The threat of community reaction

by Henry on May 29, 2007

“Eugene Volokh”:http://volokh.com/archives/archive_2007_05_27-2007_06_02.shtml#1180464590 gives the nod to Glenn Reynolds for a story about how Muslims are likely to respond in a “worrying” way if Ayaan Hirsi Ali speaks in Australia.

A tip: When you warn that your religious community will respond to critical speech in a “worrying” way, it is that response — and your use of that response as an attempt to deter such speech — that has the most potential to incite hostility. Oddly enough, citizens of a free country are often hostile (sometimes even to the point of hatred) to ideologies that demand suppression of critical religious views. And if your view is that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t support religious violence, then condemn the (by hypothesis) small and unrepresentative segment of the community that is likely to act violently rather than using the “reaction from the community” as a threat in your political advocacy.

“Glenn Reynolds himself”:http://www.instapundit.com/archives/015626.php a couple of years ago on the American press and Iraq:

Freedom of the press, as it exists today (and didn’t exist, really, until the 1960s) is unlikely to survive if a majority — or even a large and angry minority — of Americans comes to conclude that the press is untrustworthy and unpatriotic. How far are we from that point?

See also his more recent “claim”:http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2006_03/008351.php that “The press had better hope we win this war, because if we don’t, a lot of people will blame the media.” It seems to me that both statements invoke the same kind of implied threat as Eugene’s Muslim spokesperson: if you don’t say what I like, then other elements of the community are going to punish you for it (I’ll stand on the sidelines and sadly deplore what they do, but don’t try to tell me that you weren’t asking for it). I’d very much like to believe Eugene’s claim that the citizens of a free society are likely to be hostile to those who want to suppress critical views. But I imagine that this claim would be rather more persuasive if Eugene weren’t himself drawing on someone who has made implied threats about what will happen to the journalists rooting for America’s defeat unless they get on-side with the righteous American patriots.

{ 42 comments }

1

roger 05.29.07 at 8:37 pm

Glenn Reynolds is still around?

2

Will 05.29.07 at 8:47 pm

Threats of boycotts == threats of physical violence?

3

Slocum 05.29.07 at 9:03 pm

“Threats of boycotts == threats of physical violence?”

I suspect what Reynolds was suggesting was that American voters might come to favor additional legal restrictions on press freedom. If you follow the links, you find Reynolds saying:

And, either way, what happens if the public comes to regard the press as untrustworthy and un-American? Will the First Amendment continue to be regarded expansively? Maybe. Maybe not. And if you look at the various journalistic scandals, from Jayson Blair to fake Iraq photos, and at polls like these, coupled with others showing decreased respect for journalists, and reduced viewership and readership for major media outlets, the risk seems genuine.

Press freedom is in the Constitution, but so are a lot of rights that don’t get nearly as much actual protection out in the world. Members of the press have often warned business people that malfeasance and self-serving behavior puts capitalism at risk. Malfeasance and self-serving behavior by the press puts free expression at risk, too.

The point, then, is just that actual protections of a free press depend on the law but legal decisions in press cases may be influenced by the general level of respect and esteem the public has for the press. “Maybe, maybe not” as Reynolds would have it, but it’s hardly rabble-rousing.

In any case, it seems nothing whatever like the treatment that Theo Van Gogh received and Hirsi Ali has been threatened with — and, for that matter, the violence that Cartoon Network feared when it wouldn’t let South Park show a single innocuous cartoon drawing of Mohammad even though it allowed the same episode to end with:

4

luci 05.29.07 at 9:28 pm

“The reaction from the community is likely to be quite worrying”

Is this necessarily a threat (veiled or not) of violence, as Eugene says?

He continues: “if your view is that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t support religious violence, then condemn the (by hypothesis) small and unrepresentative segment of the community that is likely to act violently[…]”

Maybe it’s just me, but the “by hypothesis” seems a bit snide. If the hypothesis is not “proved” by the actions of some Muslims somewhere, therefore I regrettably cannot reject the null hypothesis that Islam is NOT a religion of peace, and that the “segment of the population likely to act violently” is INDEED representative of the whole.

