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What Kind of Person Thinks Free Speech is Too Costly?

What Kind of Person Thinks Free Speech is Too Costly?

Thanks to the inimitable David Burge (AKA Iowahawk), I came upon a piece written by a New York University student titled—no kidding—“Have we taken free speech too far?” 

The news hook for Muslim student Faria Mardhani’s not-so-rhetorical question is the story of the Egyptian activist (and MSNBC contributor) who was caught defacing pro-Israel posters in a New York subway station—an illegal act that led to…a de facto ban on messages that could conceivably offend anyone (anyone apparently defined as someone who’s Muslim).

Here’s the crux of Ms Mardhani’s argument:

The ad goes much further than only discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict. It sends an insulting message about Muslims worldwide….

Although the Metropolitan Transportation Authority appealed the ads, a District Court Judge legalized the advertisements on the basis of the First Amendment. The United States is one of the only democracies in the world that does not prohibit hate speech that incites animosity toward certain groups of people even though acts like this are clearly insulting [sic] the spirit of the First Amendment. The U.S. legal system’s refusal to accept this minimizes equality among Americans and reduces America’s sense of democracy.

If any group is targeted by hate speech, its dignity and its right to self-respect is not being protected by national law. These ads are framing Muslims and Americans as two groups with irreconcilable differences, categorizing Muslim Americans as non-Americans….

The decision that the United States must now make is whether hate speech like this should be legal. Do values of free speech override the values of equality and of preventing profound personal offense to any singular group?

Let’s answer Ms. Mardhani’s question in a way she no doubt didn’t consider.  Courtesy of the indispensable Zombie, here are some messages for which no was arrested; which no one tried to deface; and because of which no one insisted on abridging the First Amendment (all images and captions are Zombie’s):

Anti-Semitic sign at the February 16, 2003 “anti-war” rally.


Sign at the March 20, 2004 “Global Day of Action” anti-war rally.


This man at the “Stop the U.S.-Israeli War” rally on August 12, 2006 wants the Nazi kikes to get out of Lebanon.


Justifying anti-Semitism at the June 5, 2004 march.

Another message at the June 5 event.


Anti-Israel protester at the rally preceding the June 5, 2004 march.


“The Final Victory is Ours!” say these anti-Israel protesters at the Bus 19 rally in Berkeley on January 16, 2005.


Equating the Star of David and the swastika at the “Stop the U.S.-Israeli War” rally on August 12, 2006.

In closing, Ms. Mardhani says:

We must not forget that the United States is first a democracy that promises to protect all of its citizens and treat them with equality.

Apparently NYU doesn’t offer remedial civics.  No, ma’am, we are not “first a democracy.”  We are first a republic and as such are protected by our Constitution that guarantees your right to take part in such loathsome demonstrations as illustrated above, should you choose; and our right to be offended and try to counter with more free speech. If this were a true democracy unguarded by the First Amendment, the majority could very well decide that your thoughts aren’t worth hearing.  Or worse.


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I’m a liberal, but the growing fascism of the Left alarms me.

They will use our Second Amendment to destroy it.

The Muslim student stated, “The decision that the United States must now make is whether hate speech like this should be legal.”

That affirmative decision was made, in 1791, when the Bill of Rights, including most famously our highly esteemed First Amendment, was adopted and made a part of our Constitution. This Muslim student might be advised that several of the states conditioned their assent to the 1787 Constitution ONLY IF the Bill of Rights was adopted. Madison agreed and to his credit he proposed (1st Congress, 1789) the comprehensive amendments which were then adopted (1791) according to constitutional procedure.

The Muslim student then asked, “Do values of free speech override the values of equality and of preventing profound personal offense to any singular group?”


    tamerlane in reply to pfg. | October 2, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I wrote Mardhani that the U.S. Constitution trumps her feelings. Awaiting moderation.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to pfg. | October 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    If she doesn’t like the American Constitution’s enshrinement of the RIGHT of free speech, well, planes still fly to Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, UAE, Yemen, Jordan, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and other points of human bondage.

    What is important is that Muslims respect our Constitution, and if they don’t like it, leave. But then, they won’t do that because they have come here, not for a better life, but so that Islam could dominate and Sharia can replace the Constitution whilst the black flag of Islam flies from all our government buildings.

Henry Hawkins | October 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Having withstood every military and terrorist challenge since our founding, it may well be abject ignorance which brings down the country.

“In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad”

And this puuuurrrr sensitive chil has her knickers in a twist over THAT…???

