TOPICS: Free speech means you have the right to say anything you want – you can respond to speech with words, but not with violence – your consciousness causes you to be offended – you have the right to say what offends others – you have a right to make problems visible – basic function of free speech – democracy is government not based on force – free speech diffuses tension – positive or negative spiral – free speech and the Golden Rule – necessary that Muslims are made to see the beam in their own eye – Muslims have a false peace – need for open dialogue – Muslims in Europe – Muslims need to give something – must leave behind outdated approach to religion – learn from what happened to Jews – Europeans not willing to openly debate religion – secularism inhibits free speech – intolerant of any religion – secularism has left Europe in a psychological vacuum – leads to increasing social and psychological problems – secular fanaticism versus religious fanaticism – what it truly means to have a free society – giving people the opportunity to learn their life lessons – breaking the spirals of violence and revenge is a foundation for democracy – people need to learn to turn the other cheek – freedom of speech is only way to rise above physical violence – increase in communication an essential step towards peaceful world – democracies cannot restrict freedom – responding to Neo-Nazis – why people take extremist views – avoid fanaticism – wanting a problem to go away out of an unwillingness to change – if speech is not free, a society cannot be free – the Holocaust did not elevate Jews to the status of infallibility – double standard concerning Israel – power elite versus the people – elite always suppresses freedom of speech – power elite groups in democratic nations – democracy vulnerable to power elites – all power elites want to undermine democracy – human rights defined by God or the power elite? – a secular democracy cannot survive – social engineering based on false tolerance – democracy must defend non-aggressive people against an aggressive elite – true and false tolerance – a new role for spirituality in democracies – democracy is not an easy form of government, and it can be lost –
Kim: Jesus, I continue to be fascinated by the situation around the Mohammed cartoons because it has so many implications, especially related to freedom of speech. Based on what I have read about people’s reactions, I have several follow-up questions.
Some people have said that having freedom of speech does not mean you have the right to offend other people or their beliefs. And since these cartoons offended Muslims, it was wrong to publish them. Some say that even democratic governments should limit freedom of speech. Since you told us to do unto others what we want them to do to us, I wonder what your response is?
Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels: (February 5, 2006)
Free speech is a basic human right—which part of “free” don’t you understand?
If you are not absolutely free to say anything you want, you do not have truly free speech. Thus, a democratic society that makes ANY attempt at limiting free speech is going against the foundational principles of democracy—as well as the laws of God. If you cannot say what you want for fear of physical violence, you do not have free speech. This is exactly what the cartoons attempted to demonstrate—and rarely has any cartoon made its point more clearly.
I understand that Muslims are offended, but that does not give them the right to respond with violence. Nothing you say to me can justify that I respond with physical violence. I have a right to use my freedom of speech to say anything I want in response, but using violence is going too far. This is precisely what all Muslims need to recognize and admit, so they can pull the beam of anger and revenge from their own eyes.
The fact of the matter is that as long as people are in a certain state of consciousness, they will always take offense. Yet it is their consciousness – the beam in THEIR eyes – that causes them to take offense. Because they are not willing to look at that beam, they will claim that you do not have a right to offend them. The reason is that they know they cannot control themselves when they are offended. They know they cannot refrain from using violence, and they know violence is wrong. So if they can stop you from saying anything that offends them, they can pretend like the beam in their eye is not there. Yet this is a false peace that is no peace.
My point is that when you have free speech, you DO have the right to say something that offends others. The propensity for people to take offense cannot and should never be the measure of how you should exercise your free speech. You have a right to provoke in order to make a problem visible so that people can be forced to look at the beam in their own eyes.
The problem here is that most people do not understand the basic function of free speech, so let me explain it point by point:
- A substantial portion of human conflict springs from a lack of mutual respect between individuals or groups of people.
- Lack of respect most often springs from a lack of understanding.
- Lack of understanding most often springs from a lack of communication.
- In the past, the means of communication were primitive and thus made communication between different cultures difficult. Modern technology has removed this barrier, so the problem is generally that the two groups of people do not want to communicate.
- The refusal to communicate most often springs from a misunderstanding that causes the parties to break off communication.
- When you are not communicating openly, you cannot know what other people think or feel, so people resort to making assumptions.
- Assumptions often lead to negative feelings – people suspect the worst – and this leads to a build-up of tension.
- Because there is no open communication, there is no way to peacefully diffuse the tension. Thus, the tension keeps mounting until a flash-point is reached and violence breaks out.
- If you look at human history, you will find a nauseating amount of examples of how this process has created a negative, self-reinforcing spiral between two groups of people, leading with stark inevitability to violence and war.
