Setting a Limit: Free Speech vs Eliminationism

There have been a number of ad-hoc limits proposed to Free Speech Absolutism in the past. For example “You can’t yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater” or “Your free speech rights end where your waving arms and fists intersect my nose” and those get us into the right arena. But I want to propose a more concrete rule and one that is actually in place in parts of Europe today: “You don’t get to propose Eliminationism or deny historical examples of it”.

And I would suggest defining “Eliminationism” to include both extermination and absolute exclusion and would entertain expansion of it to total conversion, at least where that is accompanied by force.

Some examples:

She is beautiful, articulate, and controversial. But she is also fanatical, and even dangerous. Radical Jewish anti-Islamic activist and Fox News regular Pamela Geller said on her blog in 2010: “And I pray dearly that in the ungodly event that Tehran or its jihadi proxies (Hez’Ballah, Hamas, etc.) target Israel with a nuke, that she retaliate with everything she has at Tehran, Mecca, Medina……not to mention Europe. They exterminated all their Jews, but that wasn’t enough. These monsters then went on to import the next generation of Jew-killers.” By “Jew-killers,” she means Muslims: “This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now.”

Geller shares a similar view with Israeli advocates of “The Samson Option”: if Israel is to be destroyed by nuclear attack, it should destroy the whole world by unloading its entire nuclear arsenal upon it. (See Does the Bible Predict Israel’s “Nuclear Shield?”)

Pam Geller is an eliminationist. And that kind of free speech should not be tolerated. Just as similar language when applied against Jews would be criminalized in Germany.

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren’t punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That’s war. And this is war.

Ann Coulter is an eliminationist. That should put her beyond the pale. I am not suggesting that this is just easy peasy to actually apply in practice. But only that fencing in speech with a prohibition against advocating mass murder against an entire class of people is a reasonable limit.