I have a friend who’s had to change her name (and profile) on Facebook. She’s a Facebook friend. I’ve never met her, but from what she’s written, I admire her and enjoy reading her posts. If you read her stuff, you’d probably think of her in terms like “outspoken,” “Conservative,” “straightforward,” “no-nonsense” and “frank.” She doesn’t shilly-shally around. She speaks her mind. You can agree with her or disagree, but she has an opinion, and a right to express it. That’s one of the fundamental freedoms in America. Facebook has emerged as a kind of world-wide public town square, providing an e-Soapbox, enabling anybody who wants to share their views, to do so on a global stage. But the dark, ugly underbelly of Facebook is that they do nothing to prevent people who do not appreciate others’ opinions from making threats – even death threats – and frankly scaring the crap out of those who are just trying to express themselves online. That’s wrong. And it’s completely hypocritical, because it would seem that in the world of Facebook, there’s “bad” hate speech, and there’s hate speech that’s perfectly acceptable. Determining which is which evidently depends on which side of the political spectrum you occupy.
The whole concept of “hate speech” is pretty bizarre, at least when it comes to legislation aimed at curbing it. Why? Because defining something as “hate speech” requires that you get inside the head of the speaker, to divine intent. If some idiot opens up his big bazzoo and and says “I hate __________” (fill in the blank with any group that’s picked on), that’s pretty obviously gonna fit the description of “hate speech.” Should that be illegal – or actionable? Nope. Opinions are like sphincter muscles. Everybody’s got at least two, and one of them probably smells pretty rank when it’s open for business. But if you wanna jump up on a soapbox and reveal how ignorant, narrow-minded, or bigoted you are, why stop you? You’re kind of cutting your own throat when you do that. That’s why I think hate speech laws are absolutely stupid and useless. Their only real value is for people who claim to be in a “protected class” to use as a club against anyone who would dare say anything negative about them.
On the other hand, if someone’s standing on a downtown street corner, assembles a crowd, and spews the kind of speech that incites the listeners to go from “attentive crowd” to “angry mob,” then that IS a crime. But the crime isn’t “hate speech.” It’s “insurrection” or “inciting to riot.” The same should be true online. If you encourage people to harm others, for whatever reason, you’re guilty of the same kind of crime. In recent years, the Internet has gotten some people in pretty hot legal waters, as they engaged in online bullying, and found themselves in court, because someone took them seriously when they spewed their hatred.
Then there’s the class of speech where someone literally physically threatens another person with some violence. Could be a beat-down. Could be rape. Could be murder. Doesn’t matter. Threatening someone in that fashion IS a crime, and it doesn’t take a hate speech law to make it so.
Now let’s say that you stumble across a page on Facebook that bristles with hate. Let’s call the page “I Hate America” or “I Hate Israel.” If the title of the page isn’t offensive enough, the contents will turn your stomach. On a website that has only a “Like” button (and refuses to put an “Unlike” or “Hate” button, the page is filled with vile comments – sophomoric, really, until you realize that A) they mean them, and B) they have the capability of carrying out their threats.
So where, you might wonder, is Facebook in all of this. Well, the hypothetical pages listed above are not so hypothetical. They exist. And they are as vile as I’ve described. Even more amazing, they are, as of this writing, still online. Yup. Facebook, in fact, refuses to take them down, saying that by doing so, they would violate the page owner’s freedom of speech.
Seems to me I remember a Supreme Court pronouncement on freedom of speech. It was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.’s opinion in Schenck v. United States in 1919, when he wrote:
The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic. […] The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.
In other words, there are limits to the whole freedom of speech thing. Those limits include things like death threats.
But Facebook has a funny perspective on this. From where I sit, it looks like they are taking a page out of the Eric Holder/Justice Department playbook. With Holder’s Department of “Just-Us,” the New Black Panther Party get’s a bye, on things like voter intimidation at the polls, and for offering a $10,000 bounty for the capturing (dead or alive) the guy who shot Trayvon Martin. On the other hand, let Ted Nugent tell the NRA faithful that he will either be “dead or in jail this time next year” if Obama’s re-elected, and the Motor City Madman gets a personal visit from the Secret Service. (Wonder if they’ll send any of the Secret Service advance team that got busted for consorting with prostitutes in Columbia to talk with Ted. Maybe he can autograph a copy of Cat Scratch Fever for them.)
