Is the video free speech or is it incitement to violence? That's the question raised by Sarah Chayes, a resident associate at the Carneigie Endowment, a woman who went to Harvard, who joined the Peace Corps, who worked as a reporter at NPR and has appeared on TV with liberal icons like Bill Moyers and Rachel Maddow.
There are two things I find fascinating: train wrecks and liberals who argue against speech they don't like. Ms. Chayes tells us that "U.S. 1st Amendment rights distinguish between speech that is simply offensive and speech deliberately tailored to put lives and property at immediate risk."
After all, she says, the Supreme Court long ago put limits on what we can and can't say. We can't yell fire in a crowded theater and get away with it, for example. The First Amendment doesn't protect that kind of speech. Oliver Wendell Holmes made that perfectly clear in his written opinion reflecting a unanimous Supreme Court decision.
From there, it's only a short hop to the "The Innocence of Muslims," the movie trailer that Ms. Chayes believes may not be protected by the First Amendment.
Well. This is just hunky dorey. Next time I see people campaigning for President Obama, I and fellow Romney supporters will threaten some lives and commit some violence. Clearly then, those who are campaigning for the president will be forced to remain silent. After all, their speech is "offensive" and "puts lives and property at immediate risk."
Do read all of Bernard Goldberg's column about this. Then finish off with this thought.
Liberals used to be the ones who fought for free speech. That's when they really were liberal. Now we have a liberal journalist and scholar putting forth an intellectual argument that perhaps government should step in and stifle free speech. Not all speech of course. Just the kind correct-thinking liberals like Ms. Chayes detest.