I am pulling my own quotes. I crossed over to the other side. :)
The exceptional and esteemed journalist Alyssa Lappen did an extensive interview with me over at Right Side News. She conducted it over the past few weeks. It's lengthy but juicy. For the Atlas curious -- it's your cuppa. Go here -- read it all.
By Alyssa A. Lappen
The U.S. Constitution, ratified on March 4, 1789, forbade treason against the young republic. Article III, section 3 reads:
"Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."
The founding fathers apparently were more concerned with treason than individual rights---since the first ten amendments, establishing individual rights, were neither drafted nor ratified until 1791.
American patriots, whether of Christian or Jewish religious conviction, suffered brutal oppression at the hands of the British and their allies. Their homes were invaded, their property stolen, and their very lives forfeit. Therefore, they naturally cemented life and liberty "for all" into the Constitution's very foundation. Moreover, to maintain that standard the founders realized that all citizens must support equal rights to life and equal liberty for all, without exception.
To put it another way, America's fathers and the Constitution's ratifying states---in both historical sequence and principal---held above everything else, loyalty to the supposition of life and liberty for all. Before all else, the nation's founding idea was that citizens' Constitutionally guaranteed rights were and are not exclusive to some, but deniable to others.
The very first clause of the opening item on the Bill of Rights (the initial ten Constitutional amendments) sets into U.S. law the principal of a federal government free from legislation "respecting an establishment of religion." Americans generally understand that phrase to establish each individual's right to freedom of faith, yet the precise wording mentions no individual rights at all. Rather, it pointedly prohibits U.S. federal laws or regulations that require or in any way institutionalize religious practices.
Now, President Barack Obama advocates a so-called civil rights agenda---to "expand hate crime" statues like the Matthew Shepard Act, named for a student tortured and murdered in 1998 for his sexual orientation.
Yet this insidious legislative turn would raise motive above the importance of criminal acts themselves, and attempt to legislatively control thinking---something time and again proven impossible, always with murderous consequences.
Even "New York Times bestselling" uber-thought cop Glenn Greenwald recognizes the danger. In defense of free speech, Greenwald decries Obama's new policy, albeit from inside a little glass house, while casting obnoxious epithets at journalists with whom he disagrees (totally without basis in fact). One needs only imagine hate-crime "proceedings directed at opinions and groups that one likes," Greenwald correctly observes. "If Muslim groups can trigger government investigations due to commentary they find offensive, so, too, can..." Now, replace Greenwald's stone-throwing and name-calling with whatever you like.
Here's the rub: In the 21st century, some claiming themselves pious consider their right not to be offended---however they perceive that---more valuable and sacrosanct than all rights of all other Americans. Thwarting every criticism of that faction would simultaneously gut Constitutional rights to life and liberty for all, without exception.
Muslims constitute the "political faction" advocating loudest for "hate crime" statutes. Their intent is to "restrict and punish speech" they dislike, i.e. criticism of Islam and Mohammed, to benefit their global war on free speech. To consolidate gains against free speech in Europe and the United Nations, the Islamic faction is heavily campaigning against North American free speech too.
Most large North American Muslim organizations hope to globally impose shari'a law, which prohibits "defamation" of Islam and Mohammed. Muslims who leave the faith or "blaspheme" against Islam or Mohammed earn the classical punishment, death---a statute on the books in several Muslim states, and elsewhere, widely enforced by mob rule. Non-Muslims daring to criticize Islam or Mohammed often receive the same punishment, whether in Islamic states or not.
Pakistan's hudud code for example enforces shari'a on all citizens and residents---Muslims and non-Muslims. Iran, Saudi Arabia and Sudan also execute hudud laws---and not on modern whims. Under 7th century Islamic law, these statutes apply to all mankind.
The widespread Muslim hope to prosecute shari'a laws globally stems partly from the basic Islamic belief that "all people are Muslims at birth," enshrined for example in Morocco's legal code and Malaysia's constitution, despite the latter's ostensibly secular nature and 40% non-Muslim population. Indeed, everyday Muslims often advocate for global shari'a laws. A Malaysian blogger addresses such a message to "all Non Muslims reading this."
"You must know about the Hudud Laws of
Islam as you are also a creation of Allah, no matter that you are today a
Kaffir @ an Unbeliever in Allah because you have been born as
"It is up to you, as a free human being to choose to learn and study about these True Laws of Allah, as a source of knowledge and information about what they truly are and not be misled anymore about them based on what you have read or been fed by those who have an agenda to keep you in the dark about the Truth of Islam as revealed to us by our Lord and Creator." (emphasis in original)
Fortunately, the West has individually sponsored websites too---like Right Side News.
