• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

President Obama Capitulates On Freedom Of Speech Before The United Nations

During his speech before the United Nations General Assembly this morning, President Obama said this:

In every country, there are those who find different religious beliefs threatening; in every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

That is what we saw play out the last two weeks, as a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. I have made it clear that the United States government had nothing to do with this video, and I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well – for as the city outside these walls makes clear, we are a country that has welcomed people of every race and religion. We are home to Muslims who worship across our country. We not only respect the freedom of religion – we have laws that protect individuals from being harmed because of how they look or what they believe. We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them.

(…)

The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims.

(…)

In every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

No, Mr. President. This is not a choice. Freedom is not a choice, it is the right of all human beings, and the fact that the manner in which I or someone else exercises their freedom might offend someone is, in the end, entirely irrelevant. Their offense does not give them the right to riot, to destroy property, to issue bounties for the death of the person who created something that offended them or, as in the case of Theo van Gogh, to kill someone because they created something that offended them. Kowtowing to the tyrants and those who would suppress free speech by agreeing that offensive speech is somehow wrong accomplishes nothing other than reinforcing their opinion that they are correct in believing that it is acceptable to riot and kill people because they are offended. These are American values, but they are universal human rights, and an American President ought to have the self-respect to stand up for them.

Matt Welch comments: [Emphasis mine]

So many things wrong in so few words. Why this video, and not Theo Van Gogh’s Submission, or Lars Vilks’ animation of Mohammed wanting to go to a gay bar, the “Super Best Friends” episode of South Park, or Funny or Die’s “How to Pick a Pocket“? Is it the degree of the insult, the craptasticness of the production values, the size of the release, or the vociferousness of the outrage expressed?

Given the track record of our past two administrations, I think we know the answer to that question, which suggests another thing terrible about this sentence: As Eugene Volokh recently pointed out, “Behavior that gets rewarded, gets repeated.” If all it takes to earn a White House call for global condemnation of a single piece of expression is some violent protests outside a dozen or two diplomatic missions, then the perpetually aggrieved know exactly what to do the next time they pluck out some bit of cultural detritus to be offended by.

It is not any politician’s job, and certainly not any American politician’s job, to instruct the entire world on which films to criticize.

Welch is absolutely correct here. Irregardless of the diplomatic issues involved, no American President should be standing up before the world and effectively apologizing for the fact that we have a legal and Constitutional structure that allows people to freely express their opinions even when those opinions offend people. It is not the job of the speaker to temper his speech because of the irrational response of the listener, it is the job of the listener to become more rational.

To his credit, the President did condemn the rioting and did say that our laws protect the film that has caused protests in the Muslim world. However, he erred significantly in one very important respect. As Welch says, it is not the job of the United States as a nation, or our political leaders, to condemn what other people in the world might consider blasphemy, or to even take into account the fact that the fact that we do not punish people for the content of their speech might anger them. That is our system and it is one we should be proud of rather than apologizing for. The United States didn’t condemn Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses when the Muslim world rose up in condemnation of that book, indeed the American government condemned the fatwa that was issued against him by Ayatollah Khomeni.  We didn’t condemn the Mohammed cartoons when Muslims irrationally reacted to them by rioting. We didn’t condemn Theo van Vogh when his film Submission was condemned by Muslims, a condemnation that eventually led to his murder. Why must we condemn this film now?  I see no good reason.

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. alkali says:

    In the course of capitulating on free speech, Obama also made these craven remarks:

    We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. I know there are some who ask why don’t we just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws. Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

    Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.

    Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views — even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do so not because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. @alkali:

    That is all he should have said. There was no good reason to acknowledge the legitimacy of the outrage and offense. Because there is no legitimacy to it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Irregardless says:

    Irregardless

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Steve V says:

    We don’t want the government wading into the area of judging speech, yet we also cheer when politicians have “Sister Souljah” moments. Where’s the line?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Nikki says:

    Aren’t you tired of the stupid chest thumping yet? We all have to share this world. Thank gawd for a president who understands diplomacy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Dazedandconfused says:

    Why must we condemn this film now? I see no good reason

    Looked like a pile of rank agitprop to me.

