Politics

The Preposterous Limiting of Free Speech and the Morons Who Actually Want to Do It

For once, the always magnanimous Jeffrey Tayler has written something well worth reading, something that even a raving, lunatic theist, such as myself, can look at and cry “amen!” Granted, the irony that I find so much pleasure in an article subtitled “Laughing at Religion Is Exactly What the World Needs” has not gone unnoticed and, to be sure, much of its content is the usual putrid drivel we’ve come to expect from a Salon writer who apparently has little more than a Sunday school education in theology. But Tayler’s unhealthy obsession with religion-bashing and proclivity for hate-fueled rants notwithstanding (What happened to you as a child, Jeffrey?), the core of his overall contention, in this article at least, is pure, unadulterated gold.

That Bill Maher has been so harshly criticized on so many occasions has often been a thing of disappointment for me, and I sometimes find it rather amusing that the bulk of this criticism comes from those of his own political persuasion, which, as far as I can tell, only reinforces the idea that those on the left have become increasingly totalitarian: liberals in name only. Interestingly, Tayler seems to neglect any mention that modern liberalism is one of the greatest enemies to free speech, choosing instead to focus solely on those Muslims and Christians who demand respect and freedom from offense, all the while failing to note that the Muslims and Christians calling for such action are primarily those who identify with the political left. A curious omission indeed.

None of this is to suggest that conservatives are innocent, mind you. It was, after all, Paul Weyrich who accused Natalie Maines of treason for doing little more than than criticizing George W. Bush (Let’s just bring back the Alien-Sedition Acts, shall we?), and you’ll find no end of non-profit “family” organizations whining over some benign joke or sexual innuendo that offends the delicate sensibilities of their pious, little souls. Rarely, however, have they actually called for the stifling of one’s right to unhindered expression (at least not in recent years), and what gripes they do have often remain in a relatively private setting as opposed to the appalling media circus incited by these idiotic clowns who clamor for that impossibly stupid forced “apology.” Give me a break. The matter is really one of balance and weight, since lunatics on both sides of the aisle will always try to quell the ideas of their ideological opponents in flagrant rebellion against the standards set by Milton, Bayle, Paine, Voltaire, Jefferson, Mill, and yes, the United States Constitution; but to my eye, it is the contemporary left that has been far and away the greatest single transgressor of this most basic human right, convicting the world of thought crimes and raping the minds of those with whom they disagree.

In a horrifying blog entry entitled “Here Is Why It’s Time to Get Tough on Hate Speech in America” a disgusting and evil woman by the purported name of Tanya Cohen, whose writings reek of such unimaginable, closed-minded intolerance that I momentarily thought her a satirist of the highest rank, proposes the outlawing of everything from insults and impoliteness to “speech that undermines the authority of the state.” (Odd that one by the name of Cohen should be so averse to questioning governmental authority.) Laughably she continues to suggest this abominable tripe all the while maintaining that she is a “strong believer in the unalienable right to freedom of speech,” as if one who calls for the banning of unacceptable ideas can possibly have even the slightest idea of what free speech really is. The whole concept of it is based on the exchange of unacceptable ideas and on the anti-authoritarian rhetoric that flourished at a time when the human mind was being liberated from the intellectual tyranny of popes, bishops, and man-made institutions.

Today we have controversy over whether or not public transportation in New York should carry the AFDI’s ad campaign exposing that farcical piss-stain of a religion known as radical Islam, Islamo-terrorism, Satanism, or whatever you prefer to call it. Admittedly, the matter is a sticky one since a company should never be forced to advance a message it finds objectionable, and, as a public benefit corporation, the MTA straddles a unique fence as part private entity and part government organization. It’s not my state. I’ll leave it alone. The whole debate, however, is indicative of the times: times characterized by a shocking sensitivity unparalleled in the history of mankind and accompanied by a fear of every possible offense that may possibly arise. As a result of this forced and artificial “tolerance” the entire left is becoming increasingly intolerant and turning, as Jim Norton says, “into the religious book-burners of the 40s, 50s, and 60s.

What Ms. Cohen and her reprehensible ilk, blinded as their are by their own vile stupidity, don’t seem to understand is that the suppression of a word is the suppression of an idea. And the suppression of an idea, even a bad one, is an assault on human progress and probably the most illiberal thing a so-called “civil libertarian” can do. (Don’t sully that word, my dear.) However much I disagree with Jeffrey Tayler and the nonsensical excrement he tries to pass off as “reason,” the man is absolutely right when he says,

“[S]hut up!” is the last command of which the Greats of the Enlightenment and their heirs would have approved. The 19th-century British philosopher John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty, put it best, referring to suppressed speech: “If the opinion is right, [the shutter-uppers] are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.” If Maher is really so wrong, why not let him hoist himself by his own petard?

