Pamela Geller, Christopher Hitchens and the absolute right of free speech

Pamela Geller, and every other American, has the right to free speech.

Pamela Geller at anti-Islam rally (

SAN ANTONIO, June 16, 2015 – Pamela Geller is fast becoming Public Enemy No. 1 for Islamic jihadists.

Within the past month alone, there have been two separate plots by three Islamic savages — all of whom were quickly sent to meet their virgins — to take the life of political activist Pamela Geller. The jihadists are targeting Geller for her “crime” of organizing a free speech event that happened to include a Muhammad cartoon contest.

Last weekend, ISIS decided to up the ante: a Twitter account affiliated with the Islamic terrorist group released Geller’s home address accompanied only by the ominous twitter hashtag “#GoForth.”

ISIS has decided to make Pamela Geller a martyr for the freedom of speech, the keystone of Western civilization, in order to send a message of intimidation and submission to anyone else who may consider acting in ways contrary to Islamic holy law (sharia).

Read Also: Correcting ignorance on Texas cartoon contest & Pamela Geller

The media refuses to see the big picture and instead continues to focus on whether Geller’s chosen way of exercising her right to free speech was prudent. American mainstream media has shown no support for Geller and, in some cases, has gone to the extreme of implying that Geller has brought this violence upon herself by exercising her right to freedom of speech.

Christopher Hitchens, one of the most respected polemicists, authors and contrarians of recent memory, has thoughtfully articulated some of the most persuasive arguments in support of an absolutist view of freedom of speech. These seem salient in regard to the current erosion of freedom, and attempted imposition of Islamic holy law into our society, which Geller so admirably refuses to submit to.

It is time for those who support freedom of speech and who refuse to capitulate to any law that is not made pursuant to the United States Constitution to arm themselves with the ability to clearly articulate the reasons the media and every freedom-loving individual should fully support and tolerate Geller’s right to exercise her freedom of speech in ways she chooses, regardless of society’s judgment on the prudence of her actions.

Anyone who claims to be a defender of freedom of speech should familiarize his or her self with the following biting quotations from Hitchens:


“If you want to avoid upsetting these people, you have to let Indonesia commit genocide in East Timor, otherwise they’ll be upset with you. You’ll have made an enemy. If you tell them they can’t throw acid in the faces of unveiled women in Karachi, they will be annoyed with you. If you say we insist, we think cartoonists in Copenhagen can print satire on the Prophet Mohammad, you’ve just made an enemy. You’ve brought it on. You’re encouraging it to happen.

“So unless you are willing to commit suicide for yourself and for this culture, get used to the compromises you will have to make and the eventual capitulation that will come to you. But bloody well don’t do that in my name because I’m not doing it. You surrender in your own name. Leave me out of it.”

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“The prohibition on picturing the prophet—who was only another male mammal—is apparently absolute. So is the prohibition on pork or alcohol or, in some Muslim societies, music or dancing. Very well then, let a good Muslim abstain rigorously from all these. But if he claims the right to make me abstain as well, he offers the clearest possible warning and proof of an aggressive intent. This current uneasy coexistence is only an interlude, he seems to say. For the moment, all I can do is claim to possess absolute truth and demand absolute immunity from criticism. But in the future, you will do what I say and you will do it on pain of death.

“If Muslims do not want their alleged prophet identified with barbaric acts or adolescent fantasies, they should say publicly that random murder for virgins is not in their religion. And here one runs up against a curious reluctance. …”


“The question of ‘offensiveness’ is easy to decide. First: Suppose that we all agreed to comport ourselves in order to avoid offending the (Muslim) believers? How could we ever be sure that we had taken enough precautions? On Saturday, I appeared on CNN, which was so terrified of reprisal that it ‘pixilated’ the very cartoons that its viewers needed to see. And this ignoble fear arose because of an illustration in a small Scandinavian newspaper of which nobody had ever heard before! Is it not clear, then, that those who are determined to be ‘offended’ will discover a provocation somewhere? We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt.”


