Category Archives: Political Correctness

One Man’s Freedom of Expression is Another Man’s Hate Crime

We seem to have strayed a long way from our valuing of free speech, perhaps best stated by Voltaire “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In this age of political correctness, both the Right and the Left has bastardized the idea of free speech to a more politically correct attitude: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend your right to say it until someone else is offended.”

As I was driving in to work, I caught a couple of segments of The Mike Gallagher Show (a show I do not normally listen to). Gallagher brought up a case which happened at Pace University where a 23 year-old man by the name of Stanislav Shmulevich allegedly threw a Quran in a toilet on two separate occasions. The university originally reported the crime as an act of vandalism but later decided to report the act to the NYPD as a hate crime instead. I assumed that Gallagher would go on to criticize this as political correctness run amok but to my astonishment, he said that treating this act as a “hate crime” was completely appropriate. Gallagher went even further to say that certain acts such as desecrating a “holy book” (regardless of the faith), the American flag, or burning crosses should all be exempt from First Amendment protection. In his view, there are just some things which should be held sacred; those who commit “crimes” against what he or others consider “sacred” should be punished criminally.

Gallagher’s arguments got even weaker from there. Several callers challenged him on this notion and Gallagher would ask questions like (paraphrasing) “Should we consider it free speech when someone paints swastikas on a Jewish person’s home?” and “What about burning a cross in the lawn of an African American, is that free speech?” Perhaps his most absurd example was whether or not a person dressed in Nazi uniform goose stepping in a Jewish neighborhood should be protected by the First Amendment.

All of these questions can be easily answered if only we go back to the basic idea that each individual has the natural rights of life, liberty, and property (“your freedom ends where my nose begins”); nowhere in our Constitution is there a right to not be offended. Painting swastikas on a Jewish person’s home or burning a cross in an African American’s yard are both violations of these individuals’ right to property, and therefore, the perpetrator should be prosecuted on those grounds.

So, what about the racist bastard goose stepping in a Jewish neighborhood? Assuming the idiot does so on public property, s/he is protected by the First Amendment. Being an anti-Semitic moron, while infuriating to most sensible people, is not a crime nor should it be.

One could argue that these above acts would be acts of intimidation and could warrant criminal prosecution (certainly in the first two examples would be prosecutable without “hate crimes” laws, the last example would still be a bit of a stretch) but I fail to see how desecrating a book which some people deem as “holy” even rises to this standard. There’s no question that desecrating a holy book is offensive to a great majority of people, but a crime? Thomas Jefferson found fault with much of the Bible and therefore proceeded to physically cut and paste the portions of the Bible that he found to be authentic to create his own interpretation of the Bible and discarded the rest. References to the virgin birth, the resurrection, angels, and other miracles were all omitted from the Jefferson Bible. Clearly, if someone like Gallagher knew of someone doing something like this today, he would regard this person as a hate criminal.

The whole purpose of the First Amendment is to protect speech that can be and often is offensive to the sensibilities of a person, a group, or even a majority. Popular speech does not need to be protected nearly as much. I might not like it if someone chooses to burn an American flag, desecrate a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness, or wishes to write terrible things about me on a post I have written but unless such an individual does these things without threatening my life, liberty, or property, I have to put up with these things. It’s the price I pay for living in a free society and a price I am quite willing to pay.

Cross posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

Related Posts:
The First Amendment Explained: Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses (Part 1 of 2)
The First Amendment Explained: Free Speech (Part 2 of 2)

The Woman Who Refuses to Submit

Cross-posted here at Fearless Philosophy for Free Minds

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is one brave woman who refuses to submit to Islam. Ali grew up in a devout Muslim home in Somalia and witnessed the brutal treatment of women first hand. When her father arranged a marriage to a complete stranger to whom she would be required by Islamic tradition to obey his every command, Ali refused. Ali moved to Holland to pursue her own dreams (an act is strictly forbidden by the Koran).