    Did you like the film?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Jesus Doug that’s just a moronic post. Good lord.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. @Dazedandconfused:

    Other than the brief snippets shown on television I have not seen it and have no desire to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Cycloptichorn says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    “That is all he should have said. There was no good reason to acknowledge the legitimacy of the outrage and offense. Because there is no legitimacy to it. “

    Here’s the thing: your personal opinion of whether or not there is “legitimacy to the outrage” that others feel isn’t exactly the rock-solid fact of the matter. Legitimacy of feeling isn’t something that you can dictate. You just have an opinion about it.

    It’s not the prez’ job to make statements that make you feel good, or match your opinion. It’s his job to do what’s best for the country. And it’s better for our country to take a moderate line on this issue, rather than a hard line – as you and Welch suggest.

    I think half the problem with modern Conservatism – as evidenced by your and Welch’s response – is a real lack of empathy with the opinions of those you disagree with. I haven’t had a lot of success in my life with denigrating and casually insulting or ignoring the opinions of those I disagree with or don’t respect, and I doubt you have either. But, on the internet, hey, every principle is immutable and every commentator is a tough guy. Right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Aidan says:

    Doug, you might want to sit the next couple of months out. This is doing bad things to your brain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Gustopher says:

    True democracy demands that citizens cannot be thrown in jail because of what they believe, and that businesses can be open without paying a bribe. It depends on the freedom of citizens to speak their minds and assemble without fear, and on the rule of law and due process that guarantees the rights of all people.

    That doesn’t sound like capitulation on freedom of speech to me. Nor does this:

    We understand why people take offense to this video because millions of our citizens are among them. I know there are some who ask why don’t we just ban such a video. The answer is enshrined in our laws. Our Constitution protects the right to practice free speech.

    Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As president of our country, and commander in chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day, and I will always defend their right to do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    Yes, but see, you’re using the actual speech and not the one that Doug heard in his fevered imagination. That’s cheating.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Aidan says:

    HEY WHEN YOU PUT AN ELLIPSIS IN THE PARTS WHERE OBAMA DEFENDS FREE SPEECH IT SORTA LOOKS LIKE OBAMA DIDN’T DEFEND FREE SPEECH

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Aidan says:

    @michael reynolds: I think he saw this at unskewedspeeches.com.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. sam says:

    Why must we condemn this film now? I see no good reason.

    So, if I say the film was an ill-made, inflammatory piece of shit, I have no good reason for saying so?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Alex Knapp says:

    Let me see if I understand this.

    Obama’s message was basically:

    1. Yes, this is offensive.
    2. No, we don’t agree with it.
    3. No, we don’t think people should make this kind of film.
    4. But we don’t ban such speech because we believe in freedom of expression.
    5. It’s wrong to get violent because you’re offended.

    And your problem is with parts 1, 2, and 3, right?

    So if I’m understanding you correctly, if Obama came out and said in a speech that Jersey Shore is stupid, but people have the freedom to do what they want, that would be an insult to free speech?

    In other words, do you think that it’s illegitimate for a President to express an opinion on a particular work of art?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. @michael reynolds:

    I watched the whole speech, Michael. That part was completely off base and inappropriate

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    it is not the job of the United States as a nation, or our political leaders, to condemn what other people in the world might consider blasphemy

    Mitt said this:

    The idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. … under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

    Someone should explain why Mitt decided “to condemn what other people in the world might consider blasphemy.” Looks like Mitt “Capitulates On Freedom Of Speech.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. sam says:

    @Doug, ante:

    There are the pundits like Ann Coulter who have made their living by saying things that are ridiculously partisan, outrageous, and offensive.

    Shame on you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. You know Doug, the high level concept in “what’s wrong with conservatives” is they “can’t deal with reality.” That criticism is not censorship seems a simple and straightforward example.

