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Notes on A. Romero, A. McCarthy, R. Posner re : Free Speech

Poster: Hank @ Wed May 20, 2009 6:39 am

Anthony Romero, et al, key points from "Freedom under Fire" :

-Jingoistic nationalism is the norm in attitudes; dissent draws oppression
-Lawmakers largely silent on issue
-War on terror is a war of ideas; if 'democracy' is a value that we strive for, then we must promote free speech and civil liberties
-Attempted suppression of dissent only increases dissent
-Cites historical precedents such as the Alien and Sedition Acts, Lincoln's habeas suspension, Wilson's Espionage Act, Red Scare
-Law enforcement using tactics ranging from pepper spray to denial of protest permits to asset seizure to squelch dissent
-Some tactics are subtler : long waiting periods stifle timely protests, investigations on campus; 'designated protest zones' during Prez appearances

Andrew McCarthy (real name!) key points from "Free Speech for Terrorists":

-In the hands of 'Islamofascism," speech is itself a weapon
-Moral relativism and the 'marketplace of ideas' cannot disguise the fact that advocacy of mass murder is wrong -- when murder advocates lose in the 'marketplace,' they simply kill more persons
-Speech that materially threatens national security (such as incitements to mass murder a la jihadi fatwas) can not be rationally considered as protected free speech
-In comparison to Sedition Act, Lincoln, Wilson, Red Scare, even the heaviest strictures currently proposed represent significant progression in speech rights

Richard Posner key points from "The Right of Free Speech with a Comment on Profling" :

-Terrorism is political, rather than commercial or personal in nature [ed. note : no ish, Sherlock]
-Terror advocacy raises three constitutional questions : Is terror advocacy acceptable as the basis for surveillance? Is it punishable? What level and methods of concealing sensitive information, including 'disatasteful elements' of our 'response,' is acceptable?
-Secrecy is essential for effectiveness of some aspects of the anti-terror effort; not all censorship is unconstitutional (CIA nondisclosure agreements)
-Lack of laws preventing the publication of leaked national security secrets shows USA's 'culture of nosiness' and 'distrust of government bordering on paranoia.'
-Injunction against (censorship of) disclosure of national security secrets can be justified -- it's arguably less onerous than jailing publishers after the fact, and the protective benefits of stopping such disclosure outweigh the drawback 'chilling effect' on free speech
-Government should be permitted to prevent publication of classified material, provided that it was classified according to valid criteria.
-What about publishing research that could provide instruction to terrorists, e.g., biological research on how to make supervirii?
-Bottom line : the press should not enjoy blanket immunity from sensible measures designed to protect national security
-It is reasonable and legal to surveil radical imams, but does this infringe on the First Amendment due to the chilling effect, even though speech itself is not being forcibly curtailed? This is the border between curtailment and infringement
-Civil libertarian's aversion to 'viewpoint discrimination' is 'too squeamish'
-Dennis 'imminent lawless action' test doesn't work for those preaching holy war
-Free speech laws that allow the preaching of violent holy war against America but prohibit false advertising of products are 'excessively lacking in nuance'
-On the other hand, especially considering the relative lack of radical imams in the USA, laws limiting the speech thereof may be 'needlessly provocative'
-Speaking of provocation, our doctrine should be 'flexible' enough to curtail hate speech against Muslims that may itself incite terrorism (cf. Muhammad cartoons) 0- legit Muslim community must not be alienated
-Lastly, just because something (i.e. forbidding terror advocacy) is unsound policy does not make it unconstitutional.

Keywords: Free Speech  Terrorism  Security 
Comments: 1  •  Post Comment  •  Share Share Top
Daniel Roe Thu May 21, 2009 6:40 am
Are all men named McCarthy douchebags?

No, this is an awful stereotype. Furthered by 'drew and others.

All men named McCarthy other than Cormac McCarthy are douchebags.
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