September 28, 2007

What Free Speech Means, And What It Doesn't

For a nation birthed on the concept of free speech, we seem to have a very poor understanding of the concept. Jonah Goldberg notices this in his NRO column today, and uses the case of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia to make the point:

But here’s the thing, whether you favored or opposed the teeny dictator’s lecture: Free speech had nothing to do with it.

You have to stay on your toes, like Ahmadinejad at a urinal, to grasp this point since it’s so often confused in our public discourse: Free-speech rights aren’t violated when private institutions deny speech in their name. My free-speech rights have not been denied by the fact that for years the Democratic National Committee has refused to invite me to speak at its confabs. Nor would it be censorship if this newspaper dropped my column. Freedom of speech also includes the right not to say something.

In other words, had Columbia denied Ahmadinejad a platform, it would have been exercising freedom of speech just as much as it was when it invited him to give his prison-house philosopher spiel.

People keep muddying the central point of free speech, which is a right because of its non-confiscatory, natural state of humanity. Speaking one's mind requires no subsidy, no government grant. It is an innate, natural right springing from the central spirit of what it means to be a sapient human. It follows rationally from acknowledging that men and women have their own thoughts and values, and any government which seeks to encumber them would be tyrannical on its face.

People lose the meaning of its non-confiscatory nature. Freedom of speech does not confer upon anyone the right to be published. Nor does it impose on other citizens the duty to listen or to acknowledge the speech. Most importantly, it does not grant an immunity from criticism for the speech one gives -- because that would also constrain free speech.

Publication is another form of speech, and it carries with it the exposure to criticism that anyone assumes when they speak publicly. That's what people missed in the Ahmadinejad speech. Columbia University in essence published Ahmadinejad's speech by inviting him to speak from their dais, even if they hid their logos on the stage during his appearance. They freely associated their academic credibility with Ahmadinejad's lunatic ravings on Holocaust denial and his preference for the extinction of Israel. And they deserved the criticism they received for doing so, as well as for providing a platform for a leader of a terror-supporting state whose resources at the moment go to killing American soldiers.

The same holds true for Hofstra Law School's invitation to Lynne Stewart to speak at a forum on legal ethics. A jury convicted Stewart on five counts of providing material support to terrorism, specifically passing along messages from the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, to assassinate Hosni Mubarak and conduct other terrorist actions. Stewart remains free on bail while appealing her sentence, and she has the right to speek freely about her sense of ethics. That doesn't entitle her to have her views published by Hofstra, and their decision to provide her that platform places them in the position of endorsing her point of view, whether they agree to it or not. That's the point that my friend Scott Johnson tried to make in a shout-fest on Hannity & Colmes last night, with a panel that clearly could not grasp the distinction between free speech and the responsibilities that come with publication.

Denying Stewart a platform at Hofstra would not impede her right to free speech. Neither would disinviting Ahmadinejad from Columbia. Both have the right to speak their minds anywhere they can freely access. The fact that Columbia and Hofstra chose to associate themselves with terrorist sympathizers leaves them both open for criticism from others exercizing their own freedom to speak. That criticism does not attack free speech but celebrates it, as well as demanding some long-overdue accountability to the act of publication.


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Comments (40)

Posted by NoDonkey | September 28, 2007 9:02 AM

The key word here is "responsibility".

To the left, no one (except conservatives, of course), is responsible for their actions or their lives.

So when it comes to "rights", our only responsibility towards them is to test the boundaries. Not to refrain from abusing them, for we have no ability to control ourselves.

To committed leftists, it's all about calling attention to themselves.

Responsibility? The only responsibility we have, according to leftists, is collective. Individual responsibility does not exist in the leftist mind.

Posted by Rovin | September 28, 2007 9:09 AM

CSU has also proved that their rights to free speech (and publish) has it's consequences. They appear to be losing 80% of their advertisers.

But didn't Columbia do more damage in the long run?

Maybe we should consider adding the chronic disease BDS to the SCHIP bill,(after the veto) to gain real sympathy from conservatives.

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 28, 2007 9:33 AM

The rule is simple: Freedom of the Press belongs solely to the owner of the press.

Posted by jobe | September 28, 2007 9:37 AM

The most telling indication of the wide spread misunderstanding of speech freedom by leftists, and their concomitant misunderstanding of responsibility, is the comparison between the number of conservative speakers shouted down and heckled on college campuses by leftists and the number of liberal speakers afforded the same treatment by conservatives.

The obvious conclusion leaps out at you.

Posted by Jim M | September 28, 2007 9:46 AM

Capt said: "Freedom of speech does not confer upon anyone the right to be published. Nor does it impose on other citizens the duty to listen or to acknowledge the speech. Most importantly, it does not grant an immunity from criticism for the speech one gives -- because that would also constrain free speech." mean to tell me that the Dixie Chicks were NOT being subjected to "censorship" of their right to unfettered freedom of speech?? Oh my poor aching head. I'm so confused now! From years of catching glimpses of MTV Rockin my vote; John Stewart, CNN, Oprah, Katie, etc., not to mention the anti-Bush sermonizing of the Hollywood Actors Guild, I was under the clear impression that it was a Constitutional Right to be able to call Bush Hitler, burn the Flag, embrace Hugo in your Che t-shirt, label anyone who casts a republican vote a Fascist or Nazi or a Racist...and be IMMUNE from ANY consequences; exercise FREEDOM of speech without the fear of right-wing christofascist boycotts of your music, concerts or movies.