    (Other than than, I’ll outsource to Steven L. Taylor.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Modulo Myself says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    It’s more like saying because free speech gives me a right to tell a sexist joke, no women have the right to be offended by it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Aidan says:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0912/81630.html?hp=l1

    Josh Gerstein watched the wrong speech, apparently.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Rick Almeida says:

    But, but, but…every time the government offers an observation…JACKBOOTED THUGS!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. @jukeboxgrad:

    Yet another reason why I dislike both Obama and Romney

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Ron Beasley says:

    @Modulo Myself: That’s a very good point – people get fired for telling sexist jokes. This is not a black and white thing but a gray scale thing. Someone has to decide when free speech is like yelling fire in a crowded theater. Not a job I would want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. jukeboxgrad says:

    doug:

    Yet another reason why I dislike both Obama and Romney

    The “dislike” seems to be pointedly unbalanced, because I don’t see the 900-word post about Mitt’s remark. I don’t even see where it gets mentioned as an afterthought, or an ‘update.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Well, if you expected something else then you’re as naive as a babe in the woods.

    Chicago machine politicos don’t give a rat’s dead ass about free speech or, hell, about anything other than their own power. It’s power for power’s sake. Goes back decades. Other than Tammany Hall there’s never been such a corrupt and disgusting slate of machine Democrats. Ever.

    Yeah, granted, we have to admit that Obama has done better than expected in terms of incinerating al Qaeda with drone strikes and such. But let’s not be naive on that front. First Gates and now Panetta simply to a large extent have run their own shows.

    The Obama you’ve seen and heard since the 9/11 consulate terror attack and the murder of that ambassador is the real Obama. The Middle East literally is burning and he’s on The View engaging in a coffee klatch about nonsense. Not a pretty picture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. Did anyone see Wallander episode called “Before the Frost?”

    There were several disorienting things for an American. There was a pastor who was sentenced to 30 days in jail because his sermon against homosexuality was ruled a hate crime. There were (religious?) schools ordered by law to stop teaching creationism. I have to believe that is somewhat based on real Swedish law and not just made up.

    Now THAT is a genuine societal decision to place other values before speech.

    Contrast that to pulling one’s hair and rending one’s clothing over mere criticism of an inflammatory film.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. @Tsar Nicholas:

    For some reason I don’t think even you believe that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. C. Clavin says:

    The use of “Irregardless” is almost as stupid as this post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    President Obama Capitulates On Freedom Of Speech Before The United Nations

    Doug? I have been on this planet longer than you… a decade or two…. Are you stupid?

    I never would have thought so but…. Yes. Put down the shovel…. stop digging.

    Really…. What world do you live in? You deserve the savaging you are about to get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. PD Shaw says:

    While I think its appropriate for the POTUS to state and restate that the American government had nothing to do with this, and that he personally was offended by the film (assuming he watched it), I believe the POTUS goes to far in this statement:

    I believe its message must be rejected by all who respect our common humanity. It is an insult not only to Muslims, but to America as well

    I will not reject a message I have not read or seen, nor deny the moral agency of those who went out of their way to watch a film knowing it would outrage them. Part of being a grown-up in an interconnected world is to choose what you consume. If you consume that which you believe is poison, your an idiot; if you criticize that which you have not consumed, you are an idiot. Is it not Haraam to watch that which you know to be blasphemous?

    I also reject the conflation of the message with the skill or “crudeness” of its creator. He might as will be standing their complaining about Rushdie’s so-called human rights violations in offending the religious sensibilities of an “other” people. As we say here in Illinois, I doubt Obama has the testicular veracity to criticize a Booker prize-winner, but will not bat an eye in criticizing more vulnerable, low-class creators.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. CB says:

    Other than Tammany Hall there’s never been such a corrupt and disgusting slate of machine Democrats. Ever.

    Ah, my man, you’ve never been to New Jersey…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. @PD Shaw:

    As we say here in Illinois, I doubt Obama has the testicular veracity to criticize a Booker prize-winner, but will not bat an eye in criticizing more vulnerable, low-class creators.

    Sorry, but I see what you did there. You rejected the ability of the Executive Branch, and the State Department, to discern between a high and a low message.

    That’s actually one of the things they are there for.

    And yes, some replacement administration has the authority to reverse those calls and make their own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. You know, in the last couple days I’ve been thinking about the rather brutal rhyme us older folks were taught – that sticks and stones might break our bones but names will never hurt us.

