Chris Ferrara talks about Charlie Hebdo
Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – “When I say your listeners might be outraged it’s because we live in a time — and you’re exploring this in your show week after week – in which people have just lost sight of common sense. One of the common sense things they’ve lost sight of is that the idea of censoring certain speech has actually never been lost in the law. To this day, certain types of speech are impermissible. For example, fighting words, obscenity, false commercial speech. These things can be censored by the government.” Check out today’s transcript for the rest….
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Let’s go to the Dude Maker Hotline and say hello to Chris Ferrara, author of Liberty, the God That Failed, and someone that writes about some of these things that we’re talking about today often and speaks on them as well. Chris, good morning. How are you?
Chris Ferrara: Good morning, Mike. I see you’re busy outraging your listeners again.
Mike: I’m not outraging all of them, or maybe not even a majority of them, but certainly some of them will not take immediately, kindly, or will not extend their approbation, as 18th century smart people might have said, to the subject matter at hand. You heard a little bit of what I said. What do you say about all this, especially when it comes to the never-ending talk which we will now be subjected to, and will now, I suspect, participate in with friends and family over [mocking] “They had the right to publish it. They had the right to free speech.”
Ferrara: When I say your listeners might be outraged it’s because we live in a time — and you’re exploring this in your show week after week – in which people have just lost sight of common sense. One of the common sense things they’ve lost sight of is that the idea of censoring certain speech has actually never been lost in the law. To this day, certain types of speech are impermissible. For example, fighting words, obscenity, false commercial speech. These things can be censored by the government.
Mike: Can I interject for just a moment? Something just occurred to me when you said that, and that’s why I invite you on as a guest because you spur my thinking. There are significant numbers of the members of this audience, Chris, three weeks ago who thought that the president and the attorney general of the United States should be brought up on charges for inciting the madman to shoot the two New York police officers. Obama and Holder, though, that kind of free speech, we have to limit that. So there is a limit on speech and you must be made to pay for your speech if you’re Obama or Holder or a Progressive lunatic. I just wanted to drop that in. You just reminded me about that when you said that there are limits on speech.
Ferrara: This is a show that, lurking beneath the surface, is the conviction, however dormant it might be, that certain types of speech ought not to be permitted in public because they cause harm in and of themselves. Words can cause harm. Even under the First Amendment, the Supreme Court has long recognized certain categories of unprotected speech. Incitement, which you’ve just mentioned, is another of those, speech which incites an imminent, unlawful action can be punished, depending upon the circumstances. Now, these are narrow categories strictly defined by the courts.
There’s another category that we’ve been touching on here with this incident in Paris, this horrendous massacre of people for having blasphemed the prophet, as the assassins claimed. That speech is heresy. Let’s back up a bit before we talk about the idea of censoring heresy. Let’s take a hypothetical. Someone, say, markets a vitamin supplement. It’s utterly worthless, but he makes all kinds of extravagant claims to this vitamin supplement, says it will cure various diseases, that it produces miraculous results with arthritis, whatever. The claim is utterly false, people part with their money, he’s revealed as a fraud, and he’s prosecuted and sent to federal prison for commercial speech that turned out to be false. People parted with, say ten bucks each, to buy the vitamin supplement. One of the abiding absurdities of our day is that someone can go to jail for inducing people to part with ten dollars to buy a vitamin supplement, but if he induces them to lose their souls, they’re leading them away from true religion so they end up damned for all eternity, that’s a constitutional right. Obviously that’s preposterous.
What we’re exploring here is the politically incorrect idea that actually words which take the faith of people away from them, which undermine morality as a result, have serious consequences, more serious consequences than, let us say, false commercial speech. Christian legal codes, even in the colonies, recognized that principle, that nothing is more important than someone’s eternal welfare. When religious errors lead people away from the truth and cause them to lose eternal felicity, when they end up damned for all eternity because they’ve embraced some error that destroyed their faith and morality, society has the right to prevent that outcome. That’s one of the most obvious duties of public authority, which is why in the colonies, before the adoption of the First Amendment, there were Christian legal codes that prohibited precisely blasphemy, but not blasphemy against any god, blasphemy against the God the colonists believed was the one true God, with faith in whom was requisite for salvation.
