When is Enough Enough?

As you may have heard, controversial koran-burning pastor Terry Jones was jailed this week in Dearborn, Michigan, because of his plans to demonstrate outside the largest Islamic Center in the United States. He and an associate were apparently released on $1 bond each, on the condition that neither go within some specified distance of the Center for three years!! Eugene Volokh is following the story on his blog, providing periodic updates along with Constitutional analysis.

What does this mean for us? As Ayn Rand has said, free speech is the litmus test issue by which we judge whether we are still able to speak, to persuade our fellow man to adopt views consistent with individual rights. Now, even at the time she was writing about this issue, in the 1960’s, there were some restrictions on speech. So it’s not the case that one more restriction necessarily means we’ve gone over the precipice towards totalitarian dictatorship. But here we have what Constitutional scholars call a “prior restraint” on speech, one that Eugene Volokh predicts (at link above) should clearly be found unconstitutional. And yet it happened. Here.

In addition, this is distinctly unlike restrictions on obscenity or profanity. The ideology of Islam, if adopted and practiced consistently, does appear, from everything I know about it (I plan to learn more, soon, starting with my Koran reading group), to be a threat to our way of life. Freedom to protest against it is as important as freedom to protest against any politician, political party, or political ideology. This is not an issue of defending one’s right to produce or consume tasteless pornography, simply as a matter of principle, so that we can preserve our right to political speech. In my mind, this is an unjustified restraint on political speech itself. What do you think? Join in the discussion during my live webcast tomorrow and let me know (here’s the link to the Facebook event with more information, or you can go directly to register here).

[Update: Terry Jones apparently plans to sue the prosecutor’s office in Michigan for what they have done to him. Let’s hope he wins and that this sets a precedent for any other prosecutors that would prevent us from exercising our freedom of speech!]

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14 Comments

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14 responses to “When is Enough Enough?

  1. The only solution is to end all Moslem immigration and deport the ones already here. Wherever there is Islam, there is oppression and tyranny and vicious attacks upon all who don’t follow sharia.

    • I don’t think I’d go that far, Grant. I keep going back to Yaron Brook’s idea that we are entitled to do whatever is necessary to eliminate the threat with minimal loss of life and liberty to American citizens. And I don’t think deporting all Muslims is necessary (or even consistent) with that standard. But perhaps stopping further immigration is.

    • Agreed, quite a contrast!

    • vesey

      Neither the Supreme Court that did not ban the Westboro Baptist churches free speech expression or the local court that did ban Terry Jones free speech expression fear a terrorist attack by the Westboro Baptist church. I personally think Terry Jones is a clown and see no value whatsoever in his Koran burning. However the majority of the negative reaction to and the attempts to stop him have been based on fear of Islamic terrorist reaction to the Koran burnings which is exactly the reason why he must be allowed to do this repugnant activity. To do otherwise shows the world that our free speech is not subject to the constitution but to who can cause the most fear. No one can honestly say that if this was a person burning the Holy Bible that there would be any where near the hostile reaction and concerted efforts by politicians or courts to stop it. The most repugnant expressions of free speech call for the most toleration or free speech becomes a thing of the past………

  2. M. Stern

    My thoughts on Islam:

    Does Islam fall withing the “freedom of religion” part of the Bill of Rights? I’m not so sure. Freedom of religion applies to peaceful, private belief systems that do not aim to conquer the nation and subjugate American citizens. I think it can be argued that Islam is a perpetual solicitation to commit murder and war against all non-believers, that it is constitutionally violent and a political / military ideology contained within religious mythology. As such it does not deserve 1st Amendment protection. Consequences of this:

    1. All Mosques can be shut down as they are enemy headquarters or they can be highly scrutinized and investigated such that even one page of Jihad propaganda gets the Mosque closed and the owners deported.

    2. Massive profiling of all Moslems / Middle Easterners at American airports and other commercial sites in the manner that Israel does it. End the “grope fest” approach to American security.

    3. Either end Islamic immigration entirely (#1 option) or reverser the presumption against Islamic immigrants such that they are presumed to be hostile until proven peaceful. Perhaps new Muslim immigrants would have to be monitored. (Again #1 option is better.)

    All of the above will create the climate in America that Sharia faithful Muslims are not wanted here. I imagine that most Muslims will leave. But of course this could never be done because the Left would cry racism.

    Once again, our true, deepest enemy is not Islam or Muslims, it is LEFTISM and LEFTISTS.

    • “…the Left would cry racism.”

      Even though Islam is not a race.

    • vesey

      When we can make a law that allows us to carry out your suggestions against Islam, then we can do likewise to Christians (the left would love that). Your idea is bad for three reasons (1) any law created against one group can be created against another (2) no one should be presumed guilty because of belief or association (3) it’s absurd to believe that all followers of Islam are hostile to America. Let’s not out of fear become the very kind of oppressors we recognize that the far left and socialists are becoming……….

  3. Check out Bosch Fawstin’s angle on this story at NewsReal Blog:

    http://www.newsrealblog.com/2011/04/24/puppet-pastor/

  4. David McBride

    For a Chat Room, may I suggest using http://www.chatzy.com/
    The Tea Party Patriots use it in conjuction with their weekly leadership webinars.

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