5

Guest 05.29.07 at 9:37 pm

I don’t mean this in a hostile way, but seriously, seriously, aren’t there any smarter people from “The Right” that the Crooked Timber people can write about? What is the point of giving a crap what these particular people think? Reynolds is a joke – we all know that. And, ok, maybe “smarter” isn’t the right criterion – Reynolds no doubt has a high IQ, and Volokh is in some respects among legal academia’s elite. But, c’mon – I *know* you know what I mean.

It just feels like a ton of otherwise productive time is wasted on this blog responding to troll-quality non-arguments by these sorts of non-thinkers.

6

Henry 05.29.07 at 10:03 pm

slocum – as luci points out, there isn’t an explicit threat of violence in what the Muslim spokesperson said either. I suspect (perhaps incorrectly) that you are unwilling to grant the same presumption of good faith to what he said as to what Reynolds did. Furthermore as Matt Yglesias has pointed out, if we are talking about ‘additional legal restrictions’ here, why the hell all the stuff about a “large and angry minority”? To quote “Yglesias”:http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2004/05/b83795.html

While Blankley worried that the courts might block his dreams of censorship, Reynolds doesn’t even need a majority. How will this work? Mob violence, perhaps? Indeed, if his campaign to incite the defacement of New York Times distribution boxes goes well, that might be the next logical step.

And Reynolds’ persistent and profoundly dishonest vilification of journalists whose reporting he doesn’t like as “rooting for the other side” is a rather malodorous form of rabblerousing. If you persistently imply that your domestic political opponents are traitors, who are on the side of America’s enemies, I don’t think that it’s at all unreasonable to surmise that you (a) have a clear political agenda regarding what ought to happen to these traitors, and (b) that you believe that when they get what’s coming to them it’s no more than they deserve.

guest – there surely are smarter people on the right – Tyler Cowen, Greg Djerejian, the latter-day Andrew Sullivan, Alex Tabarrok, Clive Davis to name a few off the top of my head. But arguing with smart people of good faith whom you don’t agree with isn’t the only form of worthwhile intellectual activity (although it’s certainly the most fun and engaging). Pointing out the essential worthlessness of prominent figures’ arguments is also important in a public sphere where these arguments are likely to flourish if they go unchallenged. Reynolds is still a prominent-ish commentator, and still gets picked up quite frequently by wider media. If he didn’t, believe me, I’d be happy not to feel that I had to engage in occasional rounds of intellectual garbage pickup.

7

Will 05.29.07 at 10:14 pm

You may not agree with it, but a reasonable person could read the comment about a “worrying” response, in the context of recent world events, as a threat of violence.

I did.

If one reads that into the spokesman’s quote, then there doesn’t seem to be a clear equivalence between Reynolds’ statement and his.

8

Slocum 05.29.07 at 10:27 pm

slocum – as luci points out, there isn’t an explicit threat of violence in what the Muslim spokesperson said either. I suspect (perhaps incorrectly) that you are unwilling to grant the same presumption of good faith to what he said as to what Reynolds did.

I’m not. That is to say, I have no particular knowledge of this spokesperson, but we have clear examples of physical violence by Muslim groups in response to insults or heresy (see Van Gogh or the numbers killed in the Mohammad cartoon riots).

And I’d further say that this spokesperson was certainly not unaware of that and probably realized that they would give his words more gravity. He might have added something along the lines of, “Of course, we are not threatening Hirsi Ali with violence — that would be unacceptable. But she should expect to be met with peaceful protests wherever she goes.” After all, one can hardly assume Australian Muslim spokespersons are moderates (Google ‘uncovered meat’)

Furthermore as Matt Yglesias has pointed out, if we are talking about ‘additional legal restrictions’ here, why the hell all the stuff about a “large and angry minority”?

The idea that Reynolds was hinting that journalists or newspapers might be attacked by angry mobs is…well…completely bonkers. I’m sorry, it’s just nuts. When Americans get angry with their politicians…they…they…they vote for somebody else, dammit! And they write letters to the editor! And if they get angry with their newspapers, they cancel their subscriptions! And sometimes they enclose letters explaining why they’re canceling! Scary stuff.

I don’t think that it’s at all unreasonable to surmise that you (a) have a clear political agenda regarding what ought to happen to these traitors, and (b) that you believe that when they get what’s coming to them it’s no more than they deserve.

