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Free Speech or Genocide? Smarten Up

Posted on Wednesday, December 13, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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14 Comments
Hamas Israel flag; truth

Somehow, we seem to have drifted away from the dock, lost our orientation, forgotten basic truths. Time to smarten up. Speaking bluntly, a few truths need open and honest discussion. Here they are.

First, speaking for basic human rights (see The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or US Bill of Rights) is never wrong. It is not wrong in defense of any ethnic, religious, social, or political group – period. 

From that premise flows a simple corollary. Speaking for the human rights of innocent Israelis, Ukrainians, Palestinians, Chinese Uyghurs, or anyone else – is not wrong, not a war crime, and not a crime of any kind.

Moreover, speaking for human rights does not constitute racial prejudice, ethnic hatred, barbarism, terrorism, anti-Arabism, anti-Semitism, anti-Chinese sentiment, or anti-anything. It is what it is, awareness that God gives life, and life matters.

Notably, that is true from pregnancy through old age, childhood in peacetime to protection of children in wartime. The principle is biblical, Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian, moral, and indisputable.

Second, good and evil do exist, and evil calls for preventive and responsive action. The world is not filled with moral equivalents, is not relativistic, and does not leave us blameless when we fail to recognize, prevent, respond to, or deter evil. Evil cannot be ignored, it calls for action – consistent, proportionate, unblinking.

This principle, really a foundational fact of civil society, appears in all ancient texts on wisdom, Sumerian and Babylonian literature centuries BC and King Solomon to how the Magi who visited Christ at birth reacted when asked to report his location to Herod, who then in a rage killed all the male children under age two.

From St. Paul to St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, from Pyramid Texts through shared Greek, Iranian, and Jewish influences in the monotheistic Mandean faith, from earliest times through our Founders, uncivil civil war, two world wars, we have recognized the difference between evil and good. We must stand for good.

Third, and this one seems recently confused, free speech – from our First Amendment and Supreme Court cases to common sense – is about encouraging each other to look at things from different perspectives, ideas clashing for truth.

This is why we have a First Amendment, and why our Founders never criticized another for changing his mind during the Constitutional Convention. Ponder that. 

The goal was advancing truth, because without truth – which was only discernible with free speech and free exercise of religion – the Republic could not persist.

The corollary is that we can never, not once, not for any reason, not excused by any “context,” justify advancing the end of speech, worship or life on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or any other identifier. That is not free speech, that is murder, or worse, genocide.  

How learned persons, leading major educational institutions, could not understand these basic distinctions, and core principles, yet be in positions of responsibility is shocking. Still, we saw that dangerous confusion, and closemindedness, last week. 

Fourth, also getting little honest discussion, we need to stop blurring lines and speak with each other in real, candid, dispassionate, and honest ways.

For example, being an advocate for ending Hamas, responsive action by Israel against Hamas for kidnapping, killing, and torturing innocents does not make one anti-Arab, or even anti-innocent Palestinian. 

Similarly, being a critic of Israel’s operational response, how they are responding to terrorism, use of this new doctrine of all-out, undifferentiated, indiscriminate killing of innocent Palestinians – more than 5000 small children – does not make human rights advocates anti-Semitic or anti-Israel, just anti-indiscriminate killing

Likewise, believing Israel’s military action is not justified misses the anguish inflicted by Hamas. Evil requires a response, even if peace must be the final aim

Bottom line:  We have become lazy, accustomed to hearing what we want to hear, blurring lines in debate where convenient, for one side or the other. We have lost the ability to articulate an accurate, logical, morally honest, intellectually clear, truth-seeking argument. We fall back on our favorite narrative and call it a day.

That is not how Republics survive, hard truth is needed. Here is some: Hamas is a terrorist organization, like Hezbollah, funded by Iran. All three promote evil, terrorism, and an end to Israel, based on ancient arguments and the failed Balfour Declaration, a 100-year-old effort to return Jews to their homeland without displacing native Palestinians, a source of constant and deepening conflict. 

What is needed is focus on core principles. The Jews deserve to live in Israel, and Palestinians also deserve peace, land, security, and prosperity in the same region. Human rights are a two-way street, innocence requires protection. Good and evil are real, and evil must be stopped.

As for free speech, it is the only way we humans get to an approximation of truth, so we need to respect it – conservative and liberal – on Ivy League campuses.

But respecting different political views is not the same as tolerating the promotion of murder, genocide, ethnic, religious, or political intimidation, violence, or genocide. Somehow, we have drifted from the dock, and lost orientation. Time to smarten up.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

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Patriot Will
Patriot Will
4 months ago

Harvard’s president is an ethical mess. She has been caught significantly cheating on supposed research papers and passing off the information as her own. Not only is she profoundly dishonest, she also is not giving credit where credit is due. Her refusal to strongly condemn hate speech directed against Jews and Israel is inexcusable. She has no legitimate right to her position. Hiring her for her skin color while ignoring her lack of strength, scholarship, and goodwill toward people of all races and religions is ugly racism. She deserves open criticism and should be fired from her position.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
4 months ago

Funny how the same cries for “ceasefire” isn’t used for Ukraine. Actually, not funny at all.

Philip Seth Hammersley
Philip Seth Hammersley
4 months ago

If someone TRUTHFULLY says that there are only two sexes, the LEFT will say “Speech is violence.” If someone doesn’t positively agree with LIES, they say “Silence is violence.” But let someone ENCOURAGE genocide and all you hear are the crickets!

anna hubert
anna hubert
4 months ago

Where and how do we start doing instead of talking Talk without action is pointless There is not one institution which is not rotten from the inside out

Rob citizenship
Rob citizenship
4 months ago

Great guide for giving attention to what matters first, what matters most – Well done Robert , when a vessel drifts from the dock then that requires immediate action . The smartening up should include a sense of preparation , a spirit of being ready for adversity – that would include developing a high level of intelligence , giving new consideration to new developments that ultimately jeopardize freedom ; develop courage , by realizing the responsibilities that go with defending freedom ; and being resourceful , by having the ability to improvise what is needed ,when it is needed. Good to keep in mind too the mindset of those who look at life in a manner that is as different as night from day when it comes to what freedom loving, God respecting, law abiding people believe in. The fundamental qualities that make for good character that provide for respectful behavior – when missing in the enemies of freedom can require an application of increased intelligence, courage and resourcefulness in order to deal with unknown intentions of the adversaries.So, the respect for human rights ; understanding that good needs to prevail over evil , meaning action needs to be taken to make it so , to do what is needed to achieve victory of good over evil ; respecting truth , and the principles that are the foundation of the United States of America – to establish the strength , courage ,wisdom ,sense of purpose in defend this Nation first, then helping the allies to achieve what they need according to the circumstances they are dealing with. An appreciation for what civilization is all about , the will of God , the sanctity and dignity of life , reverence for what is good .

David Millikan
David Millikan
4 months ago

Excellent article telling the TRUTH.

NIcholas Elder
NIcholas Elder
4 months ago

Amen!

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
4 months ago

Genocide if Free Speech ended

Myrna
Myrna
4 months ago

Blurring the lines to make good and evil harder to discriminate is what leads on to stupidity.

Lynn
Lynn
4 months ago

re: third paragraph from bottom: RBC, are you suggesting a two state solution?

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