‘Free speech aside …’?

“Free speech aside, why would anyone do something as provocative as hosting a ‘Muhammad drawing contest’?” The New York Times reporter twitted.

How does one get one’s head around the beginning of that sentence? That’s like saying life, liberty and property aside … A reporter said that?

Two men were killed over the weekend trying to assault with rifles a Garland, Texas, confab that featured a cartoon contest for depictions of Muhammad. That’s what prompted the Charlie Hebdo massacre and assorted other atrocities.

This country values its First Amendment right to free speech and the radicals perhaps now will recognize this country values its Second Amendment rights too.


19 comments on “‘Free speech aside …’?

  1. John says:

    Can you please resend this.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I fully support free speach. American style. Not european style. Several years ago I watched Queen Elizabeth adressing Parliament on their opening session day, as customery. The Queen mentioned things that were important to her. One of the items was free speach and she was asking Parliament to do all they can to protect free speach. That was after some public scandal with the papers, I can’t remember the details. But since them, the Brits can’t display the Flag because it might hurt someones feelings and cause trouble.

    I say we should continue to have the cartoon contests for those willing. Let the chips fall where they will.

    They were watching those terrorist for some time. To me, that proves the NSA is useless. Their spying is no better than the police. They only come in after the fact and clean up the mess. There is ZERO prevention. Only reaction. A lot of good that does. Then they pass laws that only effect the law abiding citizens. The criminals don’t abide by them.

  3. Barbara says:

    I was listening to Mark Levine yesterday, and I think a caller had a great idea. We should hold these cartoon contests all over the country since it will bring out all the terrorists from their hiding spots. Clearly, they are already here among us, so what better way to find them and deal with them effectively. Think of all the money it would save – the FBI, NSA, CIA, etc and no need for lawyers and trials.

  4. Well, with an intent to cause controversy, That might not be to someones legal advantage. With an event inspite of controvsrey, might be a better way to go.

  5. Bill says:

    If you follow the logic(?) of the NY Times…free speech should be curtailed if that exercise would be offensive to those who would deny those rights in the first instance. Thomas Paine must be whirling in his grave at such a comment. I take some solace in the fact that the first amendment gives the right to the NY Times to make asinine statements.

  6. Bill, Is that kinda like “Intolerance will not be tolerated?”

  7. Patrick says:

    Funny that a few years ago, many on the right tried repeatedly, and probably not coincidentally, during the lead up to several elections, to get the country to ban people from expressing their anger with the country by burning the American flag.

    I wonder how many of those here, proudly hailing the actions of the cartoon characters from Texas rose up in support of the freedom of those folks to express that anger. (Not really though)

  8. The R-J archives are no longer extant, but I wrote repeatedly in opposition to the flag burning amendment.

  9. Patrick says:


    That’s a shame because I would be interested in your take on that issue, as expressed back then.

  10. Patrick says:

    Now that my interest has been piqued though, and after an admittedly brief search of the interwebs, I did find this:


    Not directly on point, but the passing reference to flag burning, in my humble opinion, hardly constitutes much, if any, of a defense of free speech.

    “Criminalizing defamation of a particular class is dangerous ground, comparable to banning flag burning or where one can build a mosque.”

    “Dangerous ground”? Seems a little wishy-washy don’t you think Tom?

  11. I feel there should ZERO laws controling free speach. Granted, you can’t yell fire in a theater.

    I think there is a saying that goes something like this, “A man walking through the village, with an ax, may not do so in a threatening manor.”

    Maybe that could apply to all of our rights to varying degrees.

  12. Winston Smith says:

    Gee, Patrick, calling out Tom because “dangerous ground” wasn’t strong enough for your taste seems a bit silly, since I don’t believe I’ve ever seen you write anything negative about political correctness or hate crimes, which are the left’s favorite ways of systematically destroying free speech.

    BTW, I thought the anti-flag burning amendment was ludicrous, but I don’t recall expressing that in the RJ opinion section.

  13. Patrick says:

    Well Winston, Tom suggested in his original post, some incredulity that a writer would imply that free speech carried with it some responsibility. He then stated that he had previously written articles against any “flag burning amendment”, but Tom’s one opinion piece that I was able to track down from the RJ, merely offered NOT an opinion that flag burning was absolutely protected speech, but that instead any law against it, comparable to a criminal law against defamation, was just treading in “dangerous ground”.

    Not that I doubt Thomas’ statement (and mostly the implication) that he would be against any such law, but still what I did find, was hardly the full throated free speech argument I would have expected; don’t you agree?

    Having said that the Supreme Court has consistently held that the free speech rights recognized by the First Amendment are not absolute and, although as applied, some cases have, in my opinion, been wrongly decided (Bong Hits for Jesus case, as an example) I agree with the principle.

    Don’t we all have some moral responsibility to not say things even if we may have the legal right to say them? And isn’t this all the writer Tom seemingly mocked here was suggesting? How could that be wrong as a moral proposition?

  14. Athos says:

    Free speech is not curtailed? Kinda like Freedom of Religion? Care to talk about God, Morality and Original Sin, Patrick, me boy?

  15. Freedom of speech comes with 100% accountability. Hurt someone, expect to be called out. Having your feelings hurt doesn’t count. Name calling doesn’t count. Larry Flint won his point in court. They called him a scumbag while awarding in his favor. Wow, what a country. You want to burn my flag, go ahead. I don’t like it, but, do not ever tell me I cannot insult you. Any restriction on any of our rights is wrong. except as mentioned earlier. Other’s rights end where ours begin.

  16. I really feel abridging the press is a crime. Monoply type ownership of the press outlets should be broken up. Regulating commerce is a job for Congress. The press is part of commerce.

  17. Winston Smith says:

    I suppose if we’d all follow Thumper’s mom’s advice, the world would be friendlier, however, to stand up for our rights, our speech must sometimes get a bit testy. Defending liberty has never been for the faint of heart.

    One thing is now obvious, if you’re going to schedule an event that may upset radical Muslims, you better employ some armed security or do it next door to a gun show.

  18. Winston, I agree with most of what you said. Hiring security would not be required.

  19. Winston Smith says:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s