I think it’s completely unreasonable to surmise that with respect to America circa 2006. Are there any examples — any at all — of those perceived by right wingers as ‘traitors’ having been attacked or faced with specific credible threats of violence in the U.S.?

9

lemuel pitkin 05.29.07 at 10:44 pm

What is the point of giving a crap what these particular people think?

My question also.

Especially since CT, as far as I can tell, never engages in this sort of serious disagreement with writers to its left. I don’t suppose I agree with Louis Proyect all that much more often than with Volokh, but there’s certainly space for productive engagement there. But in fact, the political space as defined by CT extends only from this site to the right. Henry has even banned abb1, an acerbic but hardly trollish commenter with broadly Marxist politics, from commenting on his posts. For what, I don’t know, but it must have been pretty awful since the pro-torture, homophobic Volokh is still a respected interlocutor.

(Admittedly Scott McLemee is a bit of an exception, tho it remains to be seen how much of a presence he’s going to be.)

10

roger 05.29.07 at 11:01 pm

Slocum, were you even around in 2001-2002?
“I think it’s completely unreasonable to surmise that with respect to America circa 2006. Are there any examples—any at all—of those perceived by right wingers as ‘traitors’ having been attacked or faced with specific credible threats of violence in the U.S.?”
Perhaps a little trip down memory lane, when numerous Muslims were imprisoned after 9/11 for spurious reasons, were assaulted by prison guards, were made to suffer various humiliations – that seem to be of the same type as the extensive and illegal system of prisons built by the Bush administration to store and torture random people picked up in Afghanistan.

Before the Van Gogh murder, there were things like this, September 17, 2001:

“The police in Mesa, Ariz., arrested Frank Roque, 42, on two counts of attempted murder, in the shootings. The killing of the gas station owner, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was under investigation.
The East Valley Tribune reported that Mr. Roque shouted, “I stand for America all the way,” as he was handcuffed. And while the police have not declared that the shootings were motivated by the victims’ ethnicity, they have notified Federal Bureau of Investigation officials who investigate hate crimes.”

Here’s a link to the hate crimes coming after 9/11.

Here’s a link to the abuse of post 9/11 detainees by Human Rights Watch.

Don’t pretend this didn’t happen. And please, don’t give me any more sob stories about the poor cartoonists, hounded by the terrible Muslim mobs, and turn around and support the Fox News/Catholic league hounding of Amanda Marcotte for (horrors!) violating the sentiments of crusty old Opus Dei Catholics everywhere. The hypocrisy would be too much.

11

Slocum 05.29.07 at 11:39 pm

Perhaps a little trip down memory lane, when numerous Muslims were imprisoned after 9/11 for spurious reasons, were assaulted by prison guards, were made to suffer various humiliations.

“The police in Mesa, Ariz., arrested Frank Roque, 42, on two counts of attempted murder, in the shootings. The killing of the gas station owner, Balbir Singh Sodhi, was under investigation.
The East Valley Tribune reported that Mr. Roque shouted, “I stand for America all the way,” as he was handcuffed.

Aren’t you going to mention Timothy McVeigh and Eric Rudolf too? And how about the KKK?

The notable thing about the reaction of the American public to the 9/11 attacks with respect to American Arabs and Muslims was that…nothing happened.

And when Cho Seung-hui murdered 33 at Virginia Tech, the Korean community in the U.S. expected something like this:

http://english.people.com.cn/200212/15/eng20021215_108485.shtml

But that didn’t happen either, did it?

I’m sorry — Abu Ghraib and Jose Padilla just don’t do anything at all to lend credence to the comically absurd idea of Reynolds inciting angry mobs of Instapundit readers to attack journalists and burn newspaper offices.

12

David Sucher 05.29.07 at 11:46 pm

One can view the statement — “The press had better hope we win this war, because if we don’t, a lot of people will blame the media.” — in (at least) two ways:

1. A threat, which depends to a great degree on context — that was Volokh’s main point — the importance of context.
or
2. An observation about what might happen.

I don’t read Reynolds so I have no idea if he meant it as a threat but it’s certainly possible (even likely) that “a lot” of Americans will indeed blame the media.

Since so much depends on context, I think it is unfortunate that Henry didn’t include the entire quite from Volokh’s post:

“Nada Roude, of the NSW Islamic Council, said Hirsi Ali’s comments on the prophet Mohammed were a “no-go zone”.

