her more credit than she’s due.

  30. James Pearce says:

    More importantly, a discussion about two guys who were thankfully stopped before they could commit mass murder should not turn into a discussion of how bad the speaker they were trying to attack is, because that concedes that they had some cause for the attack.

    Yeah, this is one of those times when “I disagree with what you say, but will defend your right to say it” comes into play. Gellar’s pretty crass, this must be admitted, but this is America, dammit.

    Allowed: Being crass.
    Not allowed: Busting into the room with guns to shoot the crass person.

    I had hoped this was beyond dispute.

  31. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Of course you’re trying to shut me up.

    No, I’m trying to let people know what you said. If you find an accurate reciting of what you wrote to be so uncomfortable that you equate it with an effort to shut you up….well, that’s your emotional reaction.

    You couldn’t be any more transparent about that if you tried. I mean, I realize that you can be pompous at times, but you aren’t stupid. Do the rest of us a favor and don’t try to treat us like we are.

    Oh, no. No. I’m only treating you like you are.

  32. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    No, I’m trying to let people know what you said

    To what end? What outcome do you hope to accomplish as a result of your efforts to “let people know what I’ve said”? I’m curious. What purpose drives your efforts? Since, as you say, I’m stupid, explain it to me. Be specific.

    If you find an accurate reciting of what you wrote to be so uncomfortable that you equate it with an effort to shut you up….well, that’s your emotional reaction.

    I’m quite embarrassed by much of what was said, which is why I tendered an apology for it to the group. You apparently feel it is also your role to act as the arbiter of the sincerity of apologies, which is, as I said earlier, pretty pompous. As far as emotional reactions go, I doubt you’ll find many people here, or anywhere else, who don’t take being attacked personally.

  33. cd6 says:

    @Another Mike:

    Quoting Ace of Spades as directed at Bill O’Reilly, I believe:

    We’re through the looking glass on this one, people.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:

    Geller is a warrior and a hero

    No.
    Fwck no.
    Geller is to war as the KKK is to religion.

  35. Modulo Myself says:

    @Another Mike:

    Spare us. Geller was one of many free-speech loving rubes protesting the Met’s production of Death of Klinghoffer because it presented Palestinian terrorists in the tradition of opera, as humans who happen to be murderers. She doesn’t care about free speech and I bet nobody who was at the conference did either. These are people who think CAIR should be deemed a terrorist group.

    The fact that you guys have the capacity to argue this shows the real problem: you have absolutely no standards and yet somehow, we keep on hearing about you. And we only hear the propaganda coming from white idiots–other people with poorly-formed ideas generally stay underground, because there are higher standards everywhere but with you.

  36. steve says:

    “Ms. Gellar believes, as almost all on the right claim to believe, that free speech should in fact be free”

    She doesn’t care one whit about free speech. She just wants to carry our her anti-Muslim crusade.

    Steve

  37. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    I was responding to this, written by Doug:

    More importantly, a discussion about two guys who were thankfully stopped before they could commit mass murder should not turn into a discussion of how bad the speaker they were trying to attack is, because that concedes that they had some cause for the attack.

    As far as I can tell, Doug does think freedom of speech is magic insulation. I don’t know why. These people obviously had what could be fixed as a cause. You can’t ask for extra security and then say an attack can not be linked to the nature of the conference. It’s not like they were going to go into a mall and just start shooting, for example. There was a reason these two terrorists chose to go where they did and attempt what they did.

  38. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: I’d be obliged if one of the eleven downvoters (so far) could give me a hint about what I said that they find so objectionable. I think eleven is a new record for me at this site, and I honestly have no idea what is controversial about what I posted.

  39. Mikey says:

    @Modulo Myself: Hmmm. I read Doug’s use of “cause” in “because it concedes they had some cause for the attack” to mean “a justification.” But I can see how you read it differently. In the context you read it, I understand your point more clearly, and probably would have responded differently had I understood it earlier.

    I think in the context of a “reason” to do what they did, yes, there was one. But there shouldn’t have been–not for attempting to kill people. If they had instead chosen to stand out front with a group and signs and loud protests, I would support their right to do so as strongly as I do the right of people to make provocative drawings of Mohammed. But violence is never an appropriate response, even to provocative speech.

  40. S Holmes says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Given that roughly the same number appear to take exception to a clarification of a common misinterpretation of a line from Hamlet, I suspect shenanigans with the voting. Quite possibly by a junior or senior in high school with a profound distaste for the Bard and a filial loyalty to HL92.

  41. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Re: S Holmes:

    Hmm, where have I heard this particular complaint before?

    *waving at JBG* 😀

    Coincidences are so coincidental and stuff … 😀

  42. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Funny, I’m left wondering why you’d expend that much energy, especially when I haven’t engaged you at all,

    Um, you opened the door to that thread in your comment at 18:25 above. You can’t reference an old thread yourself, link to it, and then complain when other people start talking about it.

    (Or, that is, you can if you’re a whiny self-justifying hypocrite, but it’s kind of a sad little move).

  43. Rafer Janders says:

    @S Holmes:

    Yes, HarvardLaw92 does seem to have a lot of…nephews, shall we say, active on this site lately….

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Which sidesteps the question of what exactly you’re trying to accomplish / what your end goal is , but then again I suspect the answer to that question isn’t much of a mystery to anyone reading to begin with.

    Now is it? 😀

  45. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I’m quite embarrassed by much of what was said, which is why I tendered an apology for it to the group.

    And here’s where the lying comes it. It was a classic “I’m sorry if anyone was offended by what I said” non-apology apology.

    A person who was actually sincerely apologetic about the venomous stream of racist trash he unleashed might, you know, hang his head in shame, reflect for a while about the horrible things he’d said and the lies he’d told. and take some time to try to do better. But an insincere shallow little narcissist would tender a mock apology and then go on as before, self-justifying and rationalizing every sad little lie he continued to tell.

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Yes, HarvardLaw92 does seem to have a lot of…nephews, shall we say, active on this site lately….

    Would Doug, James or whomever else has access to records around here please verify that all of my comments have originated from the same IP address, and that I use one, and only one, of them?

    Thanks

  47. Modulo Myself says:

    @Mikey:

    You’re right that there should not have been a reason. If you’re religious, the only blasphemy that should matter is your own.

  48. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Like I said, it’s pretty pompous to for anyone to appoint themselves the arbiter of the sincerity of apologies.

    Shall I grovel, milord? Shall I present myself to the grand justicer for flogging? Shall I flay the flesh from my bones? Just say it and it will be done, for thou art superior, milord. Thou knowest bestest for everyone.

    Do, please, issue your pronouncement of what constitutes acceptable shame so that I might be cleansed in your eyes. I do so want to please you, my liege.

