“The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.”

The scariest thing about articles like this is that those who are doing evil are convinced they are doing good:

As Jonathan Turley notes:

Despite my strong support for Ukraine and condemnation of Putin, it is important for advocates of civil liberties and free speech to be vigilant in calling out such abusive measures. It is during wartime and periods of social discord that the greatest abuses can occur for those with dissenting or unpopular views.

Before addressing this latest controversy, it is also important to respond to rather fowhat has become a rationalization on the left for attacks on free speech in recent years: the First Amendment only protects speech from government crackdowns. The First Amendment is not the full or exclusive embodiment of free speech. It addresses just one of the dangers to free speech posed by government regulation. Many of us view free speech as a human right. Corporate censorship of social media clearly impacts free speech, and replacing Big Brother with a cadre of Little Brothers actually allows for far greater control of free expression.


When many artists opposed the Vietnam War, there was widespread support for their free speech rights in opposing blacklisting. The same was true during the McCarthy period. Now, the very same people who celebrate such struggles as defining moments in our history are seeking to cancel artists for their political views. In this case, Netrebko is not even being targeted for saying something offensive but rather for not repeating the position of the majority on the war. Years ago, I wrote that there was a dangerous trend toward compelled speech: “The line between punishing speech and compelling speech is easily crossed when free speech itself is viewed as a threat.” We appear to have crossed that line.

Being able to say what you believe (free speech) is a human right. If you don’t agree, you must at least believe not being forced to say something is a human right.


Finally, here is a quote from an NBC article Turley links to in his piece:

The Met also said it would construct its own sets and costumes for next season’s new production of Wagner’s “Lohengrin” rather than share them with Moscow’s Bolshoi Opera, as originally planned.

Depersoning Russians continues at full throttle.

P.S. The title of this post is part of John 16:2 in the New International Version. No, I am not saying what happened to Netrebco is equivalent, but it was what came to mind when I read about her situation. So much evil is being done by people who think what they are doing is righteous.


Bad Things Are Still Bad When “Good” People Do Them

Please check out this article at the NY Post:

Russia’s parliament passed a law Friday that criminalizes “fake” news — and carries a prison sentence of up to 15 years — for journalists who contradict the country’s official statements about the Ukraine invasion, according to officials and reports.

Under the law, which is set to go into effect Saturday, journalists face the potential whopping jail sentence for intentionally spreading “false” information — including using such words as “war” and “invasion” to describe the Russian attack.

Of course, criminalizing fake news is totally bogus, but I imagine many who are aghast at the mov have no issue with calls to fight misinformation here in the U.S. (and in other Western countries). It’s from the same spirit.

“But, this is different, because it directed at journalists!,” you might exclaim. Well…

Citizens who aren’t members of the media also face criminal charges and fines of up to $44,740 for reposting articles on social media that contradict or criticize the Kremlin’s depiction of the war, according to the paper.

The only difference in this case is they went straight to journalists too. Also, don’t forget how the NY Post was censored by Twitter during the 2020 presidential election when the had a story that hurt Biden. (“But that was a private business, not the government!,” you’ll insist. That is a meaningless distinction when the government is pushing private businesses to do more to combat misinformation. Right now it may not be with threats of arrest, but there are many more ways for politicians in power to punish those who don’t do their bidding.)

One more quote, before I wrap up (also from the NY Post):

Former US ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said Friday the move showed desperation by Putin, who is said to be holed up in the Ural Mountains, fuming at the resistance his army is facing in Ukraine — and at home.

“Obviously Putin is shutting these people down because he is afraid. He wouldn’t be shutting them down if everything was going peachy keen,” McFaul said during a call with reporters and experts hosted by Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center. “This is an indicator of his state of mind.”

“They are afraid,” could be said of those trying to shut down misinformation, fake news, etc. over here too. They wouldn’t be treating misinformation as the ultimate boogeyman “if everything was going peach keen.”

Evil tools are still evil when used by “good” people with “good” reasons and “good” intentions.

But, let’s be honest, anybody who tries to shut down free speech (versus respond to it) is probably not good (and does not have good reasons or good intentions). They have selfish ulterior motives.

It Is Evil When They Do It, but…

My attention span, sadly, is pretty short, so when I read an entire long article, that says a lot. I read all of this one by Glenn Greenwald:

Please read the whole thing, but a key quote (in my opinion):

But when these weapons are wielded by Western governments, the precise opposite framework is imposed: describing them as despotic is no longer obligatory but virtually prohibited. That tyranny exists only in Western adversaries but never in the West itself is treated as a permanent axiom of international affairs, as if Western democracies are divinely shielded from the temptations of genuine repression. Indeed, to suggest that a Western democracy has descended to the same level of authoritarian repression as the West’s official enemies is to assert a proposition deemed intrinsically absurd or even vaguely treasonous.

The implicit guarantor of this comforting framework is democracy. Western countries, according to this mythology, can never be as repressive as their enemies because Western governments are at least elected democratically. This assurance, superficially appealing though it may be, completely collapses with the slightest critical scrutiny.

To quote Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

P.S. I don’t alway agree with Glenn, but he is a committed friend of truth and freedom. Please consider subscribing to him on Substack.

What will you do to support truth and freedom, especially of those whose views you find loathsome? Remember, the true test of our character is not how we treat our friends, it is how we treat our enemies.

You Should Read This Completely

Bari Weiss wrote a tremendous piece about the cancel culture, free speech, intent mattering, and an “ethic of forgiveness.” God bless her and her words:


Cancel culture necessarily erases intent. It relies on taking someone’s worst moment out of context, on elevating a moment of ignorance, on exaggerating a misstep and using that error to destroy someone’s life.

We live in a time when almost everything is posted, recorded and shared — that’s the reality. It’s not changing. The forgiveness a neighborhood used to give to a kid who said something stupid at a bar now has to be granted to him by everyone with a phone. Yes, I agree, it’s terrible. But we can’t unplug the Internet.

Living in this world is going to require a deep and generous ethic of forgiveness. That isn’t possible without insisting that intent matters.