“If any group is targeted by hate speech, its dignity and its right to self-respect is not being protected by national law.”

Maybe it would be best if she just decided she was civilized. That could not insult her then.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Ragspierre. | October 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    Jihad is to Islam as Baptism is to Christianity.

    Every Muslim would regard the sign as a disrespecting of all Muslims because jihad is the core duty of every Muslim. There is the fight with the self, which Muslim men never win because so many rape women who are not dressed in bedsheets or molest those who are; there is the greater jihad of blood, which Mohammed made necessary to bring those who reject Islam into subjection and submission.

    No Baptism, no Christianity. Through water into faith and freedom.

    No jihad, no Islam. Through blood into submission, durance vile, and an eternity of bondage to rank evil.

    Therein lies the vast difference between the world’s two great religions (Judaism and Christianity) and the blood cult of Islam.

    That is the heart of their anger with the sign. It doesn’t help that those they call “sons of monkeys, apes, and pigs” are the ad’s civilized.

The beauty of free speech is the unintended consequence of revelation. The idiots voluntarily expose themselves. How else would we know 1) who our enemies are and 2) where to find them? I prefer transparency to the hidden agendas of political correctness.

Glenn Greenwald on free speech:

“The whole point of the First Amendment is that one is free to express the most marginalized, repellent, provocative and offensive ideas. Those are the views that are always targeted for suppression…. If you’re someone who wants to vest the state with the power to punish the expression of certain views on the grounds that the view is so wrong and/or hurtful that its expression should not be permitted … then you’re someone who does not believe in free speech, by definition; what you believe is that one is free to express only those viewpoints which the majority of citizens (and the State) allow to be expressed.”

    Only controversial speech NEEDS First Amendment protections. Protecting such speech is the only reason for having a First Amendment.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to pfg. | October 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm

      ALL speech needs that protection. For, if only the controversial is protected, then the common will soon become outside the law.

The ad referred to Jihad, a violent struggle to force islam upon non-blelivers. If he is saying stopping jihad which is an act of violence, then he is saying that muslims can’t be trusted, that innately it is a muslims conscience to impose islam through the force of arms. they simply can’t help themselves. Isn’t that insulting? Isn’t that justifying treating muslims like rabid animals and indiscriminate bombing campaigns because they are all guilty anyways deep down. The Osama Bin Laden is the legitimate face of Islam?

I don’t know about freedom of speech being hurtful, but this one muslim has used his freedom of speech to tar and feather his own people.

We must not forget that the United States is first a democracy that promises to protect all of its citizens and treat them with equality.

The Constitution promises equal treatment under the law and not in any other fashion. The young lady overstates and overrates equality.

This is the test of our times: Will we stand strong for our Bill of Rights, including Freedom of Speech and Religion, or will we BOW to Sharia and dominion by foreign powers. My anxious view may seem lighthearted, but IT IS NOT. See the American Thinking citation prior to the list of 10 major tenants of our enemies.



Part 1: The Old Guys Try to Give Advice:

As a kind of a “public announcement”
Just a “heads up” for inquiring minds,
Perhaps we could “talk” for a minute,
‘Though we know you have so little time.
There are game shows to watch;
And those sports—What demands!
You could spend your whole life on TV
And hey, girl, who’s the hottest?
What’s the latest? Is it true what they said?
“Staying hip is much harder than it seems!

Part 2: The “Kids Say They Are Alright”

Well, we were all set for some silly election,
That we knew that Obama would win,
When those guys from the East got all crazy,
‘Cause they claimed that our movies were “sin”
Would they “cool it”, take a “chill pill”,
Or just “go with flow”? No, they went nuts!
Killed our guys, burned our flags, yelled all day!
All that sneering and strutting didn’t matter so much,
We all figured they’d just go away.
Then…their preachers said: “There’s hell to pay!

Now, you KNOW we are hip with religion–
“Live and let live” is our thing,
But the stuff they were screaming on Prime Time TV,
Was a “little bit much”, doncha think?
Still, we’re sure we can renounce the freedoms we loved,
After all, we’d “THE WON” as our God.
He was sexy and smart (with that teleprompter thing)
Every time that he spoke, we were AWED!
So if the MEDIA, and the STARS, and “Our Man”
Say “It’s cool”—we can quickly embrace a new law!

