Friday, November 04, 2005

Christ With A Little "c" and Other Notes on Freedom of Speech

Just caught this story at Winds of Change:

In Brussels [they] have come up with a new grammar rule for themselves and the Netherlands - making it official that the name "Christ" will soon be written with a lower-case "c". That was the stipulation in an orthography reform published earlier this month in Brussels.

Okay, I don't want to go all hyperbolic, but this may be why Europe no longer has an identity that anyone could recognize as "European" which makes those funny claims about "unassimilated immigrants" (largely Muslim) who identify themselves as "Arab" or "Palestinian" instead of "French" or "European" even if they've been born there kind of funny. I mean, is there a French, Belgian or "European" identity to assimilate to?

Can we now spell "Allah" with a little "a" and "Mohammed" with a little "m" without certain members of society (do I need to name them) going bat shit?

I remember how many times in the past year I had to hear some malarkey about America having no "culture" or "heritage" or being a "mongrel" society because we only had a few hundred years of existence and we have a tendency to take (largely) the best of other immigrant cultures and adding it to the "American" identity, but I will argue that, while Christianity is often under attack here, no government schmuck is suggesting that we deny our heritage or diminish any religion to some how make others feel better. Unless you count the ACLU, but that dog still get's it's butt kicked and verbally lambasted when they broach subjects that teeter too far in that direction.

Frankly, I dare some Jack Ass to make any suggestion here.

For our Danish and Belgian friends, it's Christ with a capital "C" because religious doctrine holds him as the Son of God and part of God either as the Holy Trinity or as the Son physically representing His father, God. It's a title that demands a capital "C", not some secular exclamation or description that can have its meaning changed because you say so. On that note also, does that mean that "m"ohammed is only the "m"essenger of "a"llah? Can we now write "p"resident "j"aque "c"hirac? "s"ecretary "g"eneral "k"ofi "a"nan?

I could go on, but you get my drift. Is it me or have the "m"uslims already breached the gates of "v"ienna?

Speaking of which, Britain, for sometime now, has been considering adding the criticism of religion to its hate speech laws. I think these folks are losing their minds. We should be able to criticize any religion, philosophical or political belief whether it is Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hindu, right, left, in the middle, up, down or any other idea that is presented because limiting questions or criticism means that idea is unassailable and right and there is never anything the is perfect or should not be challenged. It is the exact idea that western civilization was built on: the socratic idea of developing minds and ideas through questioning them.

It's completely idiotic to believe that anyone could legislate out of existence challenges to ideas.

Speaking of challenging ideas, did you hear that Egyptian authorities arrested a blogger for criticizing Islam. It's bogus and completely destroys any idea that Egypt was attempting to liberalize it's laws or strive towards a true democracy where all ideas can be said AND criticized. Which brings me to the next subject... think that only happens in totalitarian or authoritarian states?

The house voted down a law to protect the internet from the FEC laws governing political contributions. Not only have they said that any journalist, program or program host that talks "too much" about a campaign, candidate, or other proposition is providing "in kind" contributions to those people or campaigns, but they are extending it to the internet. Who designates what "too much" is, is a major problem along with placing a value on the time and space. It smacks of the sedition laws that Jefferson and his compatriots took turns using to silence their opposition while in office. It's the back door approach to limiting free speech. It's why the sedition act was rescinded in the first place and this is just the new version of it.

That is the issue with the house not passing the law to protect the internet from such bogus laws. Even a simple blogger like me could be fined and a political candidate or campaign can be fined or charged for not listing the "service" in their report on campaign finances. Of course, somebody like me is less likely to come to the attention of the authorities because I have a limited readership. However, somebody like LGF, Instapundit and even DailyKos with thousands of site hits per day would be the first to be noticed and come under the gun.

I am reminded of the poem:

First they came for socialists and I did not speak because I wasn't a socialist

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And, of the many rights we must protect, even if we may never have need of them, because they protect others and, who knows, if they think they can take it from one, they will figure out how to take it from others.

The truth is, with the size of the internet, such concepts are insane on their face. It may be that the law is not intended or expected to do that sort of monitoring, but it is too open and with modern data mining techniques and updated software everyday, just like the TTLB or Technorati site, the government could create an automated system to identify websites with specific language. On the otherhand, the internet is so big and diverse, if they were able to shut down a blog, another would appear. If a big blogger went, another would spring up to take its place as has happened in the short year and a half that I have been blogging.

Like the right to bare arms, practice my religion, be protected from unreasonable search and seizure and all other rights, any disparagement (amendment 9) of free speech is a disparagement of all and vis-a-versa. I've noted before that those who would demand limitations on the right to bare arms, whether through waiting periods, limits on types of weapons or places they can be owned, have given a green light to the disparagement of all other rights, including those they hold more sacred than others, like free speech.

One of the other problems that I have with this attempt to regulate the internet is that this format, above all others, is the most open to all people from every political idea and financial class. It is truly the one place where even the poorest among us can have their say, pass the idea around the world, from sea to sea and impact politics and events directly. Before this, if a person was lucky, they might get their letter printed in the paper with four or five others, never to be heard again or after only long periods. They might get 2 minutes on a talk show or have their email read on the network or cable news, but, aside from those few minutes, unless they join an established group that lobbies politicos, they are only ever heard at the ballot box and sometimes those choices do not represent what the common man would have expected, accepted or supported on any other day. This limits the voices to the elite, the rich and the powerful even though the alleged purpose of this law is to protect political campaigns and elections from being controlled by these entities. It's flat out a contradiction to the purpose of the law.

This is not what the founding fathers meant when they put the first amendment in the constitution. As a matter of fact, the fact that it is the first protected right meant that they held this right first above all others. Mainly, because the idea of democracy and revolution, debates about federalism versus states' rights were not accomplished just by political groups, but by single men, writing and printing their own pamphlets.

It's been said before, and I agree, that blogging, particularly political blogging, is the 21st century version of the pamphlateers. I am most certain that Thomas Paine, Hamilton, Jefferson and others like them would have had their own blog or website were they born in this day.

So, I add my blog to the list, planting my flag in solidarity, however small I am, with all those who stand for free speech.

Blonde Sagacity: FEC Monitoring

For the record, I will not go silent on all things political, regardless of what Krempansky said. If they don't protect me, I will burn them in effigy. I will stone them with my words. I will speak because it is my right. If they shut me down, I will create another and another. I can use proxy servers. I can hide my identity. They will spend so much time looking for me or any others it will be like the worst kind of cyber guerilla warfare.

Thus, I highly recommend that these people, government of my country or not, not even start.

See my flag, don't tread on me.

Army of Free Bloggers

Speaking of free speech, make sure that you serve those who serve to protect it. Help Project Valour IT by giving these men and women the voice that others would take away.


riceburner147 said...

Kat: if you get a chance to pick up Forbes (while drinking coffee in B&N) they have a front page article EVIL BLOGS. (paraphrase). Its sad and funny, these people who have controlled the media for centuries are threatened by the freedom of blogs.

The Sandmonkey said...


What's the world coming to?