Democracy was an attempt by the ascended masters to give humankind a tool to create and maintain a form of government that is not based on force, so that a small elite cannot as easily – or at least not forcefully – suppress the general population (as you see in most non-democratic forms of government). Yet for a democracy to work, there must be a peaceful way to avoid the build-up of tension between various groups in the population and also between separate countries.
The tool for avoiding a negative spiral of mounting tension leading to violence is free speech, which gives people the opportunity to avoid a break-down in communication so they can release tension peacefully. Obviously, there is no guarantee that people will use their free speech, but at least they have the opportunity to do so, and that is why a democratic society should NEVER allow any factor to limit free speech. Once you start limiting free speech, you increase the likelihood of a break-down in communications, and thus you WILL see tension mounting in society.
This is precisely what has happened with the influx of Muslim immigrants in many western nations. Because the threat of violence has made Islam a virtual taboo in the media, greater understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims has been blocked. This has led to an increase in tension, and the riots in France are just the beginning of what will happen unless the negative spiral is broken. The ONLY way to peacefully break the spiral is to establish FREE and open communication. The cartoon controversy is a perfect opportunity to do this. It remains to be seen whether people, the media and governments will make use of it.
Kim: What about the argument that having free speech does not give you the right to offend anyone? Some people say that if you use your free speech indiscriminately – or with a deliberate attempt to offend – you are not decreasing tension, you are increasing it. And they will say that the Muslim reaction to the cartoons proves their point.
Jesus: As I said above, having free speech means that you have the right to say absolutely anything—even if it offends other people. It is perfectly true that saying something that offends others can increase tension in the short run. Yet in the long run it is the ONLY opportunity for decreasing tension by building greater understanding.
Let us look at a practical scenario. I exercise my free speech and say something that offends you. Since I am not a bad person, I did not say this deliberately to offend you. I said it because I did not realize that it would offend you, and the cause is that I do not understand you. I do not understand you because I have not communicated with you.
We now have a positive and a negative potential. The ideal outcome is that you exercise YOUR free speech by telling me how you were offended by what I said. When I realize that you were offended, I am naturally concerned. I am willing to modify my behavior to avoid offending you. Yet to do this, I need to understand how you feel, so I respond back with an apology and express my desire to understand you better. You, likewise, have a desire to understand why I said what I said, and thus we engage in an open dialogue that leads us to understand each others viewpoints. This leads to mutual respect, and we can now live as better neighbors than before.
My point is that before the incident, there was little or no communication and thus little understanding. The incident may have increased tension in the short run, but the long-term outcome is a decrease of tension. By freely communicating, we have broken the ice and have created mutual respect. FREE speech has worked for us because we both made use of it freely.
Obviously, there are many less than ideal scenarios. One is that you are offended but refuse to communicate that to me, so you withdraw. Thus, you do not increase your understanding of me and resort to making assumptions. I know you are mad at me, but I don’t know why, so I start making assumptions. We now have the beginning of a negative spiral of mounting tension. Free speech has not worked, but the reason is that we have not been wiling to exercise it. This is not a fault in the principle of free speech but a fault in our use of it.
Another scenario is that you respond to my insult with another insult and so the spiral of tension is created instantly, with insult leading to insult leading to violence, murder and mayhem. This is precisely the pattern you have seen in the Middle East for thousands of years, and as I said in our previous discussion, it is high time to expose it so that people can see this beam in their own eyes.
This brings us back to the question of – given the situation as it is – whether it was wise or necessary to publish the cartoons. I have already answered this in our first discussion, but let me relate this to free speech. If the newspaper had published the cartoons with a deliberate intent to inflame tension and anger in the Muslim world, then I would say it would have been an unwise use of free speech. I would still defend the paper’s right to deliberately insult Muslims, because this is one of the inevitable effects of free speech. Yet I would have said that the paper had clearly violated the Golden Rule.
In the actual case, the paper had understood that the mounting tension between Muslims and non-muslims in Denmark and other European nations had reached a dangerous level. The paper also understood that the real problem was that the people, governments and media did not feel free to openly discuss issues related to Islam. Islam had become a taboo in modern Europe, as Catholicism was a taboo in medieval Europe.
The problem we have is that many Muslims are as unwilling to question or debate their religion as are many fundamentalist Christians. Thus, it is very difficult to approach them openly. What can break the stalemate? In western culture, you see many examples of how governments, large companies or other organizations have been unwilling to openly discuss their actions. Yet the press has often used satire to point out the inconsistent viewpoints and hypocritical actions, and this has often – in the long run – led to a more open dialogue and a decrease of tension.
