As a recent subscriber to your magazine I have been tempted by several articles to respond but the article, The Cartoon Jihad, (April 2006) almost compels action.
The spirit of the present widespread, growing and terribly destructive libertine movement that has always had claws clutching the human soul is present in the piece sans often-used disguises and obfuscations. The Beenfeldt-Ghate article states;
"Well, is freedom of speech absolute?"
I respond, absolutely not. In the year 1800, as I recall, a conviction was upheld by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which a man was charged with undermining the public morals by inviting passers-by (and charging them a coin) into his house to view a lewd painting. At that early date in American national life the U.S. Supreme Court did not yet interfere with the states in such matters and would have upheld the conviction if they did.
The Bill of Rights, as it was understood and ratified by the founding generation--history informs us--did not protect manifest immorality. Certainly immorality happened but it was not deemed legitimate by society and could generally be prosecuted. Those standards of America's past are so little known among today's people that they might seem shocking to some and some others who never tire of trying to present us with a false history of America.
Hollering "fire" in a crowded theater is the old example of unprotected speech; it alone invalidates the Beenfeldt-Ghate "Absolutely." Amazingly, the U.S. Congress, Executive and Supreme Court have recently taken the fascist (and every tyrant's) view of political speech, that it can be outlawed. If some nonpolitical (by incorporation) organization buys time on TV or radio and tells the audience to vote or not vote for a political candidate in a certain time frame they can be charged with a crime. From the standpoints of American heritage, morality and a free society, the above legislation and the U.S. Supreme Court upholding of it were the crimes. Everyone who put their hands to it should be out of office.
The only leverage the federal government should have in such cases is against the broadcaster's license. To have use of the public airways in an organized and sustainable way there must be licensing. Political speech cannot be legitimately criminalized.
When a broadcaster pushes pornography on the public he then should lose his license as well as being charged with a crime and the producers of the porn should be charged also--as was the case 206 years ago.
The Cartoon Jihad authors state, in the case of Muslims insulted by the offending cartoons, "their anger is irrelevant." The nature of such a statement indicates the highest form of a sort of squalid elitism possessed by those who would have absolute freedom for themselves but total servitude by others to their ideas. This is the spirit and soul of the libertine.
There are criminals who use Islam to cover and recruit. That segment of the Middle Eastern world has been around for a long time. The Washington administration fought it by sending gunboats to the Barbary Coast to deal with pirates who covered themselves with the same perversion of that faith the terrorists of today do. The exact same lines used today by the bin Laden group were used by the Barbary pirates two-and-a-quarter centuries ago. In fact, the misuse of Islam is about as old as Islam. Many criminals over the past two millennia have called themselves Christians. Those who have read the Bible know the difference. Our Founding Fathers, almost to a man were well versed in the Bible. They could not have made their great leap forward with freedom otherwise.
The terrible cancers that are doing such damage to the work of that truly "Greatest Generation" are the tools of the foul spirits of fascism and the libertine working in tandem to tear apart the morality that forms the bedrock for freedom to rest upon. Licentiousness and fascism, though they seem at first glance to be incompatible, are natural, if not universal, allies as they were in Hitler's Germany. The libertine wants to be completely unrestrained and the ultimate lack of restraint is to feel free to commit genocide. True, one class of licentious individuals became victims of Hitler but only when it became expedient to him. He used some people who gorged their lust with homosexual activity as his lieutenants and foot soldiers until he no longer had a need of them. They would have done the same with him if they had gained the ascendancy. They had started the planning when Hitler had them murdered.
Finally, to the libertine he only can say who may be considered part of "civilized society" (the fascist feels this is his own right) and strangely, The St. Croix Review editor who picks quotes for the end of articles seems to endorse this one by using the famous Edmund Burke quote about good men and evil.
Hello Mr. Ingalls,
You make good points in your article, and I don't wish to contest them.
But I think it is an open question as to whether the Islamists are "criminals" or are true representatives of Islam. Islam was spread by the sword. The West has had its reformation and enlightenment and age of reason, but Islam has not. Their societies usually take the form of religious dictatorship.
In the Islamist view we may not criticize Mohammed, and if we do, they have the right to kill us.
They have the duty to kill us anyway, simply because we are infidels. How many of them believe this I don't know, but I suspect the number is in the millions.
The West should not be made to live under Islamic law. The West should not knuckle under to Islamist pressure. We have the right to condemn barbarity done in the name of Islam, and we should. These are the main points, points you do not address.