I believe the Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon, and some other similarly situated luminaries would disagree with your narrow and Dead Euro Racist White Man's interpretation of the 1st Amendment, Capt.

I thought doing things like threatening sponsors was only approved for people like Rush Limbaugh or say - when Dr. Laura gets a t.v. show.

Gosh - you sure do love to be a rabble rouser, Capt. I think you're bucking for a good dose of some Fairness Doctrine, pal. The Hillary adminstration, 2009, and her FCC, will fix your wagon, mister.

Posted by TokyoTom | September 28, 2007 9:51 AM

Ed, perhaps you mean "exercising", not exercizing? And shall we demand some responsibility for Republicans, too? Or does being Republican mean freedom to call others cowards and traitors and to act abroad with impunity despite the costs? Like Love Story - never having to say you're sorry?

NoDonkey: Cute. And what is the Republican view of responsibility? The responsibility to fund trillion dollar wars off budget, at the expense of our children, despite the lack of any menaingful gain (and costs of hundreds of thousands of lives and millions of refuges) - other than to the aggrandizement of federal power and the pocketbooks of defense contractors?

Both parties make me puke.

Posted by William Teach | September 28, 2007 9:53 AM

I believe the Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon, and some other similarly situated luminaries would disagree with your narrow and Dead Euro Racist White Man's interpretation of the 1st Amendment, Capt.


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Only government (specifically Congress) can violate the freedom of speech clause.

Posted by fdcol63 | September 28, 2007 9:57 AM

Today's American liberals have trouble differentiating between "rights enjoyed by virtue of being an American citizen" - guaranteed by the US Constitution - and basic human rights.

They are not the same.

Posted by TomB | September 28, 2007 10:07 AM

Jim M
Your head is apparently screwed in the wrong way. How the threatening of the sponsorship is denying the freedom of the speech (of your own nickel) is beyond me.

Posted by TomB | September 28, 2007 10:15 AM

Tokyo Tom,
You mix Freedom of Speech and Democracy:
1. Freedom of Speech - you may voice your opinion, as in your post.
2. Democracy - representatives elected by majority make laws and decisions.

Posted by Eric Forhan | September 28, 2007 10:32 AM

I think Jim M was being sardonic and parodying a liberal.

Bringing up Dixie Chicks is a good point though, with respect to Captain Ed's post: Dixie Chicks have the right to say what they wish on stage, and we have the right to tell them we don't want to hear it!

Posted by William Teach | September 28, 2007 10:37 AM

You just might be right, Eric.

Posted by Hagar | September 28, 2007 10:56 AM

Ahmadinejad should be free to speak at Columbia University if invited by Students for Democracy in Tibet, or whatever, but that is not what this was.

Ahmadinejad was invited by the president of the University, Lee Bollinger, presumably representing the Board of Regents, and to speak in a series of Distinguished Lectures, no less.

This is crazy. As Mara Liasson would say, "What were they thinking?!"

Then Bollinger made it still worse by delivering that appalling introductory speech.
When you have invited someone into your home, you are obliged to treat that person with courtesy, cold courtesy perhaps, but courtesy. You have to wait until he is off the premises again before you attack him.

Basically the University Administration and Board of Regents made asses of themselves. End of story.

Posted by hap | September 28, 2007 11:14 AM

While I don't disagree with your definition of free speech, you do seem to be taking a mighty big leap from "inviting someone to speak" to "endorsing what they have to say". Let's assume I'm a CompSci professor at CSU, and I invite a PHP advocate to speak to the CompSci students. Have I now "endorsed" PHP as the end all, be all solution the advocate would have me believe it is? No. I've simply allowed a PHP advocate to voice his/her opinion subject to whatever ensuing debate/criticism the students and faculty level at him/her.

Posted by Dawn | September 28, 2007 11:27 AM

I specifically tuned into H&C last night to see Scott. I believe his argument was that the dogpig wasn't qualified to speak at a forum for legal ethics because she doesn't have any.

As usual Colmes blathered on that since the case was on appeal her ethics shouldn't be called in to question.

Posted by Jim M | September 28, 2007 11:41 AM

I am sorry and I apologize to one and all, if I forgot to use the (apparently mandatory) device of doing something like:

sarcasm/off the end of my post. I figured, based on my tone, and manner of describing people involved, etc., that my parody of liberalism was self-evident.

Posted by Neo | September 28, 2007 11:58 AM

The 1st Amendment only protects citizens from censorship by the government.

So remember, when you son or daughter stands before his/her graduating class at commencement, he/she is not speaking for him/herself as valedictorian when he/she is denied by a federal judge to utter any words about God etc.

No, rather he/she is an agent of the government.