“They (prophets) are not just like you and me, they have special status — you’re supposed to show respect,” Ms Roude said.

“There have to be boundaries in how far you go in respecting other’s beliefs. The reaction from the community is likely to be quite worrying.” …

Ditto the entire news story from which that quote is drawn. The sense that I get is that Roude was making an observation (possible violence) AND sympathizing with such a reaction at least to the degree that she could “understand” it. So perhaps she wasn’t making a threat herself but she seems as if she would “understand” a violent reaction.

13

Henry 05.29.07 at 11:49 pm

Are there any examples—any at all—of those perceived by right wingers as ‘traitors’ having been attacked or faced with specific credible threats of violence in the U.S.?

Ask and ye shall receive … off the top of my head, “Chad Conrad Castanega”:http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/11/other-kind-of-terror.html, regular Free Republic habitue, worshipper of Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin and writer of threatening letters with white powder to Olbermann, Pelosi etc, and “anti-idiotarian Rottweiler”:http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2003/12/spiral-of-eliminationism.html come to mind. I seem to recall that there were death threats issued to NYT reporters after the piece that mentioned Rumsfeld’s holiday home, although my memory could be mistaken. I know someone who featured on LGF’s Daily Hate once (a non-blogger, non-political type – don’t want to say any more without express permission) and who got some genuinely frightening threats. Michelle Malkin’s “posting”:http://ezraklein.typepad.com/blog/2006/04/future_imperfec.html of the names and phone numbers of UC Santa Cruz anti war types for her minions to issue death threats …

I’m sure I could think of more, and likely other commenters will, but I hope you get the point.

14

Walt 05.30.07 at 12:09 am

In my youth, libertarians understood that implicit in government regulation was the threat of state violence. How does Reynold’s imagine that the government is going to regulate the media, other than through the threat of force? Did they make prison attendance completely voluntary?

15

norbizness 05.30.07 at 12:14 am

Don’t worry, the last 18,385 exposes of the small-minded hypocrisy of the Professor didn’t work, but THIS ONE IS SURE TO.

16

Henry 05.30.07 at 12:21 am

Lemuel – this is probably a matter of personal interests. Harry Brighouse and I at least descend intellectually from people who developed “no bullshit Marxism” in the 1980s, and so at least have a lot of suppositions in common with economistic types to our right in re: importance of microfoundations etc. I have a weakness for materialist versions of Marxism, but they don’t to this semi-outsider’s eye, seem to be ascendant at the moment. Other schools to the left – Hardt and Negri for example – you can keep. I don’t find Proyect to be especially interesting, and haven’t since I used to lurk on the Spoon Collective lists in the 1990s – but he certainly has a considerable talent for sucking up the oxygen from a conversation. Others in the blogosphere, like the Lenin’s Tomb guys, I enjoy, but by and large the things we agree on, we agree on, and the things we disagree aren’t the meat of useful argument imo. Other factions – the Counterpunch crowd, the Milosevic wasn’t such a bad stick after all folks etc, I don’t have much time for. There are people who I know I should read more – Doug Henwood for example. If there are others who you would care to mention, I’d be interested to hear names. Abb1 wasn’t banned from my threads for being too far to the left – there are regular commenters who I suspect are a fair bit further. He was banned for making repeatedly bad arguments – anti-Semitism doesn’t exist except in the eyes of Zionists, the Chinese government isn’t really that repressive – which didn’t seem to me at least to be useful or to have much light to shed on the world we live in. If he hadn’t posted as frequently as he did, and tried repeatedly and consistently to suck threads in directions that I didn’t see as being particularly fruitful, I wouldn’t have banned him – I certainly don’t think he’s malicious in the way that a couple of other people I have banned were.

17

Lester Hunt 05.30.07 at 1:47 am

Henry, Maybe I am getting groggy or just plain stupid, but I am not following your argument. You don’t find Eugene’s pro-liberty argument persuasive because it resembles a pro-liberty argument given by someone else (Reynolds) who has given an anti-liberty argument in the past … ? I don’t get it. I must be missing a beat somewhere.

18

Patrick 05.30.07 at 2:11 am

Ok, ok, Glen Reynolds is a whore.

