Freedom of Speech or Freedom from Insult – You Cannot Have Both

Gates of Vienna
May 10, 2014

Questioning official ‘truths’ just gets you locked up now.

Dave Petteys is a member of the Colorado chapter of ACT! For America. He is one of the hard-working members of the anti-sharia group that made such a difference at the OSCE conferences in Warsaw in 2012 and 2013. Below is his take on the continuing controversy over “hate speech” laws.

Hate speech laws originated during debates in the United Nations immediately after World War Two. At the time, it was the Soviet Bloc versus Western Europe and the United States. The Soviets wanted “hate speech laws” to suppress the criticism of their totalitarian system as well as the calls for greater democracy. Their excuse was: “We cannot allow fascists to speak lest it lead to violence “. The same language is being used today.

Although the Communist totalitarian governments have disappeared, (at least we used to think so), the legacy of the notion that it is up to government to regulate speech remains.

Initially, “Hate Speech” laws addressed anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial. But now the reach of these laws has steadily expanded to include any issue, provided its supporters have the political clout to influence legislatures.

Global warming advocates, homosexuals and Muslims are all demanding laws to protect them from “insult” and criticism. Priests and pastors have been arrested and prosecuted for preaching Christian doctrine that” hurts the feelings” of homosexuals[1]. Global warming skeptics are silenced.[2]

The Muslims are a particular case in point. They know they can’t confront our First Amendment directly. So what they are doing is drilling down into the definitions of words inside the laws: specifically, the definition of “incitement”.

Traditionally “incitement” resided in the content of speech or writing. The Muslims are working to refocus “incitement” from content to consequence. If I were a Ku Klux Klan leader addressing my followers, and I advocated that they march to another section of town and burn down houses, that would comprise speech with content that directly advocated violence.

But the Muslim strategy is more insidious.


Let us now move to the definition of “Hate Speech” in Forums such as “The Rabat Plan of Action”[3] (RPA). This was a document produced at a workshop put on by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that met in Rabat, Morocco in October of 2012. The UN appears to have convened the Conference at the behest of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), mindful of its funding and its large voting bloc of 56 states plus the Palestinian Authority.

The subtitle of the document (“Conclusions and recommendations emanating from the four regional expert workshops organised by OHCHR, in 2011, and adopted by experts in Rabat, Morocco on 5 October 2012”) refers to the plan as adopted by “experts” without any disclosure of who these “experts” are. Within this document there is a six part “threshold test” to give “guidance” to law enforcement. The final test is “Likelihood, including imminence”. To quote:

“The action advocated through incitement speech does not have to be committed for that speech to amount to a crime. Nevertheless some degree of risk of resulting harm must be identified.”[4]

Thus, speech that “might” hurt someone’s feelings, or “might” lead to “discrimination or intolerance” becomes a criminal offense! Yet the argument that such speech “might lead to violence” has not been substantiated.[5]

Next, the Muslims claim the right to violence against anyone who “insults” the Prophet or Islam:

“The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter.”[6]

Therefore, Muslims hold that any speech that they deem an “insult” is illegal “hate speech” because it would trigger the violence that they themselves threaten and guarantee! It makes no difference that we have the constitutional right to say what we want to say, including criticism of Islam.

Islam is mostly a political movement, and not separate from religion, as the Muslims themselves assert. Yet they hold:

  • That since it is a “religion” it is beyond criticism and off the table. Any criticism is “insulting Islam”
  • And we guarantee any such criticism will trigger violence. Therefore, under the guidelines of the RPA the “likelihood and imminence of harm” renders the speech illegal!

This neatly finesses the First Amendment. Sadly, Western authorities are buying into this! It codifies into law the “battered wife syndrome” with its “blame the victim” premise.


Muslims settle in the West and claim the right to live under their Shari’a law. Their religious belief also calls for them to impose their Shari’a on others.[7] Their initial pitch is to say “as a Muslim community, we only wish to live by our own rules at no harm to anyone else”. The self-loathing multiculturalists in the West say “Oh, how can we impose our standards on anyone else!” and consent. But the women and children in the Muslim community are harmed. They are deprived of their constitutional rights when placed under the Shari’a. They are beaten, married off against their will, and killed with no recourse.

Their next step is to apply constant pressure for our host society to accommodate Islamic law in order to gain prominence and control in the host society. The Arabic word for this process is tamkeen. Muslim groups demand halal food for everyone in the public schools, that Christian holidays be replaced with Muslim ones, that “Islam Days” be instituted in middle schools, etc. (But if you try to bring in a Pastor to talk about the love of Jesus Christ, the ACLU is there to file suit, lest the “non-Christians be offended”). If society resists such accommodations and takes steps to preserve its own traditions, the Muslims howl they are suffering from bigotry, hatred, intolerance and Islamophobia!

The point is this: “hatred” and “intolerance” are not absolute evils per se. One has to ask what it is we are being asked to be tolerant and approve of. In the case of Islam, it is appropriate to “hate” and be “intolerant” of an ideology that approves of sexually enslaving and abusing marginalized non-Muslim teen-age girls. Or should we be required to tolerate and approve of an ideology that requires the killing of female members of the family in the name of a vague collective concept of “family honor”? Or is it really religious persecution of Muslims to refuse to recognize Muslim holidays in our public schools? I think not.

One also has to ask if freedom of speech is more important that freedom from insult. The answer must be that it absolutely is, since it is the incumbent powerful who will define what “insult” is in order to defend their position. The Bill of Rights exists to protect the individual from the State. Religions, prophets, or pressure groups have no such rights. We must all recall the catch-all charge of “Slandering the Soviet Union” that was used to silence dissidents in the Soviet era.[8]

The notion of “incitement to discrimination and hostility” is so vague as to be laughable. Nor is there any proof that such things “might lead to violence”[9], which is the catch-all justification used by authorities to deprive citizens of their liberty. Again, discrimination and hostility are not absolute evils. If I tell the truth about Jihad groups beheading innocent people, does this not invite hostility and discrimination against them? In the present Orwellian environment, the Jihadis would be labeled “Freedom fighters struggling against the occupation” and I would be imprisoned!

Another “hate speech” category is “incitement to xenophobia”. A “phobia” is an irrational dislike or fear of something or some group. The Muslims have tapped into this concept with their word “Islamophobia”. But in the case of the Muslims, given that their plan to take down the West by “Civilization Jihad”[10] is well known, it is not an irrational fear to oppose a flood-tide of Islamic settlers that would inundate Western Democracies. Muslims have written plainly they wish to destroy our Democracy, prosperity and liberty and replace it with an Islamic Caliphate. To oppose such an effort is not a “phobia” but a common-sense obligation of every citizen who cherishes our Western way of life.

In conclusion: Freedom of speech is essential to the democracies of the West. “Insult”, “hurt feelings” “discrimination” and “intolerance” are part of the rough and tumble of a free society and a price we are willing to pay. Governments have no business listening to the Muslims, homosexuals, ecologists and others who would restrict these liberties for their own purposes.

Sensitivity training in the middle ages.


1. “Censored” Paul B. Coleman, Kairos Publications, Möllwaldplatz 5,A — 1040 Wien, Austria, 2012 page 40



4. Ibid, page 6

5. “Censored” Paul B. Coleman, Kairos Publications, Möllwaldplatz 5,A — 1040 Wien, Austria, 2012 page 76

6. Qur’an 5:33 (Y. Ali)

7. See Qur’an 9:5


9. See footnote #5