Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front, has been criminally charged with inciting racial hatred in the latest example of the rollback on basic free speech rights in France and other European nations. I have been a critic of the crackdown on free speech in France, including the hypocrisy of the government in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. In this case, Le Pen compared Muslim street prayers to a Nazi-like occupation, a statement that should be clearly protected as political speech in France. Instead, she will be pulled before a tribunal in another example of how free speech is being eviscerated by anti-discrimination and hate speech laws.
We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targets with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).
In this case, Le Pen made the comment during her campaign to take over leadership of the party from her father in December 2010. She complained that there were “10 to 15” places in France where Muslims worshipped in the streets outside mosques when they were full: “I’m sorry, but for those who like talking a lot about World War II, if it comes to talking about the occupation, we can talk about it, because that (Muslims praying on the street) is the occupation of territory. . . It is an occupation of part of the territory, suburbs where religious law is applied. Sure, there are no armoured vehicles, no soldiers, but it is an occupation nonetheless and it weighs on residents.”
Rather than simply answer such arguments with argument, critics sought charges for inciting racial hatred. Notably, the investigation ended without charged but a complaint by an association led to a judicial inquiry which was opened in January 2012.
The FN is clearly anti-immigrant but so are a sizable number of Europeans. This is a debate that is occurring around the world, including in the United States. To use criminal law to chill or punish speech is a denial of the very right that defines Western Civilization. I hold no brief for Le Pen, but her trial is a threat to the free speech of all French and illustrates the absolute hypocrisy of the French government joining the rally in support of free speech after the Paris shootings. If you truly want to “Stand With Charlie,” you can start by standing with free speech.
65 thoughts on “Le Pen To Stand Trial For “Inciting Racial Hatred” Due To Criticism of Muslims In France”
“End States Who Sponsor Terrorism”
by Leonard Peikoff | October 02, 2001
The following article appeared as an advertisement in The New York Times on October 02, 2001 .
Fifty years of increasing American appeasement in the Mideast have led to fifty years of increasing contempt in the Muslim world for the U.S. The climax was September 11, 2001.
Fifty years ago, Truman and Eisenhower surrendered the West’s property rights in oil, although that oil rightfully belonged to those in the West whose science, technology, and capital made its discovery and use possible. The first country to nationalize Western oil, in 1951, was Iran. The rest, observing our frightened silence, hurried to grab their piece of the newly available loot.
The cause of the U.S. silence was not practical, but philosophical. The Mideast’s dictators were denouncing wealthy egotistical capitalism. They were crying that their poor needed our sacrifice; that oil, like all property, is owned collectively, by virtue of birth; and that they knew their viewpoint was true by means of otherworldly emotion. Our Presidents had no answer. Implicitly, they were ashamed of the Declaration of Independence. They did not dare to answer that Americans, properly, were motivated by the selfish desire to achieve personal happiness in a rich, secular, individualist society.
The Muslim countries embodied in an extreme form every idea — selfless duty, anti-materialism, faith or feeling above science, the supremacy of the group — which our universities, our churches, and our own political Establishment had long been upholding as virtue. When two groups, our leadership and theirs, accept the same basic ideas, the most consistent side wins.
After property came liberty. “The Muslim fundamentalist movement,” writes Yale historian Lamin Sanneh, “began in 1979 with the Iranian [theocratic] revolution . . .” (NYT, 9/23/01). During his first year as its leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, urging a Jihad against “the Great Satan,” kidnapped 52 U.S. diplomatic personnel and held them hostage; Carter’s reaction was fumbling paralysis. About a decade later, Iran topped this evil. Khomeini issued his infamous Fatwa aimed at censoring, even outside his borders, any ideas uncongenial to Muslim sensibility. This was the meaning of his threat to kill British author Rushdie and to destroy his American publisher; their crime was the exercise of their right to express an unpopular intellectual viewpoint. The Fatwa was Iran’s attempt, reaffirmed after Khomeini’s death, to stifle, anywhere in the world, the very process of thought. Bush Sr. looked the other way.