Is that seriously the most interesting thing about Hirsi Ali?

I just love the blogosphere at times. I await the day that the inevitable zombie plague wipes out all life on earth, and the last post made to the blogosphere by the last human being in the last pill box sized university office is written- and it snarkily points out that Reynold’s take on the zombie apocalypse is TOTALLY hypocritical.

19

Matt 05.30.07 at 2:13 am

Who ever said that would be right, though, patrick. I’m sure of it.

20

John Quiggin 05.30.07 at 2:30 am

George Bush is still in office, and the Republicans still have a fair chance at the 2008 elections, even if they are in a bit of a mess just now. So it strikes me as premature to suggest that their principal blogospheric supporters can just be ignored.

What has changed is that a few years back, I (and I think others at CT) regarded Reynolds as someone with whom we should engage in serious debate. Now he’s useful primarily as a quote mine, with strata of contradictions going back to 2002 or so.

I think pretty much the same of Volokh, but maybe there is still some possibility of useful discussion there.

21

Bill Gardner 05.30.07 at 3:56 am

Henry,

“But I imagine that this claim would be rather more persuasive if Eugene weren’t himself drawing on someone who has made implied threats about what will happen to the journalists rooting for America’s defeat unless they get on-side with the righteous American patriots.”

Let’s just amend this as follows:

“But I imagine that this claim would be rather more persuasive if Eugene weren’t himself drawing on someone who has made implied threats about what will happen to `the journalists rooting for America’s defeat’ unless they get on-side with the righteous American patriots.”

Adding the single quotes to make it clear that the idea that there are significant U.S. journalists rooting for America’s defeat is GR’s belief, not a fact.

22

nick s 05.30.07 at 4:26 am

the comically absurd idea of Reynolds inciting angry mobs of Instapundit readers to attack journalists and burn newspaper offices.

True, though that doesn’t stop his equally absurd passive-aggressive ‘nice paper you’ve got, shame if something were to happen to it’ schtick.

23

stostosto 05.30.07 at 7:11 am

The story in this post is that Muslims in Australia threaten violence against Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Thank you for reporting that, Henry. The rest — dragging out some old amateurish and sophomoric statements from noted amateurish sophomoric blogger Glenn Reynolds — is just mindbogglingly irrelevant commentary.

24

luc 05.30.07 at 10:20 am

Hirsi Ali is like the cartoon caracter from La Zizanie. Wherever she goes she brings strife along, while always keeping a distance herself.

This episode is typical in that she just plans a trip, and just like that, there’s disagreements spread out between continents and bloggers, of which the only thing of importance seems to be to connect Muslims with violence (23).

Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. The cartoon character got his gift back and failed. Not Ayaan, she has already brought down a government once.

25

Henry 05.30.07 at 11:37 am

abb1 – let me be clear – you have been banned from commenting on my threads. I have just seen that you have ignored a previous polite warning on this. All your comments on my threads subsequent to that warning are being deleted.

26

Z 05.30.07 at 11:43 am

Are there any examples—any at all—of those perceived by right wingers as ‘traitors’ having been attacked or faced with specific credible threats of violence in the U.S.?

A quite remarkable request! I think David Neiwert’s blog is what you are looking for. If you care to read it, you will find such specific examples about once a week. So this week in far-right hate: the supreme justices of New Jersey have been targeted by a far-right radio host and have received sufficiently credible threats that security has been increased. I encourage you to read the details of the story, it is quite interesting in the context of Henry’s post. After checking it, I clicked randomly in his archives and landed on the first week of february 2006. Well, on that week, he reports from a far-right extremist who went into a rampage in a gay bar that left several people dead or severely wounded. As David writes in his post and as he keeps hammering on on a weekly basis: right-wing prominent figures joke that it would be great if poison was slipped in a justice’s crème brûlée or accuse gays of causing 9/11 and of being vermins. Maybe it has an effect on their audience.

Oh, and I guess the federal government has been under accusation of undermining the United States quite frequently, at least while Clinton was president, and then something happens in Oklahoma City, but I can’t seem to remember if it was specific enough.

27

Slocum 05.30.07 at 11:47 am

“the comically absurd idea of Reynolds inciting angry mobs of Instapundit readers to attack journalists and burn newspaper offices.”