Posted by Lurking Observer | September 28, 2007 12:10 PM

Well, Jim M, all you have to do is read Tokyo Tom to see that the line between sarcasm/satire and actual opinion gets ever more blurred.

(Although, who knows, maybe TT was being sarcastic, too?)

Posted by David M | September 28, 2007 12:12 PM

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 09/28/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

Posted by TomB | September 28, 2007 12:24 PM

Jim M,
I apologize, but you sounded so much like a hard core leftist I really took you for the real one... Sorry.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 28, 2007 12:54 PM

I agree with Hap, above.

Publication does not imply endorsement. At best, publication implies that the publisher believes that his public will be interested in the content.

Was Fox news offering an endorsement of the Democrat contenders when they offered to broadcast the debate?

I prefer media in which I will be at least introduced to opposing viewpoints; sometimes reporters go overboard and spend hours hunting for somebody who opposes motherhood in order to introduce some controversy to the topic, but I can deal with that. Anybody so insecure that they can't deal with opposing viewpoints can restrict their reading to blogs - and welcome to them!

I'm neither so weak nor so insecure that I'll burst into tears if I hear or read something that contradicts my views. It's usually pretty helpful, in fact, because such occurances encourage me to think about what I believe and why I believe it.

Hagar, I've been wondering about the propriety of the sponsor's criticism of Ahmadinejad at the lecture as well - for now, I'm assuming that as part of the negotiations, he was advised he would be in for a rough ride.

Posted by TomB | September 28, 2007 1:34 PM

James I. Hymas, Hap,
You right, publishing doesn't mean endorsing, but there is another aspect of it, called recognition. Columbia University never invited anybody from the “Society for the Flat Earth” to present their arguments for the flat Earth (or did they?). By inviting somebody to make an address, you recognize that he/she has a point of view worth listening to. This was Ahmadinejad’s main objective, to be invited, for his home audience and home and world propaganda mostly. What new did they learn from him, really? I’d say nothing, but they clearly gave help and comfort to the enemy, even if they talked to him in a “tough” language, which was even jerkier and more disgusting thing to do, since he was their guest after all. So my feeling is that the Columbia incident was more about hate of the President and walking very close to the treason line, than about freedom of speech and “exchange of the ideas” with a thug, kidnapper, fanatic and a gorilla.

Posted by William Teach | September 28, 2007 1:37 PM

An invitation does not always denote approval of the speaker, not by any means. It very often depends on the circumstance.

Posted by dave | September 28, 2007 1:55 PM

I expect that very few people that object to Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbus actually listened to what he said or read the transcript. That is not what you do. Your minds are closed, and you will never listen to someone or read their writing unless you have determined beforehand that you agree with them. Why can't you just let him speak and let those of us with open minds listen? Did you know you can listen to someone without agreeing with them or becoming them? You may still learn something.

I am not sure I agree with Bollinger's character judgement. Here's what he said about Musharraf:

"President Musharraf is a leader of global importance and his contribution to Pakistan’s economic turnaround and the international fight against terror remain remarkable - it is rare that we have a leader of his stature at campus."

I prefer to not let people like Bollinger make character decisions for me.

Posted by Jim M | September 28, 2007 2:23 PM

The defenses raised for allowing President Amananutjob to speak all just ring a little hollow to me. I guess it is because these same sort of academians never seem to get themselves remotely worked up if some conservative or some group like the minute men is heckled and hassled and shouted down (and prevented from speaking) by the campus leftists. Isn't there even some leftist group called something like "Whatever it Takes" or some such which actually specializes in attempting to prevent (by physical action, civil unrest and confrontation) conservative voices from having a forum on campuses?

That may be an apples and oranges comparison; if so, forgive me - my error. But if we're going to get all misty-eyed about letting voices (no matter how "awful" we solemnly proclaim them to be) have their say in an enlightened academic forum, I'd buy into that concept with a little less cynicism if administrations would start expelling students who physically disrupt events involving ANY speaker who has received University approval (e.g., use of a lecture hall; campus security, etc.) no matter who the invite came from, and no matter what the political leanings of that person is.

If an Ann Coulter or a David Horowitz is deemed "too controversial" or "too illogically hate-filled" to tolerate having speak on campus - fine - then don't let them come. Fine with me. But don't turn around in the next breath and try to say to me that, in contrast, Joseph Goebbels or Idi Amin or President Nutjob, or Osama Bin Laden ISN'T "too controversial" - and for HIM, we DON'T let the 'mob' in to the door to throw pies at him, and to scream, and to chant, and to shout him down, and to rush the stage, etc., until he is forced to stop speaking.

I agree with TomB as to what the underlying purpose of this invite was really all about. Then Bollinger's opening attack was simply an attempt at damage control by him, based on the reaction he found himself subjected to.

I made my Dixie Chicks parody post, because it absolutely drives me BONKERS (and I've been told by my wife that it is a short drive) when some celebrity says something inflammatory and then gets all indignant and surprised and offended when there ends up being consequences (e.g., record boycott campaigns) for their actions - and they throw out the "censorship" whine.