    If the Muslim film protesters had learned that, they might not be protesting in 20 countries.

    But also, if Doug (et al.) had learned that, he wouldn’t be running around like Chicken Little. The President did not use the sticks and stones of state power. He just used a few names.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug, you cherry-picked a section, injected your own bogus interpretation, and grandly pronounced that Obama was attacking free speech. In a speech where he obviously, clearly, unmistakably lectured the entire world on the importance of free speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. PD Shaw says:

    @Ron Beasley: “when free speech is like yelling fire in a crowded theater.”

    It is my belief, that falsely shouting fire is no longer an operative constraint on the First Amendment in this country. One of the reasons the analogy was abandoned is that Muslims (substitute religious persuasion of your choice) will always believe a false religious statement is like falsely yelling fire. Eugene Debbs, criticizing the draft, was falsely shouting fire in a crowded theatre. Someone probably thinks Doug’s piece is like falsely yelling fire.

    Currently, if your speech results in actual violence, law enforcement will be sued successfully for any attempt to remove the speech. In this case, a neighbor erected fake tombestones with poems making fun of neighbors. The neighbors got in an argument and engaged in “chest-butting.” Law enforcement intervened and ordered the neighbor to remove the tombstones, which the Court ruled violated his Constitutional rights, even though they had caused violence. Its a good, readable court decision with pictures and poems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Jc says:

    That is our system and it is one we should be proud of rather than apologizing for. The United States didn’t condemn Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses when the Muslim world rose up in condemnation of that book, indeed the American government condemned the fatwa that was issued against him by Ayatollah Khomeni. We didn’t condemn the Mohammed cartoons when Muslims irrationally reacted to them by rioting. We didn’t condemn Theo van Vogh when his film Submission was condemned by Muslims, a condemnation that eventually led to his murder. Why must we condemn this film now? I see no good reason.

    Because those things originated from foreigners. This video came from the US, was made in the US and the actors are Americans. Same with condeming the Koran burnings or the Abu Ghraib mess, or a US sniper shooting a Koran. When its coming from you, then you should say “hey, that’s not us”, when its coming from frenchmen and dutchmen, that’s their business. I don’t see the issue. I do wish the President would use “We” more than “I” when he speaks on behalf of the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Rafer Janders says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I watched the whole speech, Michael.

    You watched the whole speech, yes. But did you hear all of it? Because it seems like you didn’t….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Vast Variety says:

    Free Speech doesn’t mean that your free from being criticized for that speech. (In fact your doing exactly that with this post Doug)

    Obama isn’t capitulating on Free Speech in these remarks. He is criticizing the speech (the video) as being intolerant of others views. He at no time said that the video makers couldn’t express their views.

    I see this all the time in the Marriage debate. Groups like NOM demand that they be allowed to speak their minds about homosexuality but when the LGBT community points out their hypocrcracy and bigotry we are accused of trying to silence them shut down their right to free speech. Pointing out someone is a bigot isn’t an attack on the right to free speech. They are free to voice their hatred and we are free to condemn it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. george says:

    So long as he’s not talking of censoring such speech (and he explicitly said he’s against such censorship), he’s as free as anyone else is in condemning it.

    That’s the whole point of free speech. I’m an absolutist on free speech, but I have no problem with what Obama said.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Mumbles says:

    Even within the context of the US, you make a fundamental error here. You can claim that “freedom” is a right, but in any democracy, that right can be, and has been, severely infringed upon, by choice of a majority. We need look no further than Michael Bloomberg’s policies for a few examples of curtailing freedoms – whether it’s to drink the desired size soda, or to walk down the street without having a policeman stop and harass you. And our (US) history has a number of far clearer examples of “freedom” being violated based on a wide variety of non-threatening attrubutes.

    In any event, I don’t see how the Obama text quoted is offensive. It strikes me as a challenge to the Muslim world, rather than a statement about the US. The statement is “We allow speech, even if it’s offensive. You allow holocaust denial and church burning, but are expect us to outlaw any insult to Mohammed. Your standards are hypocritical.” I’m fine with that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. anjin-san says:

    Doug has said a lot of things I disagree with over the years, but I think this may well be his real and true “jumped the shark” moment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    What is so bizarre is that the section you write denouncing Mr. Obama is exactly what he said in the actual speech. He actually said exactly what you said.