True, though that doesn’t stop his equally absurd passive-aggressive ‘nice paper you’ve got, shame if something were to happen to it’ schtick.

Except, of course, when mobsters say that in seeking protection money (or when a congressional committee threatens an industry with regulation in order to bring in campaign contributions), the persons making the ‘nice business you got there threat’ actually have the power to harm that business.

Reynolds has no such power. Newspapers in the U.S. are in rapid decline — Reynolds suggests that maybe this is because readers perceive those newspapers as being irresponsibly opposed or indifferent to U.S. national interests. Brad DeLong, for his part, is repeatedly saying of the Washington Post, “Five years — I give them five years”. But, like Reynolds, he is not threatening the paper’s demise, he’s predicting it (though obviously for very different and conflicting reasons than Reynolds).

I think they’re both wrong in that the decline of newspapers has virtually nothing to do with bias or journalistic incompetence–but neither is making the equivalent of a ‘nice business you got there’ threat.

28

Z 05.30.07 at 11:55 am

The idea that Reynolds was hinting that journalists or newspapers might be attacked by angry mobs is…well…completely bonkers.

How about this for clear and specific incitement to do just that:

Why hasn’t the former spokesman for the Taliban matriculating at Yale been beaten even more senseless than he already is? According to Hollywood, this nation is a cauldron of ethnic hatreds positively brimming with violent skinheads. Where are the skinheads when you need them? What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?

Coming right from the Ann Coulter archive, May 2006. Not to mention the infamous her only regret with respect to that quite unspecific event that happened in Oklahoma. One should really read her, in my opinion, many things can be learned.

29

Barry 05.30.07 at 12:56 pm

“Adding the single quotes to make it clear that the idea that there are significant U.S. journalists rooting for America’s defeat is GR’s belief, not a fact.”

Posted by Bill Gardner

Which adds to Glenn Reynolds’ guilt – he’s equating not reporting his preferred lies with treason.

30

stostosto 05.30.07 at 1:11 pm

luc #24:

This episode is typical in that she just plans a trip, and just like that, there’s disagreements spread out between continents and bloggers, of which the only thing of importance seems to be to connect Muslims with violence (23).

I don’t like your smug insinuation that it is important to me to connect Muslims with violence. It’s not. It’s far more important to me to connect Muslims to non-violence and outspoken resistance to threatening behaviour in their name. I will connect Muslims with that any time I get the chance.

The problem in this case is, it’s apparently important to certain Muslims to connect Muslims to violence. Otherwise they would hardly be making such statements.

31

Slocum 05.30.07 at 2:07 pm

How about this for clear and specific incitement to do just that:

Why hasn’t the former spokesman for the Taliban matriculating at Yale been beaten even more senseless than he already is? According to Hollywood, this nation is a cauldron of ethnic hatreds positively brimming with violent skinheads. Where are the skinheads when you need them? What does a girl have to do to get an angry, club- and torch-wielding mob on its feet?

Yes, Coulter’s a loon (one who depends on outrage for media attention). But Reynolds isn’t Coulter. And nor did Coulter have any expectation at all that a torch-wielding mob would descend on Yale (if she had, she wouldn’t have written it–it was a safe, snarky outrageous thing to say precisely because there was zero chance of it actually happening).

And, let’s be honest, nor did YOU yourself have any expectation that an actual torch-wielding mob would march through new New Haven. And while we’re at it, let’s also point out that the only sort of organized, angry, destructive mobs we actually do have these days in the U.S. are leftish ones (and even these are relatively rare and harmless). For example:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/07/09/BAprotest09.DTL

32

Wax Banks 05.30.07 at 2:23 pm

Was Reynolds predicting? Inciting? You’re reading him wrong. I betcha five bucks Reynolds has unfinished or unpublished sci-fi manuscripts sitting in his desk drawers at home, and his blog has become an extension of those same writerly impulses: he’s a low-rent fantasist. He’s literally fantasizing about the possibility that something bad will happen to {Muslims, liberals, et al.}. It doesn’t ‘count’ as incitement because it’s his private fantasy; it’s not really prediction because he’s airing what tickles him. Rather, he’s writing like a hack novelist:

1) If I write about these events and they don’t happen, I’m part of the reasonable faction that sees to it that they don’t.