Posted by JTHC | September 28, 2007 3:05 PM

"I expect that very few people that object to Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbus actually listened to what he said or read the transcript. That is not what you do. Your minds are closed, and you will never listen to someone or read their writing unless you have determined beforehand that you agree with them. Why can't you just let him speak and let those of us with open minds listen? Did you know you can listen to someone without agreeing with them or becoming them? You may still learn something."

Please. We don't object to his speaking at Columbia because we're closed minded and don't want to hear what he has to say. We object because we've been paying attention and have already heard what he has to say.

It's not our fault you haven't been paying attention.

But just as a favor, here's a bit of a clue to put some context to your "listening": The stuff he says for your consumption does not mesh with what he says for Iranian audiences.

Posted by PD Quig | September 28, 2007 3:16 PM

Dear dave,

Far from having closed minds, we well-informed folk have already read and heard enough dissimulation, propaganda and outright whopper lies from Admadinejad to have reached the obvious conclusion that still eludes you: he is a lying bastard. That should have been reason enough not to give him a soapbox from which to spout more prevarication—the likes of which sounded all too closely aligned with Democrat talking points (except for the homosexual bit—he didn’t have the party line on that issue, did he?).

A more compelling reason not to give him a podium, however, is that his country is at war with ours—although we have not yet returned the favor—and he has American blood on his filthy little hands. If you want to listen to him so that you can draw your own “character decisions,” I suggest you read or listen to Admadinejad’s translated speeches in Iran: that is where he leads the “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” chants that he skipped at Columbia. He thinks he can fool America, but instead he has only found some fools in America.

Posted by William Teach | September 28, 2007 6:02 PM

I expect that very few people that object to Ahmadinejad being invited to speak at Columbus actually listened to what he said or read the transcript. That is not what you do. Your minds are closed, and you will never listen to someone or read their writing unless you have determined beforehand that you agree with them. Why can't you just let him speak and let those of us with open minds listen? Did you know you can listen to someone without agreeing with them or becoming them? You may still learn something.

It is not about listening to him. He can make as many speeches as he wants. It is about giving the leader of a country which has a stated purpose of Sharia, destruction of western civilization, specifically the USA, and the anihalation of Israel, a forum to spread his hate and propaganda on our own soil. With today's mass media, is it necessary to have him show up? Would we want Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc, come and "enlighten" us, give us there point of view?

Funny how the same liberals who welcomed Ahmanutjob and listened (not to say they agreed with him, but, they listened) went nuts and were somewhat violent and completely unreceptive when the Minutemen came and spoke, eh?

Posted by Bearster | September 28, 2007 7:47 PM

Great points, and I agree, except for one thing at the end. Achmadinejad is not a terrorist sympathisizer.

He is a mass-murdering dictator who also happens to be waging war against us. He is ordering soldiers to kill American troops!

We should be expending whatever effort necessary to destroy his country's ability to wage war, and capture or kill its entire cadre of leaders including Achmadinjad.

The issues in having him here speaking is not about the "rights" he has. The issue is one of tolerating murderous enemies, especially during a time of war.

Your essay could be applied to any random moonbat who espouses the same views.

Posted by ck | September 28, 2007 9:25 PM

Although I disagree with Ed completely on this (let his words speak for themself --- many more people now realize how much of an idiot the guy is because Columbia let him talk in the U.S... And really, what other country has foreign leaders who we are gearing up to go to war against, actually speak to a university... That says a whole lot about how great of a country this can be)...

I would like to, once again, point out what is so often left out of this blog... the conservative hypocrisy... Bill O'Reilly invited him to be interviewed on his show. Where is the outrage?

Posted by unclesmrgol | September 29, 2007 12:57 AM

ck said

I would like to, once again, point out what is so often left out of this blog... the conservative hypocrisy... Bill O'Reilly invited him to be interviewed on his show. Where is the outrage?

The Captain said

That criticism does not attack free speech but celebrates it, as well as demanding some long-overdue accountability to the act of publication.

I fail to see why CK is attacking the Captain's point. They appear to be in complete and violent agreement.

Posted by Niccolo | September 29, 2007 3:21 AM

This man wants us dead. All of us. That's the plain truth.

We let him into the country on a diplomatic passport, and let him out again. Why we didn't nab him while we had him is a great mystery: we've been making this mistake a long while. The other side has been doing exactly the opposite since the days of the Barbary pirates.

Then we could try him for the Tehran embassy takeover in 1979. That's well outside his diplomatic credentials. He's been positively identified as one of the perps. And why should we care if there's a fuss, anyway?

So then what would the Iranian authorities trade for his release? We'll never know, because the barbarian (that's how they see us) opportunity was missed. So he's aggrandized by having been in the lion's mouth and not chewed up and swallowed.

He should have been taken into custody for his crimes against us. 1979. Embassy. Hostages. Go ahead, talk to them, those hostages, ask them.

-- I have visions of a trial at the old courthouse in Tombstone, Arizona. Then, next dawn, a hanging in the sideyard of the old courthouse. Used to be normal.