After some time outside of Islamic culture and after the events of September 11, 2001, Ali rejected her religion of Islam in favor of reason (she is now an atheist). Since that time Ali has worked, at great personal risk, to educate the West of Islam’s subjugation of women and confront the politically correct Western media for its apologetic approach to her former religion.

In 2004, Ali co-produced a short movie with Theo Van Gogh entitled Submission to bring attention to the plight of women in the Islamic world. On November 2, 2004, Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim man who took offense to the blasphemous film. A note was found on Van Gogh’s body warning that Ali would be next.

Ali now lives under the protection of body guards in the U.S. but continues to speak out for the women who are victims of Islamic society. In April, her book Infidel hit the shelves (I just picked up the book myself; very fascinating what I have read so far).

The first of the 2 videos is a short interview with Ali where she explains the message she was trying to get across in Submission. The second video is the movie itself (Be patient, the video begins in Arabic with some non-English subtitles but the dialogue from that point on is mostly English).

Religious Zealot Fails To Remove Harry Potter From Schools

In Georgia, a holier than thou Christian by the name of Laura Malloy has tried, and failed, for the 5th time to remove Harry Potter from Gwinnett County government school library shelves. Malloy says the books cause children to embrace witchcraft:

A judge gave Laura Mallory 64 minutes Tuesday to argue why the Harry Potter books should be removed from school library shelves.

She didn’t convince him.

Superior Court Judge Ronnie Batchelor instead upheld a decision by the Gwinnett County public schools to reject Mallory’s request and keep the popular J.K. Rowling series in school libraries.

The hearing Tuesday marked the fifth defeat for the Loganville woman, who has children in the Gwinnett schools and who launched her anti-Potter crusade in 2005.

Mallory said she is considering filing “a brand-new case” in federal court and hiring a lawyer to represent her.

“One day, the truth about this is going to come out,” she said.

School system spokeswoman Sloan Roach said the Gwinnett school board is prepared for that possibility. “Obviously, we hope this is the end of it,” Roach said.

As for the argument that the Harry Potter books have gotten children interested in reading:

Supporters of Rowling’s books say the popular stories about boy wizard Potter encourage children to read. Mallory responded that wasn’t sufficient reason to allow the books to remain in school libraries. “I’m sure there are teenagers who read pornography, but that doesn’t make it right,” she said.

So Harry Potter is now equal to Playboy or Hustler…I’m not seeing the similarities.

Why does Ms. (since I know this probably irritates her) Mallory hate Harry Potter so much:

Mallory restated many of her previous complaints about the Harry Potter series. She argued the books lure children into practicing witchcraft. Mallory said the school board’s decision to offer the books in taxpayer-funded libraries violates the U.S. Constitution because, she claims, they promote the Wiccan religion. Mallory also argued the books are too violent for children.

Mallory has acknowledged that she hasn’t read any of the Harry Potter books in their entirety, but Tuesday she recited excerpts of at least three of the books to illustrate her points.

Mallory, sometimes breaking into tears, read testimony from a teenager who said reading the books led her to contemplate suicide. Quoting a counselor who testified at a previous hearing, Mallory said the Potter movies and books led one boy into high-risk behaviors, such as dangerous motorcycle stunts and bungee jumping.

So is Mallory bring this case because she’s a type that believes in separate church and state? Not quite:

“I have a dream that God will be welcomed back into our schools,” Mallory said.

So she wants to get rid of a book series that she alleges (with little merit if she knew anything about the Wiccan sect) promotes a religion in order to get her religious viewpoints in the government schools. What does the Bible say about hypocrites again?

I’m one of the original co-founders of The Liberty Papers all the way back in 2005. Since then, I wound up doing this blogging thing professionally. Now I’m running the site now. You can find my other work at The and Rare. You can also find me over at the R Street Institute.


No, not the soon-to-be regular feature of this site, where one of us debates another one; this one is in response to some of the responses to yesterdays events.

Yesterday, a horrendous attack was carried out by a lone, crazed individual at Virgina Tech. 33 people (including the mass murderer) are dead, with dozens more wounded.

