Yes, There are Limits

There’s been a lot of back and forth on this since the Charlie Hebdo attack, and now Pope Francis has chimed in:

Pope Francis suggested there are limits to freedom of expression, saying in response to the Charlie Hebdo terror attack that “one cannot make fun of faith” and that anyone who throws insults can expect a “punch.”

The pontiff said that both freedom of faith and freedom of speech were fundamental human rights and that “every religion has its dignity.”

“One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith,” he said. “There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits.”

The pope was speaking to reporters on a plane as he flew from Sri Lanka to the Philippines on his tour of Asia…

Over at Ace, they are little disappointed about this. Allahpundit is also not too pleased. I’ve seen over the past week plenty of comments from conservative and libertarian people who are really not thinking this thing through. To be sure, there is the understandable desire to defend against Islamists who, after all, will kill us no matter what we do – but just because we’re dealing with people like that doesn’t mean we have no responsibility for our own actions. Too many people are getting themselves into the position that unless we applaud the most vile expressions, we are letting the terrorists win. There’s a word for that – but I won’t use it, because it is vulgar and might cause offense…and because I’m someone making failing, weak efforts at being a Christian gentleman, I try not to be offensive.

I’m five feet, seven inches tall. I weigh about 175 pounds. I’m not exactly of the body-builder sort. Now, suppose I had a neighbor who is six feet, six inches tall; weighs about 280 and bench presses cars. I take a dislike to this neighbor because he’s a jerk – and I express my views about him by drawing insulting pictures of him and posting them on a board out in front of my house. Now, to be sure, my gigantic neighbor – who is a jerk, as I said – should still take my insults in stride. There is no actual justification for him to pound me into a pulp because I drew unflattering pictures of him. On the other hand, if I did get pounded into a pulp, how many of you would be thinking – at least – that I shouldn’t have been writing checks my body can’t cash? Even if you called the police to have the man arrested and were willing to testify against him in court because, still, he shouldn’t have pounded me, wouldn’t any reasonable person say that I had played a role in bringing on the pounding? There are plenty of ways I can deal with a jerk – including if really pressed to it, fighting. But if I’m going to fight, then I’d better be ready to fight. If I’m not prepared to actually fight, then maybe I should seek other means of redress? Thinking is a very important part of deciding what to do.

In our definition of free speech there is no license to print whatever you want. You might have heard the word “libel” from time to time. Also, the famous “you can’t shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” exception is well known. Even in good, old, First Amendment USA, there is no absolute right to say what one pleases. We have these reasonable restrictions on free speech because they are, well, reasonable. Of course, this still allows a very wide latitude for people to write things – and in the United States, we tend to have the widest latitude in the world. And this is a good thing – a thing I would die in the last ditch to defend. There was nothing legally wrong in what Charlie Hebdo printed. No reasonable person in the United States – or even in France, for that matter – would want Charlie Hebdo shut down over the offensive cartoons. Furthermore, no reasonable person would assert a right of the offended party to do violence against Charlie Hebdo for their offensive cartoons. There is no justification for what happened – and if it had happened in the United States and the perpetrators were caught and brought to trial, I would be only too pleased to pronounce a guilty verdict against them in court…nor would I shed tears if the perpetrators wound up killed by the police, as the French perpetrators ultimately did. But with all those caveats, I still have to say – as unpopular as it might be – that Charlie Hedbo did play a role in bringing on the attack. And they played that role without having made any provision for repelling an attack. I’m guessing because they never imagined that there would be such an attack – or, perhaps, they thought that the French government, which has been slack as all European governments, would protect them?

