The Washington Post reports:
Senators left Capitol Hill early Saturday morning without taking action to extend or replace a controversial surveillance program set to expire at month’s end, paralyzed by a debate over the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.
Our tentative answer to the dilemma: As there’s an administration in power that believes government should control our lives, we would vote for civil liberties over national security; if there were an administration that knows it’s first duty is to protect our freedom, we would trust it not to overstep the mark, so we would vote for national security.
And yet …
Trouble is, even if we were so lucky as to get a reasonably trustworthy administration, it could all too easily be replaced by another statist gang such as we have at present.
Readers are invited to give their own views on this difficult conundrum.
First Pamela Geller was attacked by terrorists for holding a free speech event. Then she was attacked by the media for the same reason.
Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media looks at the media’s twisted treatment of Geller after the foiled shooting in Garland, Texas.
The left-slanted media want sharia enforced in America rather than US constitutional law.
And not only the left-slanted media. Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, and Greta van Susteren of Fox News have also blamed Pamela Geller for exercising her free speech rights. Dhimmis all.
However, also on Fox News, the excellent Megyn Kelly argued with Bill O’Reilly and decisively showed him to be wrong – though he still didn’t seem to understand that he was.
Kelly told O’Reilly … the point [Pamela Geller and her organization] were making about free speech was a solid one. The First Amendment, she said, isn’t meant to protect popular speech; it’s meant to protect “the most outrageous, offensive, incendiary speech”.
O’Reilly countered, “It’s always cause and effect… This is what happens when you light the fuse, you get violence.” Kelly was surprised to hear that, telling O’Reilly he sounds like he’s “attacking the event itself”.
When O’Reilly said he would “do it another way,” Kelly got really fired up and said this:
“You know what else the jihadis don’t like? They hate Jews. Should we get rid of all Jews? That’s the path we’re gonna go down if we don’t stop catering to the jihadis.”
Watch the video here.
In the video below, Pat Condell, our fellow atheist, speaks eloquently about the many ways in which Islam is offensive.
The leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Ed Miliband, says he will ban and punish “Islamophobia” if he becomes Prime Minister, which he very well might if his socialist party wins the forthcoming general election. He is saying this in order to woo Muslim voters. Most Muslim votes go to the Labour Party, but some Muslims say that voting at all is wrong because only Allah must govern mankind. Also, Ed Miliband is Jewish. Are the Muslims who go to the polls likely to cast their votes for a Jewish leader?
If he gets into 10 Downing Street and has his Party make it a crime to criticize Islam, what will happen to Pat Condell? We are pretty certain he won’t stop making his videos, speaking freely, and expressing loud and clear the highly moral loathing and fully justified contempt he has for the criminal religion of Muhammad.
We learn from Scott Johnson at PowerLine:
On April 15 the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale inaugurated its annual Disinvitation Dinner. … Keynote speaker was George Will … took up the subject of the parlous state of free speech. … This is a timely speech on an important subject as liberal fascism continues its march through the institutions.
Scott Johnson selects this extract:
Free speech has never been, in the history of our republic, more comprehensively, aggressively and dangerously threatened than it is now. The Alien and Sedition Acts arose from a temporary, transitory fever and were in any case sunsetted and disappeared. The fevers after and during the First World War and in the early culture war era also were eruptions of distemper rooted in local conditions and local issues bound to disappear, which they did.
Today’s attack is different. It’s an attack on the theory of freedom of speech. It is an attack on the desirability of free speech and indeed if listened to carefully and plumbed fully, what we have today is an attack on the very possibility of free speech. The belief is that the First Amendment is a mistake. . . .
Yesterday the Democratic Party, the oldest political party in the world, the party that guided this country through two world wars and is more responsible than any other for the shape of the modern American state — the Democratic Party’s leading and prohibitively favored frontrunner candidate for the presidential nomination announced four goals for her public life going forward, one of which is to amend the Bill of Rights to make it less protective. It’s an astonishing event. She said that she wants to change the First Amendment in order to further empower the political class to regulate the quantity, content and timing of political speech about the political class — and so far as I can tell there’s not a ripple of commentary about this on the stagnant waters of the American journalistic community.