Part 3: Warning: New UnFree Speech/Conduct Rules Coming

Well, to get your new groove, we’re preparing
You now, to get this “great future” on track.
For the girls, it’s remarkably simply,
You can have any Burka that’s black!
True, you’ll not have the time to “keep current”
‘Cause your man keeps you flat on your back!
Now you guys may get fit with a collar,
Although “gelding’s” been known to occur.
Still, we hope that you won’t swear or holler,
Cause those penalties get more severe.
[And be very, very sure you’re not queer!]

Well, “To hell” as they say, “With our worries!”
After all, you just haven’t a clue,
That YOUR vote could change your “government” life,
For to be pampered and worshipped’s your due!
Drink that Kool-Aid; live with Mom;
Watch that “aid” roll on in
“Julia’s life” is the best to be found!
Then prepare, really fast, to switch sides on the fly,
Cause’ Shari’a will take us all down,
And there’s no place that they’ll let us hide.

THIS IS NOT FICTION. THIS IS NOT AMUSEMENT.Turn on TV; watch our embassies burn; our citizens bodies dragged through foreign streets; and our enemies DENYING OUR FREE SPEECH, FREEDOM OF RELIGION, OR FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

10. Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. [So much for “fantasy football”–ouch]
9. Islam allows husbands to hit their wives even if the husbands merely fear highhandedness in their wives. [“War on Women”–you’ve no idea]
8. Islam allows an injured plaintiff to exact legal revenge—physical eye for physical eye. [Boy, THAT solves our “tort lawyer” problem QUICK!]
7. Islam commands that a male and female thief must have a hand cut off. [New growth industry: PROSTHETICS–JOBS OF THE FUTURE TODAY]
6. Islam commands that highway robbers should be crucified or mutilated. [California’s highways WOULD REALLY BE DEPRESSING THEN]
5. Islam commands that homosexuals must be executed. [Shush–No gays here, nope, not a one, no, no no]
4. Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped and adulterers to be stoned to death. [That “hook up” thing you got now? GONE OVERNIGHT .]
3. Islam orders death for Muslim and possible death for non—Muslim critics of Muhammad and the Quran and even sharia itself. [Hey, we LOVE the new scheme, LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!]
2. Islam orders apostates to be killed.
1. Islam commands offensive and aggressive and unjust jihad. [Overpopulation–gone.]

In the mind of radical Leftism, they truly believe in “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”

“Do values of free speech override the values of equality and of preventing profound personal offense to any singular group?”

Don’t you love the ignorant and self-ennobling anguish of the Left?

But her question has a simple answer. Yes. Incontestably.

In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.

Mardhani claims that the above

…sends an insulting message about Muslims worldwide.

An admission about the goals of “Muslims worldwide”. Jihad seeks establishment of a worldwide caliphate. That would include the overthrow of the government of the United States. Denigrating the First Amendment is a step in that process.

What kind of person? The same sort of person that feels its ok for the President to laugh at the WARN Act which requires advance layoff notices and goes so far as to offer taxpayer money to firms that opt out of the law. For election advantage.
Imagine if Bush had done the same. He would still be hanging from the lamp pole in front of The Washington Post.

The adolescent stupidity and refutability of her question is impressive.

For one, her standard is subjective and self-defeating; it calls for impositions which would guarantee sooner or later her own loss of free speech. The appreciation for an objective and immutable standard of free speech has always been at the heart of its paradoxical and painful beauty, and has always been shared and defended by liberals — until the advent of the absolutist Left and its indoctrinal reign in our educational system (now spewing out poor idiots like this girl).

She cries about “profoundly hurt feelings” seemingly unaware of the mutable nature of “feelings” and how they can be exploited by those in power, and inevitably by those she won’t agree with. Further, the conceit in her cry of the heart is that only she and those like her can feel at all. She’s dutifully absorbed the irrationality and Narcissism of modern liberal education.

Free Speech Watch :College Professor Offended by Free Speech Wall

(Language warning)

Student explains the incident!

Joel, I don’t understand why you’re dignifying an inconsequential individual’s misguided essay?

    Because this “inconsequential individual” represents hundreds of thousands of people, college students and otherwise, not all of them Muslim. You apparently haven’t noticed the growing trend on the left to stifle speech that “hurts people’s feelings.” To wit: the NY subway incident alluded to in the post’s lede and about which this “inconsequential individual” is writing–apparently without inciting any WTF? among her fellow NYU students.

    Let me refer you to the links in Browndog’s comment just above yours.