Again, look at how Ghandi used non-violent means to force the British empire to face the beam in their own eyes. Sure, this increased tension in the short run, but the only option for not increasing tension in the short run was total submission to British rule. Can there be any doubt that western colonialism had been outrun by the wheel of time and had to stop? Can there be any doubt today that Ghandi’s actions decreased tension in the long run and prevented a more violent confrontation that could have led to many more deaths?
As I said in our first discussion, Muslims are behind the wheel of time, and their approach to religion MUST change if we are to avoid World War III. The attitude of Muslims will change ONLY if they come to see the beam in their own eyes. They MUST be made to see that it is hypocrisy to claim that Islam is a peaceful religion and then use Islam to justify responding with violence to any provocation. This will happen only if something can make their hypocrisy so obvious that they finally see it and decide to do something about it. And because they have closed their minds to open dialogue, only a provocation has any chance of breaking the stalemate.
History has many examples of how it took a strong provocation to bring a situation to the point, where the hypocritical actions of a group of people became so obvious that they finally saw it (or that the rest of society saw it and brought about a change). I deliberately provoked the scribes, Pharisees, money changers and temple priests. They killed me for it, but if you have vowed to be an instrument for positive world change, you must be willing to run a risk in order to help people see the beam in their eyes.
So, once again, even though the cartoons have created a seeming increase in tension, the reality is that they have only made more visible what was already lurking right under the surface. The “peace” between Muslims and the rest of the world is a false peace. This will not change until Muslims finally see that Islam IS a religion of peace and that their tendency to take offense and react with violence (using religion to justify it) is in DIRECT violation of the laws of Allah. Thus, some of the current “laws” spring from an Islamic tradition that has deviated from the true teachings of the Koran.
The cartoons provided Muslims with the perfect opportunity to prove that Islam is a peaceful religion and that they are peaceful people. The violent reaction to a non-violent provocation has caused many Muslims to see that things need to change. It remains to be seen whether the moderate, open-minded Muslims will have an impact on the debate or whether they will continue to let the extremists define the western image of Islam.
It is a cornerstone of free speech that you have the right to provoke others with the intent to bring about a change in an untenable situation.
Some people would say that offending the very core of Islam is not the best way to start a dialogue with Muslims. And they are right. It is not the best way, but in the present situation it is virtually the ONLY way. As I have said, there is an increasing tension between Muslim culture and western culture. This is especially true in many European nations with sizable Muslim populations. Because there has been no free communication, tension has been steadily increasing. There has been no communication because neither side has been willing to face certain issues in themselves, and thus it was easier to ignore the problem, hoping it would go away.
The ONLY possibility for easing the tension peacefully is to establish direct and open dialogue where all the taboos have been neutralized. Neither side was willing to do this voluntarily, so what could force them to do so? A handful of Danish newspaper editors and cartoonists became the unwitting instruments for giving people the opportunity to face the urgent need for open dialogue. For all reasonable people, this situation should have demonstrated the need for dialogue beyond any doubt.
Let me focus on the situation with Muslim immigrants in Europe. The ONLY long-term peaceful solution is that Muslims become integrated into European culture without losing their Muslim faith and their Arab identity (I do not mean national identity). For this to happen, there has to be a give-and-take on both sides. What do Muslims have to give in order to be able to live peacefully in modern Europe?
If Muslims expect European society to voluntarily turn itself back to the 16th century, they are simply out of touch with reality. Thus, Muslims need to face their fear of change, their fear of the modern world. This fear has been focused around the Muslim religion, and as I said in our first discussion, many people use their religion to justify not having to change themselves. The approach that many Muslims have is characterized by the following:
- Our religion is the only true one. All non-believers will go to hell.
- Our religion is infallible and thus above questioning. The result is that the leaders of Islam can hide behind this veil of infallibility as did medieval Catholic leaders. Even political leaders can hide and prevent or delay political changes in their nations. Modern Islam is serving to uphold an outdated political system, as did the Catholic Church in the middle ages.
- Any offense of our religion is an offense against God, and thus it is the ultimate offense.
- The ultimate offense justifies and even necessitates the ultimate response. Thus, it is justified and necessary to kill those who offend our God. In fact, our God will reward us for doing so.
Muslims need to see that not only is this attitude out of touch with the true teachings of the Koran, it is also out of touch with the times. Obviously, medieval Catholics had the exact same attitude, which is how they justified the Crusades and the Inquisition. Yet Europeans left this approach to religion behind centuries ago, and if Muslims in Europe don’t do the same, they will have no chance of integrating peacefully—and thus they should leave.
Muslims in Europe also need to be willing to adapt to modern European culture. You cannot realistically expect to move to another country and have the people of that country adapt to your lifestyle and beliefs. If you are not willing to adapt, you should leave that country. Incidentally, Muslims could learn a lesson from the Jews.