After liberty came American life itself. The first killers were the Palestinian hijackers of the late 1960s. But the killing spree which has now shattered our soaring landmarks, our daily routine, and our souls, began in earnest only after the license granted by Carter and Bush Sr.
Many nations work to fill our body bags. But Iran, according to a State Department report of 1999, is “the most active state sponsor of terrorism,” training and arming groups from all over the Mideast, including Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and Hezbollah. Nor is Iran’s government now “moderating.” Five months ago, the world’s leading terrorist groups resolved to unite in a holy war against the U.S., which they called “a second Israel”; their meeting was held in Teheran. (Fox News, 9/16/01)
What has been the U.S. response to the above? In 1996, nineteen U.S. soldiers were killed in their barracks in Saudi Arabia. According to a front-page story in The New York Times (6/21/98): “Evidence suggesting that Iran sponsored the attack has further complicated the investigation, because the United States and Saudi Arabia have recently sought to improve relations with a new, relatively moderate Government in Teheran.” In other words, Clinton evaded Iran’s role because he wanted what he called “a genuine reconciliation.” In public, of course, he continued to vow that he would find and punish the guilty. This inaction of Clinton’s is comparable to his action after bin Laden’s attack on U.S. embassies in East Africa; his action was the gingerly bombing of two meaningless targets.
Conservatives are equally responsible for today’s crisis, as Reagan’s record attests. Reagan not only failed to retaliate after 241 U.S. marines in Lebanon were slaughtered; he did worse. Holding that Islamic guerrillas were our ideological allies because of their fight against the atheistic Soviets, he methodically poured money and expertise into Afghanistan. This put the U.S. wholesale into the business of creating terrorists. Most of them regarded fighting the Soviets as only the beginning; our turn soon came.
For over a decade, there was another guarantee of American impotence: the notion that a terrorist is alone responsible for his actions, and that each, therefore, must be tried as an individual before a court of law. This viewpoint, thankfully, is fading; most people now understand that terrorists exist only through the sanction and support of a government.
We need not prove the identity of any of these creatures, because terrorism is not an issue of personalities. It cannot be stopped by destroying bin Laden and the al-Qaeda army, or even by destroying the destroyers everywhere. If that is all we do, a new army of militants will soon rise up to replace the old one.
The behavior of such militants is that of the regimes which make them possible. Their atrocities are not crimes, but acts of war. The proper response, as the public now understands, is a war in self-defense. In the excellent words of Paul Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, we must “end states who sponsor terrorism.”
A proper war in self-defense is one fought without self-crippling restrictions placed on our commanders in the field. It must be fought with the most effective weapons we possess (a few weeks ago, Rumsfeld refused, correctly, to rule out nuclear weapons). And it must be fought in a manner that secures victory as quickly as possible and with the fewest U.S. casualties, regardless of the countless innocents caught in the line of fire. These innocents suffer and die because of the action of their own government in sponsoring the initiation of force against America. Their fate, therefore, is their government’s moral responsibility. There is no way for our bullets to be aimed only at evil men.
The public understandably demands retaliation against Afghanistan. But in the wider context Afghanistan is insignificant. It is too devastated even to breed many fanatics. Since it is no more these days than a place to hide, its elimination would do little to end terrorism.
Terrorism is a specific disease, which can be treated only by a specific antidote. The nature of the disease (though not of its antidote) has been suggested by Serge Schmemann (NYT, 9/16/01). Our struggle now, he writes, is “not a struggle against a conventional guerrilla force, whose yearning for a national homeland or the satisfaction of some grievance could be satisfied or denied. The terrorists [on Tuesday] . . . issued no demands, no ultimatums. They did it solely out of grievance and hatred — hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage, but abhorred by religious fundamentalists (and not only Muslim fundamentalists) as licentiousness, corruption, greed and apostasy.”
Every word of this is true. The obvious implication is that the struggle against terrorism is not a struggle over Palestine. It is a clash of cultures, and thus a struggle of ideas, which can be dealt with, ultimately, only by intellectual means. But this fact does not depreciate the crucial role of our armed forces. On the contrary, it increases their effectiveness, by pointing them to the right target.