    I await your command …

    😀

  49. 2thePoint says:

    @Another Mike: Exactly. In the America that once was, holding a rally against a political/religious entity bent on overthrowing the country would be considered an act of patriotism and bravery. But now, offending such invaders is somehow provocative and results in victim-blaming. The perpetually-offended class has become islamic in their attitude: whatever isn’t pro-islamic must be “islamophobia” and any violence that results is the fault of Americans speaking in defense of their own country. What a twisted, backwards, senseless society this has become! The comment about provoking the muslims by speaking IN AMERICA against them… wow. Whose country is this again?

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @2thePoint:

    Whose country is this again?

    um, American citizens?

  51. Modulo Myself says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    It was what it was. I thought it was racist, but I didn’t think it was venomous. Also, I’ve also always thought HL92 was sincere. I don’t think the masque slipped. He’s made numerous comments in the past that reflect his attitude about right and wrong. So I wasn’t surprised that he said what he said. I don’t agree with it. But it wasn’t surprising. Unlike a lot of people who praise law and order, my instinct is that HL92 really means it.

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    He does. I was referred to as a “law and order over all” type, and frankly, that’s exactly me. It’s how I think, but I went about expressing it in an exceedingly bad way, which offended a lot of people.

    Which is why I apologized for it. What I think is my province, but what I say affects others, and as I said before, I’m sincerely sorry for having said things that offended people. They could have been expressed in a much more productive fashion, and that they weren’t is my failing.

    So, once again, I apologize for having offended anyone. As I said before, I am a native Baltimorean, and I have family members whose lives were put at risk during these events, so it has been and remains a particularly emotionally raw subject for me. I allowed my anger towards certain people to override my rationality, and in the process said things I should not have. For that, I am most sincerely sorry.

  53. Rafer Janders says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    What I think is my province, but what I say affects others, and as I said before, I’m sincerely sorry for having said things that offended people….So, once again, I apologize for having offended anyone.

    Another form of non-apology is one which does not apologize directly to the person who was injured or insulted, but instead offers a generic apology “to anyone who might have been offended.”[1]

    ….This kind of apology shifts the blame onto the offended party, and denies personal acceptance of wrongdoing, as in “I’m sorry if you were offended by what I said”. The “if” implies that the apologiser either doesn’t even know they did wrong (and did not bother to find out) or else does not acknowledge that they did wrong and so are pretending to apologise because they feel obligated to rather than because they are actually sorry. There is no confirmation that the apologiser actually regrets anything or has learnt anything from what they did that was wrong. According to John Kador in Effective Apology, “Adding the word if or any other conditional modifier to an apology makes it a non-apology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-apology_apology

  54. Rafer Janders says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I thought it was racist, but I didn’t think it was venomous.

    I dunno, this stuff below seems both racist and venomous, and going far, far beyond “law and order” to a place of actual malice and contempt for an entire race of people.

    We have the same shiftless, lazy people (which is what they are – uncomfortable facts …) sitting around on steps that we had when I was a child.

    My sympathy now is reserved for the people whose distasteful job it is to corral them and keep them under control so the rest of us can live our lives out in some semblance of order.

    the hordes down in West Baltimore who’ve made a drug dealer into their latest hero du jour.

    I believe they’re being railroaded in order to placate the natives,

    Just how long do you think will be required for these people to step up and take responsibility for their own lives?

    the life of a scum drug dealer

    You become the enemy.

    As far as justice, no, I am not concerned with it.

    you effete bleeding heart asshole

  55. Tillman says:

    @HarvardLaw92: @Rafer Janders: For what it’s worth, I’ve been consistently downvoting both of you because we already had a 700-comment thread over this.

    So you can remove at least one tick from your boxes and ask about where the rest are coming from. Maybe a few agree with me, maybe the Harvard Nephews have struck, perhaps Florack has finally lost it and decided to screw up OTB’s vote script instead of making stupid, stupid comments.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    LOL, many people were offended. Are you actually suggesting that I need to respond to each of them individually? I offended a group of people, which is why I apologized (twice now, no less …) to a group of people.

    Your problem with me, I suspect, is that YOU are not hearing what YOU want to hear. You’re not getting what you believe YOU are due – a repudiation of the thoughts which you feel live in my head that you find offensive. It’s not enough for you for someone to apologize – you want them to say they think as you think and repudiate their previous badthink.

    You’re the damn thought police now. You don’t want an apology. You want a “you’re right and I’m wrong. How could I ever have thought such bad thoughts?”

    And yet you call me arrogant.

  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Tillman:

    I’ve apologized multiple times now. He’s made it clear that he intends to continue this character assassination campaign of his every time that I speak here from now on. What more am I supposed to do – allow him to do it?

  58. Moderate Mom says:

    @Rafer Janders: Dear God, please move on and find a new hobby horse to ride. This one is just worn out.

  59. T says:
  60. humanoid.panda says:

    @Another Mike: Geller came to national prominence by riling up the crazy against the “9/11 Mosque.” First Amendment warrior, my ass.

  61. Grewgills says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    Everyone with even a passing interest in what HL said has read it by now. You aren’t doing anyone any good at this point. Let it go.
    @HarvardLaw92:
    You brought it up in this conversation. Stop bringing it up and stop responding if you want it to go away.

  62. Dave Schuler says:

    What is missing from this discussion is morality. The “draw a cartoon of Mohammed” contest was legal but it was immoral. It was immoral because it intentionally set out to injure other people, treating them as ends rather than means.

    Not everything that is immoral should be illegal but social stigma should attach to immoral conduct. It shouldn’t be banned but it shouldn’t be praised, either.

    Our problem is that we have two pitched camps, each of which is attempting to use the power of the law to enforce its idea of morality. There is a difficult balance. We need to learn to tolerate bad conduct without tacitly supporting it. That takes courage, something in short supply.

  63. Dave Schuler says:

    there are also the classic shout of “Fire!” in a crowded public space,

    Can anyone cite an example of that actually having been enforced? To the best of my knowledge, that’s a purely theoretical proposition.

  64. C. Clavin says:

    @Dave Schuler:
    Exactly. Just because I can doesn’t mean I should.
    This woman has spent millions and countless hours trying to provoke just this sort of response.
    Does anyone think I couldn’t devote my life and my fortune to harassing southern rednecks and not get a couple of them to attack me? And how many of our trolls would support me? But make it Muslims and the calculus changes. Shocking.
    In no way does it excuse the attackers. But let’s recognize this woman for what she really is.

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin: Yes. But let me clarify one point. She made millions off this.

  66. gVOR08 says:

    @Dave Schuler: IIRC Doug has several times pointed out that the fire-in-a-theater thing is not part of current legal interpretation.

