Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever stop speaking freely
Controversial cartoonist Bosch Fawstin has received more than a dozen death threats since he took the top prize at the now-famous “draw Muhammad” free speech rally in Garland, Texas last month. The event descended into chaos after two armed terrorists attempted to storm the venue.
Fawstin appeared on last night’s (technically this morning’s) episode of Fox News’ Red Eye, and had great things to say about the threats against his life, the work he does, and the importance of boldly insisting on free speech.
As Americans, when we’re told not to do something, we tend to do it.
I love this. It applies across the board, to every issue currently dominating the 24 hour news cycle.
Last week was a bad week for the spirit of the First Amendment. We all know that, when it comes to black letter law, “Congress shall make no law” has its limits. It can prevent the government from shutting down speech, but it can’t do much about the people in my Facebook timeline who waste their precious days telling me how I can and cannot feel about the Confederate Flag, Obamacare, or gay marriage. In the words of marriage equality activists, “love won,” but dissenters lost more than just a court case.
The push we’re seeing isn’t a push for more expression, but for less expression. Dissent isn’t patriotic anymore—it’s hate. Be careful when you question the mob, lest the mob feel uncomfortable with being questioned. In 2015, government censorship is still a concern, but it can’t compare to the swiftness and voracity of the civilian mob.
Just as a matter of preference, subversive speech isn’t my ideal method of protest. I’ve never been one to wave a sign, draw a cartoon, or stand with a bullhorn and demand action on the steps of the capitol. I sometimes have knee-jerk reactions to these types of things (which, whatever my reaction, proves that the protesters are doing their jobs well. I noticed.) That being said, I find myself reminding friends and colleagues that, when it comes to the spirit of the First Amendment, it doesn’t matter how I feel about it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a bad idea, or unpopular, or abrasive, or mean, or edgy.
What matters is that it is. Fawstin’s position on free speech is 100% correct—we have a right to speak, we will speak, and we will participate in this discussion whether you like it or not. I think we should take this spirit to the debate over Obamacare, gay marriage, abortion, the EPA, and anything else the social justice warriors try to throw at us in the run up to the 2016 elections.
If their tactics keep working, leftists won’t even have to come up with progressive policy solutions to radicalize their flock; all they’ll have to do is whip their base into a frenzy over the fact that a debate is even happening over abortions/gay weddings/entitlements/guns.
That fact is scary; the reality that it could work is terrifying—and the only way to fight it is to embrace the debate, and never, ever, ever stop speaking freely.DONATE
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