    You write a nice, thoughtful post about how politics stink and follow it up with a demonstration of phony outrage. It’s Fox-worthy. It’s Limbaugh-esque. It’s exactly what you claim to despise in politics.

    Obama said, “Yes, it’s an obnoxious movie, now stop freaking out.” (Paraphrasing.) Which is exactly what you said. Exactly what I said. Exactly what every sane person on earth said. But when Obama said it you go all black helicopter and tinfoil hat on us.

    He was educating. He was explaining to a bunch of religious nuts that “This is how we sane people look at it. See? See how you don’t need to burn down the Kentucky Fried Chicken?” It was one step away from being a condescending, “Use your words,” speech. Believe it or not some illiterate tribesman in Pakistan doesn’t know that 1) We didn’t make the movie, 2) It isn’t representative of the American people, and oh, by the way, 3) We stand for freedom of speech, which is one of the reasons why we own the planet and you’re riding a broken down donkey around the ass-end of the planet.

    Obama was telling them that. And you turn that into what, exactly? Obama’s canceling Game of Thrones?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. Dazedandconfused says:

    I wonder if Doug or Eugene Volokh are aware that there can be people who do not understand us, and barely ever even think of us? Cultures where is never occurs to them that the government can not prevent it from happening. We’ve all heard that (probably) acrocryphal story of a Chinese cook cooking somebody’s poodle and serving it to them in a tragic lapse of communication across cultures.

    In Helmand there were a lot of people who, eight years after the fact, had never heard of the 9/11 attacks.

    From the perspective of everybody being like us, it might be just barely possible to think of Obama being unnecessarily explanatory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. Carson says:

    Obama should have ended his speech with these 5 words: “Go ahead. Make my day”
    Too bad Adlai Stevenson isn’t around. He’d tell it straight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Barbara Carson says:

    The president is damned anyway he speaks. I thought everything he said was right on. He is one of the best presidents that have been in my lifetime and I am so proud of him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  48. @anjin-san:

    Those same words, shark jumping, occurred to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  49. An Interested Party says:

    Are some libertarians retarded? Suffer from Asperger’s? Simply grinding their political axes? One wonders after ridiculous posts like this one and Matt Welch’s…

    Part of being a grown-up in an interconnected world is to choose what you consume.

    Part of being a grown-up in an interconnected world is also to be able to criticize rank trash whose sole purpose seems to be to insult others…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  50. Spartacus says:

    Doug yesterday: “Whether its birtherism, or the “secret Muslim” nonsense, or the idea that the President hates America, or the attacks on Michelle Obama, it’s become a daily part of conservative political discourse, especially online. It’s stupid, . . . ”

    Doug today: “Irregardless of the diplomatic issues involved, no American President should be standing up before the world and effectively apologizing for the fact that we have a legal and Constitutional structure that allows people to freely express their opinions . . . ”

    So it’s stupid for people to claim the President hates America, but apparently it’s ok to say the President has “apologized” for the fact that America has a constitution? Both are blatantly false and only the the dullest of minds is unable to see that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  51. anjin-san says:

    Obama’s canceling Game of Thrones?

    If Obama cancels Game of Thrones, I am totally voting for Romney…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  52. Spartacus says:

    @Alex Knapp:

    Please don’t use so much logic on me. It hurts my head and makes me look foolish.

    —-Doug

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  53. michael reynolds says:

    Allen West agrees with Doug:

    “My statement to the United Nations would have been, ‘The future does not belong to those who attack our Embassies and Consulates and kill our Ambassadors. The Angel of Death in the form of an American Bald Eagle will visit you and wreak havoc and destruction upon your existence,’” the Florida congressman wrote in a Facebook post Tuesday.

    I have to admit, it would have been cool to see Obama give that speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  54. stonetools says:

    Why do I feel that Doug had this post written out, at least in outline, before Obama’s speech was ever given?

