Seven Shoddy Excuses Lefties Use to Justify the Paris Massacre

1. “You can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre.”

This hackneyed faux-truism is the Expecto Patronum of squishy liberal apologists. That is, when the going gets tough and they’re forced to do that difficult thing – defending free speech – they reach desperately for this magical formula, rather as Harry Potter does when faced with the Dementors. Once the phrase has been uttered, they seem to think, the argument has been made for them and the nasty, scary problem will go away – as no doubt the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable did when he used it in the most recent edition of BBC Question Time.

But the analogy just doesn’t work for at least three good reasons.

First, if the theatre wasn’t on fire, as seems to be implicit, why would anyone want to say it was? You just wouldn’t. Not unless you were mentally ill. So really, to observe that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre” is a bit like saying “you can’t put your willy in a pit-bull’s mouth”. Trivially true. But so what?

Second, any legal restrictions there may be on shouting fire in crowded theatres which aren’t on fire have to do with protection of life and property rights. You might cause a stampede which could lead to fatalities; at best you would damage the theatre’s box office. These laws, therefore, are an expression of common consent. Not so the prescriptions on blasphemy which terrorists like the Charlie Hebdo murderers would like to impose on us. In order for them to become so, we would have all to agree that the precepts of Sharia law are something we should all obey, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Currently we don’t, though it seems to be the case that people who wheel out the “crowded theatre” aphorism think that we should.

Third, as Mark Steyn argues here and here, the theatre is on fire.

2. “Offensive”

I see that in a Daily Guardiangraph leader today the Charlie Hebdo cartoons are described as “offensive.” Was this adjective really necessary? It seems subtly to concede the case that the French cartoonists had it coming. But last time I checked “offensiveness” in the West was not a capital crime. Indeed, freedom to cause offense is surely one of the defining qualities of a mature, socially liberal culture. It’s how we explore the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable, by testing ideas – good and bad ones alike – in the crucible of debate. If people are wrong, we are free to tell them so – and explain why they are wrong. If we simply decide that some things cannot be said simply because they are “offensive” this enables aggrieved minorities to close down any argument they dislike without its ever being aired in public. This is not freedom of speech, but the opposite.

3. “Provocative.”

The first time I heard this justification was – bizarrely – from an old university friend of mine in the aftermath of the brutal 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh. Sure it was jolly sad and upsetting, she argued, but frankly the guy was an outrageous provocateur who deliberately courted controversy so we should hardly be surprised that he came to a sticky end.

Wow! I never met Theo Van Gogh but I’m pretty sure that, had I asked him, he would have said that being shot in the street was not part of his life plan. Nor was it for the Charlie Hebdo team. They did what they did not, I suspect, because they wanted to but because they felt they had to. Why? Because of precisely the kind of cultural surrender they would have recognised in my university friend’s response to Theo Van Gogh’s death.

4. “Islamophobia”

It’s a nonsense term, of course, because phobias are traditionally a fear of something irrational. But it’s also a classic example of something the progressives are forever enjoining us not to do: victim-blaming. Those millions who gathered in Paris and elsewhere yesterday at the Charlie Hebdo vigils: do we imagine that any one of them wants anything other than to live in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbours? It’s really about time that lefty apologists like Owen Jones stopped responding to every new Islamist atrocity as if it were otherwise.

5. “Anders Breivik”

If Anders Breivik had never existed the left would have had to invent him. He is the (allegedly) right-wing bogeyman they can wheel out at every turn – as Vince Cable did on BBC Question Time – to ‘prove’ that modern terrorism is not an exclusively Islamic phenomenon. The correct response when they try to play this game is: “OK. Apart from Anders Breivik, name two more. Even one more….” (Note incidentally how Owen Jones goes for the double here: Islamophobia and Breivik)

6. “The spectre of the Far Right.”

Another favourite cliche of progressive apologists, as witness most BBC reports on the killings in Paris. Yes, all right, so it seems that most of the evidence – well, all the evidence, actually – points to the murders being the work of fanatical Islamist cells. But it never does any harm, if you’re a liberal, to spread the blame a bit by suggesting that Marine Le Pen and her resurgent Front National (aka “the spectre of the Far Right”) may have played their part in “stoking tensions…”

Oh and one more thing to be noted about “spectres”: being insubstantial, they lack the ability to kill people.

Actually, two more things: Owen Jones again. He’s gone for the treble! (“The favourite target of the Far Right in Europe is…Muslims”). Go on, my son! Back of the net!)

7. “Editorial foolishness”

This is quite similar to point 3, but let’s give a special paragraph of shame to the senior Financial Times editor Tony Barber for that disgraceful apologia for terrorist violence he published the day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.

What Barber (and his craven ilk) don’t seem to realise is that are many, many of us out here who could produce any number of such niggling criticisms of Charlie Hebdo and who, too, secretly rather wish they’d never gone and published those bloody cartoons. But that’s really not the point. They did it to establish a principle. We may not agree with how they did it and few, if any, of us would have done it ourselves. But the principle for which they were fighting ought to be sacrosanct. Either you have free speech or you don’t. Any one trying to argue otherwise has no business being a journalist.

From Breitbart London

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One thought on “Seven Shoddy Excuses Lefties Use To Justify The Paris Massacre”

  1. CleanEnergyPundit says:30th January 2015 at 11:55 pmTo my earlier blog at http://tinyurl.com/pdy7eka about the effects of the “Nuremberg Meme Funnel”, I have added some points and extended bibliography in the light of Charlie Hebdo – which might be of interest.

Comments are closed.