  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    endlessly parsing and reposting their commentary off-topic across multiple threads now

    Here’s another nice example of “reposting their commentary off-topic” (link):

    Hi James. We’re still waiting for an explanation of why there is no record of your claimed PhD at the school you claim to have earned it from.

    You decided that James P’s history should follow him around. I have a feeling that your history (link, link) is also going to follow you around.

    “I’m going to attack you verbally every time that you speak on here based on prior commentary which has nothing to do with the current topic”

    Which is precisely what you did regarding James P, and you were correct to do so. He was caught lying. So were you.

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    Would Doug, James or whomever else has access to records around here please verify that all of my comments have originated from the same IP address, and that I use one, and only one, of them?

    A completely pointless question that diverts attention away from the real issue. It’s not about “comments.” It’s about voting behavior.

  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    Modulo Myself:

    I’ve also always thought HL92 was sincere.

    That’s not a good idea, because he told us himself that he is not.

  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    I’ve apologized multiple times now.

    Link.

  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    I’m quite embarrassed by much of what was said, which is why I tendered an apology for it to the group.

    Your concept of “apology” was to try to blame someone else:

    Speaking frankly, this assclown Jukeboxgrad pissed me off the other night, and I lost it. Not proud of it, not excusing it, but it is what it is. I genuinely hate the guy.

  72. Mikey says:

    Oh, for fvck’s sake…HL92, Rafer, JBG, SHUT THE HELL UP. We get it, you all hate each other. Whoop-de-do! Nobody cares! If we wanted to see a bunch of grumpy primates fling poop, we’d go to the local Zoo. There, it’s sort of funny. Here it’s banal and boring.

  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    His very first comment in this thread was a reference to the prior thread, and to me. Don’t expect me to ignore that.

  74. Tony W says:

    Maybe James can just create a special Cage Match thread for rafer/jukebox/hl92, and they can go at it over there? I personally would prefer the news story threads stay on topic, and there is no “ignore” button within stories.

  75. C. Clavin says:

    @jukeboxgrad:
    @HarvardLaw92:
    @Rafer Janders:

    I’m saying this as someone who has gone down his share of rabbit holes with the trolls on this site: STFU already. Seriously. While none of the three of you is a troll…this “discussion” is way past it’s use-by-date. You’re starting to make me miss James P.

  76. stonetools says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Amen. The point has been made. Let’s do some mutual apologies and turn the page.

  77. Another Mike says:

    @Dave Schuler:

    It was immoral because it intentionally set out to injure other people, treating them as ends rather than means.

    Geller injured no one. Hurt feeling is not immorality. Piss Christ is not immoral. The artist, and I am using the term quite loosely, had to have known that his art would cause hurt feelings. If Piss Christ offended God, He will deal with it in his own way. We live in a free society with free speech, not in a theocracy. Geller is trying to make that point as loudly as she can.

  78. C. Clavin says:

    Mayor Douglas Athas in the Dallas Morning News:

    “Certainly in hindsight, we as a community would be better off if she hadn’t [held it in Garland]…Her actions put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk. Her program invited an incendiary reaction…She picked my community, which does not support in any shape, passion or form, her ideology…But at the end of the day, we did our jobs…We protected her freedoms and her life…”

  79. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:

    Geller injured no one.

    Unless of course you count the cop that got shot. Thankfully the injury was minor.
    Actions have consequences. You Republicans are notorious for failing to accept responsibility for your actions. Gellar is no different. That doesn’t mean she isn’t responsible.

  80. JohnMcC says:

    Cautiously tip-toeing back onto the topic of the Original Post…. I see that the Muslim community in Garland was given an opportunity by the Guardian (which I think is a basis for a lengthy discussion — where is the American media?) to give their thoughts. Amazingly, they feel the way that most of us seem to feel, that they despise both the Geller road show and the jihadi’s who felt they had to murder people there in reaction.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/05/garland-texas-attack-muslim-community-reaction

  81. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Let’s cut through the crap here and boil it down to two essential points.

    1) “Hate speech” is defined as speech that a liberal doesn’t like. You’ll almost never hear statements by a leftist — not even the remarks routinely tossed out here by Cliffy, wr, and Mr. reynolds — labeled as “hate speech,” no matter how intemperate they are.

    2) This comes down to “people who want to draw pictures” vs. “people who think people who draw certain pictures should be killed.” To assign any responsibility for the violence on the people who want to draw (and look at) pictures is nothing short of morally obscene.

    Either you respect and defend the right of non-Muslims in the United States to freely flout the tenets of the Islamic faith, or you are supporting the right of a religious minority to impose their religious laws on non-believers in a country that is officially and legally secular. It’s that simple.

  82. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Unless of course you count the cop that got shot.

    Only an unmitigated ass would count the cop that got shot as “injured by Geller.” Which is why I’m unsurprised that you’d do so.

    Count yourself lucky I find your principles so repugnant. Because, by your own arguments, your continuing “hate speech” against conservatives/Republicans and insistence on blaming the victims here would justify me taking violent action against you.

    But I recognize your right to spout your neo-fascist idocy. Besides, as they say, sunlight is the best disinfectant, and you do yourself and your cause far more harm by speaking as you do than I could ever do.

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s that simple.

    You are that simple.
    It’s not that simple.

  84. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    She intended to create an incendiary event. She succeeded. Ipso facto she shares responsibility for the injury.
    Don’t listen to me…listen to the Mayor of Garland:

    Her actions put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk.

    Actions have consequences. Republicans like you are cowards who are wholly unable to accept responsibility for their actions. That does not absolve them of responsibility for their actions.

  85. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Or maybe you trust Fox News more than the Mayor of Garland, Texas.

    “Protect our police. Do not recklessly lure them into danger, and that’s what happened in Garland, Texas, at the Mohammad cartoon contest. Yes, of course, there is a First Amendment right and of course it’s very important. But the exercise of that right includes using good judgement,”

  86. Dave Schuler says:

    @Another Mike:

    I don’t agree. I think that every human being is deserving of respect and consideration. Acting in a disrespectful or hurtful way is immoral. As I said in my comment it is treating persons as means rather than ends which is the definition of an immoral act.

    We share the obligation to treat each other with respect and consideration. We also must grow thicker skins and tolerate slights and insults.

    I AM NOT urging that this fall within the province of government. It’s legal but immoral.

  87. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: They drew pictures.

    That was the grand provocation. Drawing pictures.

    Either you stand for the rights of people to draw pictures, no matter how much others don’t like those pictures, or you don’t.