“But my attachment to free speech is at least absolute and consistent… Within a short while—this is a warning— the shady term “Islamophobia” is going to be smuggled through our customs. Anyone accused of it will be politely but firmly instructed to shut up, and to forfeit the constitutional right to criticize religion. By definition, anyone accused in this way will also be implicitly guilty. Thus the ‘soft’ censorship will triumph, not from any merit in its argument, but from its association with the ‘hard’ censorship that we have seen being imposed over the past weeks (he refers to the riots and killings worldwide due to the Danish cartoons of Muhammad). A report ($$) in the New York Times of Feb. 13 was as carefully neutral as could be but nonetheless conveyed the sense of menace. ‘American Muslim leaders,’ we were told, are more canny. They have ‘managed to build effective organizations and achieve greater integration, acceptance and economic success than their brethren in Europe have. They portray the cartoons as a part of a wave of global Islamophobia and have encouraged Muslim groups in Europe to use the same term.’ In other words, they are leveraging worldwide Islamic violence to drop a discreet message into the American discourse.

“You may have noticed the recurrence of the term ‘One point two billion Muslims.’ A few years ago, I became used to the charge that in defending Salman Rushdie, say, I had “offended a billion Muslims.” Evidently, the number has gone up since I first heard this ridiculous complaint. But observe the implied threat. There is not just safety in numbers, but danger in numbers. How many Danes or Jews or freethinkers are there? You can see what the ‘spokesmen’ are insinuating by this tactic of mass psychology and mobbishness.”


“Of course. Everyone is. No city in the world is not going to have this. It’s probably going to be the dominant fact of our future. They will be able to demonstrate with fairly convincing means that there is nowhere that’s safe from them. It’s coming.”

Any freedom-loving individual, particularly after reading the above quotations, would be bothered to know that Christopher Hitchens passed away from esophageal cancer in 2011.

However, his unwavering, often irrefutable, defenses of freedom of speech will not be forgotten and should be utilized by those who support Pamela Geller’s right not to be murdered for the crime of exercising her freedom of speech however she chooses.

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  • blerrrg

    Everyone knows that violent fundamentalism is a problem, I mean, ya know “violent” is in the name right flippin’ there ^.

    Just because some idiots want to get violent, doesn’t mean that questioning someone’s motives makes you a fundamentalist or that you are advocating that speech be criminalized.

    Why do they want to draw pictures of Mohamed in the first place?
    Who is this “cartoon contest” directed at exactly?

    Who cares accept for those that would be provoked?

    Of course, it doesn’t matter, she can do it.

    But it is legitimate to ask questions and talk about all the same… ya know it is just talking, we do have this “freedom of talk” you speak of (never heard of it).

    • Mars_Ultor

      First its a cartoon of muhammad. Then its a picture of a piglet. Then its you eating your bacon, and then its your daughter not covering up herself ‘modestly enough’ followed by ‘blasphemy’ laws and mafia-style ‘respect’ for religion. And it keeps going and going, until your society and culture and civilization is dead or mutated.

  • Ross Wilson

    Hitchens was talking about Jihadism a very real thing declared by some groups on the west. It’s basically war. No one’s denying that today. But that’s not what Geller talks about. She’s spouts hate speech about Muslims in general.

    Hitchens was anti religion, Geller is anti Muslim and a genocide denier.

    You have the right to freedom of speech, you don’t have the automatic right to be protected from the consequences of the things you say.

    Freedom of speech in the constitution only protects you from interference from the government. Of which she has none.

    Hate speech as Geller spouts towards towards Muslims is defined as speech that could incite violence or prejudicial actions towards an ethnicity. That’s why what she is doing is wrong. Paranoid fear is no excuse for the persecution of ethnicities and trying to imply Hitches was in your favour is spurious and low.

    There’s no place for Geller in civilised society. If what she were saying was targeted at Jews and she was a white German with a moustache you’d all be horrified.

    • Dan W Taliaferro

      Christopher Hitchens, whatever he may have thought about Geller, would support her on the issue of drawing cartoons of Mohammed. How do we know this? Because he supported the right of Danish and French cartoonists to draw cartoons of Mohammed.

