Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Some Animals are More Equal than Others

April 29, 2015 • 7:45 am

There’s one more comic today before we get to the readers’ wildlife photos. Here’s the latest Jesus and Mo, with the artist’s note in the accompanying email, “The Charlie Hebdo issue rumbles on.”

2015-04-29And allow me to point out the latest trope in the college I’m-Offended Movement: “Hate speech is not free speech.”








78 thoughts on “Jesus ‘n’ Mo ‘n’ Some Animals are More Equal than Others


      May 2013
      In Britain, Police Arrest Twitter And Facebook Users If They Make Anti-Muslim Statements

      Detective statement:

      ‘The men were arrested under the Public Order Act on suspicion of inciting racial or religious hatred. Our inquiries into these comments continue.

      ‘These comments were directed against a section of our community. Comments such as these are completely unacceptable and only cause more harm to our community in Bristol.

      ‘People should stop and think about what they say on social media before making statements as the consequences could be serious.’

      As pointed out by many, the reverse is not true. Similar statements against Jews are ignored by police even as antisemitism grows. Perhaps it’s because segments of the Jewish community don’t riot when they are vilified?

      1. Yep. As a resident of the UK it’s been very worrying to see the *extraordinary* zeal with which the police have prosecuted people for the crime of “saying mean things on twitter”.

        It does sometimes feel like someone’s trying to implement ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’. Only, unlike North Korea did it in one fell swoop, the UK seems to be trying to implement it one word and one page at a time so that no one notices.

  1. Totally depressing. One wants to grill each of them: “so how do you define free speech?” Free =/= inhibited.

        1. A hypothesis I dreamed up long ago is that many of the prominent artists of the past were satirizing Christianity with their art, but it wasn’t noticed as such because, well, a really well done Poe is indistinguishable from reality.

          Despite the Jesus is love claims of today’s believers Christianity has always been fixated on pain, suffering and ghoulishness.

          1. I’ve reached the same conclusion about some of the art. The expressions on the faces of many of the torturers look like lust, sexual gratification etc.

    1. I think every one of these folks should be required to play the policy equivalent of the children’s cut the cake game (you cut the cake, I select the first piece) against someone who disagrees with them: YOU decide what punishments the government can levy on bad speech, then THE OTHER GUY decides what counts as ‘bad speech.’ And remember, he doesn’t like you or your causes. Go.

      I think that sort of game quickly illustrates to most people why these are terrible ideas for democracies (where an administration who disagrees with you is probably in power half the time). In fact the only reason anyone supports such rule is because they unconsciously place themselves in the position of judge, jury, and executioner/would-be dictator. When you remove the unconscious assumption that you are not the sort of person who gets to decide how such laws are implemented, they start to look a lot less appealing.

  2. Why do none of these people protest the Koran for hate speech?

    Do they agree that:
    1) A woman’s word in court is worth half that of a man
    2) Gays should be stoned to death
    3) The penalty for apostasy is death
    4) There should be no separation between religion and state
    5) Public lashings are a just punishment for questioning any part of the Koran
    6) Female genital mutilation is acceptable
    7) Women should not be allowed to drive
    8) All scientific discoveries reside in the Koran

    No? I thought not. Those are just facts about the Koran or sharia practice. Anyone who denies that is talking dangerous nonsense or is dangerous.

    Glad to get that off my chest and for preaching to the choir. x

  3. They all seem to have forgotten the second part of their signs:

    “And I get to decide what counts as hate speech”

  4. I recognize the words in these signs as written in English (after a fashion), but the sentiments expressed are as foreign to me as if set down in some proto-Indus script.

  5. Wondering how this is playing @ Wm&Mary and at the same time wonder what students there tought about George Lincoln Rockwell & free speech at the time. He was assassinated just days before PCC & I rolled up to the gates there in 1967, and I read somewhere that the last interview he gave was with someone from W&M, but I have no memory of it. It may be here, but the chronology seems off.

  6. The “Freedom of speech, go to hell,” sign is particularly ironic.

    What these people seem to actually mean is, those other peoples’ speech should be limited, but not mine. Or perhaps they are just “all in” with “the ends justify the means.”

    I interpret their protests as hate speech against people that support freedom of speech, like me. They offend me. Where does that leave things?

    1. Yeah, that sign in particular diminishes me (civis americanus sum), costs me part of my sanity, makes me feel unsafe, even. Can’t we do something to censor it?

      1. It reminds me of one from a British protest a few years ago: “Kill those who say Islam is violent”.

    2. I would really, really love to believe that the person holding the FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION GO TO HELL sign is an embedded counter-protester trying to make a sly point. But alas, it probably isn’t.

  7. Wiley Miller said it best, two days ago, “Our religion of peace and love compels us to ask you not to exist.”

    Where do you draw the line?

    I am reminded of the incident a few months ago at a British university, where Muslim male students wanted women segregated in the back of a public lecture, so that they would not be offended.

    Where do you draw the line?

    If we object to FGM or child marriage, and Muslims get offended by our objections, do they get to continue those barbaric practices?