Most of the Mideast is ruled by thugs who would be paralyzed by an American victory over any of their neighbors. Iran, by contrast, is the only major country there ruled by zealots dedicated not to material gain (such as more wealth or territory), but to the triumph by any means, however violent, of the Muslim fundamentalist movement they brought to life. That is why Iran manufactures the most terrorists.
If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.
Eliminating Iran’s terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will “end the state” that most cries out to be ended.
The greatest obstacle to U.S. victory is not Iran and its allies, but our own intellectuals. Even now, they are advocating the same ideas that caused our historical paralysis. They are asking a reeling nation to show neighbor-love by shunning “vengeance.” The multiculturalists — rejecting the concept of objectivity — are urging us to “understand” the Arabs and avoid “racism” (i.e., any condemnation of any group’s culture). The friends of “peace” are reminding us, ever more loudly, to “remember Hiroshima” and beware the sin of pride.
These are the kinds of voices being heard in the universities, the churches, and the media as the country recovers from its first shock, and the professoriate et al. feel emboldened to resume business as usual. These voices are a siren song luring us to untroubled sleep while the fanatics proceed to gut America.
Tragically, Mr. Bush is attempting a compromise between the people’s demand for a decisive war and the intellectuals’ demand for appeasement.
It is likely that the Bush administration will soon launch an attack on bin Laden’s organization in Afghanistan and possibly even attack the Taliban. Despite this, however, every sign indicates that Mr. Bush will repeat the mistakes made by his father in Iraq. As of October 1, the Taliban leadership appears not to be a target. Even worse, the administration refuses to target Iran, or any of the other countries identified by the State Department as terrorist regimes. On the contrary, Powell is seeking to add to the current coalition these very states — which is the equivalent of going into partnership with the Soviet Union in order to fight Communism (under the pretext, say, of proving that we are not anti-Russian). By seeking such a coalition, our President is asserting that he needs the support of terrorist nations in order to fight them. He is stating publicly that the world’s only superpower does not have
enough self-confidence or moral courage to act unilaterally in its own defense.
For some days now, Mr. Bush has been downplaying the role of our military, while praising the same policies (mainly negotiation and economic pressure) that have failed so spectacularly and for so long. Instead of attacking the roots of global terrorism, he seems to be settling for a “guerrilla war” against al-Qaeda, and a policy of unseating the Taliban passively, by aiding a motley coalition of native tribes. Our battle, he stresses, will be a “lengthy” one.
Mr. Bush’s compromise will leave the primary creators of terrorism whole — and unafraid. His approach might satisfy our short-term desire for retribution, but it will guarantee catastrophe in the long term.
As yet, however, no overall policy has been solidified; the administration still seems to be groping. And an angry public still expects our government not merely to hobble terrorism for a while, but to eradicate it. The only hope left is that Mr. Bush will listen to the public, not to the professors and their progeny.
When should we act, if not now? If our appeasement has led to an escalation of disasters in the past, can it do otherwise in the future? Do we wait until our enemies master nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare?
The survival of America is at stake. The risk of a U.S. overreaction, therefore, is negligible. The only risk is underreaction.
Mr. Bush must reverse course. He must send our missiles and troops, in force, where they belong. And he must justify this action by declaring with righteous conviction that we have discarded the clichés of our paper-tiger past and that the U.S. now places America first.
There is still time to demonstrate that we take the war against terrorism seriously — as a sacred obligation to our Founding Fathers, to every victim of the men who hate this country, and to ourselves. There is still time to make the world understand that we will take up arms, anywhere and on principle, to secure an American’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness on earth.
The choice today is mass death in the United States or mass death in the terrorist nations. Our Commander-In-Chief must decide whether it is his duty to save Americans or the governments who conspire to kill them.
Pooh blues – What a bunch of hog wash. War begets more war. Have you not been paying attention to the Israel/ Palestinian conflict. What, perpetual war for perpetual peace. You must be a shareholding in one or more of the military industrial contractors. Is that it, let kill millions in a world war, so that your Muslim world domination paranoia, will make you feel better. – “A sacred obligation to our founding father.” – our founding fathers would not be meddling in the affairs of other nation states around the world nor would the be sponsoring Israeli Zionism. You suggest that we go into WWIII because some American oil companies were nationalized and people have grouped together to fight western imperialism. You didn’t the think poor and middle class people of those countries we’ve invaded were going to fight back in any way possible?
