Free speech, in all its glorious ugliness

Barry Rubin sounds a tocsin at Pajamas Media about the way in which political correctness is slowly but steadily eroding free speech in America, leaving us to speech norms more commonly seen in repressive Middle Eastern countries.  As he explains, there’s a reason “the authors of the American Constitution forbade limits on freedom of speech:  because once you start creating off-limit areas the worst thing that happens is the empowerment of people who have a self-interest in setting and misusing these limits. They can administer these no-go zones by declaring anything they don’t like to be a hate crime.”

Since our Founders were brilliant enough to enact the First Amendment, which prevents the Left from using official channels to shut down opponent’s speech, the Left has latched onto social norms as a way of stifling political discourse:

What is needed is a foolproof tactic, one to which there is no institutionalized opposition so that even your enemies must bow their heads in shame and knees in homage when called names.

So how has the Middle Eastern approach revolutionized Western discourse? What slogans are potent enough to shut people up instantly?

Racism! Homophobia! Islamophobia! And to a lesser extent, perhaps, Sexism! The minute you are accused of racism you are finished. There’s no effective response.


Thus, freedom of speech, rational discussion, and opposition are trumped by “higher values.” The most basic and long-held principles are quickly jettisoned in fear. Newspapers accept censorship, intellectuals embrace telling lies, and women’s rights groups cheer the suppression of women’s rights in Muslim societies. Those who have spent years fantasizing how they would have been heroic resistance fighters against dictatorship fold, trembling, in the face of a single letter of complaint.

I urge you to read Barry’s entire article.  Then, when you’re done, check out Zombie’s illustrated post about a most unusual Easter celebration in San Francisco.  (And before you get your hackles up in the wrong direction, read the whole thing).  SERIOUS CONTENT WARNING.  DO NOT READ ZOMBIE’S POST IN THE PRESENCE OF CHILDREN.  THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT OPENING IT AT THE WORKPLACE, TOO.

I agree with Zombie’s attitude, by the way.  The behavior you see is deeply offensive to some (indeed, I would that it’s deeply offensive to most decent, moral and honorable people), but that’s what happens in a pluralist society that values speech, no matter how ugly, over censorship.

Both freedom of religion and freedom of speech involve the freedom to ridicule religion and speech.  We can handle ugly.  What we cannot handle is the end of free and open political and social debate.  Once we give in to that, the great American experiment is definitively over.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

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  • Charles Martel

    I saw the Zombie piece over on Pajamas Media. He has to be the best photojournalist in the Bay Area. The stuff he covers (uncovers?) are events that the truth-to-power hypocrites at the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Guardian wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot dildo.

    Zombie’s photo essay on the anti-Christian event in Dolores Park is a look at profound ugliness and alienation. I can understand bent people who look at life through a deeply distorted sexual lens, but cannot understand the arrogance and self-absorption that lets parents expose their children to such debasement.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the free speech angle. I think that Zombie’s photos should be broadcast nationwide so that people can see what brave new world sexual freedom has brought us in San Francisco. (Or would that be racist?)

    My only concern about such broadcasts is that people elsewhere might begin to do what the people in San Francisco did long ago: become so desensitized to filth of any sort—feces on the sidewalks, men sodomizing one another at street fairs, drunken louts running naked and pissing wherever they may at the Bay to Breakers race—that it no longer merits any more than shrug.

  • suek

    I didn’t even bother going to Zombie’s site. I’ve seen some of his earlier work, so I know that he gets photos others won’t. And with that strong a warning…I just don’t need to go there.

    >>My only concern about such broadcasts is that people elsewhere might begin to do what the people in San Francisco did long ago: become so desensitized to filth of any sort—feces on the sidewalks, men sodomizing one another at street fairs, drunken louts running naked and pissing wherever they may at the Bay to Breakers race—that it no longer merits any more than shrug.>>

    I wonder if what we’re seeing is a glimpse of the world of the early “chosen people”… A world way before Christianity. The old testament is pretty definite about the unacceptability of homosexuality… Of course, it _could_ be simply a statement about the need for reproduction to the max – but somehow, I suspect that there’s a stronger revulsion included.

    At the same time, it seems to me to give a whole new meaning to “the chosen people of God”.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Is Zombie a “he” or a “she”? I was under the appreciation that it was a woman.

  • Charles Martel

    Danny, I think it’s a guy. It takes a serious set to walk around among San Francisco’s sexual and political deviants. On the other hand, given the likes of Book, Malkin, Palin and other girl grizzlies, having a set is no longer a gender thing.


    Zombie’s photo essay: At least, like the Shakers, they don’t reproduce. What I don’t understand (even according to the Sodom and Gomorrah rules of SF) why are children subjected to this spectacle. Shouldn’t there be one of those wooden ruler signs and markers that says: You have to be ‘this’ tall for the ride.

  • suek

    >>At least, like the Shakers, they don’t reproduce.>>

    Which is why they need the school access in order to recruit…

  • Don Quixote

    Interesting that Zachriel hasn’t shown up on this particular thread telling us what a great place San Francisco is to live.  I suppose this illustrates that it is a great place to live if you have no sense and no shame.

  • Ymarsakar

    It’s common sense, not reason, backing Z’s judgments.