      If “hate speech” is defined as “speech that could incite violence or prejudicial actions towards an ethnicity,” then proclaiming Jesus as one’s God, or Krishna or Buddha or Yahweh, is hate speech as well. The same Islamists who kill for drawing a picture of Mohammed will likewise murder for worshiping a god other than allah. Tomorrow, Islamists may state all gays who promote homosexuality are likewise engaging in “hate speech” (in fact, they already do in a dozen majority Muslim nations today). So how far do citizens of a civilized nation go in allowing Islamists to decide what is hate speech and what is not?

      • Ross Wilson

        Equating all Islamists and Muslims as people who all have exactly the same ideas about what is right and what it wrong is like saying everyone who believes in Jesus believes that Christianity teaches the same thing. The reality is Protestants, Catholics, Greek Orthodox and the countless other denominations all have vastly differing views about what is and isn’t permissible by their religion. The same goes in Islam.

        The only difference is you’re used to Christian denominations you understand they’re all different both as groups and then for the individuals who believe in them. When it comes to Islam ISIS are the same to you as your Muslim neighbour. Which is like saying a gay vicar in an English village who raises money for abortions is no different from a Evangelical Christian who preaches about the sins of the flesh in North Carolina.

        I never said Hitchens wouldn’t have supported drawing cartoons of Mohammed. Of course he would. The problem is again the term creating an enemy, whilst for many Muslims it would be offensive it would be only so far as it would be offensive to Christians to take the gods name in vein. It doesn’t mean death and it doesn’t mean you also condone throwing acid in a girls face.

        Explain how claiming any one to be god is hate speech. By claiming Jesus is god does not mean Christians should persecute other minorities by default nor does it mean by default they should kill other people. By that definition proclaiming there is no god is also hate speech.

        People can claim legitimate use of violence and persecution under any religion or ideology. It doesn’t mean it’s representative of that ideology or religion.

        You may well remember the rather violent and prejudicial views that many held towards gay people and black people several decades ago (and in some cases still today) this is the same kind of fear we see today of Islam. Tolerance and understanding got our society to include these people and not fear them.

        Remove religion and what you have left it ideas, ideas people are still willing to fight and kill for, Communism itself a non religious ideology is directly responsible for millions of deaths. If history has shown us anything it is that tolerance and understanding has created better communities and societies, that are safer and fairer for all. Not exclusion and intolerance. Judging a Muslim as dangerous simply because of their religion is as intolerant as someone in Afghanistan saying the white guy on TV is an evil capitalist who is morally bankrupt and just as soon call in a drone strike on a wedding than eat a Big Mac.

        • Gaius Octavius

          How many “Protestants, Catholics, Greek Orthodox and the countless other denominations” do you see lopping off the hands of thieves, hanging gays or stoning adulterers?

          Yeah, thought so…

          • Ross Wilson

            And how many haven’t, billions more. Great argument.

          • Dan W Taliaferro

            The combined populations of majority Muslim nations where you do see “lopping off the hands of thieves, hanging gays or stoning adulterers” is well over 500,000,000 people, and almost all of them are Muslim.

          • Ross Wilson

            Same thing happened in Europe while theocracies were in charge like in those countries. Yet we live peacefully along side Christians for the most part now. A governments actions and laws aren’t always representative of what the people want most people in the ‘free’ and ‘democratic’ west know this but are still powerless. But then the west has the savvy not to anger their own and instead wages war over seas.

        • Dan W Taliaferro

          You might wish to explain, if Islamists are so uncommon and radical and rare, why 1/3 of Muslims worldwide–over 500,000,000 Muslims–believe in death for apostasy and stoning for adultery. Is that “moderate” Islam? After the Paris murders, 27% of Muslims in the UK, in response to a poll, stated they had sympathy for the islamist terrorists who murdered cartoonists for drawing cartoons, and Jews for shopping at a kosher deli. Is that a small percentage to you?

