Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In Defense of the President

By Justin Raimondo

Whatever one may think of our President, it has to be admitted that his speech to the United Nations showed real leadership. He took the time to explain, at length, that although the noxious Innocence of Muslims video had nothing to do with the US government, and that it represents only the views of marginal extremists, we defend their right to engage in such speech because of the nature of our system. He explained why we don’t ban such speech — because, you see, there’s this thing called the Constitution — and, more importantly, why it’s not in America’s interest to have the world believe we endorse the hate that emanates from such efforts.
I’m ignoring, of course, the threats directed at Iran and Syria: that, after all, is routine for this administration. I’m ignoring the irony of his remarks about the evils of “extremism” against the backdrop of US support to Sunni extremists in Syria, who arekilling civilians, driving out Christians and others, and engaging in what can only be called terrorism under the rubric of a US-supported movement for “democracy.” Every time an American president opens his mouth to talk about “democracy,” “freedom,” and All Those Good Things, the charge of hypocrisy hangs over him like a storm cloud, and I won’t be the one to defend him.
However, I will defend him when he’s right against those who attack him for “appeasement” — such as Matt Welch, editor of Reason magazine and former “war-blogger.” As editor of a magazine considered by many the voice of libertarianism — a movement I consider myself a part of — Welch’s views on this matter are apt to be confused with the movement at large. In this case, that would be a very dangerous and undesirable assumption.
So what’s Welch’s beef with the President? He finds it “noxious” that Obama described the Innocence video as “disgusting.” He finds it equally noxious that the President went on to say “its message must be rejected.” Yet how could anyone outside of Pam GellerRobert Spencer, and the rest of the hate-mongers amongst us object to that?
So many things wrong in so few words. Why this video, and not Theo Van Gogh’sSubmission, or Lars Vilks’ animation of Mohammed wanting to go to a gay bar, the ‘Super Best Friends’ episode of South Park, or Funny or Die‘s ‘How to Pick a Pocket’? Is it the degree of the insult, the craptasticness of the production values, the size of the release, or the vociferousness of the outrage expressed?”
Welch is playing dumb here by dropping the context: did an American ambassador die due to Theo Van Gogh’s obsession with Muslims? Or the inanities of South Park? Welch writes: “It is not any politician’s job, and certainly not any American politician’s job, to instruct the entire world on which films to criticize.” This is Welch’s idea of advocating “less government,” and yet this impulse in him is strangely selective: we heard not one word of criticism from the editors of Reason (or Welch) when the US government denounced the “Holocaust Denial Film Festival” put on in Tehran, which the White House attacked as “an affront to the entire civilized world.” In short, the US government engages in this sort of thing all the time — and yet why were no objections raised by Welch and his crew until the subject was obscene anti-Muslim bigotry?

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