Though reports are conflicting, it seems the murderer did this with one hand gun, and a few spare magazines. No “assault” weapons were involved, and there were no “super high capacity” magazines… just the standard capacity magazines for the gun. Even if he were limited to 10 round magazines for the gun, he’d only need one, or at most two more, at $30 a piece, to achieve the same result.

No “assault weapons ban” would have stopped this mass murder.

He apparently purchased his gun legally, several months before.

No background check or waiting period would have stopped this mass murder.

It was initially thought that the murderer was a chinese national, who had acquired his guns illegally. This was plausible, because it is easier to buy a gun illegally in many areas, than it is legally.

No ban on handguns, or even all guns, would have stopped this mass murder.

The murderer apparently took his time, sought out specific locations, and blended in with the hysterical crowds when he wasn’t actively shooting. He waited three hours while the police and security searched for him; and when the students started moving again, he started shooting again.

No Police presence short of an armed and trained officer in every room, and at every intersection would have stopped this mass murder

Dozens of police spread out throughout the campus couldn’t find him, and couldn’t stop him when he got up and started shooting again. The police COULD NOT STOP HIM.

One prospective “victim”; a student, a teacher, an administrator; armed with a gun; could have stopped this mass murder.

Why could one student do it when the police couldn’t? Because the students were there all the time. They were there when the murderer stood up, took out his gun, and started shooting at the (disarmed by law, and university policy) victims.

In Virginia, about 150,000 people have CCW permits; and though there are no accurate statistics, it is estimated that out of a population of 7.5 million, at least 3 million are gun owners. Out of the almost 30,000 students and faculty at Virgina tech, there are at least several dozen, perhaps as many as several hundred CCW holders (I’ve known more than a couple personally) and several thousand gun owners.

If just one of the students, faculty, or staff there that day were carrying a gun; they could have stopped this mass murder. It isn’t assured that they would have, but it’s damn well sure that without arms, they were nothing more than cowering victims.

Yesterday, in this post “Blue Girl” called this notion ridiculous, saying that private citizens who are not sworn law enforcement officers are the equivalent of Barney Pfife with his one bullet in his shirt… yosemite sam, backyard rambo, whatever ridiculous insult you want to pile on.

Essentially she (and some of her commenters) are saying “you are all incompetent, and mentally ill for thinking you could stop this. You are a danger to yourself and others, leave it to the professionals”. She (and some of her commenters); and in fact anti-gun sites and organizations around the world; went on to blame guns in general, the NRA, and gun owners for all “gun violence”; and to suggest that effective gun control could stop things like this from happening.

She is of course not isolated in this view; many people share it, in fact millions.

In this case, millions of people CAN be wrong. This view is patently ridiculous; and indicates a fundamental lack of maturity, and understanding about criminals, the insane, violence, and the effectiveness of both weapons, and weapons laws.

First, there is no such thing as “gun violence”, there is only “people violence” or “natural violence”. Guns are inanimate objects, that have no capability to act on their own. They are tools that individuals use, for good or ill; and have no inherent morality.

Second, and what I want to specifically address in this post however; is the idea that private gun owners are somehow incompetent and dangerous, and that police and other law enforcement officers are somehow more qualified, and better trained in firearms and their use.

This view is shared by MANY people, even many people who are otherwise not anti-gun. They believe that police officers are for the most part firearms experts, and highly trained in shooting.

Sadly, in most cases, this is not true. I don’t mean to denigrate the many fine law enforcement officers in this country; but most cops are not very good with guns; and most are sadly ignorant about them, both legally and technically.

Let’s do a little point-counterpoint here:

Point: I carry every day, all day.

Counterpoint: Most cops carry 8 hours a day (it amazes me that most cops don’t carry off duty).

Point: I carry a $2000 pistol, custom made for me, specifically to be incredibly accurate and reliable. I have several other pistols jsut as reliable (though perhaps not quite as accurate), and I can choose the appropriate pistol for the appropriate situation. I choose my supporting gear to specifically suit my personal, and situational needs.