  • Charles Martel

    Zach doesn’t engage in any thread where he cannot run to a Wiki source to make his argument. You will never see him venture an opinion or write a freestanding essay on any issue that would require independent judgment.

  • Libby

    While the drag and nudity didn’t surprise me (I’ve seen Zombie’s posts SF before), it was the sheer meanness of mocking Christians on Easter in such as vulgar was (as in the Hunky Jesus contest winner’s stage name) and that this was so comfortably combined with family-friendly events that got to me.
    I think taken with the recent defacement of a campus Pro-Life display, where someone spelled out “Pro-Choice” and made baby footprints in (fake?) blood, it’s finally dawned on me how very different their existence is from mine, and how much these people hate us. I shudder to think how those children yukking it up at that Sf Easter “celebration” will turn out.

  • Charles Martel

    For several years now pro-lifers have staged a march along San Francisco’s waterfront near the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The event usually draws about 25,000 people from all over California, and is notable for the great number of high school and college-age people who participate.

    They are invariably met by small contigents of anarchists, feminists, queers and Communists, who stand at the side of the street and yell out obscenities, anti-Christian slogans, pro-abortion rants—the usual stream of filth from S.F.’s Enlightened Ones. What’s very striking is the contrast in looks between the two groups. The pro-lifers are upbeat and clean, and dress as though they respect themselves. The counter-demonstrators are a sullen, disheveled-looking group. Most of them dress in costumes or dark colors, as though they are trying to hide their real selves from the daylight, and the face-distorting anger you see on many of their faces almost seems directed at themselves.

    There is still an “ick” factor built into people—an instinctive pulling away from ugliness. When you see Zombie’s photos, even though you’re looking at pixels on a screen miles and miles away from the event, you feel a visceral repulsion at what you’re viewing. The fact that you and so many others feel it is what gives the people who do these vile things their illusion of power. When an indecent man does something to disgust a decent man, he thinks he has won the day because he has elicited such a strong reaction. But does he stop to consider that the decent man’s disgust includes a lamentation over what the indecent man has done to himself?

  • Libby

    Charles, you’re so right about the contrast in appearance and the “ick” factor. One other thing I’ve never understood about these people is why they always want to include nudity in their protests and displays of rebelliousness, like the Code Pink anti-war protests and that nude bike ride they do every year in SF (Zombie covers it) – what’s the point of that? With the exception of that one ‘hunky Jesus’, these people are never the type one would appreciate seeing in their b-day suits.

  • Charles Martel

    Part of it, Libby, is that they’ve never really gotten past being infantile. You know how delighted tots are when they discover that they can produce “poo poo” and “pee pee?” Endless joy, especially when they perceive that adults don’t particularly like visiting the topics.

    The nudeniks are the same. They’re after shock value. What’s pathetic about their gestures is that it doesn’t involve a whit of creativity or effort. I didn’t make or design my body, God/nature did. So I can’t really claim any creativity when I hold up my waste or bare myself from the waist down. The best I can aspire to is to cause a shudder among adults and civilized people.

  • Bookworm

    “Nudeniks, Charles?  You have moved into Sadie and MacG territory with that absolutely brilliant bilingual pun.


    The nudeniks are the same.
    Charles Martel, I love the word – it’s a perfect blend of nudnick (a boring, or bothersome pest of a person) with the obvious photos of the diaper wearing wackos.
    I’ve never been to SF and don’t know if there are many or any mosques in the neighborhood. It would seem to me that steering the ‘festivities’ in the direction of a local minaret could have some local benefits.

  • Ymarsakar

    There’s nothing wrong with fighting in the nude but I’d rather avoid that if I were them. It’s especially hard because you don’t have any protection when you need to run into forest or jungle, you can’t keep and hold unto tactical folding knives or firearms or munitions or grenades, and you don’t have any armor to resist light arms.

    It gets mighty hard to win a battle then. If somebody attacks me by surprise, of course being naked would be a detriment, although I wouldn’t say a critical one. Hand to hand doesn’t really benefit from having armor, especially in enclosed spaces. Which means, to me, that these Leftists think they’re completely safe while they use verbal violence. What’s stopping other people from ending them with the very effective and always popular, physical violence?

    They don’t have protection from the elements. They don’t have munitions or firepower because they don’t have anywhere to carry it. They don’t have firearms. They don’t have armor. So what’s stopping them from getting wiped out and massacred?

    What I’ve noticed is that they, like almost all Leftist alliance members, are derivative. They get their ideas not from their core individualism or concept of belief but on the herd, the common sense of the local village lynch squad. They can’t make anything stand on their own so they “borrow” other people’s ideas in order to give meaning to their meaningless lives.

    I’ve seen a lot of things. Not much can shock me. Maybe if you cut off a living person’s head, threw it at me and it hit me and then I saw its eyes start moving around, maybe I’d be a little be perturbed by the blood, smell, feel, and creepy eyes but that’s about it. My primary concern is, being naked provides some significant penalties to a deathmatch between humans. And preferably, I want to come out of a deathmatch perfectly healthy without a scratch. Thus if armor and weapons are available, I would take them. I wouldn’t go out in the nude just because. Only if it was 110 degrees, the fight’s on a set time limit of a few minutes, and all my weapons are something I can carry.