Skip to Content

Choudray and free speech after Charlie Hebdo

The murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris is truly horrific. One good that has come out if it, however, has been the outpouring of support for free expression, and the right to satirize and offend. Vive Charlie Hebdo, vive free speech.

But as Brendan O’Neill has pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, we in the West live in a climate of intolerance towards free speech, especially speech that is labelled “hate speech”. It will take some effort to turn things around and truly honor Charlie Hebdo by creating a social atmosphere that does not drop the commitment to free expression the moment an authority-figure or self-regarding mob says “I’m offended”.

Today, just one day after the attack, we already see a brief reminder of how tenuous this commitment can be.  Various people this morning are denouncing USA Today for publishing an opinion piece by Anjem Choudray,  the London-based radical Muslim cleric. Yesterday: defend free speech! Today: we didn’t mean everyone!

To be sure, the Choudray piece is vile. “Because the honor of the Prophet is something which all Muslims want to defend, many will take the law into their own hands, as we often see,” he writes. In other words, the journalists had it coming. Chourdray places the blame with the French authorities, for not censoring the publication in advance: “So why in this case did the French government allow the magazine Charlie Hebdo to continue to provoke Muslims, thereby placing the sanctity of its citizens at risk?” The not-so-subtle threat underlying this is: keep quiet or die.

But free speech includes speech like Choudray’s, even speech that calls for censorship. I certainly understand, and agree with, the outrage his op-ed caused, especially coming so soon after journalists were killed.  But there is a difference between rejecting an argument, and calling for it to not be expressed, and many crossed that line. “The editors at USA Today have lost their fucking minds,” tweeted Washington Post writer Radley Balko (who is otherwise an excellent reporter and defender of civil liberties). Conservative lawyer and radio host Jim Lockwood wrote: “Shame on you @usatoday for giving this radical Muslim a platform.” Continue reading→

Top articles of note for 2014

Here are my top articles published in 2014, the ones I found most thought-provoking (in alphabetical order by the author's last name):

"The left vs. the climate," The Breakthrough, by Will Boisvert

"Don't send your kid to the Ivy League," The New Republic,  by William Deresiewicz

"America in decay: The sources of political dysfunction," Foreign Affairs, by Francis Fukuyama

"Trigger happy: The 'trigger warning' has spread from blogs to college classes. Can it be stopped?" The New Republic, by Jenny Jarvie

"Freedom of speech or freedom from speech: 50 years after the Berkeley free speech movement," Huffington Post, by Greg Lukianoff

"The microaggression farce," City Journal, by Heather Macdonald

"Why the Ukraine crisis is the West's fault: The liberal delusions that provoked Putin," Foreign Affairs, by John Mearsheimer

"Liberals are killing art: How the left became obsessed with ideology over beauty," The New Republic, by Jed Perl

"The joy of stress," Financial Times, by Katie Roiphe

"Scientism in the arts and humanities," The New Atlantis, by Roger Scruton

"The white ghetto," National Review, by Kevin Williamson

"The college rape overcorrection," Slate, by Emily Yoffe

"A better feminism for 2015," Time, by Cathy Young

This ban is a fracking outrage

frack_jw

New York’s ban on fracking is an act of pure green elitism.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Fight for the right to fraternize

animal-house

Frats are taking the rap for the non-crime of rape culture.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"Chris Rock. What's killing comedy. What's saving America," New York. Interviewed by Frank Rich

"The rustbelt roars back from the dead," The Daily Beast, by Joel Kotkin and Richey Piiparinen

"When GM was Google," The New Yorker, by Nicholas Lemann

"The divorce surge is over, but the myth lives on," New York Times, by Claire Cain Miller

"Minnesota plans to ban gender distinctions for high school sports," The Federalist, by Stella Morabito

"You can't catch Picasso," The New York Review of Books, by Jed Perl. [Review of a book and two exhibitions about Picasso.]

Rolling Stone and the myth of a rape epidemic

UVa Fraternity Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone’s rape hoax speaks to a new hysteria on US campuses.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"The microaggression farce," City Journal, by Heather Macdonald

"Who will save the Democratic Party from itself?" New York Times, by Thomas Edsall

"As Sharpton rose, so did his his unpaid taxes," New York Times, by Russ Buettner

"Is challenging 'rape culture' claims an idea too dangerous for university students?" Reason, by Wendy McElroy

"Erasing Bill Cosby with the speed of light," Detroit Free Press, by Mitch Albom

"The crowdsourcing scam," The Baffler, by Jacob Silverman

"The book of revelations: why are novelists turning back to religion?" The New Statesman, by Philip Maughan

After Ferguson: no, the US is not “congenitally racist”

ferguson_sc

The shooting was terrible. But so is the fatalism of much of the response.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Recent articles of note

"The demise of the white Democratic voter," New York Times, by Thomas Edsall

"Liberals are killing the liberal arts," Wall Street Journal, by Harvey Silvergate

"Julia lost," National Review, by Kevin Williamson

"25 years after the wall fell, challenges remain," Real Clear Politics, by Cathy Young

"America's long holiday: When narcissism attacks," The Baffler, by Suzy Hansen [Review of The Americanization of Narcissism, by Elizabeth Lunbeck]

"Callow, grating and glib: The first-person fodder of Lena Dunham Inc.," New Republic, by James Wolcott [Review of Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham]

The Democrats are running on empty

Thumbnail : The Democrats are running on empty

The US midterms exposed the Obama administration’s utter exhaustion.

Read my spiked article in full here.

Page: 1 / 52 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Last ›

Archives

CONTACT ME

I'd like to hear from you. Feel free to email me with comments, suggestions, whatever. I can be reached at mail@americansituation.com.