Before World war II, there were tensions between Jews and non-Jews in many European nations. This was the responsibility of both sides. Many Jews were reluctant to adapt to their new countries, and the people in those countries were intolerant and not willing to accommodate outsiders. In no European country was there an open and free dialogue about this problem, so there was no way to peacefully release the tension. This lead to the inevitable flash point, which occurred in Germany with the results most people accept as historical fact.
After the war, both Jews and non-Jews changed their attitudes and became much more willing to adapt and accommodate. As a result there is little tension between Jews and non-Jews in most European nations. This is in large part due to the fact that the European Jews have been willing to adapt while still honoring their Jewish heritage and practicing their Jewish religion. However, many of them do not see themselves first as Jews living in, say Denmark. They see themselves as Danes who happen to be of Jewish origin and practitioners of the Jewish religion. Thus, they can better relate to the other Danes who happen to be white and practicing – or not practicing – the Christian religion.
The only thing that prevents Muslim immigrants from becoming integrated in a similar manner is the willingness of both Muslims and non-Muslims to accommodate each other, which must begin with dialogue. In the case of the Jews, it took the Holocaust to make both sides more willing to live together. I hope it will not take another war to make Muslims and non-Muslims come to the same point.
In terms of Europeans, I already stated in our first discussion that they need to face their own intolerance. Yet they also need to face their unwillingness to openly debate certain issues, and one of them is religion. It is true that the intimidation factor of Muslim terrorism has made many Europeans reluctant to debate Islam. But beyond that many Europeans are reluctant to openly debate any issue relating to religion.
Many European nations have taken secularism so far that religion itself has become a taboo in public debate. Many Europeans are so non-religious or anti-religious that they are greatly intimidated by Muslims who openly practice their faith and put their religious beliefs first in life. Europeans think this is medieval and that they are above it because they are so sophisticated and modern. Yet they are not willing to look at the obvious fallout of secularization. This has led to a special form of religious intolerance. Instead of being intolerant of those who belong to ANOTHER religion, many Europeans are intolerant of those who belong to ANY religion.
The fact is that Europe has removed the religious fanaticism of the middle ages, which is clearly a step in the right direction. Yet people have not replaced it with anything, and the result is that they are now stuck in a vacuum. The positive side of religion – or rather spirituality – is that it provides people with a sense of meaning and purpose that reaches beyond themselves. When people do not have this, they become entirely self-centered, and their personal lives quickly deteriorate into boredom and a sense of having no purpose and meaning. This leads to depression and escapism, which is responsible for a substantial part of the rising social problems in Europe, such a mental illness, depression, substance abuse, broken marriages and families, et-cetera.
Because of secularism, European governments have so far failed to address the core of this problem. I can assure you that the problem has no human solution. The ONLY solution is a spiritual solution, yet no European government can address this problem without finding a more balanced approach to spirituality and its role in society. Dealing with the Muslim immigrants actually provides Europeans an opportunity to move in this direction.
It would be completely unrealistic for Europeans to expect that Muslim immigrants would abandon their religion and become as non-religious as many Europeans. So Europeans simply have to – from the government down – become more tolerant of religious expression in their society. For example, there is no need to ban religious head dresses in public schools in order to maintain the separation of church and state. This is simply secular fanaticism pitted against religious fanaticism.
Kim: So are you saying that if a society has free speech, people should be allowed to say absolutely anything, even incite violence and hatred? For example, in several Europeans nations, resident Muslims demonstrated against the cartoons and some carried banners encouraging terrorist attacks as a retaliation. Some people say the police should have arrested them for inciting hatred, which is illegal in several nations.
Jesus: I will defend the right of these Muslims to say whatever they want in a – peaceful – demonstration, just as I will defend the Danish newspaper’s right to publish cartoons that depict the prophet Mohammed. What I will not defend is anyone’s right to take their so-called protests beyond the level of using words to where they actually attack other people or burn embassies. If a society has free speech and you say something I don’t like, then I can use my free speech to protest or counteract what you are saying. If I go beyond speaking out and start acting out, I have crossed an essential line.
It is a fact that many people in the West have not fully understood what it means to have and maintain a free society. They fall prey to the age-old rationale that the ends can justify the means, a rationale that springs from the mind of anti-christ. Thus, such people reason that in order to preserve freedom, it is necessary and justified for a government to restrict freedom. This is both true and untrue. It is necessary to restrict people’s freedom to act. But it is not necessary to restrict people’s freedom to think or speak.
There is a fundamental difference between saying that you will do something and actually doing it. If I attack you physically, I have violated your free will because you had no option to choose to avoid my attack. You cannot choose to make my actions undone because my actions have an unerasable physical effect. (However, you can choose to prevent my actions from starting a negative spiral of revenge, which is why I told people to turn the other cheek and forgive seventy times seven.)
