First, my thanks to typeay for bringing my attention to the following op-ed by Bonnie Erbe. More on my reaction on the other side.
Round Up Hate-Promoters Now, Before Any More Holocaust Museum Attacks
By Bonnie Erbe
Jun 11, 2009
Three incidents and counting.
If yesterday's Holocaust Museum slaying of security guard and national hero Stephen Tyrone Johns is not a clarion call for banning hate speech, I don't know what is.
Playwright Janet Langhart Cohen appeared on CNN yesterday right after the shooting, as she wrote a play that was supposed to have been debuted at the Holocaust Museum last night. Her play is about Emmett Till, whose lynching helped launch the Civil Rights Movement, and Ann Frank, whose diary told the story of Holocaust victims in hiding in the Netherlands during World War II.
She said something must be done about ridding the Internet and the public dialogue of hate speech. I agree. Not only have we had three hate crime murders within the last two weeks (Mr. Johns, as noted above, Dr. George Tiller a week ago last Sunday, and Pvt. William Andrew Long by an American-born Muslim convert outside a recruiting station just before that.)
Now we have this quote from the so-called Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who used to be President Obama's pastor. Hate comes from among all peoples and all religions. He said this about his lack of communication with Barack Obama since he's been elected president, according to the AP:
"Them Jews ain't going to let him talk to me. I told my baby daughter that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office," Wright told the Daily Press of Newport News following a Tuesday night sermon at the 95th annual Hampton University Ministers' Conference.
It's not enough to prosecute these murders as murders. They are hate-motivated crimes and each of these men had been under some sort of police surveillance prior to their actions. Isn't it time we started rounding up promoters of hate before they kill?
Bonnie Erbe is a contributing editor at U.S. News & World Report and hosts PBS's weekly news analysis program, To the Contrary with Bonnie Erbe. She also writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column for Scripps Howard News Service.
Now here is more than you ever wanted to know about Bonnie Erbe (pronounced Ur-bay). Suffice it to say she is no middle-weight Daily Kos idiot. She has, among other things, her own PBS show.
Also, she's a big animal lover but on the other hand, as she says here, for her "abortion is not a tragedy."
OK. So I sent her an email. Here it is.
Subject: I'm confused. Are you proposing a Department of Pre-crime or new Palmer Raids?
Date: 6/13/2009 7:08:12 A.M. Central Daylight Time
You recently wrote in a piece entitled, "Round Up Hate-Promoters Now, Before Any More Holocaust Museum Attacks."
"(Playwright Janet Langhart Cohen) said something must be done about ridding the Internet and the public dialogue of hate speech. I agree. . . It's not enough to prosecute these murders as murders. They are hate-motivated crimes and each of these men had been under some sort of police surveillance prior to their actions. Isn't it time we started rounding up promoters of hate before they kill?"
I'm confused. Your bio at pbs.org calls you a "nonpartisan, award-winning American journalist" and indicates that you "graduated from Barnard College in 1974, Columbia University with an M.S. in Journalism in 1975 and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987," and that you were on "the law revue at Georgetown and graduated cum laude."
So as a both a journalist and a lawyer, can you explain to me how your proposed roundup would be targeted consistent with the First Amendment? And what would your big "round up" look like? The Palmer Raids? The Alien and Sedition Acts? Or perhaps a more individually targeted Department of Pre-crime as defined by Janet Napolitano and executed by the minions of Eric Holder, the same people who brought us Waco?
Or are you looking for something more Orwellian like the Thought Police?
Now I understand that these questions are going to challenge your obvious leftish cognitive dissonance. Anyone who can in one breath proclaim that "abortion is not a tragedy" and simultaneously identify yourself as " a strong supporter of compassion for animals" without irony defines moral cognitive dissonance. Cherishing stray cats more than human life is not unheard of, of course. Adolf Hitler loved dogs too.
But I am curious, Ms. Erbe. How do you craft a law to accomplish your purpose without yourself being arrested when the regime changes? Do you think the "Lightworker" will be in power forever?
Ms. Erbe, I have fought neo-Nazis at street level all of my life. I despise them as the immoral scum between the cracks of the human sidewalk of civilization that they are. But I have sense enough to know that even they have the right to free speech. Do you remember nothing from Constitutional Law 101? How about History 202?
You wish to sweep away those that you find "hateful." Have you ever considered that there are many who find your ideas "hateful?"
Most of the Founders understood that you should never pass a law that you wouldn't be willing to see enforced upon you by your own worst enemy. (John Adams didn't, but then he and his party were swept from power by the reaction to the Alien and Sedition Acts.) If you really believe what you wrote, and worse, get what you ask for, the resulting armed resistance to such a tyrannical proposal would sweep away the safe, mythical cocoon within which you seem to live.
And if you think that tyranny and civil war cannot come to this country, as divided ideologically and morally as we presently are, you are whistling past the graveyard of history.
But as none of this is going to make an impression upon you, at least tell us -- please -- exactly what form of tyrannical oppression are you proposing?
PO Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126
Aftermath of a Palmer Raid, 1919.