Used to be we knew how to deal with his kind. Rope, neck, trapdoor.

Posted by dave | September 29, 2007 9:27 AM

"The stuff he says for your consumption does not mesh with what he says for Iranian audiences."

I read what ahmadinejad says to Iranian audiences often. And not just the 8 word out of context quotes picked out by right wingers. I read entire speeches transcribed by BBC Monitoring reports. Do you? His speeches are very similiar to those given in Iran.

"I suggest you read or listen to Admadinejad’s translated speeches in Iran: that is where he leads the “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” chants that he skipped at Columbia."

As I said above, I do this all the time. I have never seen one where he says "death to America' or "death to Israel". Can you show me?

William Teach:
"...destruction of western civilization, specifically the USA, and the anihalation of Israel..."
Can you show me where he says this?

"With today's mass media, is it necessary to have him show up?"
Yes, very much. What today's mass media does is watch all his speeches, finds a 6 word quote that they can take out of context and mistranslate it on top of it, and then use these mangled quotes to painted a distorted picture of "official enemies". When he is allowed to speak in person, this is not possible. People get a chance to here his overall views without beinr mistranslated or taken out of context. Thhis only works, however, for those who listen to or read the entire speech.

To show how the mass media works, just look at the "wipe Israel off the map" comment, which has been repeated thousand of times in the mass media, and is something he did not say.

Posted by Dawn | September 29, 2007 12:38 PM

dave why don't you just say that he's not such a bad guy after all?

Posted by dave | September 29, 2007 1:16 PM

He is not a bad guy. I have to have a reason not to like someone. What has he done that I should hate him for?

"The stuff he says for your consumption does not mesh with what he says for Iranian audiences."

Here excerpts of a speech given by Ahmadinajed given in Iran on September 9, 2007 at the Festival of Kindness in Iran. I can copy the whole speech, but I don’t want the Captain to get mad at me. It is from BBC Monitoring Middle East dated Sept 18, 2007 titles “President says Iran considers nuclear case closed”. It is for an Iranian audience, and was broadcast on Iranian TV. Let me know how this is different from what he says to US audiences:

"The foundation of survival, the foundation of eternity, the foundation of victory, the foundation of perfection and the foundation of seeking evolution in the world are based on compassion and kindness. Basically, human society cannot take shape without compassion. It cannot live without compassion. It cannot conquer the zeniths of progress without compassion. Compassion and mercy are the true qualities of the entire existence. God created everything in the universe in order to make sure that all His creatures would love human beings. He wanted everything to serve human beings. He intended that everything should be at the service of human beings' prosperity. Any heart, which is full of compassion, any heart, which is full of faith and any heart, which is full of belief, will be in love with human beings.
You can see that any deed, which is based on compassion, had lasting effects on the world. And any deed, which was based on a grudge, was rejected and destroyed. All the beautiful and decent deeds of the world have been shaped by compassion and kindness. Basically, it will be impossible that anyone, whose heart is empty of love for human beings, will be able to achieve anything positive.

(Saddam's attack on Halabja)

The entire existence of our eminent personalities was full of compassion and kindness. Our Prophet and our imams, peace be upon them, were full of compassion and kindness. When you read the biography of imam Husayn, peace be upon him, you realize that his enemies were extremely cruel to him. Nevertheless, the Imam refused to curse them. Even their decision to fight tyranny stemmed from their kind nature. The reason some people struggle against suppression is that they love other human beings. This is because if tyranny and suppression will destroy the roots of compassion and kindness. Compassion is the foundation of justice. And justice will strengthen compassion. Just imagine for a moment a world without compassion. Such a world would be nothing but hell. A place where there is no compassion will resemble hell, and will perhaps be hell itself. Hell is the place where there is no kindness. And paradise is a place where there is plenty of compassion, love and kindness
All the prophets came in order to promote compassion. And God gave a mission to mankind to create a world full of love and compassion. Even in those instances, where [the Koran] compels us to demonstrate resistance and steadfastness, and even in those instances, where we are instructed to fight, the objective is to safeguard compassion and kindness. This is because the roots of compassion are destroyed by selfishness, greed, acts of aggression and arrogance. And if the roots of compassion were to be destroyed, human society would be destroyed too.
We are grateful to God for the fact that the flag of compassion has been hoisted in our beloved Iran. Iran deserves this and such a mission is worthy of Iran. This is because throughout history, [the people of] Iran have been the lovers of human beings, justice, compassion and prosperity for all nations. This is a subject, which requires long term research. This is an unknown subject. We are all dealing with this subject. Imagine the chain of love, which creates a bond between a mother and her child. What would happen if such a bond were to be undermined? What would happen if similar weakness were to appear in other cases such as the bond between a father and his child, between a husband and his wife, between various members of a family, between friends, between fellow citizens, between compatriots, between the people of the same religious faith and eventually between other members of our species, which comprise human society? If such bonds were to be weakened, nothing would be left.
Even in the sphere of education and training, compassion will make education and training more effective and everlasting. However, in the absence of compassion, education will be ineffective.
Throughout history, mankind's suffering and troubles have been caused by those individuals, whose hearts were bereft of love and compassion. Had one [Saddam] not been bereft of love and compassion, he would not have made bombs and weapons, one of which was dropped on Halabja [referring to the chemical attack on Iraqi Kurdisatan] and killed thousands of innocent human beings. Had he had an ounce of compassion and love in his heart, he would never have resorted to such methods.