          Islam IS a violent religion if practiced literally, and unfortunately, several hundreds of millions of Muslims do exactly that. They may not burn people alive and behead people for religious offenses, but they stand idly by and permit it. Pakistan has over 190 million people, and in that nation they routinely stand by and watch women be murdered for “defaming” Islam or for being a rape victim. 90% of Pakistanis support death for apostasy. Is that a small and insignificant percentage?

          You mention persecution on Blacks in the US, which was not mandated on religious grounds, but what are the numbers killed by lynchings? About 1300 Whites and 3400 Blacks from 1882 to 1968–a 90 year period. That’s merely a slow month for ISIS. And unlike your example, these daily murders are ALWAYS committed expressly for religious reasons, and the religion is ALWAYS “the religion of peace.” Unless you wish to compare numbers from several centuries ago, you get nowhere comparing violence committed in the name of Christ to today’s violence committed in the name of Muhammed. You can’t manufacture a moral equivalency. And yes, Christianity has been unkind to homosexuals this last century, but how many have been murdered on religious grounds in the US? Can you list even 10 in the 20th Century? Can you list even 1 in this century? In Iran, it’s over 1000 since 1979, and it happens every week in Syria or Iraq. There’s a big, big difference.

          Finally, you ask “Explain how claiming any one to be god is hate speech?” Right now, Islamists will kill anyone for saying Jesus is God. They do it every single day in Syria and Iraq, and it happens not too infrequently in Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, and other majority Muslim nations.

  • Dan W Taliaferro

    How far are Geller’s critics willing to go in their quest for servility to Islam’s dictates? Geller organizes contests to draw caricatures of a religious leader, something done routinely with other faiths, but her critics wish for special allowances for Islam to protect the sensitivities of Muslims. So I ask, what next will you say or do to avoid offending Muslims and to protect those sensitivities?

    Islamists will not only kill people for drawing a picture of Mohammed–even a flattering one–but they kill women for not wearing veils and they kill Jews for being Jewish and gays for being gays. All are offensive to Islamists, and they say such behavior provokes them. Will you one day criticize Jews for practicing their religion, or criticize gays for being gay, because Islamists are provoked by that behavior as well? When Islamists harass and attack women for not dressing “appropriately,” (as currently happens in certain neighborhoods in Europe) will Geller’s critics say those women “provoked” Muslims?

    According to the 2013 Pew Poll of Muslims–a worldwide poll of Muslims in 39 nations–1/3 of them believe in death for apostasy and stoning for adultery. That’s over 500,000,000 Muslims who hold such views. I wonder how we’d view the English or French if they were burning women at the stake for witchcraft or Christian apostasy, yet that is precisely what happens to apostate Muslims and “infidels” in countries like Pakistan most every month. Yet no on really cares. We simply accept it because well, they’re Muslims after all.

    Today Geller is demonized for having people draw a picture of a man who died 1400 years ago, and Islamists murder a dozen cartoonists in Paris for the same behavior. Islamists already murder Jews for going to synagogues in Copenhagen and Paris. When they next kill women in Paris for not wearing veils, will we wring our collective hands and say those women invited their own death by provoking Muslims? Did the Jews murdered in France invite their deaths by being Jewish? Just how far are you willing to go to appease their sensitive feelings about their faith?

  • Mars_Ultor

    Hitchens supported the notorious Holocaust denier David Irving when he was imprisoned by European holocaust laws, he supported his rights to freedom of thought and speech, despite the horrendous nature of Irving. Hitchens would support Geller and anyone’s free speech 100%.

    The entire world is under siege by Islamic barbarians who want to drag everyone back to 10th century.

  • carl56

    “Within the past month alone, there have been two separate plots by three Islamic savages – all of whom were quickly sent to meet their virgins – to take the life of political activist Pamela Geller. “There’s zero reason to read any further. With that sentence, the author reveals his racism and profound immorality. The murder through sanctions of 500,000 Iraqi children; the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, which destroyed the country; US support of sectarian death squads (the Salvador Option) which gave rise to ISIS; the casual brutality of American forces, which disgrace the country and show our strategists (for whom this author is steadfast propagandist) to be a pack of windmilling, punch drunk adolescents who have been set up for the kill by their far shrewder Chinese and Russian counterparts — all of these mindless omissions demonstrate the dishonesty of the author and the moral depravity and reveal the strategic stupidity of Amurika. Why waste your time with such utter nonsense, such arrogant imbecility? Let the author don a uniform and head for the front.