    The biggest danger anyone should ever have to face from drawing pictures is Carpal Tunnel or paper cuts, not getting shot. To shoot people over drawing pictures is an irrational response, and no one is responsible for others acting irrationally. Not legally, not morally.

    The people who think that they have a right to kill others for “blasphemy” need to grow the eff up and get some thicker skin. And if they try to enforce their religion’s rules on others at gunpoint, they need to be put down like those wannabe jihadis in Texas were.

    Then have their bodes wrapped in pigskins and burned. After all, the mainstream Muslims say that they don’t represent the Muslim faith and aren’t true Muslims, so what’s the big deal if their bodies aren’t treated in accordance with Muslim traditions and beliefs?

  88. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    You are unable to grasp complex ideas.
    Go back to your crayons.

  89. Gavrilo says:

    What is it about Islam that inspires such reverance among the lefties around here? Many, if not most, of you are avowed atheists. I’ve read countless comments here about how religion is just superstition. Politicians espousing Christianity are routinely mocked around here. Someone just the other day referenced “child rapists in pointy hats” in a comment.

    Yet, when someone attacks Islam or people of the Muslim faith suddenly they become disgusting, offensive and bigoted. Why is that? Isn’t all religion stupid? Why do you care if someone “hates” on Islam?

  90. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: There is nothing complex about “we’re not allowed to draw pictures of our religion’s founder.” And there is nothing complex about “no one else is allowed to draw pictures of our religion’s founder.” And there certainly nothing complex about “we will kill anyone who draws pictures of our religion’s founder.”

    And Cliffy, as Gavrilo notes, you love the phraise “child rapists in pointy hats,” both as Cliffy and in your Hey Norm sock puppet identity. By your own “logic” (and I use that term very loosely), wouldn’t any Catholic offended by your insults be justified in killing you?

    Oh, I understand your “complexity.” And it’s nothing more than bigotry from you. You don’t expect Muslims to be able to resist descending into brutal, mindless savagery. You don’t think they can actually behave like civilized people (like the aforementioned Catholics you gleefully insult), and don’t want to hold them to the same civil standards you literally stake your life on in regards to Catholics. And you wrap your bigotry in a spray of gibberish that you think makes you look principled and honorable and idealistic and intellectual.

    But it’s cowardice and bigotry. That’s the turd you’re polishing.

  91. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:
    Legitimate question.
    I mock and ridicule all religions equally.
    People like Geller want to divide America along religious and ethnic lines. She thinks her silly superstitions are more valid than someone else’s silly superstitions and that America should be governed according to only her silly superstitions.
    Religion is stupid.
    But if it’s inert…it’s your right to believe what you want.
    Geller is on a crusade. You mistake an aversion to her crusade as reverance for Muslims.
    The best thing we could do for the human race is eliminate all religion.

  92. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gavrilo: What is it about Islam that inspires such reverance among the lefties around here?

    Let me offer an explanation: It’s wrong to draw any connections between Islam and violence, because you might make a Muslim react violently.

  93. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I mock and ridicule all religions equally.|

    Oh, bullcrap. When was the last time you “mocked and ridiculed” Islam? You have a major hard-on for Christians in general and Catholics in particular, but any other faith? You’re like Doug when he talks about how both parties are bad — “the Republicans are bad, and here are reasons A through Q, with extensive footnotes and links. Oh, and yeah, the Democrats are bad, too.”

    Except you don’t even offer the fig leaf afterthought.

  94. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Gavrilo:

    It has to some extent to do with the general tendency among the left to empathize with and to want to defend whomever is perceived to be the underdog in any given situation. Generally a noble concept, but it can be problematic if it causes the defender to reject legitimate criticisms of the defended.

  95. Gavrilo says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t agree. I don’t think individual fear of violence is the motivation, especially when operating under the cloak of anonymity on a comment thread. It would seem that all of the problems that people like Clavin and his ilk supposedly have with organized religion, Islam has in spades. Violence, sectarian division, mistreatment of women, mistreatment of homosexuals, sexual repression, restrictions on personal liberty. Of all the major religions in the world, Islam has the worst record. I can understand how an atheist can believe that all religions are silly and stupid and dangerous. I don’t agree, but I understand. Yet, when an avowed atheist like Bill Maher correctly points out that Islam is the major religion most antithetical to (politically) liberal ideals, he gets attacked by liberals.

    There’s something else going on.

  96. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Now, along those lines, it’s worth noting that the Muslim community of Garland pretty strongly condemned not only Gellar, but also these shoot ’em up lunatics, so maybe tossing “Islam” about as if it’s some monolithic pejorative isn’t warranted.

    These two nutjobs represent all Muslims to the same extent that Scott Roeder or Eric Rudolph represent all Christians.

    If you’re going to lay the blame on an -ism, “fanaticism” is probably a good place to start.

  97. Another Mike says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    To shoot people over drawing pictures is an irrational response,

    It is not an irrational response at all from a Muslim perspective. It is only irrational from an enlightened Western perspective. The two dead Muslims are heroes. They died defending the honor of the prophet of Islam.

    This is not merely quibbling. Geller is making a statement that we are an enlightened civilization with free speech enshrined in our founding charter. If a person thinks that they have a right to do violence here because of something written or spoken, then they do not belong in our Western society.

    Clearly the objective of Muslims is to change society to do away with free speech. It seems that the attitude of many of us is that free speech is all right, but if some object to it to the extent that they will hurt us for saying the wrong thing, then perhaps we should just give up free speech.
    Of course, they don’t say it that way, and may not even admit it to themselves, but their actions speak to it.

  98. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Another Mike: Agreed, it is a perfectly “rational” response — in an Islamic/Islamist society. In those circumstances, one should absolutely abide by the “in Rome” principle.

    But we aren’t in an Islamic society. We are in a Constitutional Republic, officially secular. “Blasphemy” laws are meaningless here. And attempts to impose laws against blasphemy need to be fought down, and fought down with great rigor.

    And that holds for attempts to impose it by law or by simple force. I’d say even more vigorously against attempts by force, like this.

    Don’t like blasphemy? Don’t commit it. Don’t like others committing blasphemy? Suck it up.

  99. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Gavrilo: I think HarvardLaw (towards whom I am suspending my customary irritation, as he/she is making quite a bit of sense here) is on to something with the “underdog” aspect. For a long time, the only real significant religious player in US politics were Christians, and there’s a considerable Venn overlap between Christianity and conservatism — the more strongly one belief is held, the more likely there is to be a belief in the other. And since the left developed an almost knee-jerk opposition to those folks, they started assuming automatically that if the right opposed something, then they must be wrong and the opposed thing must be good.