(Condemns occupation of Iraq)

Is it possible that one could have compassion in one's heart and yet dispatch armies to occupy oil wells and as a result exert the heaviest pressure on such a civilized nation as that of Iraq? How could anyone with the slightest kindness in his heart kill hundreds and thousands of people and force others to flee their homes? Would anyone with compassion in his heart be even prepared to pluck one petal of a flower? Let alone plucking the wing of a butterfly, killing a harmless animal or hurting other human beings. Mankind's problem stems from such individuals. And it stems from forgetting kindness. This was mentioned by one of our dear girl students, who read out a beautiful poem earlier. She said that all decent things will follow compassion. How beautiful the poem was to say that compassion will make everything possible. The poem says that compassion will transform thorns into flowers and will turn vinegar into wine.
Creation is founded on kindness. This is also the will of God. He has placed this in our hearts. However, devils appear, selfish people come, ill-intentioned individuals turn up and hard hearted people arrive to promote negligence in human societies. As a result, human beings are distanced from their original compassion. This will lead to calamity. Can anyone worship God but fail to like other human beings. Can anyone love God but refuse to love virtues and things of beauty? Loving God amounts to loving goodness and things of beauty. Can anyone love God but not love human beings? Can anyone be compassionate and yet fail to shed tears and feel pain in his heart, when he sees other people suffering? How could a compassionate person not feel obliged to help the needy? This is the foundation of creation.
We must all join hands today in order to build our beloved Iran's society on the basis of compassion. All our relationships must be based on kindness."

(On nuclear aims)

However, the last point of my remarks concerns the nuclear issue. In my opinion, the nuclear case was a development, which displayed all the beautiful things on one side and all the ugly things on the other. What were the beautiful things? They are the beloved nation of Iran, national solidarity, love, faith, compassion, kindness towards other nations, commitment to the law and respect for the regulations. The glory of the Iranian nation's solidarity was manifested over the nuclear issue. A nation became united as one body to cry out the same slogan in unison. They clenched their fists to openly voice their demands. They stood firmly in support of their rights.And on the other side, the ugly things are represented by selfishness and ill-intentions. You saw how they tried to bully us, how rude they were and how they insulted our nation. You saw how blatantly selfish they were. They threatened a great civilized nation, whose people love other nations. This is a nation, which has not even taken a single step along the path of grudge bearing. This is a nation, which even wants nuclear energy to promote peace, security and comfort for all nations.

(On nuclear status)

This nation has never launched an act of aggression against any other place and has never violated anyone's right throughout its history. For thousands of years and in particular during the Islamic era, this nation has always been the standard bearer of love and compassion for human beings. It has been the standard bearer of civilization. It has been the standard bearer of useful knowledge. All the medical discoveries and engineering work of the world are indebted to the Iranian nation and the Iranian scholars. Nevertheless, they [the Western powers] have made allegations against this nation. They have insulted us and been rude to this nation. Above all, they have threatened military attack. They have displayed presumptuousness.
You saw that the world's evil doers, the ill-wishers and the grudge bearers have gathered on one side, whereas the compassionate and good hearted people have gathered on this side. And we saw that God was with the compassionate. He is with us and will stay with us. You saw how many plots they hatched against us and how many acts of sedition they planned against us. You saw that they issued resolutions, waged propaganda and yelled at us. But we saw that God will help a nation, which has joined hands to please Him, which has joined together in their hearts and which has love for their people, their homeland and love for the elevation of human society. A nation, which stands firm in support of these virtues, will receive God's assistance and such a nation will be victorious.
I must tell you that, as far as we are concerned, our nuclear case is closed. Some individuals might still say something, but this is not of importance to us. From the start, they imposed a pretext on the agency to come and create trouble for the Iranians and to create a problem for us by means of propaganda. They exploited that pretext to demand that we should negotiate with them in order to resolve our problem with the agency. Our teams went to negotiate with them, but they tried to impose all their demands on the Iranian nation. And now, the case is with the agency and the agency is studying the situation. The agency has repeatedly said that they have not come across any deviation in Iran [to produce a nuclear bomb]. They have said that Iran is cooperating very well and that the problems are being addressed. They have said that they are in the process of resolving any outstanding question, as if we are the only nation, which should answer questions. Have other nuclear states had to answer hundreds of questions? Well, the agency has managed to find an answer for the questions one by one.

