Advocates
and defenders of the First Amendment and freedom of speech are strung out like
the three Roman legions that were ambushed and ultimately annihilated by
barbarians in the dense Teutoburg
Forest
in Germany in 9 A.D.  Out of a
force of about 36,000 fighting men, the Romans suffered between 16,000 and
20,000 casualties.
The
First Amendment
, appended to the Constitution with nine other Amendments
which  became known collectively as the
Bill of Rights, reads:
Congress
shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or
the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government
for a redress of grievances.
And
that Amendment is all Americans have at present protecting them from censorship
and a dictatorship. We are marching into an ambush by secular advocates of
censorship and Islamic ones. Our political leadership is either as ignorant of
the perils as were the Roman army’s generals, or just as careless in its
defense, or oft times even hostile to it.
No
European nation has the equivalent of the First Amendment. As Bruce
Bawer
, an American journalist who has lived in Europe for years, noted in
his October 2010 column on the trial of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who
stood trial for “blaspheming” Islam (and who was subsequently
acquitted of all charges):
 One of the most bizarre aspects of being an
American in Western Europe — at least if you’re an American who has opinions
and is used to expressing them freely — is getting accustomed to the fact that
there’s no First Amendment over here. Some of us grew up thinking of Western
Europe as part of the “Free World.” But how free is a country if it doesn’t
recognize freedom of speech as a fundamental right?
Indeed.
Just how “free” is the “Free World” when most of its
members labor under various gradations of the welfare/regulatory state? The
fact is that freedom of speech in Europe is granted
by the various governments there, but it is a conditional granting by the
state, and not a recognized inherent right of the individual. And the
conditions are many and malodorous. The chief complainant in Europe has been
Islam. Bawer notes:
In
recent years, the superiority of America on this score has been affirmed again
and again, as one Western European government after another has prosecuted
individuals for saying or writing things that were deemed unacceptable. In a
preponderance of cases, these prosecutions have been for statements about
Islam. Some of the defendants — Oriana Fallaci, Brigitte Bardot — have been
famous.
The
superiority of the First Amendment lies in the fact that it expresses a
fundamental requirement for existence, while European speech laws deal with
incidentals, as though the “right” to express oneself were a spurious
privilege, icing on the cake of a government permitting one to live and slave
away for the collective. This premise, however, has been introduced into U.S.
law in the guise of “hate speech” and “hate crimes.”
Now,
the problem with “hate speech” is that it is an anti-concept and an attempt to read men’s minds. I
hate Islam. So what? I can explain why I hate Islam, but a rational, and even
an irrational explanation is irrelevant to “hate speech” law. So what
if I express my “hate” in words or in images? Words and images and
even gestures are not metaphysical entities that can be shot, catapulted, or
flung at the object of hate. Words, images and gestures do not have the
physical power to destroy or harm anything or anyone. Perhaps even a dhimmi American judge would concede
those points. He should conclude: No crime
has been committed.
However,
if my “hate speech” provokes initiatory force or actions by those
claiming defamation or being “hurt” by my speech, it is the
“potential” provocation to action for which I could be punished,
penalized and even jailed. The “potential” may not even realize
itself, but woe to me if Muslims began taking physical action against me and
others, resulting in injury, death, or the destruction of property. Look what
happened to the “Innocence
of Muslims
” trailer-maker. His YouTube film was used as an excuse to blame
“free speech” for the attack on Benghazi, resulting in the deaths of
four Americans. He was arrested, held without bail, and subsequently sentenced
to a year in prison. Initially, however, it was our own State Department via
Hillary Clinton together with President Barack Obama that assigned
the blame
. It was later proven that the film
had nothing to do with the attack
.
Remember
what happened after the publication
of the Mohammad cartoons? Muslim
mayhem
. You wouldn’t need to calmly examine Islam as a religious or
political system. Even should you suggest that Mohammad had lice in his beard
and was probably syphilitic, out would come the crazed,
semi-literate Muslim
hordes demanding your head on a pike. It would make no
difference.