If I attack you verbally, you have the option of choosing how you will respond to my words. You can choose to ignore my words as if you had never heard them, thus – in effect – making my words undone or of no effect for you. My actions can affect you without your consent. My words cannot affect you without your consent. You must choose to take offense before my words can affect you.
I agree that having free speech does not mean you have the obligation to offend others. Yet the fact is that Muslims do not have an obligation to take offense. As I said in our first discussion, the true message of the Koran is to rise above the consciousness that takes offense. If you feel offended, you have not fully surrendered to the Will of Allah.
If you do not have the self-control to prevent yourself from taking offense over what I say, then YOU have a problem and YOU must pull that beam from your own eye. It really is that simple.
Kim: So are you saying that a government should allow people to express hatred, even to encourage violence and make threats?
Jesus: If you have people in your country who are ready to use violence, wouldn’t you rather know about it, so you can do something about it before it is too late?
You have a right to say that you will hurt others, but you do not have a right to carry out your threats. The reason is that a free, democratic society MUST give all of its citizens the maximum opportunity to learn their life lessons.
As I explain on this website, planet earth is a schoolroom. People are here to learn a lesson about life, and the ultimate outcome is that they rise above the dualistic, selfish state of consciousness that causes people to give and take offense, thus leading to conflict and violence. As I explain throughout this website, people are imprisoned by their own egos, and humankind is engaged in a process of freeing themselves from the ego and the consciousness of anti-christ.
People can learn the hard way or the easy way. The easy way is when they listen to their spiritual teachers and allow us to guide them to a higher state of consciousness. The hard way is to learn by allowing their own egos to interact with the egos of other people, thus wearing down each others rough edges. People learn by doing something that springs from the ego and then seeing the consequences of their actions in the form of other people’s ego-centered reactions. We might say that people can learn by voluntarily transcending the dualistic, ego-centered state of consciousness or by acting out this state of consciousness until they finally get tired of playing the game of “my ego against the world.”
Yet even when people learn the hard way, there are levels of learning as there are grades in a school. The lowest level is when people commit acts of violence that lead others to take revenge through violence, creating a seemingly endless spiral of violence and revenge. This is what you have seen taking place in the Middle East for thousands of years. And as you can see in the recent demonstrations and embassy burnings, some people in the Middle East are still trapped at this level of learning—they are still in kindergarten.
What has brought civilization forward is that some people have grown tired of learning the hard way, and they have modified their behavior. They are still often acting from the ego and their actions conflict with the egos of other people. Yet they have restrained their egos to – in most situations – avoid violence. They have learned to turn the other cheek to certain offenses. In many cultures this has largely broken the spirals of violence and revenge, which is the only reason democracy could emerge as a viable form of government. As long as people are still too prone to violence, only a totalitarian form of government has the ruthlessness to restrain them.
As I explain elsewhere, there are cycles in the spiritual growth of humankind, and this planet is in the process of leaving one cycle and entering the next. The most important lesson people should have learned over the past 2,000 year cycle was to respond to offenses without violence—by turning the other cheek. In the cultures where there is less violence, most people have learned that lesson to some degree.
The cultures that have not yet risen above the old ways, need to catch up quickly, and that is why extreme measures are called for in helping them see the need to change. Because too many Muslims still have not learned to turn the other cheek, it is necessary to provoke them into seeing the beam in their own eyes.
Nevertheless, my point is that humankind is entering an age in which they need to use peaceful means to rise above the ego-centered state of consciousness. And freedom of speech, expressed in a free and open debate, is the primary tool that can bring humanity forward. If you look at the world as a whole, you will see a great increase in communication. This is not only due to better technology but also to people’s willingness to talk about issues that were taboos just a few years ago. The cultures that are the most open are generally making the most rapid progress.
Europe is on the forefront of this development, while Muslim cultures are in the rear. Thus, Europeans can help Muslims catch up, and the obvious choice is to start with the many Muslims living in Europe. So far, there has not been sufficient willingness to openly debate the issues – from both sides – but hopefully the cartoon conflict will make it clear that avoiding dialogue is no longer an option.
Kim: Some people will say that if you allow people to openly encourage hatred and make threats, you simply allow tension to increase until it inevitably breaks out in violence. That is why several European nations have made it illegal, for example, to engage in anti-semitic speech. Most people seem to think it is okay to restrict extreme right-wing groups, such as Neo-Nazis. What is your response?