(Our nuclear case is closed)

At present, the agency is conducting its work. Of course, fortunately, a large number [of states] have accepted this. We think that the Europeans are adopting a proper stance. And the eastern countries had also [short break in transmission]. And the stance of the Non-Aligned Movement member states was with us from the start. There are one or two countries left down the bottom [UK and USA], because when we mention compassion they do not understand what compassion is. When we say respect for the law, they do not understand what law is. When we say humanity, they do not understand what humanity is. As a consequence, they do not understand justice either. They think that by going on a platform and by closing their eyes and opening their mouths to yell, the Iranian nation will retreat. They have seen that the Iranian nation is not the one to retreat. It is all finished.
At present, we are thinking of other issues. Of course, we welcome talks and negotiations. We can sit and talk with all countries to resolve global problems, to promote peace for humanity, to promote global security and to cooperate for promoting justice, for realizing the rights of nations, for bringing progress to nations, to uproot poverty, to uproot discrimination and to uproot the instances of lack of hygiene. Of course, we would like to talk to everyone. We would like to have relations with everyone; and we do have relations with everyone. At present, our ties with other countries are expanding daily.
However, we have said before that we shall not negotiate our rights with anyone. And we are doing our work with the agency. And this is the responsibility of the agency. On the one hand, the agency must conduct supervision; and on the other hand, it should defend the rights of its members. But they wish to say that the agency is a tool in the hands of a few major powers. This is a very bad thing to say. They [the major powers] have tried to disgrace the agency. They have tried to disgrace the United Nations. They have tried to disgrace the agency. They have tried to disgrace the UN Security Council. They have thrown out everything so as to halt the Iranian nation's progress through their hostile stance. The era of bearing grudge is over. Anyone wishing to achieve something from the position of bearing a grudge, his measures will be ineffective; his policy will not succeed in the world."

Posted by ATM | September 29, 2007 1:56 PM

Any flowery speeches Ahmadinajed gives are irrelevent, because his actions show are otherwise. The best standard to evaluate a government is the degree of political and personal freedom granted to those governed, particularly those of the same ethinic and religious group. The reason is that I can expect no better treatment at their hands, and should reasonablly expect worse treatment. In Iran, political freedom has regressed severely with Ahmadinajed. I have no reason to trust him, just as past generations couldn't trust Hitler, Tojo, and Stalin.

Posted by atm | September 29, 2007 4:23 PM

"Any flowery speeches Ahmadinajed gives are irrelevent, because his actions show are otherwise. The best standard to evaluate a government is the degree of political and personal freedom granted to those governed..."

JTHC said that Ahmadinejad's words spoken in Iran do not mesh with those spoken here. I wanted to show otherwise.

So let's talk about Jews in Iran. One would expect Jews in Iran to be in big trouble considering the have an evil, Holocaust-denying dictator in charge. Remember the claim that the Jews in Iran were going to be made to wear yellow armbands? (The claim turned out to be a lie - surprise). The truth is, however, that the largest population of Jews in th Middle East outside of Israel turns out to be in Iran. 25,000. Although their population is not high enough for a seat in Parliament, they are guaranteed one nevertheless. This article says that Jews in Iran do just fine:

If you go to this page:

Scroll down to the story titled "Ahmadinejad answers US church leaders' questions", and you'll see how he met with US church and Synagogue leaders for 3 hours to answer their questions.

He also met with Jewish rabbis in New York, who presented him with a silver shaliss:§ionid=351020101

These stories were not reported in the MSM. So does Ahnadinejad's "actions" show anything different than his words? Only if you believe the crap about "wiping Israel off the map".

Posted by dave | September 29, 2007 4:53 PM

That should read: posted by "dave".

Posted by Gabriel Hanna | October 1, 2007 7:38 PM

I have, so I believe, thereby rendered a great service to peace, for I have in good time made valueless an instrument that was designed to become effective in time of war against Germany.

If people now say that this is the signal for Germany's desire to attack the whole world, then I do not believe they mean it seriously; such a statement could only be the expression of the very worst of consciences. Perhaps it is anger at the failure of a far-reaching plan; perhaps it is belief that the premises can thereby be created for a new policy of encirclement? Whatever the case may be, I am convinced that I have thereby rendered a great service to peace.

And it is from this conviction that I determined three weeks ago to give the coming Party Rally the name of "Party Rally of Peace." For Germany does not dream of attacking other nations.

What we do not, however, desire to renounce is the extension of our economic relations. To this we have a right, and I do not accept orders in this respect from any statesman inside or outside Europe!

The German Reich is not only a great producer, but also a tremendous consumer. In the same way as we become an unreplaceable commercial partner as consumer, so are we suited as a producer honestly to pay for what we consume.

We do not dream of waging war on other nations, subject, of course, to their leaving us in peace also. The German Reich is, however, in no case prepared permanently to tolerate intimidation, or even a policy of encirclement.

I once concluded an agreement with England-the Naval Agreement. It is based on the ardent desire, shared by us all, never to be forced to fight a war against England. This desire can, however, only be a reciprocal one. If it no longer exists in England, then the practical premises for the agreement have been removed. Germany would accept even a situation of this kind with calm composure! We are so sure of ourselves because we are strong, and we are strong because we are united, and also because we keep our eyes open! And in this town more than elsewhere I can only urge you to look at the world and all happenings therein around us with open eyes. Do not deceive yourselves regarding the most important prerequisite which exists in life, namely, the necessary power at one's own disposal. He who does not possess power loses the right to live! We have had fifteen years' experience of such a condition. That is why I have made Germany strong again and why I have created a defence force on land, on the waters and in the air.