Choose your battles: that is an old saw; but none the less wise for having been used often. People who have read my stuff over the years know that I’m on board with fighting Islamist terrorists. In fact, I’m in favor of much more vigorous war than we’re doing – and even much more vigorous war than President Bush engaged in. I’m incensed on a regular basis at the crimes of the Islamists – especially, these days, the horrific massacres of Christians. I’d like us to really take the fight to the enemy. But I’m not going to sit here and just write nasty things about Muslims and think I’m doing something against Islamist terrorism. It might make a person feel good – though I really can’t imagine why – to do such things, but I don’t see any point in it. All it does is take our eye off the ball and, additionally, provide additional recruiting tools for the very people we want destroyed. We are, indeed, supposed to be better than the enemy – true, we should be physically stronger and better able to apply force against them, but we should also be more just, more merciful and more respectful of their innate, human dignity. Better. You see?

We’re doing it all wrong, in my view. Obama and the liberals are wrong in that they believe that Muslims are the offended party and if we’ll just show forbearance, they’ll quit. Plenty of conservatives are wrong in that they believe if we just give brag and insult and drop bombs, they’ll quit. Other people are a combination of these things. Me? I want to win the war. I want Islamism destroyed. To do that will take intelligence, foresight, courage and a fine and sensitive touch with the great mass of the Muslim people.

Of course, our real handicap is that far too many people in the West – and probably a majority; especially in Europe – don’t really believe in anything. They don’t believe in honesty. Don’t believe in decency. Don’t believe in self-sacrifice. All they want is their creature comforts and a life free from responsibility – and they’ll bury their heads as deep in the sand as necessary to live like that. We’re easy pickings for people like the Islamists – I am the person entirely unsurprised when Western people volunteer to join them. People, if they are not utterly craven, want to believe. We in the West offer nothing to believe in – just more gadgets and more moral disintegration. Those in the West who do have good beliefs are ridiculed, and absurdly compared to the terrorists, as well. A kid who has been taught to believe in nothing worthy – who, indeed, has been told that worthy beliefs are flat out wrong – and who has been fed a steady diet of nonsense is especially prone to fall for the first charlatan who comes along.

The Islamists offer something to believe in, and a lot of people go for it – and that we know it is stupid and destructive doesn’t alter our position or our peril. The Islamists are not the first people to sucker large numbers into doing evil, while thinking they are doing good. Ultimately, we won’t win this war unless we start to believe in something superior to the Islamists. We’d better figure out real quick who we are and what we believe. Defending a vulgar, little paper like Charlie Hebdo won’t do the trick – in fact, it is our celebration of such that is at the heart of our problem. It is a sign of strength if we tolerate such things in our midst, it is suicide if we praise such things…and while a collection of liberals apparently had a long held feeling of hate towards Charlie Hedbo, that was more a function of cowardice than a desire for standards of decency…we know this because the only thing liberals didn’t like about Charlie Hedbo was that it insulted Islam. This is just a species of “please cut my throat last” cowardice. If we were a people who condemned Charlie Hebdo for all its insults – you know, including the insults against Jews and Christians – while never making a move to suppress it, then we would be morally healthy, and better able to fight and win against Islamists. But that would also be a people who condemned 80%+ of what is in popular culture these days.

I’m getting a little long in the tooth at age 50. No one in their right mind is going to place me on the battlefield – but I assure one and all that I am ready to defend Judeo-Christian, Western civilization. I’m not so willing to die to defend the right of adolescent jerks to insult people. Do you see the difference? I’ll fight and die for “We hold these truths to be self evident…” and “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”, but I’m not really pleased at the thought of dying so that the next vulgar little reality series can be broadcast on television. In fact, no one is willing to die for that. The Islamists have their dogmas they are willing to fight and die for – what dogmas are we willing to fight and die for? And if we do have some people believing in dogmas worth fighting for, are there enough of them?

Ultimately, there are limits – because there have to be. The limits are necessary for us to have civilization. You can’t have it all. You can either hold to rigid standards of conduct or you can be destroyed by people who hold to rigid standards of conduct. Those are your choices, boiled down. Among the rigid standards of conduct in our civilization is a cautious courtesy of speech – an unwillingness to cause needless offense. Gracious, there are enough things to offend us all just in day to day living – we don’t need to add to it. Yes, at times we must take the course of King St. Louis – when someone is insanely persistent in demanding death and destruction, we must drive a sword through him as far as it will go. But good King St. Louis also would never have dreamed of just insulting people for the fun of it – and he was a Crusader, my friends; a more devoted enemy of Islamic aggression you will not find in the annals of history.

