The Power of the State

by Sonny Bunch on September 16, 2012

So, the guy who made Innocence of Muslims—or was involved in some way, or might have been or…it’s hard to say, given all the mystery that surrounds this guy—was hauled in for questioning about a possible probation violation. There are those who argue “Well, he violated his parole, probably, so what’s the big deal?”

Ace of Spades has a pretty good run down on what the “big deal” is at his twitter feed. Here’s the crux of the argument:

 

Look, we can pretend like this is some sort of neutral activity on the part of the government, or we can realize it for what it is: The government trolling for reasons to crack down on a guy exercising his free speech rights because it doesn’t like what he’s saying. Let’s think about this from another angle.

Let’s say that back in 1999/2000, Kevin Smith had released Dogma and Catholics reacted like bloody savages for the insult to the Church, rioting around the world and burning down embassies, killing the ambassadors within. Let’s further say that the president at the time had said “I condemn this filmmaker but still basically believe in freedom of speech” and then, a couple of days later, Kevin Smith was arrested because he has, in interviews, admitted to smoking pot.

Would we just sit idly by and say “Well, he probably shouldn’t have admitted to smoking all that weed?” Would we believe the passive assertions supporting freedom of speech? Or would we recognize Smith’s arrest for what it is: A crackdown on someone whose speech had embarrassed the president and put him in an awkward spot with religious extremists?

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