But when there is talk in other countries of present rearmament and of continued and still greater rearmament, then I can only say to these statesmen: it will not be me whom they will tire out!

I am determined to continue to march along this road, and I am convinced that we shall advance faster than the others. No Power in the world will ever wheedle our arms from us by mere words. But should anyone at any time show any desire to measure his strength against ours by force, then the German people will always be in a position and ready and determined to do the same!

And our friends think just as we do, especially the State with which we are closely bound and with which we march, now, and in all circumstances, and for all time. When hostile journalists do not know what else to write about, then they write of cracks in the Axis. They can be at ease.

This Axis is the most natural political instrument in the world. It is a political combination of ideas which owes its existence not only to reason and the desire for justice, but also to strength inspired by idealism.

This structure will hold out better than the present alliances of non-homogeneous bodies on the other side. For if anybody tells me to-day that there are no differences in world outlook or ideologies between England and Soviet Russia, I can only say: I congratulate you, Gentlemen.

I believe we shall not have long to wait before we see that the unity in world outlook between Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany is, after all, different from that between democratic Great Britain and the Bolshevik Russia of Stalin.

But if there should really be no ideological difference between them, then I can only say: how right is, after all, my attitude towards Marxism, communism and to democracy! Why two apparitions, when after all they are made of the same substance?

We are experiencing in these days a very great triumph and a feeling of deep inner satisfaction. A country that was also devastated by bolshevism, in which hundreds and thousands of human beings, women, men, children and old people, were slaughtered, has liberated itself, and liberated itself in spite of ideological friends of bolshevism who sit in Great Britain, France and other countries.

We can only too well understand this Spain in her struggle, and we greet her and congratulate her on her victory. We Germans can say so with special pride, for many young German men have done their duty there.

They have helped as volunteers to break a tyrannical regime and to recover for a nation its right to self-determination. We are glad to see how quickly, yes, how extremely quickly, here also a change in the world outlook of the suppliers of war material to the Red side has come about, how extensively one now suddenly understands National Spain and how ready one is to do business with this National Spain, perhaps not ideological business, but at least economic business!

This also is an indication of the direction developments are taking. For I believe that all States will have to face the same problems that we once had to face. State after State will either succumb to the Jewish Bolshevik pest or will ward it off. We have done so, and we have now erected a national German People's State.

This People's State desires to live in peace and friendship with every other State, it will, however, never again permit itself to be forced to its knees by any other State.

I do not know whether the world will become Fascist! I do not believe that the world will become National Socialist! But that the world will in the end ward off this worst form of bolshevistic threat in existence, of that I am absolutely convinced.

And, therefore, I believe in a conclusive understanding among peoples which will come sooner or later. There is no point in bringing about co-operation among nations, based upon permanent understanding, until this Jewish fission-fungus of peoples has been removed.

To-day we must depend upon our own power! And we can be satisfied with results of this confidence in ourselves! At home and abroad!

When I came into power, Germany was torn and impotent at home, and abroad a toy of foreign will. To-day we have order at home and our economy is flourishing. Abroad we are perhaps not popular, but we are respected. That is the decisive factor. Above all, we have given millions of our "Volksgenossen" the greatest happiness they could have wished for: their home-coming into our Great German Reich. And, secondly, we have given great happiness to Central Europe, namely, peace, peace protected by German power. And this power shall not be broken again by any force in the world. That shall be our oath.

We thus realise that the "Volksgenossen," more than 2 million in number, who died in the Great War, did not die in vain. From their sacrifice a new Great German Reich has arisen. From their sacrifice this strong young German Reich of the "Volk" has been called to life and has now stood its test in life.

And in the face of this sacrifice, we would not fear any sacrifice if it should ever become necessary. This the world should take note of!

They can conclude agreements, make declarations, as many as they like: I put my trust not in scraps of paper, but I put my trust in you, my "Volksgenossen."

Germans have been the victims of the greatest breach of promise of all time. Let us see to it that our people at home may never again become easy to break up, then no one in the world will ever be able to threaten us. Then peace will be maintained for our people or, if necessary, it will be enforced. And then our people will flourish and prosper.

It will be able to place its genius, its capability, its diligence, and its perseverance at the disposal of the work of peace and home culture. That is our desire; it is that which we hope and in which we believe.

Twenty years ago the party was founded, at that time a very small structure. Recall the distance covered from that time until to-day. Recall the extent of the miracle that has been worked upon us. And have faith, therefore, by the very reason of our miraculous progress, in the further road of the German people in the coming great future!

Germany: Sieg-Heil! Sieg-Heil! Sieg-Heil!

--Adolf Hitler, April 1, 1939.

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Posted by Gabriel Hanna | October 2, 2007 12:47 PM

No answer, dave? Don't have any comment on Hitler's flowery speeches about peace, and what that might tell you about Ahmadinejad's? Thought not.

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