Steve Hynd, in a fine rant, says Terry Jones is trying to provoke violence in the Muslim world, and the US legal is too lame and too mired in 18th century constitutional fetishism to stop him.
He blasts Andrew Exum, who happily says that US soldiers can die to defend the supposed free speech of Terry Jones, as a perfect example of such lunacy.
Exum’s post begins from the popular myth that the U.S. is “a nation founded by the political and religious dissidents of Mother Europe” rather than the truth – that most of the original settlers were madmen, criminals and psychopaths either fleeing justice or exiled by their governments.
(Hey buddy, my first ancestor here in the States arrived from England shortly after the Pilgrims and was a selfless seeker of freedom. Oh wait, he was actually a privateer AKA a semi-legalized pirate, wasn’t he? Hmmm.)
It then meanders illogically from America’s sensible and ethically correct prescriptions that “protect a man’s freedom to worship God – or not worship God – as he pleases” to calling for Americans to die to the last of them for someone who doesn’t believe in that freedom of religion. I’ve news for Exum – the first rule of human relations, be they ethics or anything else, is that when you refuse to play by the rules of the game yourself you give up the right to be treated according to the rules of the game.
This is the core point. With freedom comes responsibility to the group, something often overlooked by free speech advocates here. In the UK, Jones would be arrested for his antics (he’s already been banned from entering the country) as would Westboro Baptist, as the right of citizens to not be unduly threatened trumps the right to absolute free speech regardless of consequences and with no responsibility.