Lots of really loud yelling broke out on various cable news shows last week. Not that that's unusual, but last week's subject of controversy was the Million Muslim March organized by AMPAC (American Muslim Political Action Committee) and planned for the twelfth anniversary of the September 11 attacks. AMPAC is apparently chock full of Truthers and Anti-Semites. A fringe, nut group. In other words, they're like the Muslim equivalent of Occupy or Anonymous.
Conservatives are outraged. I'm sure plenty of others are outraged too, but conservatives are less restrained by the shackles of political correctness, so they can be louder and get away with it. And I understand the outrage. But if AMPAC actually pulled this off, it would truly be fantastic. No, really. I realize this seems like madness (and most of the things I post on my blog are), but what I'm referring to is one of the silver linings of hate speech.
One adage that is often repeated in free speech arguments is that the first amendment doesn't protect speech we like, it protects speech we don't like. I don't know who said that. I also don't care, and don't feel like looking up. But this is why even hateful ideas like the ones spewed forth by AMPAC nuts are protected. And as infuriating as that can be, it is also comforting. Because the advantage of letting extremists spew nonsense is that they marginalize themselves. Silencing or censoring a nut can actually give him credibility, as he can claim he's being oppressed. But if a nut is allowed to shout his wacky theories, people start seeing him for the loon that he is. Nutty people ultimately will self destruct (See: Alex Jones), as long as we just let them.
It's important to keep in mind that the rest of us need to help nuts marginalize themselves. The onus is on the sane among us to identify them, call them out when spout their lunacy, and expose their nuttiness to the world. Since the number of people voicing opinions is ever increasing, we need convenient ways to identify the stupid and the screwy. This way we can summarily ignore them.
There are several ways to identify nut groups already. For example, any protester in America who burns the American flag can be dismissed as irrelevant. Flag burners exercise their right to free speech by burning the symbol of their free speech. This is probably not someone inclined to think things through rationally. Also, anyone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask can be discounted. Unless they were in "V for Vendetta." Those people were just doing a job. Guy Fawkes mask aficionados are frequently Occupiers and Anonymous members, two groups with more than their fair share of Truthers, False Flaggers, Anarchists, and Neo-Marxists. None of these ideas is worth the time it takes to write this paragraph.
Like these two examples, the AMPAC march is a convenient mechanism for crazy identification. Anyone who shows up will be someone we can assume isn't worth including in a rational debate. An attendee will not be the type of Muslim we should take seriously or expect any reasoned debate from. Once we've identified them, we can disregard them and spend our time talking to those Muslims that aren't crazy. And despite what some anti-Muslim extremists say, non-crazy Muslims do exist. All someone needs to do is go have a beer in Turkey to see what I'm talking about.
A loon who spews hateful nonsense is offensive, but is also a labor saving device. My making themselves readily identifiable, crazy people help the rest of us. Those of us with brains and sanity can figure out who's not worth talking to. Separating non-crazy Muslims from the crazy is worthwhile. Non-Crazy Muslims want these nuts marginalized, because extremists make other Muslims look bad.
Sadly, though, the latest reports suggest that the turnout might be slightly less than a million (more like several dozen). All of the outrage may have put a damper on the entire affair. This isn't a good thing, I think. I'd rather have all of the nutjobs out in the open. Once I know who they are, I can make sure I don't waste my time on them.