I really do love this country of ours – warts and all. I really do think that in secular terms, we offer the best that humanity has to offer. I do think our nation worth defending. But it is worth defending only if we live up to the standards upon which it was founded. Look through the Declaration and the Constitution and you’ll see it shot through from start to finish with decency. Even when Jefferson condemned George III before the bar of history, he didn’t offer insult. No one reading that sublime document could conclude other than that the king was in the wrong, and right and justice were on our side. Jefferson offered truth, well written to appeal to the better angels of human nature. Contrast it to the cowardly tripe of modern liberals, or the school-yard insults hurled by some. We’re better than that. At all events, we had better be better – because if we aren’t better than the enemy, we won’t beat him.

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13 thoughts on “Yes, There are Limits

  1. Tim January 16, 2015 / 6:38 am

    If you are going to put limits on something there must be consequences to back them up. What legal penalties should be put on insulting the pedophile muhamed? Will you enforce these same penalties on the people who a a Crucifix in a jar urine? Poop on a Painting of the Mother of Christ? Blowing up statues of Buddha?

    Please define the crime and the punishment.

    • M. Noonan January 16, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      Where in my piece is there even the remotest hint that I – or even the Pope – wants a law defining what may be said? I think I was abundantly clear that no reasonable person would want to forbid the publication of offensive things. You know, where I wrote this sentence:

      No reasonable person in the United States – or even in France, for that matter – would want Charlie Hebdo shut down over the offensive cartoons.

      I think that is pretty clear. It is liberals who are all about “there aught to be a law” when they see something wrong – I’m conservative. Also, Catholic. I don’t want a law – I want us to live up to the standards we allegedly believe in. The standard is that one should never be rude. I know of no allowable exception to this rule. Oh, I know that we are all rude at times – but the standard is still the standard and if we are starting to be rude on a regular basis I don’t want a law banning rudeness, I want us to repent, confess and try to not be so rude in the future.

      As to what happened at Charlie Hebdo – they were out there, pretty much day in and day out, shouting rude insults. It was 99.99% certain that when they shouted insults at Jews and Christians, nothing bad would happen to them. The odds rose a bit when they started shouting rude insults at Muslims. That is a poor reflection on Muslims, that there is stupendously more chance of violence than there is with other religions – poor reflection; clear that Muslims need to change a bit…but, also, a reality. If you want to shout insults at people who have shown a penchant for extreme violence when insulted, then you’d better be prepared for all eventualities.

      To take my analogy of the hulking jerk next door – if I’m to set myself on a course to insult him, then it’d probably be wise for me to purchase a fire arm and learn how to use it with deadly efficiency…this way if the brute decides to pound me to a pulp for my insults, I’ll have a chance of stopping him. Of course, if I had taken a different route from the start – politely expressing my views to him about his jerkiness, seeking ways of compromise, calling in the authorities if necessary…then it would probably still be best that I’m armed because a jerk is, well, a jerk…and might decide to attack me no matter how polite I am. Thing is, I’d sleep better at night knowing that I had tried peaceable resolution than I would if I had hurled insults leading to an explosion.

  2. Tim January 16, 2015 / 1:50 pm

    No where in your piece do you call for any laws.

    This is the title of your post.

    “Yes, There are Limits”

    Those are your words not mine. I ask you again what are the limits and what are the penalties for going over those limits?

    • M. Noonan January 16, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      The penalties for going over the limits will be as varied as your human brothers and sisters can make them. The limits are those of sound judgement.