    Also, the history of the Arab-Israeli conflicts is pretty much a history if Israel kicking ass. On that basis (and setting aside the actual merits of either side, and the sheer numbers arrayed against Israel), it’s really easy to paint the Arab/Muslim element as the “underdogs” in those struggles.

    With all that, it’s quite seductive for the left to instinctively see the Muslims as the victims, who need to be protected and indulged and championed. Because to do otherwise would require them to admit that the right might be (gasp!) correct on something, and that is anathema to them.

  100. Another Mike says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Unless of course you count the cop that got shot.

    What kind of twisted mind does it take to turn the intended victim into the villain and make the victim responsible for the injury inflicted on her defender by her intended killers?

  101. Another Mike says:

    @C. Clavin:

    She intended to create an incendiary event.

    Drawing pictures can never be an incendiary event. Not in Texas and not anywhere in America. That’s the whole point. We are a country whose citizens have the right of free speech. If we don’t stand up to those who want to do violence because of speech, then they will win and free speech will go down the drain.

    I sympathize with the mayor, but all he is saying is that free speech is too costly. We cannot afford it in Garland, Texas. It’s the same thing college presidents say about allowing conservatives to speak on college campuses. People will protest and maybe get violent, which will cost us for added security, so best to not allow conservatives to speak on campus.

    This kind of thinking has to stop. We either develop a spine or we will be kissing our cherish freedoms good-bye. What comes next is not pleasant to contemplate.

  102. Grewgills says:

    Not to go all Godwin, but suppose there was a nazi rally in West LA and a jewish person was enraged and attempted to run them down with his car. A policeman shot out his tire causing him to veer into a telephone pole killing him and causing minor injury to the policeman. How many hear would be cheering on the nazis as free speech heros? How many here would see condemning both the speech of the nazis and condemning the actions of the driver as supporting the actions of the driver, because now is the time to support free speech? How many of you would support the statement

    More importantly, a discussion about a guy who was thankfully stopped before he could commit mass murder should not turn into a discussion of how bad the speaker they were trying to attack is, because that concedes that they had some cause for the attack.

  103. Steve V says:

    @Grewgills: I keep envisioning the hypo where some anti-war protesters go to an army base, or some neighborhood filled with veterans, to shout obscenities about the US and burn flags, and then see what happens to them.

    Sometimes I think people just enjoy being polarized for the fun of it. There’s a lot of outrage being thrown around on this post and I think everyone basically agrees: free speech is good, murder is bad!

  104. C. Clavin says:

    @Another Mike:

    Drawing pictures can never be an incendiary event.

    Yes, this was just about drawing pictures. You’re not very smart, are you?

  105. Mikey says:

    @Grewgills: Certainly even provocative expression provides no justification for a violent response. Legitimate criticisms of a Nazi rally could and should be made, but they must not extend into providing some kind of a moral “out” for someone who would attempt mass murder.

    Provocative expression isn’t immune from criticism, but those who engage in it are not responsible for those who would respond with violence.

  106. C. Clavin says:

    @Gavrilo:

    There’s something else going on.

    Well, yes. Obama’s a Muslim, donchya know.

  107. C. Clavin says:

    @Mikey:

    Provocative expression isn’t immune from criticism, but those who engage in it are not responsible for those who would respond with violence.

    They bear responsibility when their intent is to provoke violence. Violence which they then use to promote their ideaological crusade to divide the nation along religious and ethnic lines.

    they must not extend into providing some kind of a moral “out” for someone who would attempt mass murder.

    No one…I repeat no one…is defending the radicals who attempted to commit murder. These are separate issues. Freedom of speech does not insulate Gellar from responsibility for intentionally provoking violence. Freedom comes with responsibility. When Geller intentionally creates an incendiary situation then she bears responsibility for the outcome. Not legal responsibility…she’s too clever for that. But moral responsibility…which is fine for her as she has no morals. And neither do the dupes she is trying to convince.

  108. Mikey says:

    @C. Clavin: We should expect people in the modern world to conduct themselves in a civilized manner, even when faced with provocative expression. That some choose not to is not the responsibility of anyone but themselves.

  109. C. Clavin says:

    @Mikey:
    That’s pretty unrealistic. Especially for a religion stuck in the dark ages.
    I promise you that I can provoke a violent response from some redneck by 9:00pm tonight.
    If I do and a bystander gets hurt do I bear any responsibilty?
    I realize this is a pointless discussion. Americans today don’t do accountibility.

  110. Tony W says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Or maybe you trust Fox News more than the Mayor of Garland, Texas

    As a liberal I can call this out: You can certainly make this example, but then no more telling Jenos that he just parrots Fox News…. Just sayin….

  111. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    With all that, it’s quite seductive for the left to instinctively see the Muslims as the victims, who need to be protected and indulged and championed

    The underdogs, in your scenario, are not the murderers. They are the millions of peaceful Muslims (whom I think are silly to believe in invisible friends) who are not only minding their own business, but also actively condemning those who incite and execute violence against idiots like Gellar. The right seems to be so focused on their non-Christian status that you can’t seem to make the distinction.

    On the main topic, despite her lack of judgment, slow wit and general despicableness, I defend in the strongest possible way Gellar’s right to be an a$$hole, in public, without any government entity suppressing her speech.

  112. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Americans today don’t do accountibility.

    Well, you’re certainly a wonderful example. You won’t hold the would-be jihadists fully responsible for their own actions.

    And you keep saying that it’s not just about drawings. Why don’t you enlighten us and say what it is all about? How we here in the US should make allowances for primitive savages who can’t control their violent impulses, and we should all just abide by Islamic rules regarding blasphemy?

    Also, I’d like to see you provoke a redneck with just a drawing. That’d be impressive.

    Finally, just how is “redneck” and “child molesters in pointy hats” not “hate speech?” If you need more examples of your hate speech, I’m sure I could find them, either under your “Cliffy” name or your “Hey, Norm” sock puppet.

  113. Pinky says:

    No comments yet about Cuomo?

  114. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Why don’t you enlighten us and say what it is all about?

    Apparently trolls like you cannot read.

  115. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    They bear responsibility when their intent is to provoke violence. Violence which they then use to promote their ideaological crusade to divide the nation along religious and ethnic lines.

    No, when dealing with adults (minors are different), the responsibility is always on those who act. It can be no other way, because anyone can always find someone who provoked them to some deed.

    A shirt skirt can be claimed as provocation. A cartoon can be claimed as provocation. Being cut off in traffic can be claimed as provocation. Even not liking someone’s haircut can be claimed as provocation.

    At any given instance we’re surrounded by influences, by provocation. If we can’t deal with them without violence, then we’re not fit for civilized society.