Jesus: As I said 2,000 years ago, you cannot serve two masters. You have to decide whether you want to be a democracy or a totalitarian regime. You cannot be both at the same time, and history has several examples of how trying to mix the two leads to an unsustainable situation. If a totalitarian regime gives people freedom, they will want more and their country moves toward democracy. This is what happened in the Soviet Union, and it is now happening in China and many nations in the Middle East. If a democracy restricts freedom, it will start a slide back toward totalitarianism. That is why the American government’s restriction of civil liberties under the guise of combatting terrorism simply will not stand the test of time—unless America becomes a totalitarian nation.
A democratic nation simply does not have the ruthlessness to use military power to suppress those it considers to be dangerous. If a democratic government seeks to take such power, it transform itself into a totalitarian regime. My point is that in a democracy, freedom of speech – no matter how it is executed – must never be seen as a threat to peace. On the contrary, it is the primary safety valve that can preserve peace.
Let us look at a concrete example. Most European nations have not healed the wounds left by World War II and the Holocaust. It is therefore understandable that such nations do not want to see the emergence of a Neo-Nazi movement that openly encourages the killing of Jews and the destruction of the state of Israel. Yet let us now recognize the fact that a small number of people in some European nations have become fascinated by the Nazi ideology. What is the best way to respond?
Some nations try to do nothing, but history has proven that ignoring a problem will not make it go away. Others try to actively suppress Neo-Nazis, but the inevitable effect is that they simply become more determined and organized. This has been proven by the resistance movements seen in many totalitarian regimes around the world. And when people are suppressed, society cannot as easily keep track of what they are doing. Furthermore, when you suppress people, tension grows and sooner or later you have a flash point.
The wiser course of action is to realize that it is a free government’s responsibility to help all of its citizens come to a higher understanding of life, meaning that they give up extremist viewpoints of any kind. So if some people begin to espouse a Neo-Nazi ideology, a government should try to understand why they are attracted to such a belief system. Obviously, they must feel dissatisfied with their society and its form of government yet powerless to do anything about it. Yet while the Nazi’s in WWII Germany might have been your enemies, these people are your own citizens and a free government should never see its own citizens as enemies. Since a free government cannot violently suppress such people, it needs to help them voluntarily give up their extremist views. One aspect of this is to allow FREE speech to do its work.
Allow such people to operate openly and say whatever they want to say. At the say time you allow those who oppose them to say what they want to say. The result is that the Neo-Nazis will say things that will offend many people. This gives these people an opportunity to consider why they are offended by such statements. And as people freely express their opinion about the Neo-Nazis, they get the opportunity to consider why they are so abhorrent to most people. The free expression of ideas will not actually create tension but will bring out whatever tension is already lurking under the calm surface. And by making it visible, people can easier see what they need to address in their nation. At least, this raises the potential of long-term progress for everyone. Seeking to suppress what is already there will only increase the lurking tension until an explosion occurs. Incidentally, such unresolved tension is what lead to the Nazi’s coming to power in pre-war Germany.
My point is that allowing free speech to work has the potential to lead to open dialogue, and this can lead to mutual understanding. People generally take extremist views because they feel they are not understood by their society. When people feel such understanding, they often moderate their views and enter the political process in a peaceful and more balanced way.
Kim: Yet some people say that if you allow Muslims to stage public demonstrations where they incite violence, they will gradually build a tension that will lead to actual violence. So they say a government’s only option is to suppress all demonstrations that incite violence and hatred.
Jesus: Most Europeans clearly see that Muslim extremists are fanatical, so they need to be very careful not to engage in any kind of fanaticism themselves. The core of fanaticism is black-and-white thinking. You think that in any given situation, there are only two possible options – one bad and one worse – and you have to choose one. In other words, either you prevent Muslims from having free expression – which is bad – or you have mayhem and chaos – which is worse. Such beliefs are always based on blindness, where people are blinded by the beam in their own eyes and thus do not see what would otherwise have been obvious. They do not see that there are always more options than bad and worse.
In this case, many Europeans subconsciously realize that the influx of Muslims has created a need for THEM to change. Yet because they are unwilling to do so, they simply want the problem to go away. Once again, the problem is that you cannot serve two masters. You need to decide that you either do not allow any Muslim immigrants into your country (and deport those already there) or that you will do whatever it takes to help these Muslims integrate peacefully into your society. Most European nations are trying to allow Muslim immigrants without truly integrating them, and that is why you see mounting tension.
So how can you overcome this? By encouraging Muslims to take part in the political process, the public debate and every other aspect of a free society. Encourage Muslims to organize and create organizations that can interact with the government, with the media and with other organizations. These organizations can then voice immigrant concerns and negotiate solutions in cooperation with the government. They can put on a face to the press and this will help Muslims clarify their viewpoints while getting feedback from the media and the people in the host country.
