Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Freedom of speech has consequences…

Are we a nation that believes in freedom of speech and expression or not?

Given the public outcry and NBA sanctions against Donald Sterling, the owner of a professional basketball team, for expressing what has been interpreted as racist remarks, it appears that intolerance is valued above freedom of speech.

Many of the people condemning Donald Sterling are the same ones who urge us to be tolerant of diversity, homosexuality, Islam, and perverse life styles of every sordid sort.  Their view of “tolerance” apparently only goes as far as what they already agree with or what they consider “politically correct.”

Freedom of speech has consequences.  It means not merely tolerating the speech you agree with, but also tolerating the speech you disagree with.  Sterling did not “threaten” anyone.  Muslims threaten the lives of people every day of the week, but that seems to be ok.  We don’t condemn either the individual or the Islamic ideology that promotes such hatred for that.  But we condemn an individual for expressing an opinion about our culture, however shocking or abhorrent it may be to the sensibilities of the majority.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) action against Sterling effectively strips him of his freedom of speech and his business.  While he is a wealthy man, the enterprise of an individual is a major part of his livelihood and very being.  These sanctions are emotion-driven, knee-jerk overreach and overkill.  These sanctions will have worse consequences on the freedom of speech in our nation than the rancid words of Sterling would ever have on racial relations.

Consider the stifling effect this sort of action has on any business owner who has an opinion on morality, homosexuality, race, religion or virtually anything that should be a normal and open part of public discourse and freedom of expression.

Freedom of speech was not intended to be merely protected from an oppressive government.  It should be a protected right in every area of public discourse as long it does not pose an imminent danger to public health and safety.

As sloppy and ill-conceived as Sterling's remarks were, I am hopeful that he sues the britches off of the NBA for depriving him of his first amendment rights, breach of contract, and depravation of his legitimate livelihood.  This would be one situation where I would applaud ACLU intervention.

Based on current news, Sterling is not about to give up his team:

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Are Canadian Border Agents Islamophobes?

First, some definitions: 

An Islamophobe is one who fears Muslims, not one who is critical of Islam. Islamophobes are typically "dhimmi's": Those who feel subservient or beholden to Muslims for fear of offending and garnering their wrath or character assassination by ill-informed media.

During my recent trip to Canada passing through a Canadian border checkpoint, I observed a peculiar and disheartening event. Others may categorize it as Canadian kindness as if the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is running their customs and border security operation.

Here is the event - you be the judge:

As the bus stopped at the Canadian border checkpoint all the passengers disembarked - except one. The duly departed dutifully delivered their passports to the Canadian agents inside the nearby customs building. After we all pass muster we are inexplicably sequestered for another 10 minutes until the "exception", accompanied by a couple of border agents, finally enters the building. We overhear the questions and answers exchanged between the straggler and the agents.

The straggler is a 20-something year old Iraqi named Muhammad Hasad or Hasan. He claims he accidentally dropped his passport into a crevice at the front of the bus where he was sitting and couldn't retrieve it. The border agents inspected the crevice and observed what looked like a passport lodged deep into the opening but couldn't retrieve it either without dismantling the bus. So after answering a few more questions and showing his drivers license, the young Iraqi (most certainly Muslim – how many non-Muslims are named Muhammad?) was allowed to proceed into Canada without his passport.

On our way back to the bus I enjoined Muhammad with the comment that losing his passport like that must have been embarrassing. He responded in agreement and offered that things like this seem to happen to him. He said that he is just coming to Canada to visit his mother.

There was another 20-something male individual with a similar Iraqi accent chatting with Muhammad during the entire 14-hour trip. I wonder if he, too, was visiting his mother.

So, all the rest of us dutifully secure, preserve and display our passports, believing they are essential to enter a foreign country while a likely Muslim who fits a terror suspect's profile to a "t" is given a free pass. The time and effort we spent to secure our passports: $50 to $100. An individual fitting a terrorist profile not needing one: Priceless.

Was Canadian border security merely showing kind hospitality, or  were they being dhimmi's, fearful of offending a foreign Muslim?

We are seeing a new form of “profiling”, which in fact is “reverse profiling”:  The profiled person is excused from suspicion while the rest of us are suspect.  How often do we see this occur at airport screenings?

And which segment of our population do we now officially excuse from suspicion because of our fear of offending?  Pick one:

  1. Boy Scouts
  2. Presbyterians
  3. Tea Partiers
  4. Democrats
  5. Muslims

If you picked any except 5, you are probably a government bureaucrat.