My
speech could not by any definition be regarded as an initiation of force. But
the actions taken by those who wish to punish me, or to suppress it before I
have even spoken it – be they Muslims acting on their own, or the government
itself on behalf of Muslims – can be. And the question is: Were my words
provocative? In the final analysis, no.
Men are free to agree or disagree with what I say, or even to ignore what I
say. Absent any attempt by me to force others
to hear what I have to say, to read what I have written, or even to acknowledge
a physical gesture (such as giving Mohammad an “Italian salute”),
then any physical or statutory “retaliation” against me is an initiation of force.
Only
a government can employ censorship against a nation’s citizens, that is, use
initiatory force to silence anyone from expressing a viewpoint, disseminating
information, voicing opposition to a political system, or even showing a
picture. Only a government can “legally” punish an individual for
expressing what is on his mind. And it is the mind which both a censorial government and groups such as Muslims
wish to neutralize or extinguish.  
In
the U.S.
censorship
is a mosaic of disparate instances that do not add up to blanket
censorship one might otherwise associate with iron-fisted dictatorships like
Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, and Communist/Fascist China. Censorship by private
individuals, corporations, newspapers, magazines and the like, however, is not censorship: It is the barring of
viewpoints, language, images or behavior on nominally private premises, be they
pages in a newspaper, over the airwave, physical private property, or an
Internet venue (e.g., Facebook), because they are in opposition to the host’s
viewpoint or violate its rules. Absent in private “censorship” is the
element of force. Individuals do not have a right to force others to act as
their soapboxes for viewpoints or behavior others find objectionable or
repellent. Nor have they a right to literally force themselves on another’s
property.
Europe
continues to follow the path to a state of affairs concerning speech so
restrictive that Europeans may as well not even bother opening their mouths or
writing an essay, for the least criticism, especially of Islam, can be interpreted
by Muslims and by European Union bureaucrats as “hurtful” or
“defamatory” or an expression of “hate.”
Soeren
Kern, in his October 28th Gatestone article “EU
Proposal to Monitor ‘Intolerant’ Citizens
,” reported:
While
European leaders are busy expressing public indignation over reports of
American espionage operations in the European Union, the European Parliament is
quietly considering a proposal that calls for the direct surveillance of any EU
citizen suspected of being “intolerant.”
Critics
say the measure — which seeks to force the national governments of all 28 EU
member states to establish “special administrative units” to monitor
any individual or group expressing views that the self-appointed guardians of
European multiculturalism deem to be “intolerant” — represents an
unparalleled threat to free speech in a Europe where citizens are already regularly
punished
for expressing the “wrong” opinions, especially about
Islam.
 The proposed European
Framework National Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance
was recently
presented to members of the Civil
Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee
of the European Parliament,
the only directly-elected body of the European Union.
Kern
goes on to explain that the focus of the proposed legislation is an unqualified
“tolerance” that will not “tolerate” the least criticism of especially
Islam, and provides a breakdown of the intent and method of enforcing
“tolerance.” Importantly, he emphasizes:
Section
6 states: “It goes without saying that enactment of a Statute for the
Promotion of Tolerance does not suffice by itself. There must be a mechanism in
place ensuring that the Statute does not remain on paper and is actually
implemented in the world of reality.”
An
explanatory note to Section 6 (a) states: “Members of vulnerable and
disadvantaged groups are entitled to a special protection, additional to the
general protection that has to be provided by the Government to every person
within the State.” Another note adds: “The special protection
afforded to members of vulnerable and disadvantaged groups may imply a preferential
treatment. Strictly speaking, this preferential treatment goes beyond mere respect and acceptance lying at
the root of tolerance
.” [Italics
mine]
The
“reality” in Europe is that Islam is setting the terms of every
European’s political existence. One after another, national and local
governments capitulate to demands by Muslims that they be accommodated in terms
of mosque construction, blaring calls to prayers, closing off public streets
for mass prayers, the serving of Islamic halal
food in schools and other “public” venues, and numerous other
“concessions” to Islamic mores (such as they are).