There is also a video of George Will delivering his entire speech. We cannot import it but we hope our readers will treat themselves to it. It is all meat. We assure you the hour passes very quickly.
The Left likes to believe – as Obama and Harry Reid often iterate – that it is “on the side of history”.
Is history then stuck with those stale and failed ideas of a Marxian stamp propagated by the likes of Kenneth Galbraith, John Maynard Keynes, or the bone-headed strategies of Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Priven?
Or tending back to the Dark Ages with a resurgence of Islam?
Surely not. A civilization that has put a man on the moon; has invented the computer, the internet, the driverless car; that watches the expansion of the universe; that can replace a faulty human heart with a new one; that has used liberty to become rich, knowledgable, and ever more inventive, is not going to go back to communism or the law of the seventh century desert?
Quo vadis then?
The maliciously lefty and deeply nasty New York Times notices a rise in libertarian opinion in America.
Libertarianism has been touted as the wave of America’s political future for many years, generally with more enthusiasm than evidence. But there are some tangible signs that Americans’ attitudes are in fact moving in that direction.
The NYT goes on to substantiate its claim with figures and a chart.
It defines a libertarian, fairly enough, as “someone who believes that the government is best when it governs least”.
There have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
The Tea Party movement also has some lineage in libertarian thinking. Although polls suggest that many people who participate in the Tea Party movement have quite socially conservative views, the movement spends little time emphasizing those positions, as compared with economic issues.
The perception that the Tea Party – whose chief issue is the need for fiscal responsibility – has “some lineage in libertarian thinking” is remarkable for that newspaper. It seldom removes its red blindfold long enough to replace it for a short time with blinders. For it to see something that is actually there but not obvious is a lucky moment of illumination worth a cheer or two. The author of the article is Nate Silver. Perhaps he found some cunning way to let that uncongenial revelation slip past editorial oversight.
Or perhaps he and his editors think that libertarian thinking is bad anyway. If we didn’t know that to be the case already, there’s a hint of it in what comes later.
The libertarian opinions, revealed by a CNN poll and quoted in the article, are these:
Some 63 percent of respondents said government was doing too much — up from 61 percent in 2010 and 52 percent in 2008 — while 50 percent said government should not favor any particular set of values, up from 44 percent in 2010 and 41 percent in 2008.
The author, apparently not happy to accept what the poll reveals, comments:
Whether people are as libertarian-minded in practice as they might believe themselves to be when they answer survey questions is another matter. Still, there have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand …”
So a tolerance with which he has sympathy …
… to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand …
So a skepticism he condemns …
… that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
How confusing for Nate Silver! Libertarians like some of the things he likes. But they also dislike things that he holds dear.
Well, actually, that is the case with us too.
We welcome the spread of libertarian sentiment.
We too see no reason why marijuana should be illegal.
As for same-sex marriage, we think it is an hilarious farce, but would on no account oppose it. A 12-year old boy once defined marriage for us as “a legal union between two or more things”. Why not more than two? Why not things or beasts as well as humans? If – as the argument goes – they love each other? (Well, we said it’s a farce.)
Where we are strongly with libertarians is on the issue of economic freedom. As our contributing commenter Don L often recommends: accept that the Austrian School is right and allow no government interference whatsoever in economic activity – and abolish the Fed. We also advocate keeping taxes (flat-rated) very low. So low that they cannot sustain a government that does much more than it absolutely has to do – protect the liberty of the people, from outside enemies, and domestic criminals. And enforce the law of contract.
But we too have some quarrels with libertarians.
There are those among them who outrageously condone the corruption of children, even the use of them for pornography “as long as they are willing and are paid for their services”!*
Quite a large number of libertarians are historical revisionists, and some who ridiculously and with evil intent deny that the Holocaust ever happened.**
And most libertarians want America to take no notice of what’s going on in the world beyond its borders, except for trade and vacations. As if ignorance is a protection from a world full of expansionist tyrannies and ideologies.
No. None of that.
But a libertarianism that holds individual freedom as the highest value, and knows that it is only possible under the rule of law; and at the same time is committed to preserving the best of everything America has achieved in the past, is a libertarianism that we can – and do – embrace.
* We cannot link to articles that discuss this. Access to them is “forbidden”.