  3. Tim January 16, 2015 / 5:21 pm

    Freedom of Speech. Freedom of expression are incompatible with penalties imposed by those who cry foul at the slightest mocking of their beliefs. The slightest mocking of pedo mo will condemn you death by a murderous cult.

    Calling machmed a pedophile is exercising unsound judgement. Are you sanctioning the murder of anyone who dare insult the prophet who raped a nine year old girl?

    Do you see where this leading?

    • M. Noonan January 16, 2015 / 5:53 pm

      No, I’m afraid I don’t. I am Catholic. If you want it as plain as I can make it – Mohammed was making it all up. He wasn’t a prophet, he did not receive a revelation. The Koran is only useful in as much as any parts of it may be in accord with Catholic teaching (a lot are, as Mohammed essentially absorbed the Arrian Heresy in his travels and just took that next step and denied the divinity of Christ). But the plain facts of life are that a bit more than 1 billion people believe Mohammed – and if I’m to get anywhere with them, I’d best not lead with accusations against the man they believe specially sent by God. And by “get anywhere”, I mean the whole gamut – from just wanting peaceful relations to wanting them to eventually convert to Catholicism. I have to start by respecting them and their beliefs – from there, many good things may flow.

      You’ve been around this blog long enough to know that I’m in favor of war against Islamism. I know full well the threat Islamism poses. I’ve long identified the true sources of our enemy – Iran and those non-Iranian Muslims who propagate the Wahhabist version of Islam. I’m willing to go all the way on this – mobilize millions of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines and have at it to the finish. But I’m not inclined to kill all Muslims – and as I don’t want to do that, I need to figure out a way to live in the same world with them…this will be made much easier if even as I fight them, I treat them with the respect and dignity they have as fellow creatures of God. Even the very worst man in the world has a moral claim on me. His claim may be vastly less than everyone else’s; his actions may force me to kill him…but he still has a claim on me and I must give it to him.

      You see, even if I fight, I must not hate. Even if I have to kill, I must in no way be seeking to pay him out for his actions. I am only permitted to fight him to the extent that I have to stop him from doing something evil. There is no gray area in this for a Christian. I can’t do otherwise – if I do, I am sinning. I will, naturally, not live up to this – I’m just as flawed as everyone else. I am prey to fear, ambition, greed, envy, etc. But I do have a standard. I must try to adhere to it. And I can’t possibly be adhering to it if I’m offering insult just for the heck of it.

  4. Tim January 16, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    “And I can’t possibly be adhering to it if I’m offering insult just for the heck of it.”

    Then that is personal limit you have set for yourself which is admirable. You have in effect self censored your own freedom of expression.

    Does that mean that freedom of expression should be officially censored?

    If so, who gets to decide what fighting words and images are? You? Me? You going to allow the patient of a mental hospital like Sarah Bloch to decide?

    Try as you might, there are no gray areas when it comes to freedom of speech and expression.
    Either you have it or you do not. It is up to the individual to decide if he is going to resort to murder because I call mohamed a filthy little pedophile and rapist.

    What are the limits?
    Are the limits personal or are they official?

    • M. Noonan January 17, 2015 / 12:31 am

      Its pretty clear that they are personal – the ultimate source of the article goes back a few days before the Pope’s comments when the head of the Catholic League raised a lot of ire by pointing out that the people of Charlie Hebdo had played a role in bringing on the attack.

      What they did is what used to be called “fighting words”. Now, they routinely broadcast such words – and insulted all religions. There was always a risk that someone was going to try and get some pay back from them. There was even a chance it could have been a Christian or Jew, though vastly less likely than the chances it would be a Muslim. It is not blaming the victim to point out salient facts about the victim’s actions – we’ve got ourselves into a bizarre position where we’re supposed to just accept whatever behavior a person engages in, as long as isn’t violent against another…that is just nonsense. People do need to have a care.