The Rank Stupidity of Third-Wave Feminism

NOTE: This entry should not be taken as a diatribe against women’s rights and their freedom to choose their own destiny. It is, however, a diatribe against certain strains of feminism that twist the data and use it for certain socio-political ends.

The basic ignorance of female sexuality among modern-day feminists is borderline appalling — not the kind that simply want legal equality, mind you, which is nothing more than good and consistent classical liberalism, but the kind that are somehow under the mistaken impression that males and females are virtually identical, gender roles being little more than an artificial construct imposed by the (evil) patriarchy. More than once have I heard it asked why a woman’s breast should be considered erotic when, in fact, the answer should be immediately obvious to anyone with even a modicum of scientific reproductive knowledge, or at least it should be so after it’s pointed out. Breastfeeding, anyone? There you go. To make matters worse, it usually turns out to be members of the academic elite who are propagating this nonsense, thereby giving it an air of authenticity, as if voices from sociology and gender studies departments are really worth hearing — the two fields that have most thoroughly rejected the best findings in contemporary behavioral ecology and evolutionary psychology.

Years ago, when he was still alive, the late Christopher Hitchens wrote an article entitled “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” in which he pointed out, not that no women are funny of course, but only the well-known fact that, on average, females just simply aren’t as humorous as men. For this he was dubbed a “sexist,” a label he also received for benignly suggesting that women shouldn’t be forced to work if they don’t want to, as if that’s really such a ghastly idea. At any rate, similar disparities to that in the humor department exist in a variety of areas, and, for most of them, highly plausible evolutionary reasons can be posited as explanations, thereby negating the hypothesis that some socially-constructed sexism is to blame — this being part of the left’s own war on science.

No doubt in the coming months we’ll start hearing more about the overblown wage gap, primarily from Democrats who completely ignore the research which suggests that the classic 78% number can be reduced to something along the lines of, say, 5-8% by taking into account the choices women make with regards to family, education, and the like. Yes, it could be that the remaining percentage is due to some form of discrimination, but in reality this has yet to be confirmed, so anyone arguing that it is has the same burden of proof as those arguing otherwise. Up until now I’ve not seen it addressed, but given that the stupidly named “heightism” sees even shorter males earning less than their taller counterparts, I have to wonder if a part of this left-over mystery gap can’t be explained by the obvious fact that women are also, on average, shorter than men, in which case gender has little, if anything, to do with it at all.

As long as the writers at Jezebel and The Huffington Post still think that “slut shaming” is some patriarchal double-standard, though, then it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot what anyone says about the wage gap, because it’s quite obvious that many of these inane ramblers are operating within a nonsensical framework that violates the very nature of most human beings. Imagine, if you can, the psychological harm that could potentially befall those who are forced into the Procrustean bed of gender feminism, which really is far more than a hideous annoyance. It is, in fact, a sinister threat that should have no place among a population that claims enlightenment and scientific literacy.

Freedom and Fear Are Strange and Secret Bedfellows Who Need a Divorce.

As a corollary to the supercilious bullshittery being peddled by the worst representatives of leftist politics is the tragic proposition by California’s Matthew McLaughlin not only to outlaw homosexual behavior, but to make it a crime punishable by death (via bullets, though it’s not clear if the traditional methods of stoning and burning are acceptable). From one point of view this latter suggestion would appear substantially worse than the gross intolerance demonstrated by mainstream LBGT advocates, as seen especially in the wake of Indiana’s RFRA debacle, yet the matter is nonetheless precisely the same in both cases, i.e. a totalitarian imposition of personal morality upon a vast and diverse population who should have every right to judge for themselves what ethical and religious beliefs they consider best.

It’s hard to imagine McLaughlin making any pretensions of inclusivity, since I suspect most of those embracing his form of theonomy care little for the classically liberal, Enlightenment-based political philosophy of the American way and would prefer instead to live in a Geneva-like utopia, complete with consistory and all just to make sure there’s not too much dancing in the streets. But semantics and persona aside, is there any real difference to the underlying thought processes that inform the polar ends of our ideological spectrum and the participants in modern policy debate? As I see it, one of the major driving forces behind the vitriol of both sides is an incessant and nagging fear, likely stemming from a primitive instinct to favor the group, which can, in turn, cause us to view outside individuals as inherently suspect and potentially dangerous to our own well-being. Beneficial though this may have been in our ancestral environment (and maybe even today in certain contexts), when applied to a world in which democracy reigns, the inevitable result is a sort of political tribalism that elevates identity and ideology over reason and logic, thereby engendering a measure of strife that can’t be assuaged by rationalization, but only by bloodbath and sheer disaster.