2) If I write about these events and they do happen, I’m a goddamn prophet.

3) Either way I get the thrill of indulging my sordid fantasies, compounded by the thrill of pulling one over on my antagonistic readers by presenting them in this artful, indirect form.

No wonder he’s such a blog triumphalist – blogs allow him to pass himself off as different in kind from the war-porn writers he grew up on. Quite the thing.

33

Steve LaBonne 05.30.07 at 2:50 pm

I’d very much like to believe Eugene’s claim that the citizens of a free society are likely to be hostile to those who want to suppress critical views.

Right. Mr. Volokh, may I introduce you to M. de Tocqueville?

At the present time the most absolute monarchs in Europe are unable to prevent certain notions, which are opposed to their authority, from circulating in secret throughout their dominions, and even in their courts. Such is not the case in America; as long as the majority is still undecided, discussion is carried on; but as soon as its decision is irrevocably pronounced, a submissive silence is observed, and the friends, as well as the opponents, of the measure unite in assenting to its propriety. The reason of this is perfectly clear: no monarch is so absolute as to combine all the powers of society in his own hands, and to conquer all opposition with the energy of a majority which is invested with the right of making and of executing the laws.

34

lemuel pitkin 05.30.07 at 3:33 pm

Henry (16)-

thanks for the courteous reply to a less-0than-courteous comment.

Unfortunately, there’s a dearth of left voices in the online world. It’s something I’ve wondered about for a while — Marxists and other leftists were early adopters of mailing lists, but for some reason haven’t made much of a dent on the web.

Henwood would be at the top of my list of leftists worth your time. (Dan Lazare and Bob Fitch are of the same vintage and also very smart, but again aren’t really active online.) There are a bunch of good heterodox economists out there, but I guess that’s not really your field. Hm. As I think of more, I’ll let you know.

35

Kevin Donoghue 05.30.07 at 4:42 pm

There are a bunch of good heterodox economists out there, but I guess that’s not really your field.

Henry’s CV indicates that his BA subjects were economics and politics. But he decided to specialise in politics. (The UCD economics department will do that to you.)

36

Henry 05.30.07 at 5:33 pm

Less the UCD economics dept than that I was hitting up against the limits of my mathematical reasoning powers – I had enough to get a decent mark in my BA finals, but I could see that the writing was on the wall for graduate school – I simply wasn’t smart enough in the right ways to go on in economics. This is the topic of another post in its own right, which I will write – and I am about to weigh on on the Chris Hayes article in a post (short version – the heterodox economists who I like tend to be the ones who combine game theory etc with a trenchantly left wing eye for power relations).

37

stostosto 05.30.07 at 5:39 pm

[link removed by moderator]

38

stostosto 05.30.07 at 7:07 pm

Why was the link removed?

39

Henry 05.30.07 at 8:38 pm

On the grounds that it provided no worthwhile information and appeared likely, and perhaps calculated, to inflame and offend. Had someone linked under similar circumstances to a site celebrating “ex Jews” I’d have removed with equal alacrity. I’m less interested in maintaining free speech here than a zone for good conversation, according to my doubtless idiosyncratic standards for good conversation. If this is a problem, you’re entitled to ask for a refund.

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stostosto 05.30.07 at 9:28 pm

What is wrong with you????

“appeared likely, and perhaps calculated, to inflame and offend”

Why? Why? Why? Are you even serious, man?

I am speechless.

I tell you, you are inflaming and offending — me. And no, don’t worry, I shall not bother your lilly-white, overwrought sensibilities again.

Let me just say that the fact that European Muslims in Germany and Scandinavia are forming an association of public religion-leavers is an obviously interesting development.

And, you know, if I could link “under similar circumstances” to a site for “ex-Jews”, why, yes, that would be obviously interesting as well.

Bleah.

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stostosto 05.30.07 at 9:34 pm

By the way, the site is not “celebrating” ex-Muslims. It’s a site made by and representing Muslims who have decided to publicly disavow their religion. They explain there reasons therein, and there is nothing “inflaming” or “offending” in that.

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Patrick 05.31.07 at 3:56 am

So, people like Hirsi Ali are too inflammatory in a discussion about Hirsi Ali and people like her?

I know the opening post said that you found Reynold’s argument not so compelling, but man, you really meant it.

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