      The follow-on issue to that is just what is something that should, on the whole, be said. This is not about what may be said, but what should be said. I see no worth in saying insulting things. Additionally, if someone says insulting things, then they had better be loaded for bear. Charlie Hebdo was willing to insult and just presumed that they could insult people all the live long day and no one would ever do anything to them…but here’s the real kicker: it is precisely publications like Charlie Hebdo which have spent generations weakening the moral will of the West. It is leftists like those who run Charlie Hebdo who despise the family, despise faith, despise patriotism, despise the police, despise the military…not only did the people at Charlie Hebdo fail to plan for their own defense, they also spent their whole careers breaking down the ramparts of the civilization that allowed them to be vulgar in the first place.

  5. dbschmidt January 16, 2015 / 10:12 pm

    Here is where I will attempt to adjust your analogy. You do not have just one neighbor that is a jerk but rather an extended family of 30 or 40 of which 29 or 39 are just prim and proper people. You have no qualms with them–just the one or two siblings that are jerks.

    I have no issue with telling the truth and if you find that offensive or rude–I see that as your problem. Now, I will say I normally try to make it as non-offensive as possible without varnishing the facts and I will, as in the terms of the Japanese, return your face face when I have completed the exchange–but I will not hide or covet the truth.

    Rights are given by the Creator and no one else can curtail them. Laws are a small group of people using force to ensure others curtail. Are they necessary? Not in a perfect world but we are far from that–so yes; however, wouldn’t it be nice if they were limited and applied equally. Even if they were just applied equally would be a nice start.
    .

    • M. Noonan January 17, 2015 / 12:34 am

      I’ll only point out that the fact that a person has the capability of doing something does not mean it should be done – and, very important, we must condemn what is wrong…even if we are the people who are doing it. In ages past, people didn’t carry an illusion around pretending that wicked deeds weren’t wicked. Someone who was an adulterer 100 years ago knew very well he was doing wrong…these days, someone doing that doesn’t consider it all that wrong and the rest of us will do nothing about a person who is committing adultery. This is not to say we need laws to punish adulterers…but maybe we shouldn’t let such a person off? You know, act like nothing bad had happened?

  6. Amazona January 18, 2015 / 2:34 pm

    Tim The Nitpicker surfaces again. Another yawn.

    OK—here goes. Limits: We cannot limit the degree of assholeness some may choose. (Moderator: My opinion is that sometimes asterisks just don’t cut it. Your call.)

    So we can’t “limit” the degree to which anyone chooses to be obnoxious, offensive, etc. When those acts infringe on the rights of others, such as playing loud music late at night, we can and do have penalties. But just being a jerk is not something we can “limit”.

    What we can do, and what we should do, and what we would do if we were to revert to the old days of backbones and standards, would be to treat this kind of behavior with scorn and disdain. What has happened is that for some reason otherwise decent people have decided that tolerating—even condoning—-no, REWARDING behaviors formerly recognized as offensive and disgusting is somehow proof of sophistication and even proof of occupying the Higher Moral Ground.

    There is a difference between penalizing offensive behavior and simply refusing to accept it, much less rewarding it. So let people smear poo on sacred images, if this is how they choose to show their “talent” and their character to the world—just don’t give them government grants, just don’t swoon over their alleged artistic courage and insight, just don’t act as if their acts are anything but infantile efforts to gain attention.

    Government has become insane in many ways we don’t usually talk about, and one of these ways is its determination to prove its heightened sophistication and artistic appreciation by spending our tax dollars on the most ugly, and sometimes offensive, “ART” it can find. Do our state or county or city governments ask the citizens how they feel about these huge, and hugely expensive, monuments to ugliness?

    There is a grotesquely ugly, deformed and almost demonic-looking, huge blue “horse” at the entrance to Denver International Airport. The citizens hate it. Its red eyes glow at night. It is in no way even an abstract celebration of the beauty of the horse, of the freedom of spirit represented by the horse, or any other such excuse often given to talk down to the unwashed masses who simply lack the wisdom or artistic appreciation of such exercises. Its only goal is to offend by its sheer, blatant, ugliness. It cost the citizens hundreds of thousands of dollars, for a piece of crap that nearly everyone, other than the self-appointed “artistic elite”, despises. In the past decade or so the City and County of Denver have dumped millions of taxpayer dollars into buying absolute crap, without harmony of line, without any element of beauty or inspirational quality, without any redeeming qualities that most of us can determine.

