Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Newt's Right about Free Speech

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich raised eyebrows recently when he said we will have to review our concept of free speech in the post-9/11 world to curtail terrorist activities. Gingrich specfically cited the use of the Internet and other methods of speech used to recruit potential terrorists, and said a "different set of rules" may be needed to address these recruiting efforts.

Naturally, this has the faux left up in arms. How DARE he suggest curtailing freedom of speech in any way! I'll tell you how.

Because he's exactly right.

We've gotten into this mindset that freedom of speech is absolute; all you need to do is claim that whatever you're doing is free speech and, thus, protected by the First Amendment. The problem is that not all speech qualifies for this protection. You can't use the First Amendment to protect you if you use your speech to cause physical injury to someone (i.e. yelling "Fire" in a crowded theater). You can't use the First Amendment as a shield if you purposely and maliciously defame someone (i.e. slander and libel).

And you can't use your speech to advocate or assist in destroying America. That's called treason, kids, and it isn't protected under the First Amendment. The people who want to kill us have taken advantage of our freedoms to set up shop and act in ways that, if unchecked, will hurt us in the long run. Sure, they'll claim "Islamophobia" or "racism" or seek out legal representation to fight for their "rights" and expect us to sit back and let it happen. And more often than not, we will because we're afraid of offending them or being labled a hateful person.

But that fear should not stop us from doing what we have to do to protect our country. After all, if we lose our country because we are too permissive of those who would do us harm, we won't have to worry about the loss of rights because it will have already happened.

Gingrich's statement about re-examining free speech during the war on terrorism is a harsh truth that we have to consider. Of course, political opponents will try to twist his words into something they're not (Remember the flap over "wither on the vine"?), but it's with a purpose. They know Newt is right, so they create a strawman argument to knock down, thus taking people's attentions off the heart of what Newt said and his intentions. He isn't suggesting curtailing free speech to help create a Big Brother-type environment; he's doing it to protect the country. That's more than I can say about the people who will be coming forward to go after him.

So, think carefully before you go off on Newt for this idea. The rights you save may be your own.

1 comment:

Syd And Vaughn said...

While we agree that the freedom of speech isn't absolute, I still have a problem with his idea that it needs to be curtailed. I get the idea he has that we need to do something to the little jihadi moonbats that are encouraging violence against the US, but I think he misses the point.

It falls to us to deal with those little nuts by exercising our own speech to drown them out, and it's upt the federal government to nail these little b*stards who aren't citizens calling for that violence.

Time for their butts to go home, and it's time to teach those who are citizens that there are limits to speech.

We like Newt. Don't get us wrong. But I think that if you ask the government to curtail it, what will happen with the government doesn't want to give it back to us?

I don't think the idea of curtailing speech is the right approach. Enforcement of the law is, and active engagement in the realm of speech is. As bloggers, we do that, and our voices--our free speech--can drown these clowns out. It just takes getting as many people on the same page as possible.

But I can't, in good conscience, support such a move, as described by Newt.