Leonard Peikoff is one of those great patriots who are willing to have others put themselves in harms way for his liberty and prosperity. As a heir to Ayn Rand I find him as Ron Paul surely would a disgrace to libertarian sensibility.
I don’t really care about whether or not France has socalled freedom, but I do care if it remains French. They should expel the Muslims because they are not French. That’s my free speech on the topic. “patrie, oui, replublique, non!”
The phony “anti-incitement” laws of Europe are there to allow Europe to be cultivated as a capitalist engine and market, which requires boosting flagging white population with millions of nonwhite scabs to lower wages and stimulate demand. The migration invasion of France and the rest is a US engineered capitalist plot that will destroy the only true homeland for people of European ancestry.
The funny thing of course is that “socialists” for the past 60 years have generally been the vanguard of capitalism, not the proletariat.
The nation of romance is apparently not so big on free speech. Fascism is here to stay. I think France just bombed Syria.
Again, this is well known…. unless one espouses American Exceptionalism (jingoism).
“Our last president’s ancestors greatly profited off the Nazi regime. Sorry to hurt your ego, but that’s just fact…”
Lmao! I guess there’s all kinds out there.
Just as American as you, the great moral leaders on this blog (hahah) in Jonathan turley and Darren smith….
If you mean there is no proof that I’ll be an absolute coward for my State (I’ll email you my birth certificate, but your understanding of proof is not yet adequate enough to understand what that implies yet…) then you are right. I’m not you, JT or DS in that light. I don’t get giddy when men kill others on behalf of our Empire. You all seem perfectly fine as long as it isn’t “our” people. Indeed I’m a white male to, Mr. Schulte.
I went on Google Translate and looked up the Frog definition of Le Pen. It is a pen. So the lady is named after a pen. That can have free speech connotations or prison connotations. I would say that she thinks she is destined to use written free speech to put forth her views. Whether one is right wing or left wing, we only fly on the wings and we yak with the voice. The feet or hands of the bird or person are what can be equally important. Speak softly but carry a big pen.
La Penn ran a French version of Radio Rwanda…
… I have a difficult time trying to legitimize that tact.
To assert that the human condition is a Right vs. Left issue is a dead end argument (see comment 1). Either you agree with the poster or… you’re a filthy, dirty, dirty, progressive.
Poncrates, Non. Tres idiot.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Let me “interpret” the First Amendment for the absolutely corrupt Extreme Court:
Congress shall make “…no law…abridging…speech,…”
Collectivist/liberal/progressive/socialist, global “human rights” compel this law in every nation.
Any national government that violates this “natural” or “God-given” right should be ostracized with extreme prejudice.
“In my opinion this prosecution is entirely arbitrary. I suspect that prosecutions such as this are largely dependent upon the whims of the powers to be.”
This is precisely the “abuse of the power of government against the people” that the Founders wrote the Bill of Rights for.
Prosecutors shall be prosecuted for NOT prosecuting the clearly prosecutable.
The Supreme Court shall be impeached for cavalierly, subjectively, ideologically and nefarious mis-“interpreting” the founding documents.
The Congress has the duty to impeach for “high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Lois Lerner, IRS, admitted her culpability by taking the 5th and has not been prosecuted for obvious “abuse of the power of government against the people.” The AG needs to go to prison just like the peanut plant executive who got life.
The Extreme Court comingled the definitions of “state” and “federal” in an “abuse of the power of government against the people” and it did the same by nefariously claiming that it found “homosexual marriage,” a violation of the laws of physics and contradiction in terms, in the Constitution.
It is the duty of the Congress:
Article 2, Section 4
“The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Surely the organizers of this neo-Inquisition know that such a trial will only make Le Pen more popular.
What do the two words “Le Pen” mean in French? Any Frogs out there on this blog?
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