Free Speech Not Valid in All Locations

by Jason Lightner November 30th, 2012 | Independent Ideas
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“Allowing foreign terrorist organizations like Hamas to operate on Twitter is enabling the enemy. Failure to block access arms them with the ability to freely spread their violent propaganda and mobilize in their War on Israel.”

Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas),letter to The Hill

With the party in the desert between Israel and Palestine building to a crescendo recently, notions of censorship are once again being brought up. The target? The online communications platform known as Twitter. This past September seven House Republicans petitioned the FBI to somehow coerce Twitter into blocking the accounts of organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Ted Poe, who happens to sit on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Judiciary panel’s terrorism subcommittee, wants Twitter effectively scrubbed of anything that doesn’t fall in line with his view of appropriate free speech.

“Gee, this Government-sponsored censorship really is a good thing.”

– Said no one, ever.

Here’s the thing; these guys clearly never studied our nation’s founding principles and they clearly do not grasp the idea of free speech. If we’re going to allow Westboro Baptist Church to spew hate speech and picket military funerals, why not allow some religious fanatics fighting over a made-up holy land the opportunity to voice their position? It’s certainly no worse than granting the Church of Scientology tax-exempt status. On second thought, however, I shouldn’t be picking on Scientology – they at least tend to stay out of politics, which is way more than I can say for these Christians in our country.

I can’t say I’m surprised, though. Republicans have shown for a long time that they simply don’t grasp the concept of free speech; the idea in which people are free to express themselves in whatever nonviolent verbal manner they choose to, without fear of censorship or punishment. Ask any protester or demonstrator just how accommodating the GOP has been to their right to free speech at any number of Republican conventions over the past decade

But what if these Republican House members are right? You know, I’d really hate to see a politically motivated group led by people of influence, whose followers are both religiously fanatical and disgustingly xenophobic, gain any traction. If that were to happen we’d have one huge mess on our hands – misinformation and fear would spread like wildfire and people would be so whipped up in a frenzy that any sort of reasoning would be well nigh impossible.

Oh silly me, we already have that. It’s called FOX News.

I guess one of the main things that irks me about Poe’s stance is the line about the “War on Israel;” it shows that not only are we attempting to stifle free speech, but doing it in the name of a religious devotion to Israel as a holy land that needs protection. This is a holy land, mind you, that takes billions of dollars a year in aid from the U.S. Government, while at the same time calling the United States pushovers. This is why religion has no place in governmental affairs. The constant placation of Israel by our government officials is reprehensible, irresponsible, and dangerous.

If it sounds like I’m defending these so-called terrorist groups, let me assure you those aren’t my intentions. I’m actually just attacking an asinine foreign policy based around both a dependency on oil and a religious text about a talking snake. Realistically, why should we be involved? No one has been able to give me an answer that didn’t involve prophecy, oil, or military strategy. I’m looking for a reason that involves the wellbeing of the American people. And before you go off asking “Well, what about the wellbeing of the people of Israel? Or Palestine? Or Iraq?” let me toss some facts out there for you.

80% of the world’s population lives in poverty. That is, on less than $10 per day. That’s roughly 5.5 billion people living off – at most – $300 per month.

25,000 people die every day of hunger.

The United States military budget for 2012 was between $1.030-$1.415 trillion.

Tell me again that we’re fighting for anyone’s wellbeing.

“We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage.”

– Friedrich Hayek

When the Government tells you “freedom isn’t free,” they’re telling you freedom is delivered by the bomb and the gun, when in fact it’s delivered by an educated populace who possess the compassion necessary to peacefully right the wrongs in society without the need for reward.

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