    Doug certainly shows that he has knows little and cares less about foreign policy or diplomacy. This wasn’t a speech to some high school civics class: it was to world leaders. Doug apparently seems not to realize that a speech aimed at an international audience may have aims other than a straightforward declaration of free speech rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  55. Modulo Myself says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The whole libertarian take on free speech is very bizarre. It’s almost like they don’t believe in the power of any form of speech, expression or art.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  56. bk says:

    I’m an attorney. And I am frankly embarrassed by you, and the “legal insurrection” idiot, and Althouse, and Glenn Reynolds. You disgrace our profession. FREE SPEECH!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  57. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Folks… C’mon !

    Leave Doug Alooooooonneeee !

    Face it: This election is likely causing Doug to really question his allegiances.

    The “conservatives” running in much of the elections in the USA are not so much “conservatives” as far far right wack-a-doos whose policies are written in echo chambers.

    What passes for strategy on the right in the last 12 months could have been easily replaced by the Trouble Pop-O-Matic.

    “I’m for health care”

    * Pop *

    “I’m against heath care”

    * Pop *

    “I’m for women’s heath, but against their freedom”

    * Pop *

    “Obama has raised taxes”

    * Pop *

    “Obama hasn’t raised taxes, but he WILL !”

    * Pop *

    Seriously… Poor Doug’s head has to be spinning to justify some of these wild shifts.

    And, to his conservative credit, he still writes articles like this one, clinging to some of the far right talking points.

    So, let him be.

    After Romney’s loss, four years from now, when the GOP / TEA has marginalized itself out of existence, and the DEM will be the new moderate conservative party, those old-time liberals on this board will cajole Doug to abandon his new found home with the DEM.

    … and join us in the GREEN’s

    :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  58. James in LA says:

    @Cycloptichorn: Empathy, nailed it, the stubborn refusal to honestly consider some one else’s situation. It makes people like Doug unbelievably mean and they never seem to understand how or why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  59. Tillman says:

    In every culture, those who love freedom for themselves must ask how much they are willing to tolerate freedom for others.

    No, Mr. President. This is not a choice. Freedom is not a choice, it is the right of all human beings, and the fact that the manner in which I or someone else exercises their freedom might offend someone is, in the end, entirely irrelevant.

    So, your answer is, “Yes, I tolerate the freedom of others a lot since I love my freedom a lot.” That is, if I read the President’s speech correctly, the point he wanted to drive home.

    What was the rest of this post about?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  60. bill says:

    awesome, apologizing on a global scale……wish he’d grow a spine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  61. steve says:

    Hate to say this, but I thinkDoug has come pretty close to being a liar on this one. In a speech where Obama explicitly defends free speech Doug does not quote that part. Dishonesty of a sort not usually seen on this blog.

    Steve

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  62. bill says:

    @Doug Mataconis: i got through 2 minutes, it was beyond horrible. if i was a muslim i think i would’ve died laughing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  63. C. Clavin says:

    Sometimes in life you just have to admit you’re wrong.
    Now would be a good time, Doug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  64. C. Clavin says:

    Of course Bill agrees with you…so you have that going for you…which is nice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  65. Franklin says:

    @PD Shaw: I think your phrase “false religious statement” did a good job of illustrating the problem here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. C. Clavin says:

    Here is a take on the speech from a real Conservative…not driven by irrational hatred…
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/25/obama-to-un-we-ll-keep-our-freedoms-but-thanks-for-the-concern.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  67. Rafer Janders says:

    @steve:

    Dishonesty of a sort not usually seen on this blog.

    Oh, no. One frequently see this sort of dishonesty by omission in Doug’s posts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  68. jukeboxgrad says:

    steve:

    I think Doug has come pretty close to being a liar on this one

    Just getting more practice doing what he has done before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  69. bill says:

    @C. Clavin: well, somebody’s gotta break up this lovefest!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  70. PD Shaw says:

    @An Interested Party:” Are some libertarians retarded? Suffer from Asperger’s? ”

    What an asshole comment to make. Do you realize how offensive that comment is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  71. An Interested Party says:

    awesome, apologizing on a global scale……wish he’d grow a spine.

    Awesome, stupidity on a global scale….wish you’d grow some brains…

    Do you realize how offensive that comment is?