    Boycotting and criticizing morons like Geller and the idiots who call Jihads on cartoon drawers is right on the money. But off loading responsibility onto them is not. If some moron on TV tells me to pick up a gun and shoot the paper boy, its solely my responsibility if I do so, just as its solely my responsibility if some financial expert on TV suggests I sell my house and invest everything in Nortel stock (yes, people did this).

    We’re adults, in the end we are responsible for our decisions.

  116. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Apparently trolls like you cannot read.

    Oh, I can read just fine, Cliffy/Norm/Sam/Diane/Rebecca/Woody/Coach/Carla. (did I miss any of your sock puppets there?) That’s how I can see your raging hypocrisy.

    1) The guy who says that all religions should be abolished and that he insults all religions equally (but nobody, not even him, can recall him ever saying anything bad against anyone but Christians, and especially Catholics) says that we shouldn’t insult religions, unless we’re calling Catholics “child rapists in pointy hats,” among other things.

    2) We shouldn’t say that too many Muslims have a tendency to turn to violence quite easily when their faith is insulted, because that might make them act violently.

    3) People who are the targets of violence should look very carefully at what they did that might have provoked the violence, much like women who wear short skirts out in public should realize that they’re inviting sexual assault — the sluts.

    4) I’ll be kind here — you just can’t stand Geller and her kind, so you instinctively need to say that they’re in the wrong and deserve what they get, without actually putting any actual thought into your position, and now are stuck having to defend the indefensible. (Just between you and me, Cliffy, I think this is the most likely explanation. I really don’t think you’re capable of putting together a principle more complex than “me good, them bad,” so the idea that you simply didn’t think about this before you started your standard blathering is one I find totally plausible. And now you’re stuck, because you just can’t bring yourself to admit that you really did expose just how stupid and shallow you are by backing off.)

    That about sum up your position there, Cliffy? If not, feel free to spell it out yourself.

    However, if you simply say that I’m wrong without going into detail how it’s wrong, and describing where you stand, it’ll look an awful lot like you don’t want to admit that I nailed your position perfectly.

    (One more thing, Cliffy, and once again just between you and me: I’m going to predict that, given your options here, you’ll pick the “double down on stupid” option. Which means you’ll insult me again, say that you’ve already spelled out how you stand so that anyone who isn’t as stupid as I am can clearly see that, and say you don’t want to waste any more of your time trying to explain it to me. And I’ll put the over/under on how many profanities you use towards me at 3.)

  117. Lenoxus says:

    I really want to agree that peopole like Geller bear zero responsibility for subsequent violence, because after all they are not commiting it and those who are commiting it are acting irrationally. But it’s hard to square that with my lack of belief that “guns don’t kill, people kill”, or the fact that if I imagine myself contemplating doing something “provocative”, I consider possible violent reaction as something I would feel guilt for. Perhaps philosophers have developed concept of distinct kinds of “responsibility” to deal with this.

    In any case, it’s a perfectly self-consistent position to believe she shouldn’t have done what she did and that Islamophobic racism is a very real thing, and that she didn’t provoke anyone and has zero blame for subsequent violence. Those are two different things and it’s not hard to tease them apart. Even a conservative/fundamentalist Muslim can self-consistently believe that, or in my case a liberal atheist.

  118. jukeboxgrad says:

    HL92, Rafer, JBG

    @jukeboxgrad:
    @HarvardLaw92:
    @Rafer Janders:

    Treating the two sides of this as equivalent is an example of this philosophy: ‘both sides do it.’ Anyone who does this is presumably not familiar with the facts of what happened.

    Let’s do some mutual apologies and turn the page.

    If you or anyone else can cite the words Rafer said or that I said that warrant apologies, that would be helpful. If you can’t, you should refrain from suggesting that either of us should apologize. Maybe you’re not clear about who said this:

    Go pound sand, you effete bleeding heart asshole.

    And this:

    this assclown Jukeboxgrad pissed me off the other night, and I lost it. Not proud of it, not excusing it, but it is what it is. I genuinely hate the guy.

    And this:

    And I stand behind every word of that statement.

    HarvardLaw92:

    I’m quite embarrassed by much of what was said, which is why I tendered an apology for it to the group. … I’ve apologized multiple times now.

    You suggesting that you ever apologized for what I just cited is yet another claim that is the exact opposite of the truth. Likewise for you suggesting that you ever apologized for the multiple false claims you made.

  119. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    A lofty sentiment more honored in the breach than in the observance

    The colossal irony of this has been overlooked, and it should not be. In the prior thread I never attempted to shut you up. You were the one who tried to do that to me:

    I have already spoken with Joyner about your incessant personal attacks. I have nothing more to say to you. Please seek joy elsewhere. … Further harassment by you will continue to be reported. … I WILL blow up email boxes with continuous complaints about your personal attacks until you disengage. … I have politely asked you to stop harassing me, and you are refusing to do so.

    It is a normal part of your MO to behave badly and then falsely accuse others of that bad behavior. Another example.

  120. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    I’ll say this one more time for you. I understand that you have serious mental development issues, and need special attention. It amuses me that someone who is so obviously limited in mental capacity holds such strong opinions about things he is incapable of understanding.
    Geller and her partner Geert Wilders and their organization…the ironically titled American Freedom Defense Initiative…are doing everything they can to divide this nation along religious and ethnic lines. They are anti-Muslim activists, not 1st Amendment heroes. They want to silence and marginalize all Muslims. That’s the exact opposite of the 1st Amendment and freedom of religion. Their strategy is to provoke. Their tactic this time was the cartoon contest. They are focused on all of Islam…not just the radicals. She is also a conspiracy theorist…much like yourself. She also runs an organization called “Stop Islamization of America”. Ooooh sharia law is taking over. You people…yes both her and you…are completely insane.
    There are 140,000 Muslims in Texas. 139, 998 of them completely ignored this bigot. No protests. Not a word. She went to Garland intent on provoking a violent response and she managed to get .0014% of the Muslim population in Texas to react. Yet she is waging war…her own words…against all of Islam. She is already using the response of 2 radicals to smear all 2 million Muslim-Americans. She is no different than the anti-semites and the anti-catholics that came before her. Radicals provoke other radicals. That is history. Geller is nothing new.
    So the bottom line is that Gellar is just as radical as the two radicals who tried to attack her…except she hides behind the Constitution and cops sworn to protect her. Like you…she is a coward.
    Geller doesn’t speak for America any more than the two losers who wanted to kill her speak for Islam.
    Don’t believe me? How about Laura Ingraham…someone just as idiotic as you:

    “There are a lot of things that we can say, that we have a right to say, that we shouldn’t say,” Ingraham told O’Reilly on Tuesday night’s episode of the “The O’Reilly Factor.” “We shouldn’t unnecessarily insult people, personal attacks.” “To do what was done at this convention,” she said, “it not only doesn’t accomplish anything, I think it could actually make things worse for us.”

