No Freedom Without Free Speech

Jonathan Turley, a renowned legal scholar and expert on constitutional law, has penned an op-ed in today’s Washington Post on an important human rights issue: free speech. Turley decries the trend in many parts of the world — including Western Europe — to criminalize speech that criticizes or attacks specific religions or ethnic groups:

For years, the Western world has listened aghast to stories out of Iran, Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations of citizens being imprisoned or executed for questioning or offending Islam. Even the most seemingly minor infractions elicit draconian punishments. Late last year, two Afghan journalists were sentenced to prison for blasphemy because they translated the Koran into a Farsi dialect that Afghans can read. In Jordan, a poet was arrested for incorporating Koranic verses into his work. And last week, an Egyptian court banned a magazine for running a similar poem.

But now an equally troubling trend is developing in the West. Ever since 2006, when Muslims worldwide rioted over newspaper cartoons picturing the prophet Muhammad, Western countries, too, have been prosecuting more individuals for criticizing religion. The “Free World,” it appears, may be losing faith in free speech.

Turley is probably best known for his outspoken opposition to the Bush administration’s use of arbitrary detention and torture against foreign suspects in what Bush termed the “war on terror,” and for his strong support for war crimes prosecutions against those responsible for conceiving, planning, authorizing, and perverting the law to justify, that torture program. I am guessing that most if not all of the conservatives who have commented favorably on Turley’s WaPo op-ed are not as familiar with his work in that area.

Having said that, this is one issue on which right and left can agree, and generally do. As Neptunus Lex puts it:

Many of those who established this country came here to escape the religious oppression inherent in state-imposed orthodoxy of thought and conscience. Our founders enabled, tolerated and indeed encouraged the free and open expression of ideas in a marketplace that sorted them out according to value. This is the fundamental underpinning our society, and it serves to legitimize the power of government of and by the people, not over them.

Ours is a glorious, vibrant, and occasionally raucous experiment in personal liberty by self-government, a notion that runs contrary to many ten thousand of years of miserable human experience. That experiment is not yet demonstrably and finally a success, but, for my own part, I will live no other way.

And a resounding AMEN! to that.

One Response to “No Freedom Without Free Speech”

  1. sakuchan says:

    DO NOT CHEAT OR IT WON’T WORK! YOU WILL WISH YOU HADN’T!!! -o-
    take 3 minutes
    this will freak you out! O_O
    This game has funny/ creepy out come! XD
    DO NOT READ AHEAD!!! OR YOU’LL BE KICKING YOUR SELF IF YOU DO! D=

    It takes about 3 minutes-worth a try

    1st:Get a pen and paper!

    2nd:When choosing names make sure they’re reall people you actually know! or else it won’t work! DX

    3rd:Go with your first instincts!!!!!!! very importent for good results! ^__^

    4th:scroll down.

    ONE LINE AT A TIME! DON’T READ AHEAD OR YOU WILL RUIN THE FUN!!! DX< <

    1.On a blank sheet of paper, WRIGHT NUMBERS 1 through 11 in a COLUMN on the left.

    2. next to the numbers 1 & 2,
    WRIGHT DOWN ANY TWO NUMBERS YOU WANT!

    Do you have a favorite number?
    3. Next to the numbers 3 & 7,
    right down the two names of two memebers,
    OF THE OPPOSITE SEX. SAME SEX IF GAY.
    CAUTION: DO NOT LOOK AHEAD OR IT WILL NOT TURN OUT RIGHT!!!!!!-o-

    4. wright anyones name,
    (like friend or family…)
    next to 4, 5, & 6.
    DON’T CHEAT OR YOU’LL BE UPSET THAT YOU DID!!

    5. right downFOUR song tittles in 8, 9, 10, & 11
    6.finally!
    MAKE A WISH!! =3
    ARE YOU READY HERE ISH THE KAY TO THE GAME! XD
    1.the number of people who like you are in
    SPACE 2!
    2. the person in space
    3 ISH THE ONE YOU LOVE!
    3. the person you like, but your relationship can not work is in
    SPACE 7
    4. you care most about the person you put in
    SPACE 4
    5.the person you put in space 5 is the one who
    KNOWS YOU VERY WELL!
    6. theperson you named in space 6 ish your
    LUCKY STAR!
    7. the song in number 8 matches with the
    PERSON IN NUMBER 3!
    8. the tittle in9 is the song for the
    PERSON IN 7!
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    YOUR MIND!
    10. and 11 is the song telling you how you
    FEEL ABOUT LIFE!
    11. number 1 ish your
    LUCKY NUMBER!
    repost this
    WITHIN AN HOUR OF READING THIS.

    IF YOU DO YOU WISH WILLCOME TRUE!!! =3

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