Only one attribute defines what it is to be an American, and that is adherence to following the laws as defined by our constitution. No one ethnic characteristic defines what an American is. We come from all parts of the world and are made up of many different ethnic and tribal groups yet we all were either born as Americans or become one through its naturalization process, where we would have had to swear allegiance to our constitution.

For some like the idiotic offended soul who was defaming an advertising on the subway, she may try to change our constitution but she will only do so through the sword and that will not happen. The Drill Sgt. was correct in his understanding of the history of Islam and Islam needs to understand we will not bend to its demands.

Although some poor misguided souls might try to do change this country, could they ever escape the fact that they were once Americans and free to live?

Any muslims genuinely concerned about being viewed as savages *should* be denouncing their fellow muslims participating in jihad. If the vast majority of, supposedly, “moderate” muslims were in fact opposed to jihad they could easily put an end to it.

Instead, they finance it through contributions to terrorist groups or by contributions at their mosque (which they know full well then contributes to terrorist groups).

Note how all they ever complain about in public is along the lines of “not all muslims are terrorists”. They NEVER publicly denounce groups like HAMAS as the terrorists that they are.

Its like giving money to a mobster, who then hires a hit man, to kill someone you don’t like and then saying “hitmen are a tiny radical fringe”. No. Whoever finances the violence and supports its continued presence in their community, in this case virtually the entire muslim community, are directly responsible for the violence. The few individuals that they convince to strap on the suicide vests are merely their tools.

Lost in all the talk about RIGHTS!!!! and proposals for new hate speech codes is the core problem:

1. We are at war with an intelligent, thinking enemy looking for any propaganda they can use against us.
2. Their target audience is not “Constitution-Revering Americans” , but peoples who could care less what the Modavan, Argentinian, American etc. Constitutions say when it comes to insulting and dissing Islamic countries religion and culture.
3. In any war, especially when we have people inside America that seek to incite Muslims to violence to help intensify the conflict they want America to take from Cold War status to WWIII status – we have to really, really be careful about giving ammunition to the enemy.
4. Past enemy convinced of their own RIGHTS!!! being stupid and insular about it – has given us great ammunition to use against them.
The Germans were absolutely convinced that Sacred Law and their own treasured documents gave them full RIGHTS!! to shoot Belgian troops in WWI that had held out, not knowing their leaders had surrendered. Similarly, the Germans thought putting a nun up against a wall and having foreign reporters see her blown away by a firing squad was a great idea and their sacred RIGHT!!!because she aided 3 wounded Brits and helped them escape. We used that to show the Hun with blood-dripping hands, and as much as the Zimmerman Telegrams, the Butchering Hun image made by US, Brit, and French propagandists helped get us in the war with 100s of thousands of troops willing to do payback and kill in kind.

Same with the Japanese in WWII, who dealt with Insurrectionists in Nanking and later in other countries – happy to have foreign witnesses and let photos and movie footage be released – because it was their RIGHT!! under time-honored Japanese law and custom to butcher out whole villages and pillage what was left if they had surrendered and made themselves subjects of the Emperor – then dishonored themselves and their word and families and town by betrayal/
We used that ammunition against the Japanese at every opportunity and it was spread by us everywhere in the Japanese “Co-Prosperity Sphere”.

*** We have to be careful that we do not give the Islamist enemy ammunition that will cost us many lives and great treasure. And we do need to investigate the motives of those that seek to incite and inflame the enemy. Hiding behind the 1st, our RIGHTS!! and sacred customs is no more useful a defense than the indignation of the WWI Germans and later the Japanese about their RIGHTS!!

Academic Elite grammar check: What does “one of the only” mean? I’m guessing “one of the few,” which is still rather imprecise.

Has anybody asked this young lady if she has read the Hamas Covenant of 1988?

which contains, among other horrible things, an agreement to engage in an advertising campaign to convince Muslims that they have a personal, religious duty to kill every Jew on the face of the earth and re-conquer every square inch of land ever held by a “Muslim” regime.

The Avalon version is expurgated. The unexpurgated version is even more hair-raising.

This is the version that starts with an introduction that claims that the terrorists are willing to sacrifice their own SOULS “in the path of Allah” ! One has to wonder how a person’s destruction of his own soul could be viewed an anything like a legitimate service to Allah. It’s a much longer version than the Avalon translation, with much more nakedly murderous intent.

