Saturday, December 09, 2006


My response to Hesham

Hesham hasn't gotten around to approving my comment on to appear on his blog even though it has been nearly 24 hours since I made it. That is fine, it is his blog and he can set the rules. So instead I'm going to post it here. This is in response to his comment to me made 7 December at 5:20 PM:


Your response to me was so filled with red herrings and off topic, it is difficult to know where to begin. Let me try anyway:

“These freedoms are given to an individual and not governments.” When did I say otherwise? As the Declaration of Independence says: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” God gave us as individuals the right to free speech, freedom of religion, free press, etc.

“It is useless to debate freedom of speech and freedom of whatever, if the is a limit set by an external source on what information an individual can receive.”

This is completely irrelevant to the question at hand. First because it is not true, there is always external limits on what information an individual can receive, the most immediate and easiest to demonstrate is time. You or I do not have enough time in our lives to receive all the information that is available. If your statement was true, then free speech is therefore impossible. If you want to take that position, fine, but then just state free speech is impossible, don’t argue that Americans lack it because of the AJE issue.

“Back in the soviet era, a person was free to choose any book from the library as long as the state determined what books are available in the first place.”

And your point is? How is anything in the AJE case related to this? The government is not forbidding anyone from carrying it. It isn’t stopping the network from starting its own cable channel if it wants to. It isn’t stopping it from starting its own broadcasting network. The individual cable companies each looked at this new channel and decided that there was not enough demand for it. You may think that is the wrong decision. I do. You seem to be arguing that the government should require cable channels have to carry every possible network, no matter how few people would want to watch it. Fine, but don’t argue that you are supporting free speech, because you are arguing the opposite.

Moreover, speaking of “nothing … worse than not knowing something except for knowing if half of it and thinking that you know it all”, I work in a library, and your library example is so wrong about this that it is laughable. What is happening with AJE is much more like what happens in every library all over the world. Even in your dream world of absolute freedom, libraries still have limited budgets, staff, and space, and so constantly have to make decisions on what to buy, what to keep, what to discard. Freedom ends when it is no longer the librarians that are making these decisions.

“The media in the US might be against the current administration because its failure in the various ventures it had embarked on, not because the whole premises of war was based on lies and deceits perpetuated by people in the highest offices, nor is it because of the huge loss of innocent lives. There is a huge moral difference there.”

Again, this just shows that you have no idea what you are talking about. First, even at the shallowest level, the American media constantly criticizes the Bush Administration for the wrong intelligence about WMDs.

Second, there is a difference between having your facts wrong and lying. Even if the administration was wrong about the WMDs, that doesn’t automatically mean that they were lying. If I were to ask you, “how many states does the US have?” and you honestly thought that there were 52 and you tell me that, you aren’t lying, you have your facts wrong. As far as I recall, the only people before the war who didn’t think that Iraq had WMD were the Iraqis and Scott Ritter.

Last, on the level that you can only get to by really going past the surface, the one that you claim that Americans and our media are in capable of going past, the reasons that the Bush administration gave for going to war were not just that Iraq had WMDs. If you go back and look at the reasons given at the time, you will see this.

“Justification for slavery was made on economical basis as well…”

So? My decision not to buy everything I saw at Carrefour today was also made on an economical basis too. Was that equivalent to slavery? It did have somethign in common with slavery though. It was completely irrelevant to the issue at hand.

“Moreover, the US was a willing participant in the Olympics held in Nazi Germany, even while the atrocities of the holocaust were being committed.”

Again, you don’t know what you are talking about. The Berlin Olympics occurred in 1936. Kristallnacht, usually cited as the beginning of the Holocaust, occurred in 1938. I suppose that you could complain that the US and the rest of the competitors should have seen what was coming and preemptively boycotted. I guess that you are in favor of a policy of preemption sometimes after all.

“An affiliate Nazi party was allowed to exist in New York…”

I’m confused, are you now arguing that the US has too much freedom? It would prove that the US had freedom if they had banned fascist parties before the war?

“…[there] were many US politicians [who] routinely attended their party meeting to discuss mutual…”

At this point we are so far away from the AJE issue that I can’t even see it anymore. Heck, if you just want to criticize American politicians for their racism, you don’t have to look that far in our past, the dean of Democratic senators (and fourth in the presidential succession) was once a Grand Cyclops and Kleagle in the Klu Klux Klan. You know what else that fact has to do with the AJE issue? Nothing.

I never said that the decision not to carry AJE was moral (or immoral for that matter), only that it was the result of free speech, not the negation of it. If you want to argue that the decision is wrong, fine, I’ll back you 100%. But again, you keep talking about America and her culture, but you sounds as ignorant of it as I’m sure I would if I tried to lecture you about yours.

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