Free speech is not incitement

By Scott Tibbs, May 8, 2019

The word incitement has popped up a lot on the Left recently, and I suspect this is part of a strategy to suppress free speech and ideas they do not like. The use of the word became more common against critics of Ilhan Omar. That word is now being deployed against Donald Trump for his stern condemnation of Democrats like who Ralph Northam, who spoke favorably of allowing the "choice" to commit infanticide.

We need to be clear about how this is a direct threat to free speech. Incitement is a legal term with a legal meaning. It is illegal to advocate specific violence against a specific person or group. If a radical Muslim cleric advocates for bombing a specific named church, that is illegal incitement not protected by the First Amendment. If Donald Trump is guilty of incitement, he has committed a crime. That will not be pursued against the sitting President of these United States, of course, but if it is ever pursued it would be pursued against average citizens who hold little political power.

As an aside, it is hard to imagine any Republican nominee since Roe v. Wade speaking about abortion the way Donald Trump did, with direct and forceful language. John McCain and Mitt Romney certainly did not, and neither did George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole or George W. Bush. It is impressive and reassuring to have the occupant of the White House use such stark language to describe such a dark act. This is the kind of leadership we need: Not someone who is passively pro-life, will speak about it occasionally and sign something if it reaches his desk. We need someone like Trump who is aggressively pro-life and speaks directly and without apology.

It is a dishonest and cowardly tactic to allege "incitement" rather than engage with ideas. I was accused of the same thing ten years ago when George Tiller was murdered in an act of anti-abortion terrorism I condemned at the time and condemn today. I said the murderer should be executed ten years ago, and I stand by that. Killing an unborn baby is also a morally abominable act. If I am wrong about abortion, then change my mind. Show me that the "fetus" is not a human person worthy of full legal protection under our laws. Prove me wrong. Until you can change my mind, then I will continue to use the little platform I have to witness against the slaughter of these precious little ones.

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