Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Posts Tagged ‘Free speech’

Want to shut down free speech? Just threaten some violence.

Posted by sanityinjection on September 9, 2009

Another sad milestone in the destruction of free speech at America’s top universities. The occasion this time is a new book by a Brandeis University professor, Jytte Klausen, about the now-infamous “Muhammad cartoons” which appeared in a Danish newspaper in 2005 and sparked riots by offended Muslims around the world.

Klausen’s book, The Cartoons That Shook the World,  is due to be published next week by Yale University Press, which unsurprisingly is owned by Yale University. However, Yale decided at the last minute to remove the actual cartoons themselves – the subject of the whole book – from the book. Yale’s explanation was that the sole reason for the removal of the cartoons was the fear that their publication would lead to more violence by offended Muslims. (Never mind that the same cartoons have been reprinted multiple times in various publications around the world without incident.)

Think about the precedent being set here. Intellectual content can be censored and all it takes is a reasonable expectation that some whack jobs might start a riot over it. Believe me, there are anarchists out there who would be only too happy to start a riot over any content you’d care to censor.

There is a big difference between reasonable and unreasonable restrictions on expression to prevent violence. A reasonable restriction, for example, is requiring neo-Nazi and anti-Nazi demonstrations to occur in different locations or at different times. Everybody still gets to have their say, just not right in each other’s faces.

Chief among those who pushed for the censorship was CNN/Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria, a member of Yale’s Board of Directors: “As a journalist and public commentator, I believe deeply in the First Amendment and academic freedom,” Zakaria said. “But in this instance Yale Press was confronted with a clear threat of violence and loss of life.” So now we have authors advocating the censorship of other authors. If I were to threaten to set fire to the CNN offices the next time Zakaria is interviewed, should CNN ban him from the airwaves?

Ironically, one of the main points that Klausen makes in her book is that the riots over the cartoons were not spontaneous expressions by ordinary Muslims but were deliberately orchestrated by groups already interested in provoking violence.

Score one for the terrorists thanks to the sniveling cowards at Yale.

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Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Miss California Carrie Prejean learns that some speech is more free than others

Posted by sanityinjection on April 23, 2009

Roland Martin weighs in on the controversy surrounding the Miss USA pageant, at which Miss California Carrie Prejean, in response to a question from judge Perez Hilton, gave her opinion on the issue of same-sex marriage:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/22/martin.miss.california/index.html

I agree with Mr. Martin’s comments. We cannot say for certain that Prejean lost the competition because of her remarks, but it seems likely. That isn’t the point, though. Knowing the question might be asked, Prejean as a savvy contestant should never have picked outspoken gay rights advocate Perez Hilton to ask her question. And Hilton was entirely within his rights to ask a tough question like that.

Rather, it is the pillorying of Prejean after the competition, particularly by Hilton, that is reprehensible. If you read what Prejean said, it is very clear that she meant no offense to anyone, but was simply being honest about her belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman – a belief shared by a large percentage of Californians. Apparently, however, she should have kept her mouth shut, because an honest answer is only OK if it conforms to the left-wing orthodoxy.

Further, for Hilton to publicly call Prejean a “dumb bitch” is shameful and classless. Judges are expected not to make nasty remarks about contestants. I would sincerely hope that it will be a cold day in hell before Mr. Hilton is invited to judge any event of any kind again, since he’s clearly not adult enough to handle it. Of course, Hilton thrives on controversy and is no doubt glorying in all the attention whether positive or negative.

One can agree or disagree with Ms. Prejean’s view on same-sex marriage. But no one should castigate her for her honest expression of it when questioned.

Posted in Current Events, Domestic News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Consider the audience

Posted by sanityinjection on October 2, 2008

The New York Post reports that the United Federation of Teachers is handing out Obama/Biden camapign buttons to New York City teachers, and some of those teachers have been wearing the buttons to school:

http://www.nypost.com/seven/10022008/news/regionalnews/teachers_get_hit_on_the_button_131776.htm

Naturally, this is a direct violation of New York State Department of Education policy, which holds that schools are not the place for political advocacy. But some teachers are claiming their right to free speech should not be infringed.

Are these people serious? Do teachers really not understand that many parents already think they are trying to force their political views down students’ throats? The teachers claim it is not their intention to indoctrinate students or intimidate anyone with an opposing viewpoint, but in this case intention isn’t really the point. The teachers’ union can distribute buttons to every teacher in New York if they want, but they should not be worn in school. This is consistent with other office environments which prohibit political expression in the workplace for exactly the same reasons. The rationale is only augmented by the fact that the target audience for a teacher wearing a political button during the school day can only be the students.

Perhaps the most unsettling thing about the entire matter is that the teachers in question are either being deliberately disingenuous or are genuinely clueless. Either way, are these the people we want teaching our children?

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quote of the day

Posted by sanityinjection on June 30, 2008

In a piece on the continuing assault on freedom of speech in Canada, David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen concludes with this beauty:

“The very notion that “your freedom ends when I begin to feel offended” must be shown for what it is: totalitarian flotsam in the foetid swamp of “politically correct thought.””

To quote the “Men on Film” sketch from the 1980s TV comedy “In Living Color”: I give it a “Zorro snap” in Z formation.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/06/keep_fighting.html

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »