Hate Speech Is Only OK If You MEAN It!

Just read an interesting take on the Danish cartoon affair in the International Herald Tribune, from a "law professor" called Stanley Fish in Florida. Well, what sort of law he professes I don't know but it sure is a weird one in my outrageously arrogant opinion.

His argument seems to be, in essence, that it is OK for Muslims to publish offensive anti-Jewish and anti-West cartoons because they actually DO hate Jews and the West, but not for liberal Danish cartoonists to do the same, because they don't actually hate Muslims at all. They were under orders from the Danish newspaper editors to create these controversial cartoons precisely in order to open up a dialogue about self-censorship. Damn the religious torpedoes, it's free-speech ahead!

But I would bet that the editors who have run the cartoons do not believe that Muslims are evil infidels who must either be converted or vanquished. They do not publish the offending cartoons in an effort to further some religious or political vision; they do it gratuitously, almost accidentally. Concerned only to stand up for an abstract principle - free speech - they seize on whatever content happens to come their way and use it as an example of what the principle should be protecting. The fact that for others the content may be life itself is beside their point.

This is itself a morality - the morality of a withdrawal from morality in any strong, insistent form. It is certainly different from the morality of those for whom the Danish cartoons are blasphemy and monstrously evil. And the difference, I think, is to the credit of the Muslim protesters and to the discredit of the liberal editors.

The argument from reciprocity - you do it to us, so how can you complain if we do it to you? - will have force only if the moral equivalence of "us" and "you" is presupposed. But the relativizing of ideologies and religions belongs to the liberal theology, and would hardly be persuasive to a Muslim. [My emphasis]

Now hang on.

So you are saying, by extension, by a simple one step reductio ad absurdum, that if the Danish cartoonists DID hate the Muslim religion, then it would OK and "to their credit"... but seeing as how they don't, it's not OK?


Presumably, thanks to my reading of this argument, and because of the way you ironically call "liberalism" a religion, E@L is thinking, Prof Fish, that you may be a just a tad of re-hactionary, re-born, re-taliatory Bible-thumpin' person of strong religious opinions yourself, and perhaps of that ilk which would be quite keen to take all countries West of Australia and East of Greece (but you don't actually know where they are, but you've got general idea) and make a great fused-glass crater out of the whole fucking lot of 'em...

In fact, I'm a-thinking that YOU yourself fervently "believe that Muslims are evil infidels who must either be converted or vanquished."

That old quote from Ann Coulter is framed on the wall behind your "law professor" office's desk, am I right? " We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."

Am I right, or are you really... RIGHT... as in, wing?

Well, what the fuck neo-nazi-AynRand-fundamentalist tobacco are you smoking, Professor Fish? Get out of my face with your oh-so subtle sophistry in support of hate-speech and enemy-bating.

The answer is : No, it is not OK just because you really mean it.

(And I assume that by the level of your detached academic disinterestedness [ahem], your title of "Professor" must mean, like, what in Australia we would call a "lecturer".)


Call MY moral status "liberalism" (which is some American-only political stance isn't it?) or more correctly "secular humanism" (which is a philosophical one - "Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, the proper study of mankind is Man...") if you like, but please, not a "theology" -- but either way, could you genuinely religious people please not destroy the entire world and all its peoples and animals and places and plants and all species of everything with all your calls to war and retribution and hatred and spite and misdirected anger over some (to my reckoning) angels-on-a-pin's-head argument that denies and refutes the love and honour you say you owe to this god of yours, whom you all apparently believe is the same one anyway.

Oh, it's all so insane.


One day I dream to wake to the vision of a peaceful blue sky in a world where the products of reason, fraternal concern and self-evident truth have dawned with the sun and everybody cries out with one united voice, "Religion Is Dead" - and I join them to sing out at the top of my liberated (not liberal) atheistic lungs - "Long Live A Peaceful Earth".

Call me a hippy, call me a liberal, just don't call me until it happens.



Posted by: expat@large on Feb 15, 06 | 10:30 pm | Profile


I was once told by an English punk band "never trust a hippy". With so many loonies abroad in the world I am now beginning to think it might be the safest option!

As for Ann Coulter and people of their ilk the answer is to be found at


I have laughed nothing like as hard as she should indeed, be fucked in the arse! My only regret is that I did not get to perform this heroic service for mankind myself.

Posted by: trousersnake on Feb 16, 06 | 1:27 pm

Gawd is gonna be righteously pissed-off with your attitude. The big guy lives for our applause and screeching. I expect your gonna end up near the 4th Circle of Hell. THE EVER LASTING DRIVE-THRU.

Posted by: Tom on Feb 17, 06 | 7:44 am

bless you my son, sometimes the effect of the Holy Spirit can be so strong that it may actually feel as though my hand is touching your tiny genitals. That's how strong Gods love is.

The real question is will God get angry if we fuck ann coulter in the ass hard?

Posted by: trousersnake on Feb 17, 06 | 2:16 pm

Snake, I put that Ann Coulter assfuck link up AGES ago (probably in a lost post from a few ISPs ago), but do *I* get the credit? Do I? Huh, do I?

Tom I already got a posting in the third level:


The Dante's Inferno Test has banished you to the Third Level of Hell!

Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
Level | Score
Purgatory | Very Low
Level 1 - Limbo | High
Level 2 | Very High
Level 3 | Very High
Level 4 | Low
Level 5 | Low
Level 6 - The City of Dis | Very High
Level 7 | High
Level 8- the Malebolge | Moderate
Level 9 - Cocytus | Low

Level descriptions: http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-information.html
Take the test: http://www.4degreez.com/misc/dante-inferno-test.mv

Posted by: expat@large on Feb 18, 06 | 10:19 am

ooops pardon me it looked like a recent one! okokokok u get the credit ....I late reading this too it seems

Posted by: trousersnake on Feb 18, 06 | 10:16 pm

Stanley Fish is one of those postmodernist acadmic superstars.

Posted by: chlim01 on Feb 19, 06 | 2:57 pm

Fish is an expert on Milton! for Christ's sake - he isn't a lawyer's arsehole - he's an English Literature academic.

Posted by: expat@large on Feb 19, 06 | 10:25 pm


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