free speech is a great idea, BUT….

I’m stealing Andrew Sullivan’s headline, which is actually just a direct quote of Sen. Lindsey Graham:

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Congress might need to explore the need to limit some forms of freedom of speech, in light of Tennessee pastor Terry Jones’ Quran burning, and how such actions result in enabling U.S. enemies.

“I wish we could find a way to hold people accountable. Free speech is a great idea, but we’re in a war,” Graham told CBS’ Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“During World War II, we had limits on what you could do if it inspired the enemy,” Graham said, adding certain speech can “put our troops at risk.”

Graham has been roundly criticized, predictably, by the left, but also by the right. Newsmax (quoted above), HotAir, Breitbart, and RightNetwork all hammered Graham. They did this partly on principle, but also so they could say things like “Sometimes Lindsey sounds just like a democrat” (Jim Hoft) and “Stop giving in to the Monster Muslims!” (commenter Moe_Lester on Breitbart) and “[A hearing on this would be] an offense to a public that’s tired of double standards for religious insults.” (Allahpundit)

The first line is pure genius, because it manages to zing both Lindsey, who’s generally not well-loved by more conservative Republicans for occasionally voicing a theoretically “moderate” point of view, and Democrats, who are dastardly enemies of free speech.

The latter two comments, of course, are a part of the ongoing carnival of self-pity and persecuted mewling that comes from the extreme right about Islam, Muslims, turbans, and halal meat — all of which, they believe, get a fairer shake in Obama’s America than nice white Christians who know how to behave. Christianness Under Attack is a favorite rallying point for the paranoid wing of American conservatism, which is why Newt Gingrich recently attempted the Triple Lindy of base-pandering by painting a future liberal America as “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.” If that strikes you as silly, you are not Newt’s audience. It does not matter to Newt or the ultra-conservative Christians to whom he is madly signaling his bona fides that the second clause of his description completely contradicts the first. It does not even matter that the actual positions of liberals (pro-buggery, pro-drug, pro-abortion, anti-capital-punishment) put them first on the chopping-block should Wahhabists ever actually infiltrate and overtake the United States government, whereas the polar-opposite beliefs of many conservatives would simply make them good, law-abiding dhimmi. The point is that non-Christian others are everywhere, and THEY ARE FRIGHTENING!

(Many liberal atheists are well aware of this, of course. Bill Maher is so aware of it that it periodically turns him into an Islamophobic dickwad.)


All right; enough about that. I can’t help pointing out the Rahm Emanuel dictum in play — when a Republican senator is caught advocating for plainly unconstitutional restrictions on free speech, it could be a PR crisis for the party; but why not make the most of it and use it to slam the left and Muslims?

But so what? The point is that everyone from Noam Chomsky to Rick Santorum can see that Graham is wrong, and he’s rightly being beat up for it. Ha!

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