    Tax dollars go into funding grant money for projects that all too often represent nothing more noble than the desire and intent to be as offensive and ugly as possible. Google “Apogea Inc.” It is a Colorado non-profit (federal and state tax benefits) that coyly states its purpose is to promote the joys of art and music and enjoyment of the outdoors, blah blah blah, and it gets huge grants, including government grant money. Well, they promote their “art” and their “music” and so on by sponsoring the Burning Man Festival in Colorado, which is really just a drug-fueled multi-day orgy. “Images of Apogea” include lots of bare breasts “adorned” with body painting, lots of group nudity, photos of frolicking that certainly indicate high levels of inebriation that are probably not alcohol-based—–and children running around through all of this, including a shot they seem to love of a toddler standing between the legs of a blowup sex doll.

    Don’t “limit” the activities of these people—unless you want to be a real prude and draw the line at implied child porn. But don’t fund it, either.

    Stop throwing government money at jerks who find it darling to smear poop on images viewed with reverence by many, and those “artists” might have to get real jobs and have less time to be offensive.

    • Amazona January 18, 2015 / 3:05 pm

      Here is an example: (emphasis mine)

      DENVER – The big blue statue of a bucking mustang at Denver International Airport drew praise and hatred from the very beginning.
      The giant sculpture titled “Mustang” turns five years old on Feb. 11 this year, which is an important milestone for public art in Denver.
      Petitions to remove art works aren’t accepted for the first five years, a rule meant to avoid tearing down art in a rash manner.
      Bucking high into the sky at the gateway between Denver and the airport, the towering Mustang makes an aggressive first impression.
      “He looks like he’s going to kill me,” said Jennifer Newson in the DIA terminal. “It’s not really settling when you’re driving to get on a flight and then you see the ‘demon horse.'”
      She’s one of many who wouldn’t mind giving the horse the boot for its fifth birthday.
      “I think it should go,” Kim Wilkerson said. “I think those red eyes are just evil.”
      “When I drive by there, I think the end of the world is coming,” Randy Tedrow said.
      Others are perfectly content to keep the horse around.
      “I think they should just leave it. It’s not hurting anything,” Victoria Hutchen said. “It’s not like a monster or something.”
      Some visitors view it as a symbol of the West.
      “Absolutely we have nothing like that in Boston,” John Newman, who’s visiting on a ski trip, said. “Keep it please. It’s part of the landscape.”
      “I like how the eyes light up,” he added.
      The eyes. Oh, the eyes.
      That’s the part the horse-haters hate most.
      “Paint the eyes,” suggested Newson. “Make him look like a friendly horse.”
      That may be unlikely since the eyes meant the world to the artist: renowned sculptor Luis Jimenez.
      “His intent was to honor his father who was a neon sign maker,” said Matt Chasansky, who heads the art program at DIA.
      True to fearsome form, a piece of the horse fell and killed Jimenez as he worked on it, only adding to the mystique of what some call his masterpiece.
      Appraising at $2 million dollar, Denver’s not likely to just throw mustang away.
      “Move it somewhere not everybody traveling to Denver would have to see it,” Wilkerson suggested. “That might be a better solution.”
      Broncos fans might love it at Mile High-or you could start a blue animal group by the convention center.
      But moving the horse would be expensive and there’s a downside to making it less visible.
      <b," Chasansky said.
      The piece has us all talking-which is what art's supposed to do. Chasansky says that's his favorite part about the mustang.
      "And the eyes," he adds quietly, a grin forming on his face. "I like the eyes."
      The removal of art over matters of taste is rare in Denver. Petitioners must prove “unusual circumstances.”
      To make an effort to remove the sculpture, someone would have to file a petition with the Denver Commission on Cultural Affairs which is trusted with final say over whether to relocate or remove public art in Denver.
      With such a high-profile piece of art, it’s very likely you’d have other officials weighing in if a petition gains traction