    • Gaius Octavius

      So, you think the west is just as bad? I invite you to live in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen or any of those other Islamic states. Try out your lofty pragmatism there and report back to us how well you do.

      If you can keep your head.

    • Dan W Taliaferro

      First, carl56, it may come as a shock to you, but Muslims have been butchering one another for about 1400 years, and well over 90% of the time, it has absolutely nothing to do with the West or the US.

      Second, Islam is a religion, not a race, and Islam is composed of all races, so opposing Islamic religious violence is not racism.

      Perhaps, as you suggest, the author should don a uniform and fight those who behead children, burn people alive, toss gays off high buildings, and murder Jews, Christians, Yazidis, atheists, and other Muslims for religious reasons. Perhaps that’s the moral thing to do. Personally, I think we should simply allow them to kill themselves as that is their historically proven predilection. But that does not mean Americans should toady to Islamist demands that we enforce their blasphemy laws in the US and grant to their religion protections that are not granted to any other.

  • First sentence. “Pamela Geller is fast becoming Public Enemy No. 1 for Islamic jihadists.”

    She is not anti-Islam. She is anti-jihad.

    Nobody cares if they bow to Mecca five times or fifty times a day, or abstain from this or celebrate that or wear the other. Nobody even cares if they are right or wrong or partially right or wrong. Those who care can talk about it. ‘Live and let live’ is the best we can do if not universally agree.

    The problem is that Jihadists have no such value of ‘live and let live’. They believe that the entire planet belongs to Allah and is subject to Koranic law into which we all fit one of the following categories – a Muslim, a slave or dead. And that as Muslims, first class global citizens they are authorized and even obligated to dominate the rest of us by any means necessary; to terrorize us, to commit any and all atrocities against us.

    The fact that they do it to each other as well is a clue that their stated intention need not be taken at face value, but in the middle of a shooting war that is irrelevant.

    So whether you like Pamela Geller or not or believe her or not, she has not violated anyone’s rights in America or outside of officially Muslim rule.

  • shannon oakley

    Of course Hitchens would defend the ignorant media-grabbing Geller and her little squirm-fest of small-minded, Christian Sky-God worshiping, self-styled Christian-warriors and their right to clamor about and draw what they please — it’s a Constitutional right to do such. And it should be the Right the world over to do do such. Americans should always remember, there’s Theocratic (mostly Muslim) countries that deny freedom of expression. America should be always vigilant against the rise of theocratic-notions worming their way into our legislative-processes. Christian Dominion-ism ranks highest on the threat against separation of Church and State. They may not seem as scary as Muslim terrorists, because their threat is veiled by smiling toothy faces of politicians like Michelle Bachmann or a Ted Cruz. But they have their own brand of Sharia nonetheless.

  • Dan W Taliaferro

    I’m sorry you don’t like the results of the 2013 Pew Poll of face to face interviews of over over 38,000 Muslims in 39 nations. It’s only the most exhaustive poll of Muslims to date.

    There are indeed about 1.5 Billion Muslims on the world, and sadly, over 500,000,000 of them believe in death for apostasy and death for stoning. Sadly, over 90% of Muslim majority nations are not democratic and they consistently rank at the top of any list of nations having the worst records of human rights and freedoms. Why is it, that in most any nation where Muslims are in the majority, freedoms of speech, religion, and press are denied, and women are denied equal rights? Is it a mere coincidence that Muslims–when in control of a nation–always subjugate their people and deny them basic human righst?

    When over 1/3 of your religion’s adherents believe in 10th Century punishments for changing your religion or committing adultery, there is a problem. Muslims are indeed human as you state, but unfortunately over 1/3 of them are humans supporting very violent and intolerant beliefs.

    • Obamanus

      U r rad man ! now amass and nuke the evil that clogs the material worlds reception !