Why do people stage demonstrations and shout for violence? Because they are frustrated and feel they cannot be heard or understood in any other way. So by encouraging dialogue, you will get the moderate, open-minded Muslims to join this process. And by allowing free expression, you will allow the extremist Muslims to make themselves visible. Thus, the moderate Muslims will separate themselves from the extremists, and you can now deal with the extremists without lumping the moderates in with them.
Incidentally, most of the Muslim extremists in Europe are NOT political refugees fleeing suppressive governments. They are violent, fanatical extremists, and if they are not willing to join a peaceful, democratic process in their new country, that country has a right to deport them. You can’t deport your own citizens, but you CAN deport immigrants who have no desire for peaceful integration in your country.
Kim: Some Muslims have pointed out that several European nations have defended the publishing of the cartoons as a free speech issue, while these same nations have made it illegal to make anti-semitic statements or say the Holocaust did not take place. The Muslims say this is hypocritical. Would you agree?
Jesus: Certainly, although hearing a Muslim accuse others of being hypocrites is an example of seeing the splinter in your brother’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own. You will indeed see Muslims who say that western governments should have restricted the newspapers from publishing the cartoons, because that is what would have been done in most Muslim nations.
Nevertheless, if the messenger be an ant, heed him and there is truth in such statements. You cannot allow people to speak freely on one issue while restricting their speech on another issue. There can be no restrictions to FREE speech in a FREE society. If speech is not free, the society cannot be free either.
Kim: So what do you think about the fact that in many nations people cannot speak freely about Jews, homosexuals, blacks or other minorities. For example, if you say anything remotely critical about the state of Israel, some people will immediately label you as anti-semitic. How does that affect free speech?
Jesus: It obviously restricts free speech, and people need to be on guard against ALL such taboos, no matter how subtle they are or how well-founded they might seem.
You know very well that I have made some remarks on this website that some people have labeled anti-semitic. You know I have made some remarks about homosexuality that some have labeled homophobic. If such labels become widely accepted in a society, they will undermine free speech in a very subtle and very dangerous way.
As one example, let us look at the Jews. It is perfectly true that the Jewish people have been subjected to much persecution, culminating in the Holocaust. Yet the fact that the Jewish people were persecuted by the Nazis in the past does not mean that all Jews have been elevated to the status of infallibility for all eternity. Jews are still human beings and are subject to the same laws and standards as all other human beings on this planet. If you set Jews apart, you simply continue the consciousness that caused the persecution of Jews in the first place and this will only lead to more persecution.
My point is that Jews are as prone to making mistakes as are other people. So if the politicians in Israel make mistakes, such as by continuing to respond to violence with more violence, then the international community has a right and a duty to criticize them. If nations refrain from doing so because they are afraid of being labeled anti-semitic, you create a dangerous situation. If people can exercise power without accountability, you will inevitably see the abuse of power and this goes for the state of Israel as well. There is no doubt that the state of Israel has gotten away with things because the international community is reluctant to criticize it. This is a major factor in making it impossible to create true peace between Israel and its neighbors—who clearly see what many nations in the West are unwilling to see. Thus, many Arab countries are correct when they point out that many western countries have a double standard in dealing with Israel.
However, there is a bigger issue here that goes to the very core of free speech. If you look at history, you will see that there is an ongoing battle between a small elite and the general population. This can be seen in every culture and in every historical period. There is always a small elite who is seeking unlimited power and privilege, and they do so by using whatever means available to suppress the general population. For those who want to know the spiritual cause of this, I explain it elsewhere.
In a totalitarian regime, the power elite can use physical force to suppress the population, but knowledge is still power. That is why every totalitarian regime on this planet has attempted to keep the population ignorant by suppressing the free flow of information and freedom of speech. Ask yourself why a regime with the formidable military power of the former Soviet Union and present-day China finds it necessary to suppress information. The reason is that the power elite always fears the truth, because the truth WILL eventually set the people free from the power elite.
It is extremely naive to assume – as most people do – that in a democratic nation there is no power elite. The democratic world still has a power elite, but because it no longer has military power, it has been driven largely underground. It can now operate only by staying hidden from the general population. I am going to make it very clear that I do not support most of the conspiracy theories out there. There isn’t one worldwide conspiracy to suppress the population—at least not in the material world.
Instead, there are a number of power elite groups who are fighting with each other to attain power and privilege. And it is an undeniable fact that a free, democratic society also gives freedom to such groups, because it assumes that its citizens have good intentions and support the democratic freedoms. Therefore, a democratic society is inherently vulnerable to those who seek to misuse democratic freedoms to gain power and privilege. Ignoring this fact will eventually threaten the survival of a democracy.