No, John Boehner Did Not Violate the Logan Act

If you’re wondering why none of Boehner’s congressional opponents have brought up the Logan Act in response to the recent situation surrounding Benjamin Netanyahu, it’s quite simply because the act is irrelevant, contrary to some of the leftist propaganda suggesting otherwise. The Department of State issued a judgement on a similar matter in the 1970s stating:

The clear intent of this provision [Logan Act] is to prohibit unauthorized persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and foreign governments. Nothing in section 953, however, would appear to restrict members of the Congress from engaging in discussions with foreign officials in pursuance of their legislative duties under the Constitution.

Need I say more?

We Can Only Know So Much About Zimmerman and His Intentions

Why don’t we wait to see where the pending civil rights investigation takes us before we start making any more judgements on George Zimmerman’s racial motivations, eh? The FBI found virtually no evidence that Martin’s color served as a catalyst for the events that transpired; and though there may be some kind of subconscious racial bias lying within Zimmerman’s psyche which will never be uncovered, that can never justify the overwhelming desire for a flagrant miscarriage of justice that was seen, and still is being seen, around the nation. Even Johnny McCray – a black lawyer I might add – agreed that acquittal was the only way to go in this case, despite his emotional desire to see a conviction.

Don’t be ashamed. The system worked perfectly fine here and did its job. There have been times when it hasn’t; but it is those instances for which we should be ashamed, not this one.

Does Anyone Actually Understand the American Legal System?

A part of me wanted to wax high and mighty in my diatribe against those who keep talking as if George Zimmerman should have been convicted of murder, but then I realized that such a maneuver would have been wee bit disingenuous of me since I really don’t know a whole lot either, however much I’d like to tell myself that I do.

The fact of the matter is, however, that the verdict was appropriate given the amount and quality of the data presented at the trial. Whether or not George Zimmerman actually murdered Trayvon Martin is irrelevant unless the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that such was the case, since the accused is always presumed innocent, while the accuser is faced with the burden to prove his or her claims. Even if these claims make sense and seem to be probable, a conviction cannot happen if the evidence doesn’t substantiate them to a satisfactory degree. This has nothing to do with race. It’s a basic principle that applied to O.J. Simpson as much as it does to George Zimmerman, and it’s a principle meant to protect the innocent from being wrongfully imprisoned.

Now, it’s hard to deny that something really bad happened back in February. There’s no ignoring it: a young man is dead, and everyone involved will have to live with that reality in one way or another, which is tragic from any perspective. A family will never see their little boy again, and I can’t really blame them for whatever rage and sadness they feel at this point in time, since I’d most likely be the same way. To make matters worse, the ever-present feeling that the color of their skin played a role in Trayvon’s demise no doubt adds an extra sensation of injustice to the already-existing sting of having lost a child. But let’s not forget George Zimmerman. If we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that the the whole thing was an accident (or even if we don’t), then he’s faced with a future in which he bears the responsibility for another man’s death, all the while being hated by not only the black community but a substantial portion of the white. He may have come out alive, but I dare say that there have been times already where he wished the opposite were true.

The way I see it, George Zimmerman committed no actual crime. Did he do something stupid? Maybe; but there isn’t any hard evidence that he broke the law (and again, he can’t be convicted just because people think he’s guilty). Instead of arguing about what appears to some a miscarriage of justice, then, maybe what we should really be focusing on is the underlying cause of racial bias that has tainted both blacks and whites for years, regardless of how this case squares with the formal books of jurisprudence. Zimmerman was suspicious of a man, possibly at least in part, because he was black, while Martin felt he was being followed by a “creepy-ass cracker”; and while one can’t really blame him, his choice of nomenclature may be illustrative of a failure in certain circles of the black community to assuage the already-existing prejudice found among some whites, who become only more aggravated when they feel that everything they do and say is offensive and racist.

Maybe, instead of yelling at each other and crying “foul” each time a racial conflict arises, we could look to those communities and organizations in which blacks and whites exist peacefully side-by-side, taking a page from their book and learning what ingredients are necessary and beneficial for a good and wholesome relationship between the two races and among all. Pointing the finger only makes things worse, and that’s the real injustice because that just strengthens and exacerbates the fundamental condition that got us here in the first place.

Brief Thoughts on the Zimmerman Trial

The way I understand it — and I could be very wrong  — the American legal system has been set up in such a way so as to prevent anyone from being convicted should there be a reasonable doubt as to their guilt. In other words, neither hunches nor emotions count, and whether or not you’re inclined to believe that such and such a person is guilty really makes no difference. The jury’s job is to determine if the evidence is strong enough to convict, not strong enough to be persuasive, not strong enough to satisfy one’s own curiosity.

Regardless of your personal thoughts on Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, those six women in Florida decided that there was some level of reasonable doubt which precluded a conviction of murder or even manslaughter. The same thing happened with Casey Anthony a few years ago. You might not think that’s fair; but I dare say you’ll be loving it should you or someone you love be wrongfully accused.