How Pathetically Useless of Cambridge Union to Ban Michael Savage

I’ve long had a soft spot for Cambridge, the charming, picturesque fenland university for people not quite ambitious enough to get into Oxford. But I don’t think its Union debating society has done the place any favours by cancelling at the last minute its invitation to the US talk show host Michael Savage.

Savage was due to speak – via videophone – against the motion “This House Believes Political Correctness is Sane and Necessary” on October 15. The reason he had to do it by videophone, of course, is that he is officially banned from entering Britain.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith issued her fatwa against Michael Savage in the summer as one of the Labour government’s more risibly desperate measures to try to distract public attention from its awfulness. Her thinking went on the following lines: “Hey, I know. I’ll make a long list of the scariest, most murderous terrorists in the world, officially declare them banned from Britain then, at no more public cost than it took to issue the press release, I will be hailed as the Home Secretary who made Britain Safe.”

Then some bright spark noticed that the list included rather too many members of the Religion of Peace (TM). So Jacqui Smith – that brilliant intellect who declared that Islamist terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow in 2007 were “if anything anti-Islamic” – felt compelled to throw in a few non-Muslims too. Very handily Michael Savage – the popular US shock jock about whom no one in Britain had heard up until this point – was white, right-wing and Jewish. Bingo! The man was banned.

And now Cambridge Union has given the poor fellow another kick in the teeth by cancelling his only UK appearance. The Union is blaming technical and legal reasons:

“We have reconsulted with our counsel, and been informed that there are numerous legal issues with Dr Savage speaking here and so because of all of the technical, financial and legal problems involved, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that the event cannot proceed.”

Savage suspects that dark forces are at play and the British government leant on the Union.

“What did the socialist Brown regime fear I might say during the debate?” Savage asked. “What are they hiding from the general public that would have been exposed? Why do they wish to hide what they did to an innocent broadcaster?”

From my experience of the Cambridge Union, I’d say cock-up is far, far more likely than conspiracy. “Legal” reasons sounds like student-speak for “We got nervous about the potential controversy and protests by leftie agitators and chickened out…”

UPDATE:  just had a nice, polite email from the Union’s president elect saying the most pressing reason was financial.

We proposed to Dr Savage that he speak by videophone (/Skype), but his team demanded higher spec equipment than we were able to provide and were not willing to negotiate or contribute to the costs.

The £5000 plus that this event would have cost us – following their demands – was not an expense we could justify.

I believe this bit (though I’ve yet to be convinced by the legal part). Cambridge Union is not awash with cash and is very dependent on its members’ subscriptions. I don’t blame Americans for not knowing this – most British people wouldn’t either. There’s a common assumption that if it’s Oxbridge it must have money to burn. But 19 to 22 year olds – even clever ones – are skint. Especially now Oxbridge is so discriminatory you haven’t a prayer of getting a place these days if you were privately educated.

UPDATE 7pm GMT

Just had an email from Michael Savage’s producer, rebutting the Union’s rebuttal:

The communication you received from the Cambridge Union is inaccurate. To begin with, we were never quoted a cost of 5000₤ to us. The price they quoted to us was 3500₤, in a setup that they proposed to include 2 manned cameras, a sound engineer, a video production manager on site within the Union Chamber, a Polycom unit linked to two manned auxiliary cameras and microphones for the outgoing signal from the Chamber, two 50” plasma screen to display the incoming signal and a 17” monitor placed on Dr Savage’s seat in the Chamber. We did not feel that this elaborate a setup was necessary and were working with the Union to assemble a scheme which would be higher quality and have a more reliable connection than Skype, but be more affordable to them than what they proposed. We were then told that the event was cancelled. It is clear to me that these obstacles could have been overcome if there was a real desire to have the debate.

Moreover, the Cambridge Union cited ‘numerous legal issues’ that were never brought to our attention prior to the cancellation. What did they fear? In view of their having invited Dr. Savage in the first place, and having had ample opportunity to investigate the legal ramifications of this decision in advance, I believe it is fair to raise the question of whether they were pressured by any outside source to cancel the debate.

When I put this to the Union’s president-elect Jonathan Laurence, he said “No outside pressure was put on us. It was a very difficult decision to make”. But when I pressed him to explain what on earth these legal ramifications were he said he couldn’t comment further because of the chaos of Fresher’s week.

Hmm. I think my sympathies are back with Michael Savage.

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Christian hoteliers prosecuted for calling Pope ‘Catholic’ | James Delingpole

September 21, 2009

Perhaps you’ve read the shocking story. A couple of Christian hoteliers in Liverpool have been prosecuted by the police for a “religiously aggravated public order offence”, after one of their Muslim guests complained they had told her that the founder of her religion was a “warlord” and that Muslim dress was a form of “bondage for women”.

I wonder what prosecutions Merseyside police are planning on next.

Liverpool elocution teacher brought to trial for alleging that in Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly ever happen?

Scouse astronomer prosecuted for declaring that night is best time to look at stars?

Liverpool zookeeper arrested after bear takes offence at outrageous suggestion that ursine species only defecate outdoors?

2 Responses to “Christian hoteliers prosecuted for calling Pope ‘Catholic’”

  1. Number 6 says:September 21, 2009 at 8:42 amAh, but had the all pious and peace loving mooslimbs suggested that we all should submit to sharia law and that the west is a wicked and vile place, hence the need to fly aircraft into the twin towers, do you think PC (how apt) plod would be clattering down the hallway in his hobnailed boots?
  2. Badger says:September 21, 2009 at 9:52 amI can picture the scene:
    “Morning! Tea and coffee is over there, minute glass of orange juice there… now would you like bacon and sausage with your eggs? No? Probably not. Oh, and Mohamed was a warlord, you know?”