America’s first and most fundamental freedom is under concerted attack.
This is a month in which the president of the United States has co-sponsored a UN resolution with the police state of Egypt to ban speech that defames religion; a month in which the Democratic Party has placed an amendment on a defense appropriations bill to make anti-gay speech a thought crime, and in which the White House has launched an all-out attack on the Fox News Channel because it didn’t like what Fox commentators were saying. And instead of reacting with appropriate horror at an assault on the free press not seen since the days of Joseph McCarthy, a leading “liberal” pundit, TIME columnist Joe Klein has called Fox’s behavior “seditious” and thus helped to set the stage for making criticism of government a “hate crime.”
How deeply entrenched is this totalitarian virus in our national culture? A recent column in the Temple University press indicates that it is already an integral element of the curriculum of our schools. The column by a student named Josh Fernandez is a condemnation of the recent appearance at Temple of the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders who is under indictment in the Netherlands for defaming Islam, specifically for a fifteen minute film he made about Islam called “Fitna” which explains why so many atrocities have been committed (and are currently being committed) in its name. Under pressure from Islamic totalitarians, Europeans are already well on their way to outlawing free speech.
Note that the Temple column was protesting the right of Wilders to speak at all and was part of a concerted effort by the Muslim Students Association (which is a notorious supporter of the Islamic jihad) and Temple leftists to stop the Wilders event. Three Temple administrators participated in this effort telling the students who sponsored the event along with the David Horowitz Freedom Center that “foreigners don’t have free speech rights in America.” Under this university pressure, the College Republicans withdrew from sponsorship of the event and the Temple student government condemned it.
Fernandez’s column begins by quoting Wilders himself:
“I know that some of you here were very much against me speaking tonight, and to those that opposed me coming here, I would to like to quote the very famous British author George Orwell,” Wilders said in his opening, “‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’”
But showing that he didn’t understand a word Wilders said, and without missing a beat, Fernandez follows this quote with a perfectly Orwellian statement of his own:
“It’s not that Temple students didn’t want Wilders to exercise his right to ‘tell people what they do not want to hear,’ but they didn’t want to hear hateful rhetoric…”
Free speech – which is precisely the freedom to speak what is hateful to others – is our most sacred right. It is the foundation of all our other freedoms. The difference between a free society and a fear society, as Natan Sharansky has put it, is that in a free society you can speak your mind in public and not worry whether the government will come after you for having said it. In a sense this is the only freedom we have because without it the party in control of the state will have no opposition. It will simply outlaw the opposition as hateful. Under Stalin the hate crime was being “anti-Soviet.”
Later on in his column Fernandez writes:
“Wilders claims to make a distinction between ‘the [Muslim] people [whom he supports] and the ideology’ of Islam [which he condemns], but when he spouts hateful statements, such as ‘Western culture is far better than the Islamic culture, and we should defend it,’ he counteracts his alleged distinction.”
How quickly hate speech is redefined as standing up for the freedoms your country has, which Islamic totalitarianism denies (and which thus makes your country better.) And this in the city of Philadelphia, the birthplace of American liberty.
America’s first and most fundamental freedom is under concerted attack. The attack originates with Islamic jihadists and their liberal collaborators, but it is being supported by useful fools and the seriously confused. This series of events should be a wake-up call to all Americans. The hour is already late.