Counterpoint: Most cops have one gun, often not well suited to their body, or shooting style. It is often maintained only in a basic fashion, and often worn or “loose” to the point of questionable accuracy. Because they are fired infrequently, it is difficult to judge reliability. Most cops are limited in their supporting equipment choices to that which the department issues.

Point: I extensively test all my ammunition options, select those that perform best, and then test those again to come up with an appropriate load which shoots accurately and reliably from my weapon, along with two backup loads.

Counterpoint: Most cops are limited to ammunition issued by their department, generally chosen based on cost; and may be limited to relatively ineffective chambering and loadings, because of cost, and political considerations.

Point: I have hundreds of hours of classroom training in small arms usage, and thousands of hours of range training. I have also delivered hundreds of hours of training to others. I try and take a training class at least every other year (more often if I can afford it), and up until recently was REQUIRED to do so every 4 years.

: Most cops get 8-16 hours or so of classroom training at the beginning of their career, and if they are lucky 24 hours of range training. They then generally get no continuing classroom training with firearms throughout their careers, and at most 8 hours of range training per year (this is starting to improve in some departments).

Point: I shoot 500rds a week in a good month; every other week in a bad one.

Counterpoint: Most cops shoot less than 500 rounds per year… in fact many shoot less than 100 rounds a year. There are some law enforcement organizations which only require a 25 round qualification every other year.

: I train to a standard of combat accuracy that requires the ability to put 5 shots into a 4” circle on a moving target at 10 yards (and I don’t always make it, but it’s always close).

Counterpoint: Most cops train to get 70% hits in a 16” x 18” oval

: I train with a moving shooter, moving target, and both paper and reactive targets of varying sizes, at varying ranges, indoors and out; in varying weather conditions; strong and weak handed; and I include rapid reloading and malfunction drills in my training

: Most cops “train” at a fixed range, with fixed lighting and weather conditions, a fixed target; and with little emphasis on reloads or malfunction clearance, using only “stock” shooting positions (though this is improving somewhat).

Point: I am not unusual in the community of shooters, in seeking and achieving this level of training and performance. There are 60,000 nationally ranked competitive practical pistol shooters, and many more non ranked shooters, across the various pistol shooting disciplines. There are several times that many competitive rifle shooters. Most of those people also carry concealed on a daily basis. Then there are the many thousands of students taking advanced pistol instruction every year.

Counterpoint: Of the 800,000 full time sworn law enforcement officers in the united states, not 1 in 100 is a “gun guy”; and most of those, are counted among the people I list above. They universally describe their competitive and other non-law enforcement training as many times better than that of their law enforcement agencies, and fellow officers.

So, really, who is Barney Pfife here?

What’s worse is, when anti-gun types ask me why I train so much (if they even bother); I tell them that I train because of people like this mass murderer. I tell them that I train, not because I want trouble, but because if trouble comes I don’t want to be unprepared for it. I’d rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

When presented with this perfectly valid justification, they say things like “you’re paranoid” or “you’re a wannabe hero”, “you can’t protect yourself”, “you’re more of a danger to the people around you” etc…


… Because they don’t trust themselves, and project that distrust onto others. Because they are afraid. Because they want to believe that they don’t HAVE to have the responsibility of doing the same themselves, they don’t have to protect themselves, they don’t have to protect others around them. Because they want to believe that the cops can protect them.

Anything that threatens this view creates a violent emotional response in them.

In fact I can guarantee you that when the anti-gun, anti-responsiblity, anti-liberty types find this post; there will be violent emotional responses all over the place in comments

Oh… and one more thing.

: It takes a large man an average of 1.7 seconds from a standing, apparently non threatening start, to cross 7 yards (21 feet), and execute a knife slash on another person (a trained shooter can draw and fire in 1.5 seconds – though it is difficult).

Counterpoint: The average 911 response time in this country is 8 minutes

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

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