Apparently, if you agree with Facebook’s executives politically, they cut you some slack. If, on the other hand, you don’t, then don’t count on their help or support. Just for the record, here’s the name of the ass clown and what he said to my friend. (I’m redacting her name for her own protection):
Anas Alhroub We Will Kill You “Jane Doe” Sooooooooooooooooooooooon >>>>
If you click on this idiot’s link, you’ll see he’s a university student in Jordan. Ordinarily, I’d think that this is just so much bravado coming from some sexually-frustrated, provincial putz who couldn’t put two coherent thoughts together, much less kill someone. But this guy’s a fan of the same “religion of peace” who’s clerics inspired their members to murder Theo Van Gough and others. It’s not that I’d worry that this moron would come half-way around the world to kill my friend. It’s that his B.S. might inspire some OTHER idiot to do his dirty work for him.
While I’m on the subject, let’s talk a little bit about religious bigotry and the associated bias and hypocrisy in the media.
When that (in)famous bunch of in-bred rodeo clowns from Kansas known as the Westboro Baptist Church get their dander up and protest at military funerals with signs that say stupid, evil stuff like “God Hates Fags,” what happens? It’s predictable, really:
- The maintream media has a field day, painting ALL Christians with the same brush, trying to make every Christian look like an evil, bigoted idiot.
- Christians (the REAL kind, not the in-bred kind from Westboro) step forward and decry Westboro, renounce their views, and do everything they can do disassociate themselves with what Westboro Baptist Church stands for – and are HIGHLY and PUBLICLY critical of their actions.
Okay, let’s take it up a notch. How about when a Virginia-born Muslim (to Palestinian immigrant parents) Nidal Malik Hassan goes street-rat crazy, grabs some guns and shoots up Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 32, shouting anti-American, pro-Muslim nonsense as he goes on his killing spree. What’s the reaction?
- The mainstream media falls all over themselves – to avoid making this a “Muslim thing.” They carefully edit reports to deny any connection between the shooter and radical Islam.
- The American Muslim community is silent, with no leaders (sel-appointed or otherwise) stepping forth to condemn the killings and the shooter.
- When any Christian condemns Hassan or has the temerity to question why American Muslims don’t condemn Hassan, they are portrayed as bigots and race-baiters in the press.
Now let’s look at what happens when a mixed-race individual claims self-defense in the shooting of a black teen.
- The mainstream media immediately makes this a racial politics issue, insisting that the shooter was racially profiling the teen, and was intent on shooting him, vigilante-style.
- If anybody on the right questions the story put out by the press, they are branded as bigots and racists.
- The black community uses this as an opportunity to claim that this is an example of racial hatred.
Here’s my favorite pair of events: A woman who testifies before Congress that, as an impoverished Law student at Georgetown University, she can’t afford birth control, and believes the government should pay for it. Rush Limbaugh characterizes her as a slut, because she wants to be able to have pre-marital or extra-marital sex without having to pay for her own birth control. He later apologizes for “stooping to the level of liberals.” An Obama advisor and CNN talking head, Hillary Rosen, makes some disparaging remarks about the wife of the presumptive GOP nominee for President, Ann Romney. When she is criticized for her critique on stay-at-home moms, “comedian” Bill Mahr doubles-down on her statement, making some explicit remarks about Mrs. Romney. What happened next?
- Conservatives chided Rush, and he
See a pattern here? I do. It’s pretty clear that politics plays a HUGE role in how stories are reported. But it’s also clear that when a Christian or Conservative does something bad, mainstream Christians and Conservatives immediately come down against it, and say “that’s NOT what we are about.” On the other hand, when someone that’s a radical Muslim, a Black, or a Left/Progressive does something bad, Muslims, Blacks and Progressives circle the wagons, deny, deny, deny, and try and turn the tables, accusing those on the right of bigotry or racism.
Hypocrisy, thy names are “Progressive” and “Muslim.”
Are their Progressives and Muslims who are not hypocrites? Sure. Are their Progressives and Muslims who don’t agree that jihad, terror, murder, and race-bating are okay? Of course. They just don’t seem to speak up much, if at all. But if you’re not going to defend your religion or political philosophy from extremists then you are every bit as guilty as they are of allowing your group to be co-opted by radicals.
That’s just the way I see it. And if you don’t like my opinion, well, I suppose you can try and shoot me. Just be aware – I take my 2nd Amendment rights seriously. Come armed.