**Although the article we link to here does endorse what we say that some libertarians deny the Holocaust, it goes too far in criticizing Reason and its sponsors.
Yesterday (March 9, 2015), on Fox TV, Charles Krauthammer pointed out to Bill O’Reilly that the Left now has control of almost all the institutions that shape our culture. He is right.
The chief disseminators of ideas – the universities, the entertainment industry, and almost all the press and TV news media – accept and propound Leftist values and aims almost as naturally and unquestioningly as we breathe air. The only exceptions, as Krauthammer pointed out, are Fox News, “three pages of the Wall Street Journal”, and talk radio. Of course the intolerant dictatorship of the Left wants to silence them. The Left brooks no dissent.
Generation after generation is growing up and becoming the workers and welfare-dependents, the rulers and bureaucrats, the parents and teachers, the writers and preachers of what used to be the free world, convinced to a man and woman – and every one of the other 70-plus genders now compulsorily recognized by the Left – that there is such a thing as “social justice”, that it is supremely desirable, and that it can be attained by government controlling the economy, pretending to control the climate, and tightly regulating how and where and for how long people live their lives.
Leftists really do believe that their dogma is “the truth”, and the only good. Just like religions. Which is why we say that the creed of Leftism, though it does without a traditional divinity, is a religion. It has a god of sorts in History, which it holds to be the uber-director of our destiny, warning us, like the Borg in Star Trek: “Resistance is futile.”
Those of us who still cling to the quaint old-fashioned notion that individuals should be free to live and think and act as they choose, and that their freedom should be protected by the rule of objective law, are a fast diminishing minority. Our own descendants will consider us cranks.
America was founded on the idea of individual freedom protected by the rule of law. Because its people were safe and free, they made the United States the mightiest and the most prosperous country of all time.
It was good while it lasted.
We extracted these paragraphs from an article we liked in the Washington Post by Professor Jonathan Turley, who, though reputed to be a liberal, does actually seem to have a taste for liberty:
The greatest threat to liberty in France has come not from the terrorists who committed such horrific acts this past week but from the French themselves, who have been leading the Western world in a crackdown on free speech.
Indeed, if the French want to memorialize those killed at Charlie Hebdo, they could start by rescinding their laws criminalizing speech that insults, defames or incites hatred, discrimination or violence on the basis of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sex or sexual orientation. These laws have been used to harass the satirical newspaper and threaten its staff for years.
Speech has been conditioned on being used “responsibly” in France, suggesting that it is more of privilege than a right for those who hold controversial views.
In 2006, after Charlie Hebdo reprinted controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that first appeared in a Danish newspaper, French President Jacques Chirac condemned the publication and warned against such “obvious provocations”.
“Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided,” he said. “Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility”.
The Paris Grand Mosque and the Union of French Islamic Organizations sued the newspaper for insulting Muslims — a crime that carries a fine of up to 22,500 euros or six months’ imprisonment. French courts ultimately ruled in Charlie Hebdo’s favor. But France’s appetite for speech control has only grown since then. …
Charbonnier [one of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists] died, as he pledged, standing up rather than yielding. The question is how many of those rallying in the Place de la Republique are truly willing to stand with him. They need only to look more closely at those three statues. In the name of equality and fraternity, liberty has been curtailed in France. The terrible truth is that it takes only a single gunman to kill a journalist, but it takes a nation to kill a right.
While we agree with what Professor Turley’s point, we would put it a little differently. We always prefer to speak of freedom rather than of rights: as in “I am free to ….” rather than “I have a right to …”, because ideally we are free to do anything that a law does not proscribe, and ideally all laws protect freedom.
This is a good place for us to declare another of our long-held convictions. That it is impossible to have both liberty and equality. (Fraternity is a superfluous sentimentality that we’ll simply overlook.)
This seems to us so obvious that we can only wonder why everyone, even the French, can’t see it.
Equality – other than in the eyes of the law – can only be created and maintained by force, so there goes liberty. Leave people free and they will not match each other in accomplishment or anything else.
Where the people are free they are not equal, and where they are equal they are not free.
The Left wants equality. We want liberty.