There will be no peace in the Middle East until the Hamas Covenant is repudiated, and the advertising campaign is ended. The Islamists, in keeping with the Hamas Covenant (and a number of their other documents) have been engaged in whipping up faux outrage on whatever pretexts they can find. Is she advocating that kind of hate speech? That hate speech is, in fact, the root cause of much violence in today’s world. Is this her idea of a proper statement of Islamic throughout?

According to the following document, signed by a large group of educated, authoritative Muslims representing all 8 schools of Muslim thought, there is a Command by God Himself to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If that is true, then the Hamas Covenant is readily seen to be in violation of a core tenet of Islam. It can and should be repudiated by Muslims as unIslamic.

Has anybody asked her where she stands?

TeaPartyPatriot4ever | October 3, 2012 at 12:10 am

Look, as ugly as these people are, they are part of the indoctrinated useful idiot world of hatred, intolerance, bigotry, anti-semitism, and anti-Americanism.. They actually believe and think that is is good and righteous to hate, to be agents of evil, in support of their indoctrinated ideology of radical leftist liberalism, which is aligned and allied with radical islamic muslim terrorism.

This is how twisted and demented they are, ie; the power of indoctrination. This applies especially to the arab islalmic muslim world.

Where does it say, let alone is established law anywhere that the evil of hatred and intolerance, and violent acts of murder against innocent people, is good, by merely saying so.

Evil must be confronted everywhere it confronts you.. for the appeasement and capitulation of it / them, will only lead to your defeat and demise, thus your Freedom and Liberty, whether by Obama, Al-Queda, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran etc, makes no difference..

Ours is not to appease, capitulate, reason, and or debate evil and tyranny, ours is only to defeat it, period.

A_Nonny_Mouse | October 3, 2012 at 1:05 am

This dear little idiot claims that “If any group is targeted by hate speech, its dignity and its right to self-respect is not being protected by national law”. Then, later: “Do values of free speech override the values of equality and of preventing profound personal offense to any … group?”

How did this “student” come to believe that “national law” is supposed to protect any given group’s alleged “right” to “dignity and self-respect” (obviously -despite the demands of agitators- there isn’t any such right). (Besides, I’d claim that a GROUP can’t have “feelings”; it’s the MEMBERS of the group whose confidence in the goals and ideals of the group lead them to feelings of pride, self-esteem, and dignity. If these members are so unsure of the validity or worth of their group’s cause that an outsider’s mere criticism shakes their belief in their goals, doesn’t that imply that these members were feeling some doubt, some uneasiness, about the appropriateness of the group’s purpose, even before the incident?)

And WHAT, exactly, are the “values of equality” that she’s talking about? We all have equal freedom to speak. I’m free to say that I think John is an irresponsible spendthrift. John is free to tell me it’s none of my business how he spends his money. Arlene is free to tell both of us to take our bickering elsewhere. We all have the same standing to offer our opinions. None of us is too “special” (or too delicate) to be exempted from criticism.

“Preventing profound personal offense…”? Oh, come on! Ours isn’t a shame-honor culture. We don’t seek out affronts to our “honor” that we’re then obligated to expiate by violence. Our societal code is more-or-less “if the shoe fits, wear it.” Meaning: if a criticism or accusation is valid, it’s valid. The target of the criticism then deals with the truth-telling in whatever way seems proper to him. And, if the accusation was NOT valid, the target looks his accuser in the eye and says, “You’re so far off…. are you crazy, or just stupid?” – and walks away. He DOESN’T take to the streets, wailing that somebody disrespected him, his self-esteem is in tatters, and the ordeal was just so terribly horribly demoralizing that “there oughtta be a law” against saying such things.

(Short version: You’re in America now, sweetie. We do it different. Cope.)

ANM just expressed my feeling about this issue in so many ways. Given our country’s history, our Constitution, and our heritage, little Ms. Faria Mardhani is free to express whatever she wishes about almost anything at all and none of us have to like it. Her opinion about anything is truly a big fat “So What,” except that she’s got a big mouth and isn’t, apparently, going to shut up. And, that again is a big so what.

However, Ms. Faria Mardhani’s attitude is a big problem in that if she’s able to convince many others and they too demand what she wants, then that will lead to a big problem, and certainly no long a big so what.

It really does come down to whether the next generation, or maybe even the current one, can keep our republic. Ben Franklin back at the Founding of this country is supposed to have responded to a Philadelphia matron that we have a republic, if we can keep it. My choice is to keep our republic and to tell Ms. Faria Mardhani to go suck eggs; maybe also to have a ham sandwich with her eggs! Bon appetit.