Awhile back “progressive” Bill Maher released an anti-Christian and mocking “documentary” entitled “Religulous.” Did Maher ever fear for his life? Did anyone tell him he shouldn’t be “held accountable for producing such a film because of the possibility of violent blowback?
Yesterday, we learned that Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other diplomats were killed when a violent Muslim mob raided the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi and burned it down. They were enraged, we are told, by some horrible YouTube video made by an Israeli-American that lampooned “the prophet” Muhammad.
So naturally, voices in the liberal media are calling for censorship. For example, Farah Stockman, a columnist for the Boston Globe, writes in her editorial: “How Could Chris Stevens Die because of a YouTube clip?”
Shouldn’t people who knowingly incite violence against the United States – as a crude, thinly-veiled publicity stunt – also be held accountable? I can’t think of a time when the reckless actions of a few private citizens have cost us so much – in American lives, tax dollars and credibility around the world. Just because we have the freedom to say what we want doesn’t mean saying whatever we want is just or prudent.
No, it wasn’t prudent. But censorship is illegal in the United States. It is a fundamental law of the land. People have the right to speak, write, and publish opinions even when it is imprudent to do so.
There is no question that this editorial is calling for government censorship when it speaks of being “held accountable.” Despite saying that, “Americans rightly pride ourselves for our freedom of speech,” Stockman holds up Europe as an example of holding people accountable:
It is worth noting that a movie similarly insulting the Jewish faith would likely be considered illegal hate speech in much of Europe, which has seen the kind of death and destruction that hate speech can unleash. Even in the United States, speech deliberately inciting violence against a religion or ethnic group can be considered a crime.
Notice how perverse Stockman’s reasoning really is: Her argument that the violence and blowback were “foreseeable” is due to the fact that Muslims tend to be much more violent and intolerant of unbelievers than do Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and other Christians. Notice the word, “tend,” here. I know there are tolerant Muslims and intolerant Christians. But I think my generalization is obviously true based on Stockman’s own claims, and on the fact that we are talking about a murderous, rioting mob of Muslims. When was the last time a mob of angry Christians killed someone?
So we are supposed to reward Muslims for their behavior by keeping quiet and by holding anyone who speaks up “accountable.”
I am not condoning the offensive video (I haven’t seen it to have an opinion good or bad), but I’ve been tolerating Bill Maher for years and plan to keep doing it. I would appreciate it if Maher’s progressive fellow travelers would stop trying to punish my tolerance by opposing the First Amendment. Punishing free speech for the sake of preventing violence is nothing more than ending free speech for the sake of appeasement. Find another way to deal with the problem.