“Islamism”, “radical Islam”, “Islamic extremism”? They don’t exist. There is only Islam. All Muslims believe that sharia law and its punishments – limb amputations for theft, death for adultery, apostasy, and homosexuality – are the best of all possible punishments. How could any be better, when these have been prescribed by Allah himself?
So says this Norwegian. And almost all the Norwegians in his audience agree with him.
President Obama and New York Mayor de Blasio are guilty of encouraging lawless mobs in Ferguson and New York (see here and here). So they both have a share in the events leading up to the murder of two New York police officers, Winjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, last Saturday, December 20, 2014.
More deeply guilty of creating conditions in which those murders could happen, is the outgoing attorney general of the United States, Eric Holder, who has been working for racial injustice for years.
This is from PJ Media by J. Christian Adams:
Wickedness has darkened this season of lights in Brooklyn. It is no surprise or accident that a ghoul like Ismaaiyl Brinsley bathed himself in messages of hate, racial division and anger and then chose to destroy lives. But Brinsley wasn’t alone in his racially soaked hatred of the police.
For starters, a mob has Brinsley’s back. This seemingly disconnected mob has been on the prowl in the months since America learned of Ferguson, Missouri. They’ve smashed up windows of banks in Berkeley, burned up bakeries in Ferguson, and looted, burned, shot, robbed and killed across the nation. But such mobs are really never disconnected, are they?
When a mob led by Al Sharpton chants on the streets of New York City they want “dead cops,” people should expect dead cops.
The clapping and laughing at the crime scene in Brooklyn as well as the happy-it-happened racialist venom on Twitter leave no doubt that the mob has Brinsley’s back. …
The culture of the West has largely distinguished itself by elevating the dignity of the individual, by treating others as they wish to be treated.
But ideas alone aren’t enough to turn back barbarians. Sir Winston Churchill understood that leaders must lead civilized people against barbarism. “Civilization will not last,” he said at the University of Bristol in 1938, “freedom will not survive, peace will not be kept, unless a very large majority of mankind unite together to defend them and show themselves possessed of a constabulary power before which barbaric and atavistic forces will stand in awe.”
Without men in power and police on the streets who share these values, history trends toward barbarism.
All of which brings us to Eric Holder and his swarm of lawyers at the Justice Department. Holder, rather than opposing the lawless, says things to make the mob’s fury seem more justified.
Holder went to Ferguson and complained that the police even treated him in a racially unfair manner. His stories are always thin on detail and merit closer media scrutiny. …
After visiting Ferguson, Holder sent swarms of federal officials into town and made it clear the federal government was on the side of the protesters. The “constabulary powers” which Churchill spoke of had crossed over.
For those who haven’t paid attention to Holder’s anti-police policies, now is a good time to start paying attention. And it isn’t just Holder. He’s hired swarms of other lawyers and put them in important positions where their anti-police attitudes have become federal government policy.
Hans von Spakovsky covered the rabidly leftist backgrounds of the lawyers hired by Holder who police the police. For example, Christy Lopez was hired as a deputy chief of the section. Prior to working at DOJ, Lopez helped an illegal alien support group called Casa de Maryland teach aliens how to avoid speaking with police officers. Even worse, von Spakovsky notes:
On her resume, Ms. Lopez proudly references the paper she authored for the liberal American Constitution Society, entitled The Problem with “Contempt of Cop” Arrests. She also highlights the presentation she gave on “Flying While Brown” at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee’s annual convention. She has made numerous media appearances alleging post 9/11 ethnic profiling. She is also a founding partner of “Independent Assessment and Monitoring,” which provided oversight of police departments and prisons.
Lopez had the perfect qualifications to work for Eric Holder. She was a crusader against cops. … [And] Lopez isn’t alone.
Every single one of her coworkers hired by Holder is a radical leftist, more often taking the side of the lawless than the law-abiding citizen. The professional background of attorney after attorney in Holder’s Special Litigation Section reads like a farce. They’ve worked for Islamic terrorists, black nationalist groups and even an organization called the Junta for Progressive Action. …
These lawyers are not fans of “constabulary powers.” You cannot fully understand what the Justice Department’s policies are toward police officers without understanding the outlandish personal and professional backgrounds of the lawyers enforcing those policies.