    Why yes I do…about as offensive as accusing someone of doing something he didn’t do…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  72. An Interested Party says:

    @PD Shaw: Actually, I do stand corrected in one aspect…even those who have developmental disabilities or Asperger’s could tell that this post is full of shit…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  73. Bob says:

    This has been Tuesday’s edition of “What Is Mataconis Wrong About Today?”

    Be sure to check back tomorrow for another thrilling entry!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  74. Santiago says:

    @Doug Mataconis: @Doug Mataconis: @Bob:

    This.

    Ahahahahaha.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  75. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Doug made the completely unreasonable and totally unacceptable action of criticizing President Obama and know the peanut gallery has to take out its revenge.

    One has to wonder how the government will be capable of solving any problem in the coming one party state when no thought outside of the conventional, narrow limits permitted can be expressed.

    I wish they would allow the novel “1984” to be taught in schools again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  76. @superdestroyer:

    No. Doug said something so wrong (“President Obama Capitulates On Freedom Of Speech Before The United Nations”) that it borders on mental illness.

    The President explicitly praised and backed Free Speech in his speech.

    Anyone who can’t hear that has problems of one kind or another.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  77. john personna says:

    Perhaps you all are planning a full post on the Stanford-NYU Report drone report, but I’d suggest things like that are more important than ignoring alternate paragraphs in a Presidential address.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  78. Davebo says:

    Again, Doug says something idiotic, and Jim gets paid.

    Why are we drawn to this blog anyway? Is it a train wreck scenario?

    It used to be thoughtful. Now it’s the lawyer who advertises on TV.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  79. Anderson says:

    Doug, writing a deliberately misleading, untruthful post didn’t work out so well, did it?

    Having freedom is one thing. Exercising judgment in how to use it is another. Obama seems to grasp that, because he’s too smart to be a libertarian.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  80. PD Shaw says:

    @An Interested Party: I don’t care if you want to insult libertarians or Doug (though the latter is a violation of comments policy), you are using the R-word and aspergers as pejoratives, you’re insulting people with developmental disorders.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. Rob in CT says:

    PD Shaw is absolutely right about using “retarded” and “have asbergers” as insults.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. Blue Galangal says:

    @superdestroyer: I don’t know where your kids go to school, but mine go to school in Northern Kentucky/SW Ohio (public schools all) and they read 1984 ca 2008. So… it’s still being taught. (My older child read it twice – two different teachers, two different years.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  83. mantis says:

    I look forward to Doug condemning the Virginia GOP for telling their Mecklenburg County affiliate to remove all of the racist Obama images it posts to its Facebook account. After all, they are politicians, so it’s not their job to comment on what free speech is appropriate.

    Come on Doug. Politicians should never criticize anyone else’s free speech, right? Or do you have different standards for different politicians or different types of speech?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I wish they would allow the novel “1984″ to be taught in schools again.

    Yeah, they do. Apparently in KY as mentioned above, and also in right-wing Orange County CA where my kids were in school, and now in left-wing Marin County. So, my math skills are not the best, but I think that would be you being wrong 99.9% of the time. Either that or 100%. Somewhere in that zone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  85. nitpicker says:

    Doug getting dumber as the election nears.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  86. Rudolph says:

    To all the champions of Freedom of Speech.

    Adolf Hitler believed that by killing the Jews, he was acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator. He believed that by defending himself against the Jew, He was fighting for the work of the Lord.’

    HAIL HITLER !!! HAIL HITLER !!! HAIL HITLER !!!

    JESUS LOVES ADOLF HITLER.

    Was just expressing my right to opinion and freedom of speech.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. Abdul Haq says:

    @john personna:

    Guys, Have you ever wondered why these kind of street protests and violence never happen in SAUDI ARABIA, the birth place of Islam.

    No street protest or violence were held there over Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, not even when cartoons of Muhammad were made and also now no protest or violence over this film.

    So much for being known the intolerant violent Islamic country.

    http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/grand-mufti-denounces-violence-against-embassies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  88. Fabio says:

    @alkali:
    With all due respect, is there a way to subscribe to the RSS feed for all OTB except Doug Mataconis?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0