Spencer on Wilders: Jailed for an Insult?

* Moves to ban radical Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamist group in UK

I have more to say about the Geert Wilders case in my column this week: “Jailed For An Insult?,” from Human Events, January 28:

“You can’t just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done,” said Barack Obama to Republican leaders Friday. The new president seems to want to make sure that as few people listen to Rush Limbaugh as possible. Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) warned Thursday that “legislation is brewing on Capitol Hill that would take away free speech from broadcasters by reinstating a law” — the infamous “Fairness Doctrine” — “that would require talk shows to provide equal time coverage of opposing viewpoints on any issues they discuss.”

This would wipe out conservative talk shows like Limbaugh’s by mandating that programming reflecting a liberal perspective be aired for “balance” if the conservative shows are aired at all — and with the mainstream media already heavily tilted toward the Left, this would effectively stifle voices that dissent from the Left/liberal line. “The ‘fairness doctrine’ is a violation of free speech,” said Enzi.

Nor is that all. The White House website pledges that “President Obama and Vice President Biden will strengthen federal hate crimes legislation…” The problem with this, of course, is that “hate” is in the eye of the beholder, so “hate crime” laws are essentially tools for enforcing officially-endorsed views. It’s another form of censorship.


“Hate crimes” legislation begets “hate speech” legislation. A cautionary tale is unfolding in the Netherlands this week about how dangerous those can be: proving that such tools in the hands of the powerful enable them to silence the powerless and crush dissent, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered that Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament and maker of the notorious film Fitna, be prosecuted for “incitement to hatred and discrimination based on his statements in various media about moslims [sic] and their belief. In addition, the Court of Appeal considers criminal prosecution obvious for the insult of Islamic worshippers because of the comparisons made by Wilders of the islam [sic] with the nazism.”“The insult of Islamic worshippers”? The very idea of trying someone for insulting someone else is absurd, and unmasks the Dutch initiative as an attempt by the nation’s political elites to silence one of their most formidable critics. The one who judges what is an actionable insult and what isn’t is the one who has the power to control the discourse — and that’s what the prosecution of Wilders is all about. If insulting someone is a crime, can those who are insulted by hate speech laws bring suit against their framers?

The action against Wilders is taking place against the backdrop of the 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference’s efforts at the United Nations to silence speech that they deem critical of Islam — including “defamation of Islam” that goes under the “pretext” of “freedom of expression, counter terrorism or national security.”

If they succeed in doing this, Europeans and Americans will be rendered mute, and thus defenseless, in the face of the advancing jihad and attempt to impose Sharia on the West — in fact, one of the key elements of the laws for dhimmis, non-Muslims subjugated under Islamic rule, is that they are never critical of Islam, Muhammad, or the Qur’an. Thus this initiative not only aids the advance of Sharia in the West, but is itself an element of that advance.

But of course, it couldn’t happen here: freedom of speech could never disappear in America, right? After all, we have the First Amendment. But the Fairness Doctrine initiative shows that its protections can be chipped away. And “hate speech” laws could be justified by a declaration that free speech is still a constitutional right, but after all, every right has its limits: “hate speech” will be specifically exempted from its protections — and “hate speech” will be defined to encompass speaking honestly about the actual texts and teachings of Islam that contain exhortations to violence and assertions of supremacism, unless one is referencing such material approvingly as a believer.

For to speak of such things in any other way would be to “insult” Muslims, as has Geert Wilders.

The looming battle over the Fairness Doctrine — which Doctrine is essentially an attempt to muzzle political dissent — will reveal a great deal about what opponents of Islamization stateside can expect next.

Lovers of freedom should be watching the Wilders case very closely — as President Obama is already making abundantly clear — it could happen here.