Does anyone understand the first amendment to the constitution of the United States? Does anyone understand the intent?
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.
A Vietnamese woman came to this country when she was five years old. She was part of the “boat people” who escaped Vietnam when the United States abandoned its efforts to stop the spread of communism. That was at the end of the Vietnam War that ended in defeat for the United States.
That woman is now Senator Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, California. She is the first Vietnamese American in the country elected to a state senate seat. She dared to criticize late state Sen. Tom Hayden’s, D-Santa Monica, support of the communists in Vietnam. California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles had Senator Nguyen physically dragged off the Senate floor for pointing out that Tom Hayden was in fact a traitor to the United States.
Fires burned in the cradle of free speech, University California Berkeley. Furious at a lecture organized on campus, demonstrators wearing ninja-like outfits smashed windows, threw rocks at the police and stormed a building. The speech? The university called it off. The university was under siege for canceling a speech by the incendiary right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos and words like intolerance, long used by the left, were being used by critics to condemn the protests on February 3 that ultimately prevented Mr. Yiannopoulos from speaking.
In April 2014 Ayaan Hirsi Ali was invited to Brandeis University’s commencement festivities and then she was uninvited. So, what’s all that about? Well, Hirsi Ali is a figure of some controversy, don’t you know! She has been a strong voice against such barbaric practices as female genital mutilation, and the more totalitarian aspects of Islamic sharia law that oppress women, such as so-called “honor killings.” Personally speaking, I am glad she has done such things. However, she is not of the mind that Islam is a legitimate religion that has been, in some instances, tragically co-opted in some benighted corners of the world by nihilistic death-cults. She does not believe it is possible for a moderate or Westernized form of Islam to exist. She has said so: “There is no moderate Islam.” And so, she has called for the complete destruction of Islam existentially.
In September 2011 jurors on found 10 of the “Irvine 11” Muslim students guilty on charges that stemmed from the disruption of a speech by the Israeli ambassador, Michael Oren, to the United States when he visited UC Irvine in February of 2010.
What do all of these incidents have in common? The denial of freedom of speech. How did we get here? We have come to a time when we insist not to hear any opinions that do not coincide with our own. We want an echo chamber that returns all of our thoughts and all of our ideas. We have come to believe that no other thoughts and no other ideas are worth considering. We are so sure that our ideas are the right ideas that we want to deny anyone from hearing other ideas.
Where do we go from here?