      Okay, here we have the “head of the art program at DIA” kind of snickering at the rubes who hate the thing, “…a grin forming on his face..” when he talks about the most hated element of the piece. He engages in illustrating his utter cluelessness, which echoes that of other self-styled “artistes” when he smugly says “If this piece was put out there and no one said a word about it, I think that would be a much bigger failure”. You see, the goal of art, to these people, is not to stimulate discourse over meaning, inspiration, etc. It’s enough to just be so obnoxious that people only talk about how ugly it is. To someone with no artistic soul at all, art is not to prompt thought, emotion, discourse, introspection, understanding, awareness—no, it’s enough if it just makes people mad, even if their anger is legitimate outrage and having something like this dumped on them without being able to say a thing about it. “The piece has us all talking-which is what art’s supposed to do. Chasansky says that’s his favorite part about the mustang.” Sure. He thinks it cute to be as offensive as possible. And somehow it’s justified that the “artist” made this monstrosity so ugly as a tribute to his father, who made neon signs. Aww, ain’t that sweet. So make a sign, and pay for it yourself, don’t stick the taxpayers of Denver for a little self-indulgence.

      As an example of how hated this thing is, the response from many at hearing that it killed its creator was that this was karma.

      Of special note is the comment that no one can get something like this removed for at least five years, what the self-styled arbiters of art refer to as “…a rule meant to avoid tearing down art in a rash manner.” Yeah, it would be a real shame to let the people footing the bill act RASHLY to get rid of something dumped on them in the name of “art”. God forbid the exercise of reason be defined as anything but some knee-jerk spasm of uneducated lower-class objection without thought or justification. They certainly are not “rash” enough to put their choices up for approval by those paying the bill, or holding off payment for those five years till the citizens have had a chance to weigh in.

      BTW, try to foist this off on Bronco fans and you will see how quickly a real decision can be made about what to do with it. Remember the statue of Saddam being dragged down and its head pulled off?

      And it’s not “bucking”, it’s rearing. And it is in no way a “mustang”. And I wonder just who finds this monstrosity to be the guy’s “masterpiece”—–I’ll bet it is someone who paid a lot for a crucifix sitting in urine.

      • Amazona January 18, 2015 / 3:33 pm

        “The city forked up $650,000 for the finished product, more than double what it had initially agreed to pay. Since the work was the last piece Jiménez ever created, an art appraiser in New York City now values it at $2 million — a figure that could serve as fodder for relocation advocates.”

        Great. Let NYC take it. Don’t even charge them for it. Our gift to them. Then it can stop pretending to be an iconic symbol of the West and be what it really is—-an iconic symbol of pseudo-artistic pretentiousness, snug in the heart of pseudo-artistic pretentiousness.

        Speaking of pseudo-artistic pretentiousness, the second article contains this bleat from yet another DIA spokesperson: “this is the whole point of public art to spur debate.”

        Since when? Who says? Debate over what? Just what is the advantage to the citizenry to have “debate” over just how badly our tax dollars are being squandered by poseurs and agency flacks using our money to establish themselves as art experts? What about those evidently now-disdained days when the point of public art was to honor those who had earned our honor, to inspire us, to represent the best of our character and our country?

        This is what I mean—-we should not worry about trying to “limit” the boundaries of good taste, but we should definitely be working very hard to limit the impact of people who have decided, on their own, that “the whole point of public art (is) to spur debate.” I call BS on that. This is the nonsense that is used to justify government support for offensiveness—-the belief that a purpose of government is to offend, because this “spurs debate”. And that is what justifies the use of public money, OUR MONEY, to pay people to be offensive.

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