Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free speech takes a hit.

A friend advises that the Jackson Sun, a small newspaper in a small city in western Tennessee has made referring to Hussein as Hussein in their Opinion and Forum sections a banning offense.

The usual suspects are trotted out for this suppression of speech. As for the reasoning...

So the only reason people have for using it is to stir up racial or anti-Muslim sentiments,

Given that being a Muslim has nothing to do with race, and given that Husseins first and last names are Muslim types, shouldn't we no longer use them? Perhaps we should just say, "The President." The "For Life" can come later.

But onward to more "reasons."

It's not racism ... but it is a tactic that started on the campaign trail with Republican officials invoking the middle name as an epithet, using it to link Obama to a religion that he doesn't even embrace

I never knew that invoking epithets was always illegal, immoral or fattening. And when is it evil or illegal to remind the voters of the background of the candidates?

Facts be facts. Hussein has a background and an early childhood that is, if nothing else, different.

A better question would be, if it is a campaign tactic, what right does a newspaper have in banning it?

And more.

....newspaper represents free speech ... it also is a business, and as such we reserve the right to ask people not to engage in hate speech or try to stir up tensions against a particular group of people.

What is referred to here is commercial free speech, which is limited. The First Amendment forbids prior restraint of political speech by the government. Not the right of, say, an Opinion writer to call Hussein, Hussein.

It's the same principle as not shouting fire in a crowded theatre -- perpetuating the lie that Obama is a Muslim...is just stoking the hatred of mentally unstable people.

Of course there is no connection between the two. Shouting fire in a crowded theatre leads to demonstrable and immediate harmful results. Saying bad things, if using some one's middle name can be called "bad," does not. And if it is, what shall we say about the millions of nasty things said about Bush? Where is the army waiting to attack Bush?

And while the newspaper can claim they are a commercial enterprise, they are the only enterprise named in the Constitution. As such they should have a higher tolerance for free speech that a business making widgets might extend to a worker making widgets deciding the competition makes better ones....and says so.

Even worse, in this case Hussein is now the "government" and by the newspaper doing what he and his political allies want, they have become an arm of the government, and the Constitution has been harmed.

Free speech carried by free newspapers and other media outlets is the best defense against dictators that has ever existed.

As I have often stated, I refer to Hussein as Obama when I am on blogs owned by people I know do not like him to be called Hussein. That is simple courtesy. I am in their home.

But a public newspaper is not a "home."

I started calling him Hussein after reading that he didn't want to be called it, and then reading some comments by various members of the Left.

I never, never, never intend to let a politician tell me what I can call him or her. They work for me. I am superior to them in that relationship and while it may be just my Scot Irish stubbornness towards accepting anyone as my "better," it is what it is.

I think that all of this is part of a bigger picture. We are involved in a shooting war and a culture war. Hussein may not be a Muslim, and I don't believe he is, but these new political rules serves them well and will be trotted out again in the not too distant future. I ask that you examine the PC courts in Canada and the EU to see the logical end of such.

Indeed, I think Churchill said it best and it applies as directly to us on this chilly November day as it did to England sixty six years and two days ago.

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

We can now clearly see the future what it may become and how it may happen. It is up to us to reject it.