Who
actually are the new “members of vulnerable and disadvantaged
groups”? Non-Muslims. What do the architects of Islam’s “preferential
treatment” expect of non-Muslims “beyond mere respect and
acceptance”? The total surrender of their minds and obsequious submission
not only to Islam, but to the EU’s totalitarian dictats. The Soviets, by
forbidding and punishing all instances of independent thought, hoped to nurture
the creation of a “Soviet Man,” that is, an automaton that would
unthinkingly do the Party’s bidding. The EU hopes its speech suppression laws
will produce the “Tolerant Person,” an automaton that will
“tolerate” its own destruction by being assimilated into Islamic society.
Jacob Mchangama, in an
analysis of the origin and implementation of “hate speech” law in his
December 2011 Hoover Institution paper, “
The Sordid Origin of Hate-Speech Laws,” writes that, indeed, hate speech laws are a
legacy of Soviet totalitarianism:
All western European
countries have hate-speech laws. In 2008, the EU adopted a framework
decision on “Combating Racism and Xenophobia” that obliged all member states to
criminalize certain forms of hate speech. On the other side of the Atlantic,
the Supreme Court of the United States has gradually increased and consolidated
the protection of hate speech under the First Amendment. The European concept
of freedom of expression thus prohibits certain content and viewpoints,
whereas, with certain exceptions, the American concept is generally concerned
solely with direct incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness.
Yet the origin
of hate-speech laws has been largely forgotten. The divergence between the United States and European countries is of
comparatively recent origin.
In fact, the United States and the vast majority
of European (and Western) states were originally opposed to the
internationalization of hate-speech laws. European states and the U.S. shared
the view that human rights should protect rather than limit freedom of
expression. [Italics mine]
Rather, the
introduction of hate-speech prohibitions into international law was championed
in its heyday by the Soviet Union and allies. Their motive was readily
apparent.  The communist countries sought to exploit such laws to limit
free speech.
That “divergence” between Europe
and the U.S. is shrinking to a state of convergence.
Bruce
Bawer also weighed in on the proposed legislation in his October 30th
FrontPage article, “EU
Unveils Crackdown on Free Speech
.”
The
first thing I ever wrote about Islam was an essay for
Partisan Review entitled “Tolerating Intolerance,” which was published a
few months after 9/11. My argument, in brief, was that Islam is not just a
religion but an ideology that teaches an extreme and violent intolerance – and
that Europeans had a right to protect the freedom of their societies by
implementing well-informed immigration and integration policies. Now the
European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), founded in 2008
and consisting largely of former European presidents or prime ministers,
has issued a report whose thrust is – and I quote – that there’s “no need
to be tolerant to the intolerant.”
But
the argument of the report – which was presented to the European Parliament in
late September and takes the form of a “Model Statute for Tolerance”
that the ECTR hopes to see enacted by all EU member states, is light-years away
from the one I made all those years ago in Partisan
Review
. The ECTR’s concern is not with addressing the importation into Europe
of Islamic intolerance but, rather, with addressing the purported intolerance
of Europeans toward (among other things) imported Islam.
President
Barack Obama pronounced
at the U.N
. in September 2012, “The
future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.
” But
the future seems to belong to Muslims and Western judges who would persecute
anyone who gave Islam and Mohammad a scholarly or visceral middle finger. To Islam,
everything said about Mohammad by infidels is “slanderous.”
Cooperating
with the European Parliament is the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation
(OIC), with its recent Geneva
Conference
on speech and its United Nations Resolution 16/18, which seeks
to ban and punish all “defamatory” speech, most and especially about or
against Islam.