    Where do you draw the line?

    If we object to Christians beating their kids with rubber hoses, leaving them out in the freezing cold, or shunning them, and they get offended, do we have to STFU because it’s their religion?

    And, if I, a secular person, am highly offended by their sexism, their homophobia, their xenophobia, their anger, their stupidity, and their hatred of education, do I have any equal rights here, or not, because my offendedness isn’t religion-based?



  8. And so, what we are saying with all these signs is — we really don’t like free speech. It’s a good thing our Constitution does not see it this way or they might not be able to carry those signs.

  9. “Hate Speech is not Free Speech” is a deepity.

    It can be interpreted in a way that’s ‘true but trivial’ for most people, in that it says something that’s not particularly controversial.

    It can be interpreted in a way that’s “extraordinary but false,” in that it goes so extreme it’s self-refuting.

    And then there are all the shades in between.

    “True but trivial?” If the phrase is framed as a moral request rather than a legal statement and “hate speech” is interpreted narrowly, then it’s reasonable. Gross personal insults, name-calling, threats, racism, and bullying may be legal but they’re not kind, not conducive to rational discourse, and end up silencing viewpoints. Think of the kind of garbage you, yourself, would try to put a lid on in the name of common decency — there’s probably something. That sort of ‘hate speech’ doesn’t in any way advance discussion, it shuts it down abruptly.

    I think Jerry’s already provided some fine illustrations of the “extraordinary but false.”

      1. Look how well that “one homogeneous opinion” thing worked out at the Kremlin. We could never compete with those guys. (There’s a Yakov Smirnoff line in there somewhere, but damned if I can put my finger on it right now.)

  10. If you can censor the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party today, you can censor the Green party and the Union of Concerned Scientists tomorrow, re slippery definitions of hate speech. That’s what the 1st Amendment is all about.

    It is legit for high schools to discourage multiple students bullying a single unpopular student (such incidents have led to teen suicide), but we also need to encourage the attitude behind that corny old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”.

    1. True “bullying” isn’t protected speech; it’s verbal conduct, lacking ideational content, like screaming in someone’s ear to cause pain.

      The obverse side of that coin is that non-verbal, symbolic speech — armbands, pictures, costumes, etc. — that does convey an idea is protected by the First Amendment.

      1. IMO the concept of ‘bullying’ also includes some behavioral components entirely separate from whatever the speech content is, and very similar to harassment: say it once, its probably not that. Say it again after I ask you not to, might be. Say it over and over again to me after I’ve asked you not to, is. Say it coincidentally in my presence, its probably not that. Set up a meeting to say it in my presence, it might be. Follow me around saying it when I’m obviously trying to avoid you, is. In some sense what separates a mean comment from bullying is not the content but how (and how often) you choose to communicate it.

        1. Ack, I didn’t get to my main point. Continuing from above: these sorts of behavioral components make it relatively easy to separate free speech from bullying (at least in public areas), because the courts already recognize that there can be reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on speech (in public areas). ‘No bullying,’ under the logic I’ve described above, becomes a time/place/manner restriction, not a content restriction.

          1. Right. The crucial thing about “time, place, manner” restrictions on public speech, is that they must be content-neutral — or, in those rare instances where content restriction is permissible (say, a demonstration regarding obscenity in front of a schoolyard), they certainly must be viewpoint neutral (not permitting anti-obscenity protestors, while banning the pro-obscenity vox populi). Any bets on which side of that debate would attract the school kids’ attention?

  11. My sign would say: “Who will decide whether YOUR speech is permitted?”

    Offense is a meaningless standard for judging speech, because anyone can claim it, but no one can prove it. Anytime you want to stop someone from arguing with you, all you have to do is say you are offended. If ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse,’ then being offended is no justification.

  12. The only sign that I agree with is one that speaks out against bullying. But to be clear, speaking out against powerful and oppressive religions and the violence they inspire is not bullying.

    1. Of course, “speaking out against powerful and oppressive religions and the violence they inspire is not bullying.” It is the opposite; it is protesting against bullying — of the most pernicious sort, the kind that enlists a deity as the bully’s accomplice.

  13. I hate these fucking passive-aggressive tantrum-throwing immature idiots. They can take their anti-free-speech signs and shove them up their asses. That is, if the signs will fit alongside their swollen heads.

    Oops. I guess that’s hate speech. Aw, shucks. So not sorry about that.


    1. Taking what these folks say as charitably as possible, then. Ben illustrates what the next question should be: what counts, and why?

      I am skeptical of Canada’s “hate speech” laws, but at least they are codified.

      That said, these folks still missed the lesson from _Diff’rent Strokes_. (!) Put up *content* on your banners against the bigots, if that’s really who your opponents are. (Or even if they aren’t!)

  14. The irony is that the type of people who say such things are among the most hateful unpleasant people I’ve ever seen.

    1. That’s because they’re constantly driven to bitter rage by the certain knowledge that, at this very moment, somewhere…somehow…someone is speaking out freely — saying something that would offend their feelings, if only they could hear it.