Also fortunately, America has stalwart patriots such as Pamela Geller, editor and publisher of AtlasShrugs.com. Geller considers America's current situation extremely dire. The U.S., she thinks, stands on the edge of a precipice. Like revolutionary-era journalist Thomas Paine, however, Atlas speaks common sense to, and for, common Americans. She too considers America "ultimately unconquerable." And most importantly, unlike Paine, Atlas will never retreat to Europe or anywhere else.
Herewith we begin an interview with Atlas Shrugs founder Pamela Geller, on the evils of Islamic ideology. Right Side News opens this exclusive interview four-part series by investigative journalist Alyssa A. Lappen with a discussion on the worldwide Islamic assault on free speech, now intensifying in North America. Please check Right Side News in coming weeks for the second through fourth parts, covering other important aspects of the Islamic ideological threat.
AAL: What induced you to start a blog, and when?
Atlas: The blog was born on February 11, 2005. We just had our third birthday. I started it because I'm an individualist. I grew up in a post-historical world, as it were. I assumed my freedom. It was a given. After World War II, the good guys won. It was over.
I noted world events. But apart from being Jewish and supporting Israel because it is a beacon of democracy in modern civilization, I was not involved in politics. I was very ambitions and had a good career. I was the associate publisher at the New York Observer.
Then 9/11 clubbed me. On that day, I lost everything at the very foundation of what I believed. At that moment, I realized that nothing is forever, not even America. I felt very guilty that I did not know anything about who had invaded this country. So what could I do? One reacts to the political scene. But I was politically inactive, and I had a lot to learn.
Then I went to hear [Islamic scholar] Bat Ye'or speak at Columbia University. After her lecture, I asked for advice. She told me to learn everything. I started reading, and read all her books. I read everything I could about Islam. The media was not giving us information. And I read the internet---websites, news and blogs on subjects the media wasn't reporting. I began to see that many people were saying what I was thinking.
In a way, I was raised to do this. My mother and father had a very good marriage. They worked hard. My father was a tough guy. He made $60 a day. He was a workaholic. My mother really respected him. Once, we were driving, and he said, "Nothing is for ever." My mother objected, "America is." My father said, "No, not even America." On 9/11, I realized my father was right.
Initially, I did not do the blog. I went to protests. If there was an anti-Ahmadinejad protest, I was there. If there was a Hamas rally and counter-protest against them, I was there. I covered protests; I took videos and recorded them. Now the same rallies are against Jews, in America. Finally, a really smart commentator---I have a lot of respect for him---said, "Start a blog." He said, "Do it," and I did.
I am exactly the same now. I blog exactly the same as when I had 10 readers, and when I had 20,000 readers. My focus is just bigger and broader. It is hard when I go to my computer. There are always another 300 emails. It's not terribly lucrative. But the responses are worth it. Today, I got an email from a woman. Listen to this. She writes, "I found your site by accident. I never realized what a mess we are in. Thank you. My eyes are open. I am passing this on."
AAL: What took so long?
Atlas: I had never thought of blogging. And anyway, I had to learn before I could say anything. I spent about four years. You need to know what you're talking about. It's not like World War II. How many people are clued in to the doctrine in the Qur'an? They can expound on it all day long, but have never read it, and still call anyone a racist who cites what's in there. This is not about al Qaeda, or Hamas, or Islamic Jihad, or any of those organizations. They are just changing their underwear. It's all about jihad.
AAL: Why did you name the blog Atlas Shrugs?
Atlas: I loved the metaphor [Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged]. That was exactly what people were doing. Atlas Shrugging.
There are so many misconceptions about Ayn Rand. She is individualist. Her party is the party of individual rights, the smallest minority in the world. In this story, the world's producers and entrepreneurs, people who make things happen, are so put upon by regulation and government. It is like what's happening now. And the characters give nice names to things, like now, calling it a "Stimulus package" when it's really a socialist package
In the novel, all the producers go on strike. The book is a stunning indictment of statism. It speaks for capitalism. It says, "I will not ask another man to live for my sake."
Ayn Rand was an uncompromising person. In any compromise between good and evil, she understood that evil profits. The bad never comes over to our side. Evil has to be crushed. People do not like to hear that. But it does. Science advances and technology advances. Human nature stays the same.
AAL: Why do you think mainstream newspapers and broadcast media do not cover the influence of the Qur'an, Islamic jurisprudence and theological edicts on Islam's basically totalitarian goals?
Atlas: It is auto censorship and fear. Also, everyone is worried all about insulting Islam. Reporting even the smallest factoid earns an onslaught of charges of bigotry and racism. The net result is that you cannot even call an honor killing an honor killing and not get that kind of charge.
There's a lot more. Read it all.