To oversee these dozens of new radical lawyers, President Obama appointed a radical’s radical to lead them — Debo Adegbile. Adegbile was Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights Division at Justice. Adegbile’s anti-police history is what eventually sunk his nomination.
In response, Obama and Holder have tapped Vanita Gupta to run the Civil Rights Division as acting assistant attorney general, and eventual nominee. Gupta is no different than Adegbile … [She] came from the ACLU, where she spent most of her time waging a war against the police. …
After filling government jobs with anti-police radicals, Holder’s Justice Department got busy attacking police departments and law enforcement across the United States. Actions against police departments have been launched in Seattle, Portland, Cleveland, Albuquerque, New Orleans, Miami, and, naturally, New York City.
In Ferguson, Holder even leveraged federal power to agitate against police officers wearing bracelets of solidarity with Officer Darren Wilson. In a letter signed by Christy Lopez of the Special Litigation Section, the Justice Department says such bracelets “upset and agitated people.”
The mob was offended, and thus Holder acted. Holder used his power to attack “constabulary powers,” over jewelry.
To “train” police officers how to behave, Holder’s Justice Department has hired an outfit which has been affiliated with Angela Davis. That would be the same Angela Davis who was a Black Panther radical. That’s the same Angela Davis who went on trial for the murder of a judge presiding over another murder trial of race radicals who killed a prison guard. Davis is still a racially venomous anti-police radical. That Holder’s DOJ goes within a country mile of her is a disgrace.
Holder’s lawyers aren’t beyond using lies, deceit and illegal conduct to frame cops either. Take the Justice Department’s prosecution of New Orleans police officers on civil rights charges. In that trial, Justice Department lawyers illegally and unethically set up fake blogging accounts. The DOJ lawyers ran a sock-puppet campaign against the cops on trial by posting comments to newspapers. They commented on evidence and attacked witnesses helpful to the police.
[You must] know who Karla Dobinski is … to understand Holder’s tolerance of any means necessary to convict cops.
Dobinski was one of the lawyer puppeteers in the campaign against cops. Federal Judge Kurt Engelhardt called the DOJ misconduct “grotesque” in a 129-page order that must be read to fully understand the anti-cop rot inside Holder’s Justice Department.
But Dobinski acted even more unethically than her fellow DOJ sock puppets. … It was Dobinski’s job to guard against any information obtained in the internal affairs investigation conducted by the New Orleans Police Department from being used against the police on trial. Dobinski’s job was to protect the rights of the defendant cops. Instead, [she] joined in the anonymous DOJ campaign posting [hostile] comments about the cops at newspaper sites.
When national and local government encourages violence against the very enforcers of law and order that it employs to carry out its prime duty of protecting the life, person and property of every individual, government is betraying the people. Obama, de Blasio and Holder can best be likened to generals who encourage the enemy to attack the troops they command, in hope of the enemy’s victory.
When looting, burning mobs, screaming for “dead cops”, are not only exonerated but actively encouraged by the President, the Mayor of New York, and the head of the Department of Justice, the country has descended into anarchy. First anarchy and then tyranny is what happens whenever and wherever the far Left acquires unconstrained power.
Is it too late to restore the free republic of America that the Founders tried to establish forever on the rock of the Constitution?
From our Facebook page:
When the President of the United States, the Attorney General, and the Mayor of New York all line up with the criminals of Ferguson and New York against the police, what should we expect but the murder of policemen?
In Brooklyn, an “anti-police activist” walked up to a police car and shot two policemen who were sitting inside it. One was pronounced dead at the scene while the second died shortly after at a hospital. The gunman ran to a nearby subway station, pursued by other policemen, where he shot himself. Many, many liberals celebrated on Twitter. The murderer has been identified as Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, a Muslim, and a gang member from Baltimore. On Instagram, he announced his intention to murder two policemen in retaliation for the death of Eric Garner. Many of the anti-police demonstrations have explicitly called for policemen to be murdered. Marchers in New York last week chanted, “What do we want? Dead cops!” Today they got them.
(Note: We took most of our information from a PowerLine post found here. In our one-paragraph Facebook summaries of articles, we use mostly, but not entirely, the original wording.)