Either we believe that or we don’t. Like all political questions, this one is ultimately a religious question: Do we believe in one true God? That’s the first question. The second question: Do we believe in eternal life? Third question: Do we believe that the consequences for faithlessness, for failing to follow the law of God is eternal damnation, suffering of some kind for all eternity? If we believe the answers to those questions are all yes, then how can legal codes not reflect that in some way? Now, I’m not talking about shooting people in the street or hanging them or burning them at the stake, but in the colonies there were certain penalties for people who denied the true religion. The idea that these penalties are unthinkable, at the same time, we punish people who tell some lies about a vitamin supplement. This is, as I said a few moments ago, ridiculous. We have to explore this absurdity of the modern legal system and grapple with this idea that religious truth has the right to be protected, and error has no right to be propagated.
Mike: You’re talking about a case that actually happened, Kevin Trudeau. You said that most conservatives and the war hawk, warmongers out there say they hate us because of our freedom. As you point out, no, they don’t hate our freedom. They love our freedom because it allows them to do things like whack a dozen people at the Charlie Hebdo offices. They’re allowed into our countries. They become part of our pluralistic, wonderfully free and diverse societies, etc., etc.
Ferrara: Exactly. As I said in the previous segment, either we go on being mindless cheerleaders of the very thing that destroys us or we stop being cheerleaders for it and take serious measures to protect what is left of the civilization we once called Christian, and make an effort to restore its foundations. That’s a difficult choice that we’re facing. It’s a radical choice. You’re trying to awaken people to the necessity of that choice. Either we make the choice or we just sit back and let the end come. That’s the situation we’re in now. We have to be realistic about it and start talking seriously about addressing the civilizational crisis that we’re facing today, with real measures that are designed to recover the only basis on which the civilization we say we love and wish to protect can be preserved. That basis is Christ himself. You’ve been saying it on the air for months now, and God bless you for doing that. That’s the answer.
Mike: We’re coming up on a year anniversary actually. I had to look it up.
Ferrara: It’s an amazing thing you’re doing. You’re the only one that I know of that’s doing it in the mass media today. You’re the only one that is speaking the name that we dare not speak in public any longer, even though paradoxically enough we all profess to be Christians. How is it that we’ve agreed to this pact of silence about the very one who provides the answer to all of these problems that are converging on us now in the midst of what is really, obviously a terminal civilizational crisis?
Mike: I was actually told by a family member the other day that I am losing their friends as listeners because I’m putting religion over politics. I went: That’s the proper order. Tell your friend he has it backwards! This is what I love about this. I’m beginning to try and embrace the humiliation of being calumniated after reading up on it. That means you’re doing something correctly.
That really was it: You’ve got to separate religion from politics. Okay, all right, then let’s not do the politics anymore. I’d rather do the religion. I’d rather keep my eye focused on eternity. I’ll do the politics and I’m happy to do them, but from where I sit, they’ve got to be put in the proper order. You can imagine putting them in the proper order and what happens when you do that, especially if you do it publicly. I am delighted to say that the calumny and some of the other
things, I’m actually starting to enjoy them. Keep them coming. For those of you that wish for my demise, you might get your wish. I pray every day: Lord, if this is what you would have me do, then I shall do it. Who am I to say no? Who am I to say that I know better than you? There are tens of millions if not billions of people out there that say that every day. I’ll give you a final comment because I’ve got to go to Andrew Bieszad. Go ahead and let’s wrap this up. What do you say in parting today, Chris Ferrara?
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Ferrara: What you’re really doing, Mike, is defending reason itself. You’re turning reason against people who think they’re reasonable but are actually being irrational. They say you’re placing politics before religion. Obviously, religion is prior to politics and ought to inform politics. This is the fundamental reason for the crisis we’re facing, the separation of religion from politics, losing sight of the fact that all goods must be ordered to the highest good. The highest good is God. The ultimate good descends downward through social order and orders everything to itself. If you disconnect politics from religion, you’re disconnecting politics from God and politics become irrational. People themselves become irrational. You’re trying to provide an antidote to the reigning unreason of our time and that’s why you’re being calumniated. God bless you for what you’re doing.
End Mike Church Show Transcript