  15. I am not sure what “hate speech” really means. It seems like it has turned into a slogan used to demand protection for just about any indefensible position. The focus is now on controlling what people say rather than how they think. Why don’t we work on learning how to think in more fair-minded ways instead? We could start by redirecting our thinking from groups to individual minds. Isn’t there a relationship between identification with a group (e.g. Muslims) on one side and, on the other side, with stereotyping individuals within that group based on the presumed characteristics of that group? The stereotyping is coming as much from within as from without. We should all learn to think for ourselves rather than letting others do our thinking for us.

    1. Problem is, we humans remain the evolutionary product of all those millennia out on the veldt as members of small bands of hunter-gatherers, where membership and loyalty to the group was all, survival itself, and other groups were viewed as threats to survival, to be overcome or avoided.

      Talk about old habits dying hard…yeesh.

      1. I still believe we can learn to override those instinctual behaviors. But religion isn’t the way.

    1. Yeah, but it’s like your mother-in-law going over a cliff in your new Cadillac — you might be glad to be rid of her [just kidding, Ma!], but your gonna miss the car, too, just like you’d be happy to be rid of Scripture, but you’ll miss free speech more. You can replace a Caddy; not so easy, with the freedom of speech.

    1. This is one of the key points about freedom of speech and expression that many so-called liberals completely miss.

      Who should we trust to define what is and isn’t accepted speech? Be careful who you choose, because you never know when you’re going to be on the wrong side of their “hate speech” red line.

      This is currently happening in some feminist communities. They’ve taken great pains to establish an identity-based political system within their own ranks, and then used this to silence or ban any dissenting views (talks on campus from people who don’t support their point of view or analysis etc.).

      Now, in a beautiful ironic twist, the identity politics system in feminism has divided into various subgroups who are now attempting to silence their fellow feminists for being biphobic, queerphobic, transphobic etc.

      It really has become ridiculous, and a very good lesson in why you shouldn’t try to ban or censor speech just because you don’t agree with it. Ideas that you don’t agree with should be answered with your own free speech! Don’t try to ban it, censor it, or sequester yourself and others away from it in “safe spaces”!

      P.S. For the avoidance of doubt, I would consider myself supportive of feminism in general – I just don’t like the authoritarian and censorious strain of feminism that’s currently getting the most attention.

      1. What you describe is a mug’s game for True Believers, the kind that join religious cults or volunteer as delegates to the Comintern. It inevitably leads to recursive factionalism, eventually consuming all of its seed corn — until the second-to-last True Believer left is tossed off the bridge by the final extant True Believer for the capital crime of “heresy.”

      2. Indeed Benjamin. Are we to select a Muslim to give guidelines on the restrictions, is Pat, the pope cuddles or who? What happens when we have to disagree with him. Anyone who suggests we should have restrictions on free speech, I say, haven’t thought about what they really want to impose on others and themselves

      3. I would consider myself supportive of feminism in general – I just don’t like the authoritarian and censorious strain of feminism that’s currently getting the most attention.

        You’re far from alone! I’m trying to hold fast to the traditional meaning of feminism; surely this current nonsense can’t last.

  16. ‘Government speech’ is not free speech and neither can ‘Corporation speech’ be assumed to be free when corporations collude with government.

    1. Not sure what your saying here, WB; there’s a not-too nuanced difference in the meaning of the F-word as used in “free speech” and “free beer.” You certainly can’t count on government or corporations to provide you with the former (and, when it comes right down to it, not for much for the latter either, “free” being a relative term, even at a corporate-sponsored beer bash).

      Not sure what the problem might be with “Government speech.” I want my government to speak to me — not as “Big Brother,” of course, but in terms of transparency. I certainly want it to honestly answer my inquiries, and those of my fellow citizens, and to provide us with regular, truthful information regarding what the hell it’s been up to, in sufficient detail so that somebody — if not me or you, then somebody — can fulfill the role of good citizenship in a participatory democracy.

      I also don’t understand the problem with “Corporate speech” — so long as I’m not forced to listen to corporate messages as a “captive audience.” What we do need to keep our eye on regarding corporations is their rapaciousness — in all senses of the word –in how much they consume, of money, of assets, of the environment, of human capital. And of how much — and who — they purchase, especially in terms of obtaining undue influence over those who are entrusted as our watchdogs, and our representatives purportedly providing us with good government. But corporate speech qua speech? I have no problem with it. As long as it is not deceptive of fraudulent, and to it the extent it provides information that some of us as consumers may find useful, corporate speech serves, on balance, a public good.

  17. In the “freedom of speech is not freedom to bully!” sign, is the pointed finger supposed to represent the person doing the bullying, or the person telling us that “freedom of speech is not freedom to bully”? The ambiguity is, I think, rather telling . . .

  18. Self-proclaimed liberals on university campuses (and elsewhere) urgently need to look into what being a liberal *really* means.

  19. From JedBrown5 on Twitter (retweeted by Sam Harris):
    “We either support free speech, or we support the right of others to kill us if we say something they don’t like.”

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