Deborah
Weiss reported on October 22nd in her FrontPage article,
“Geneva Conference Moves Toward Criminalizing ‘Islamophobia’.”
In
its quest to criminalize speech that’s critical of all Islam-related topics,
the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)* endorsed the formation of a new
Advisory Media Committee to address “Islamophobia.”
This
past September, the OIC held “The
First International Conference on Islamophobia: Law & Media
.”  The
conference endorsed numerous recommendations which arose from prior workshops
on Islamophobia from media, legal and political perspectives.  A main
conclusion was the consensus to institutionalize the conference and create an
Advisory Media Committee to meet under the newly established OIC Media Forum
based in Istanbul Turkey.
Note
that the conference was not held to discuss the criminalization of “Judeophobia”
or “Christophobia” or even “Atheistiophobia.”
Supposedly,
the purpose of the conference was to support an OIC campaign to “correct
the image of Islam and Muslims in Europe and North America.”
  By this,
it means to whitewash the intolerant, violent and discriminatory aspects of
Islam and Islamists.  The OIC has launched a campaign to provide
disinformation to the public, delinking all Islam from these undesirable traits
and attacks all who insist on these truths, as bigots, racists and Islamophobes….
Its
present goal is the international criminalization of all speech that
“defames” Islam, which the OIC defines as anything that sheds a
negative light on Islam or Muslims, even when it’s true (wrote Clare
Lopez in American Thinker
in 2011).
Its
target is the West and one of its tactics is to accuse those who criticize Islam
or its various interpretations as “Islamophobic.” It is attempting to
pass the equivalent of Islamic blasphemy codes in the West, using accusations
of bigotry to silence anyone who speaks the truth about Islamic terrorism or Islamic
persecution of religious minorities.
The
OIC wants enforceable laws passed in Western nations that complement its wish
to criminalize speech regarding Islam. In practice, this would mean that only Islamic
clerics and spokesmen would be allowed to say anything about Islam. And Muslims,
treated as “victimized” minorities in those nations, would be free to
persecute, murder, rape, and terrorize Jews, Christians, atheists and other
non-Muslims with impunity and indemnity everywhere and any time they wished. As
they do now.
Can
such Orwellian laws be passed in this country? The existence of “hate
speech” and “hate crime” judicial decisions in American courts
has prepared the ground for them here. It was Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton
who invited OIC members to a conference in
Washington
to discuss how American law can conform to U.N. Resolution 16/18
and the OIC agenda. What difference can it make to her if Americans are gagged
and threatened with prosecution for speaking out against Islam or drawing to
the public’s attention the gruesome facts of Islam in practice and in action?
Just remember, and to
paraphrase that Orwellian warning: “Hate speech” is “hate crime.” Just ask Audrey
Hudson
, the journalist whose home was raided by Federal and Maryland state
law enforcement in search of evidence of her own “hate crime.”
And
so began Hudson’s nightmare – held captive by armed agents of the U.S. Coast
Guard, Maryland State Police and the Department of Homeland Security as they
staged a pre-dawn raid in search of unregistered firearms and a “potato gun.”
“I
think they found a great way to get into my house and get a hold of my
confidential notes and go through every other file in my office.”  – Audrey Hudson, journalist
But
instead of taking the potato gun, agents seized unrelated government documents
and notes from the former Washington Times journalist.
Agents took Hudson’s records during a search for guns and related
items owned by her husband, a civilian Coast Guard employee. They also
confiscated her legally registered firearms, according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.
The
lesson here is that a search warrant no longer is a protection against the
depredations of any government agency that has the power to expropriate one’s
property, or to intimidate anyone who has been critical of government policies,
gaffes, failures and tyrannical behavior. Search warrants are now just a
pretext to violate one’s person and one’s rights.

The barbarians and
totalitarians inside and outside our borders are ready to ambush the First
Amendment and render us helpless against their onslaught.