From time to time in this space we get into some… ahem… discussions about the necessity for what I call “temperate speech”.
It’s Rule #2 of our comments policy: your speech here must be temperate, which I define as containing “no exhortations to commit violence or foment insurrection, etc.”
I’ve taken a lot of flak for enforcing this rule, and have endured my share of reproach and ridicule for my namby-pamby sissified cowardly fear of frank and unrestrained argument. I’ve been accused of succumbing to the dictates of political correctness, and have even allegedly driven one blogger out of blogging through his disgust at my disgraceful example.
But there is a prudent and practical reason for my policy, as demonstrated today by the actions of the federal government towards two prominent blogs, Gateway Pundit and Little Green Footballs.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Mosque threatened, Muslim group says
A national Muslim civil rights organization has asked the FBI to investigate what it considers threats made on the Internet against a Bosnian mosque in St. Louis.
One blog post cited by the group made reference to vandalism and another to the use of dynamite.
Zachary Lowe, a special agent in the St. Louis office of the FBI, said Tuesday that while he could not confirm an investigation, the bureau “takes all threats against people very seriously, especially religious and ethnic groups.”
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The comments were made on at least two blogs and related to a posting about a minaret being built at the mosque. The mosque is the Islamic Community Center, or Madina Masjid, at 4666 Lansdowne Avenue. A minaret is a tower from which the Muslim call to prayer is traditionally sounded.
The author of a blog called “Gateway Pundit: Observations of the World from the heart of Jesusland,” posted three photos of the minaret covered with scaffolding. One of the photos included the caption: “Those calls to prayers ought to go over really well with the people of this South St. Louis neighborhood.”
The “Gateway Pundit” author also cited another blog, Republican Riot, saying the Muslim call to prayer “is to be broadcast several times a day.”
But Madina Masjid’s spiritual leader, Imam Muhamed Hasic, said the minaret is symbolic, not practical. There is no sound system or speakers on the minaret, which is scheduled to be completed next week. He said the minaret will not be used to call Muslims to prayer.
Another blog, called “Little Green Footballs,” linked to the “Gateway Pundit” post, and several comments on “Little Green Footballs,” caused the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations to contact the FBI, said Ibrahim Hooper, the council’s spokesman.
“We ourselves get these kinds of hate messages and threats frequently,” Hooper said. “But you never know who’s just talking and who’s going to carry out some these threats, so you have to check them out.”
On the “Gateway Pundit,” a blogger who identified herself as Kathi, wrote: “It is really hard on us white, non-muslims to have to live with these folks taking over our neighborhood and community. Our government helping these people relocate into America’s heartland is like inviting the enemy into your camp. It’s totally disgusting.”
On “Little Green Footballs,” blogger Amer1can wrote, “Would be a shame if it were to be vandalized or destroyed. Just a shame I tell you….wink wink STL youth.”
Blogger Arthur E. Hippler added: “I suppose dynamite would be considered an extreme response.”
One of the photos of the St. Louis minaret mentioned in the article is shown at right, and Jim’s dangerous, hateful, Islamophobic caption reads: Amazing! (GP Photo) Those calls to prayers ought to go over really well with the people of this South St. Louis neighborhood.
Alert readers will notice that all of the “threats” cited by the article were made by commenters on the blogs, not by the blogs’ owners and authors.
The FBI and the MSM evidently make no distinction between a blogger and a commenter. They’re really not familiar with our milieu — so a commenter is a blogger and a blogger is a commenter; what’s the difference?
However… when the excrement impacts the circulation device, it won’t be the commenters who are targeted for their incitement; it will be the blog owners.
They’re the ones who will be hauled down to the local FBI office, put into a hot little room under a set of bright lights, and talked to for six or eight hours.
It’s the blog owners’ blogs that will get shut down.
It’s the blog owners who will have to retain legal counsel — and drop a couple of large in the process.
It’s the blog owners who will have to pay the fines and do the time.
And maybe — just maybe — after the feds finish getting their jollies with the blog owners, they’ll go after a few commenters while they’re at it. Just a little dessert after the main course, you know.
You Americans think it can only happen in Finland (Tomashot), Britain (Lionheart), Sweden (Dahn Pettersson and Lennart Eriksson), Canada (Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn), Belgium (Paul Belien) , and other similar benighted backwaters.
But it can happen here, too.
The First Amendment is under continuous assault by the forces of Political Correctness, and it’s going to get worse once Hillary Rodham or Barack Hussein gets elected and starts pulling away at the levers of power.
So why not practice for the days of samizdat that are surely coming our way? What’s wrong with a little judicious indirection?
If the time should come when we are required to dissolve the political bands which have connected us with the existing system, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind will require us to state our case clearly.
When that happens, when the powers that be remain deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity, we may, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity for plain speech and forthright action.
But until then I’d like to keep this blog going. I want this forum to remain open.
I don’t want to spend my sunset years talking to polite and well-dressed federal agents in stuffy little rooms.
I don’t want to be driven into bankruptcy by legal expenses.
And, yes, I may well end up standing at the corner of Emmet and Hydraulic, beckoning to passing cars with a sign that reads, “WILL BLOG FOR FOOD”.
But I’d rather not.
So I vote for temperate speech instead.
Hat tip: Larwyn.