Thursday, March 26, 2009

Freedom of speech: A two-edged sword

My journalist friend in Israel sent me a petition and a link to a cartoon that demonizes Israel. This cartoon.

As I reminded him, and will continue to remind Arab, Jew and Democrat who can't understand the nature of the First Amendment to the Constitution they promised to honor, serve and protect, free speech means the people who hate you have as much right to voice their opinions as you have to voice yours.

That means that when the New Yorker prints a cover that makes fun of Obamessiah or when Danish political cartoonists make fun of the Arabs, and even when the New York Times publishes a political cartoon that portrays Israel as a headless Nazi stormtrooper pushing a Star of David with a shark's head pursuing a woman in chador and her child designated as Gaza off a cliff it is covered by free speech.

The author of the petition is outraged that the New York Times would publish such anti-Semitic filth and calls on everyone to petition the newspaper to apologize and retract the political statement under penalty of losing subscribers and advertisers. Sorry, folks, the Times like most newspapers have enough trouble where subscribers and advertisers are concerned. No petition necessary.

As I explained to my journalist friend, you cannot howl in outrage over a political cartoon that makes you look bad and then howl in outrage when the Arabs are offended by political cartoons that make them look like mad-eyed religious zealots without intelligence or a sense of humor whose only thought in life is to convert or destroy anyone who opposes them. The sword cuts both ways.

The essence of the First Amendment is that you have the freedom to mock and demonize anyone you wish and then stand by and take it like a man when your enemies mock and demonize you. It's the same freedom that saw a Jewish lawyer defend the Ku Klux Klan in front of the Supreme Court to protect their rights even though the Klan would rather burn a Jew than allow him to live.

Freedom of speech is not a light switch you can turn off and on and it is not bludgeon that you can use to punish your enemies indiscriminately. Freedom of speech only works when you can take as good as you give. It means you defend your enemies even when what they say is hateful and degrading and foul.

This is a lesson the Democrats and President Obamessiah and his group fail to understand. You cannot make fun of President Bush without at some point knowing and accepting that people will make fun of you, your policies, your lifestyle and you. You cannot criticize anyone without accepting that people will criticize you. If you shut down any dissenting voice, you shut down your rights as well. You cannot have it both ways. It's time you read the Constitution you promised to honor, respect and defend or step down and let someone who understand the nature of the Constitution and the Amendments that guarantee our freedoms and rights take your place.

Freedom of speech, and indeed all of our guaranteed freedoms, is a two-edge sword that cuts both ways. Defend it or you will find that the sword will cut you equally as deeply as you cut your opponents and enemies.

That is all. Disperse.

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