    All religions are fwcked up. Islam is the worst….it’s stuck in the dark ages and is unable to move into modernity and thus holds back all of the Middle-East. There is no defense of the two radicals who tried to attack in Garland. But at the same time none of that excuses the actions of Geller, and freedom of speech does not insulate her from responsibility for her actions.

  121. Mikey says:

    @george:

    just as its solely my responsibility if some financial expert on TV suggests I sell my house and invest everything in Nortel stock (yes, people did this).

    It worked out pretty well if you got out at the right time…

    I worked at Nortel from 1999-2001 and 2003-the end. A company with great history, good products, great pay, fine benefits…and a terrible C-suite. Towards the end they went to the government of Canada with hat in hand, an entitled attitude, and no good plan going forward. Apparently “but we’re the General Motors of Canada!” isn’t sufficient justification for a bailout if you can’t pair it up with a blueprint for actually paying it back.

    Really, though, the company was doomed much earlier, when CEO Dunn and his cronies were caught misstating financial results to show profitability where there was none. That shook both investors’ and customers’ trust and the company could never recover.

    It’s a sad lesson in how a 130-year-old company, which had produced so many of the telecommunications innovations we use today, can be destroyed in less than a decade by shitty management.

  122. HarvardLaw92 says:

    I’m not going to keep this drama playing out by responding any further to the above. I have apologized to the group multiple times now, and I’ll let them judge the sincerity of those apologies for themselves. Beyond that, I’m moving on from this situation. I won’t engage it further, because somebody has to be the adult here.

  123. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    How about that crazy liberal, Geraldo Rivera:

    “Pamela Geller has the right to voice her hateful ideas, but don’t pretend its about free speech. Its about insulting, taunting and inciting,”

  124. jukeboxgrad says:

    HarvardLaw92:

    I’m not going to keep this drama playing out by responding any further … I’m moving on from this situation. I won’t engage it further

    Hilarious, since your record shows that you routinely make promises like this and quickly prove that the promise is worthless. In your first comment in the other thread you said this:

    this commentary is honestly just too much for me to stomach any further. I’m out of here. I wish you all well in your future endeavors.

    You then proceeded to post roughly 200 additional comments. That is one example of many.

    somebody has to be the adult here

    More hilarity. The prior thread was gratuitously injected into this thread by you, in your very first comment.

  125. JohnMcC says:

    A peace-making attempt is stuck in the moderators’ web. Irony is not dead.

  126. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    But at the same time none of that excuses the actions of Geller, and freedom of speech does not insulate her from responsibility for her actions.

    True, she is 100% responsible for her own actions.

    Similarly the gunmen who attacked are 100% responsible for their own actions. She’s an idiot and hate filled, but she’s not responsible for what they did.

    Just like a woman walking down a street at night wearing a revealing dress is not responsible for anyone who tries to rape her. Even if she sexually teases them, and then decides its gone far enough, they cannot claim provocation and continue. Because they are responsible for their actions and reactions.

  127. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: So, Geller and Wilders (a Dutch citizen) are attempting to “divide this nation along religious and ethnic lines.” Well, isn’t that what you’re trying to do, too, with your constant denunciations of “racists” and all religions?

    And they’re trying to do it by drawing pictures? I submit that any society that can be so riven deserves to be divided.

    Your math also sucks. The event wasn’t ignored by 139,998 of 140,000 Texan Muslims, but by 140,000 of 140,000 Texan Muslims. The terrorist wannabes came in from out of state.

    And Geller “might make things worse for us.” So what? She’s a private citizen, and has no duty to constrain herself. That’s the sort of obligation we put on public officials, who’ve already done plenty to make things worse.

    Ooooh sharia law is taking over. Shariah law says you can’t draw pictures of Mohammed. You’re arguing that non-Muslims should obey Shariah law, or not be surprised if believers in Shariah law try to enforce Shariah law on them.

    All religions are fwcked up. Islam is the worst….it’s stuck in the dark ages and is unable to move into modernity and thus holds back all of the Middle-East.

    That’s the most honest thing I’ve ever seen you say. Obviously, you should denounce yourself for such “hate speech.”

    that crazy liberal, Geraldo Rivera

    That’s the second most honest thing you’ve ever said.

    Let me reiterate: The notion that you shouldn’t draw pictures of Mohammed is straight out of Shariah law. You are saying that non-Muslims should obey Shariah law, even here in the United States, or expect that there will be a violent backlash from people who want to enforce Shariah law on non-Muslims here in the United States.

    And you’re too stupid, too stubborn, too dishonest, or any combination of those three to admit that that is exactly what you are doing.

  128. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You are saying that non-Muslims should obey Shariah law, even here in the United States

    can you really be this stupid???
    I’m saying if you intentionally provoke people to violence then you share in responsibility for the results of that violence. And it doesn’t matter whether it’s Muslims or rednecks or Catholics or Jews or the Irish or whoever.
    Listen – seriously – if you are so stupid you cannot follow a simple train of thought…and clearly you are…then you should be seeking remedial education…and not wasting your time trolling internet sites proving your stupidity.

  129. Grewgills says:

    @jukeboxgrad
    EVERYONE has seen it several times across several threads. You can stop now. There are no regular or semi regular commenters here who haven’t seen what you have posted re: HL in the other thread. Your mission is accomplished. Now, for the sake of being able to have a thread that isn’t about that thread, please let it go. Stop. Don’t bring it up unless and until someone else does. It is beyond tedious at this point.

  130. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And they’re trying to do it by drawing pictures? I submit that any society that can be so riven deserves to be divided.

    Jenos, I realize that merely “drawing pictures” seems so innocent, so innocuous to you that you can’t imagine it would (or should) upset anyone.

    There are customs in other places that differ from the ones to which you have become accustomed in the US. Women run around topless in many places, behavior that would cause pearl clutching – perhaps even fainting – in most of the US. Atheism is popular in many European nations, while several US states maintain constitutional amendments forbidding atheists from gaining elected office. Insects are a diet staple in some places overseas. I am told that here in the USA, Mormons don’t put a crucifix in places of worship because that is seen as ‘idolatry’.

    People have different cultural norms. What offends you, may not offend others.

    The world gets along better if people don’t go out of their way to offend and hurt others. Gellar acted irresponsibly. She was wrong to do it. The gunmen are (dead) criminals. The other 140,000 Muslims in Texas are also likely offended, but also peaceful and innocent.

    Does that help?

  131. C. Clavin says:

    @george:
    That’s such a poor analogy.
    For it to apply the woman would have to be intentionally luring someone with the intent to provoke them to rape.

  132. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tony W: OK, Cliffy, I see your problem here. Well, the most easily-overcome one, that is.

    One is responsible for reasonable responses to one’s actions. One is not responsible for unreasonable responses. For the unreasonable ones, the responsibility lies solely on the one committing the unreasonable response.

    By your alleged reasoning, your insults, abuses, and sheer stupidity ought to provoke pretty much any sensible person to smack you repeatedly should they meet you in person. Hell, for the things you’ve said to me,were I inclined towards violence, I’d be more than justified in committing violence on you.

    But I have a responsibility to be reasonable. To not let trivial provocations drive me to physical violence. So you are safe to continue being the asinine, abrasive, abusive ass you revel in being.

    There are, of course, those exempt from the obligation. These include children, animals, and the mentally defective. What category do you put the Muslim extremists into that you excuse them from being solely responsible for their actions?

    Also, ISIS has declared that it will kill Geller for her daring to break Shariah laws against blasphemy. (Again, Geller is not Muslim, and committed her blasphemies here in the United States.) Whose side do you come down on in that particular conflict? Should we, as a nation, offer her any protection from the jihadists? Or is this a case of her getting what she deserves? Should we offer to turn her over to them as a peace gesture?

  133. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Even Peter King…who is really f’ing stupid…thinks you are really f’ing stupid.

    “I think that — listen, she has the right to do what she did,” King said in an interview with local radio station WNYM that was flagged by Buzzfeed. “Just because you have the right to do it doesn’t mean you should do it.”
    “We want to insult and attack and ridicule Islamist terrorism, and that’s fine,” King added. “That makes sense, but to go after a religion in this way, you’re just inviting trouble and there’s no reason. Its one thing to be courageous if you’re doing it for a valid cause, but for the cause of doing a cartoon of Mohammad to me that’s, you’re putting people’s lives at risk for no good reason.”

  134. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    No, this comes up again and again in such cases. Even if the woman lures the man on, teases him, and begins kissing and so forth, it does not make her responsible if he then goes on to rape her.

    Or if he, all excited, goes and rapes a different woman because he’s been provoked. The responsibility always lies 100% with the person who does the violence. This is common sense that your mother probably told you when your friends incited you to do something stupid – “if your friends told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?”

  135. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Cliffy, you’re actually making me chuckle a little. First Laura Ingraham, now Peter King. I have to ask: where in the hell did you get the idea that I could be persuaded by citing various conservatives? Have I ever given the slightest impression that I blindly follow (or in any way follow) others? I make up my own mind on issues, and don’t give a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys what others think.

    But back to the topic at hand… how is what Geller did any different from what you say about Catholics on a regular basis? The only difference I can see is that today’s Catholics aren’t inclined to avenge insults to their faith with bloodshed, while Muslims have a far higher frequency of doing so. And if that is the distinction you’re drawing, then your position is based purely on cowardice.

    No great surprise there, but it was a little surprising that you’d make it so obvious.

  136. jukeboxgrad says:

    Grewgills:

    Don’t bring it up unless and until someone else does.

    That is precisely the rule I followed, and it would be better if you didn’t imply otherwise. HL92’s first comment in this thread was about the other thread, and it was also a shot at me. It wasn’t until about 5 hours later that anyone other than Rafer spoke up to describe that as a problem. I said nothing in this thread until after HL92 had posted roughly a dozen comments about the other thread. And when I commented later, I waited until the thread appeared to be dead. I’m doing the same thing again right now.

    Also, there’s an interesting double standard being applied. When HL92 caught James P lying, HL92 announced his attention to bring this up in every thread. And then he did so (link, link, link). Lots of people seemed to think this was a good idea (this is Tillman’s cue to complain about the bandwagon fallacy), even though HL92 was doing the exact opposite of the rule you suggested (“don’t bring it up unless and until someone else does”).

    I can think of some reasons why someone might like to see James P outed as a liar, while not thinking the same way about HL92, but none of those reasons are good.

    Pinky’s experience is also relevant context.

  137. jukeboxgrad says:

    By the way, what happened in this thread today is another example of strange voting behavior. Comments in nearly-dead threads do not attract dozens of votes (up or down), especially at a time when only one or two commenters are expressing the views embodied in those votes.

    So not just vote manipulation, but vote manipulation that’s clumsily obvious. Just like the other instances I cited.

  138. Grewgills says:

    @jukeboxgrad
    The thing with Pinky’s unfortunate earlier comment was tedious, but at least is usually brief.
    HL’s bizarre obsession with James P’s probably fake degree was tedious and drove me (and I’m sure others) away from threads that were otherwise interesting.
    This is tedious and is threatening to ruin other on topic conversations. HL has been asked to stop bringing it up and has agreed to. For the sake of everyone else that wants to have an on topic conversation let it go, that is unless you want him to appear the grown up in this long past its expiration date blaze.

  139. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    But back to the topic at hand… how is what Geller did any different from what you say about Catholics on a regular basis?

    I wasn’t aware that Cliff had organized an event specifically designed to offend catholics’ religious sensibilities in or near a catholic community. Are you aware of something I am not?

  140. jukeboxgrad says:

    HL’s bizarre obsession with James P’s probably fake degree was tedious and drove me (and I’m sure others) away from threads that were otherwise interesting.

    HL got voting support when he did that, but in retrospect it appears that the votes were phony.

  141. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Cliffy organizing something? What the hell was I thinking? You’re completely right, and I apologize.

    I was thinking about the cartoons themselves, of course, and his oft-repeated “child rapists in pointy hats” description of Catholics. And I think we can both agree that his statement is more offensive than the contest-winning cartoon.

  142. Mikey says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Grewgills:

    Don’t bring it up unless and until someone else does.

    That is precisely the rule I followed, and it would be better if you didn’t imply otherwise.

    I’ve a better rule: Don’t bring it up. At all. Ever. No matter what HL92 does.

    Right now it’s pretty obvious that guy has a rent-free condo right between your ears. The only way to evict him is by not responding.

  143. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Have I ever given the slightest impression that I blindly follow (or in any way follow) others?

    Only in every single opinion that you form by copying and pasting from other sources.
    You’ve never had an independent thought.
    The fact that you think you have is funny.
    Now call upstairs to your mom and ask for some more jello.

  144. jukeboxgrad says:

    The only way to evict him is by not responding.

    I understand the logic behind that, but I don’t believe in unilateral disarmament.

  145. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Oh, Cliffy. Maybe you should try out one of your other sock puppets plagiarized from “Cheers?”

    Still waiting to hear how drawing pictures is somehow worse than calling people “child rapists in pointy hats.” Especially a picture like this one.