How can a power elite gain power and privilege in a democratic society? By misusing its freedom to undermine the freedom of the general population. For example, all people can vote, but they can only vote for the candidates that are running. If a country has allowed a system where only people with a lot of money can wage an effective political campaign, the power elite can select who can run for office. Another example is the ownership of the media. The press in a democratic nation is supposedly free to print anything it wants, but how free is it? If a commercial newspaper depends on advertising from large corporations, how willing is it to print something damaging to one or more of its essential advertisers? How willing is a paper to challenge the power and privilege of those who own it?
Yet there is a bigger issue. Although there are competing power elites, they all share the same basic goal. A democracy is a form of society that gives – or is meant to give – all people the same rights and opportunity. Thus, we might say that a democracy is designed to prevent a power elite from taking power and privileges over the general population. Therefore, all power elite groups share an interest in undermining the principles that guarantee equal rights.
From the very birth of the first democracy, there has been an effort by various groups to undermine and even destroy democracy. In modern western society, this has taken two main directions:
Most democratic constitutions take their inspiration from the Declaration of Independence. This document was inspired by the ascended masters, and its central concept is that all people are created equal and that their Creator has given them certain INALIENABLE rights. The essence of this is that there is an authority that is above and beyond any authority on earth—meaning any power elite group. Thus, no institution on earth has the right to take away or restrict the rights given to ALL people by this super-earthly authority.
It should be possible for perceptible people to see that if the belief in and respect for the existence of a super-earthly authority declines, then the justification for the concept of inalienable rights fades with it. In a completely secular society, such as communist China, it is taken as granted that human rights are defined by the state, meaning an institution here on earth. In other words, rights are defined by an earthly institution rather than being given by an authority above and beyond the human power struggle. In practicality, this means that the ruling power elite defines the rights of the general population.
My point is that it is an undeniable fact that a completely secular democracy simply cannot survive for very long. It is inevitable that a power elite will erode the inalienable rights of the people until the people’s rights are now defined by the power elite.
The ascended masters clearly support the move away from the doctrinal, fanatical approach to religion in the middle ages. Yet we do not support the current situation in Europe where people live in a spiritual vacuum and where governments take pride in removing all influence of religious principles from government. This is not sustainable, and unless people embrace a new, universal spirituality, European democracy will continue its decline until it is democracy by name only.
The concept of inalienable rights implies that it is possible to evaluate human behavior in terms of absolute right and wrong. If you violate the God-given rights of another person, your actions are wrong in an absolute sense and a democratic society has no obligation to tolerate them.
Yet one of the cornerstones of democracy is that a society is obligated to give its citizens the greatest possible amount of freedom, and this necessitates that people have a high degree of tolerance for each other’s differences. For example, a democracy must guarantee religious freedom, meaning that it cannot allow one religion to dominate society, as the Catholic Church did in the middle ages.
Over the past several decades, most western democracies have been exposed to a deliberate and planned attempt at social engineering. This is a very subtle attempt to misuse the concept of tolerance in order to subvert the respect for inalienable rights. By using some of the worst atrocities from history, such as the Inquisition and the Holocaust, certain power elite groups have gradually raised up tolerance as the overriding ideal for a free society.
The effect is that – in the name of tolerance – the majority has been engineered not to speak out against the behavior of any minority group, even if that minority is actually violating the inalienable rights of the majority, thus undermining democracy itself. In the name of tolerance, society has been moved toward a state where anything goes and there is no higher standard for evaluating behavior. Everything is defined by human beings—meaning the ruling power elite.
The net effect of these two factors is an undermining of the democratic principle of protecting the majority from an aggressive power elite. If anything goes, then the bullies have free reign to intimidate those who are not aggressive people. This has far-reaching consequences, but let me focus on the issue of free speech.
As I said above, the power elite can only maintain power and privilege by curbing free speech. They want to set themselves up as a privileged group whose actions and power cannot be questioned or gainsaid. They are in a separate class than the majority, they are above the law and can do whatever they want because they belong to the elite.
The combined effect of secularization and tolerance has undermined free speech in subtle, but highly significant, ways. If you speak out against the behavior of certain minority groups, you will immediately be labeled as being intolerant, and you will be accused of being anti-semitic, racist, homophobic, chauvinist or any other number of labels.
The effect of this is that many people in democratic nations – media people, elected leaders and citizens – have been intimidated into remaining silent when minority groups violate the inalienable rights of other minority groups or the majority. In other words, certain aggressive people can now get away with openly misusing their democratic freedoms to limit the freedoms of others.
Let me give a concrete example. If you say that all Jews are bad and should be wiped off the face of the earth, you are making a general statement against another group of people, lumping all of them together under one label. This clearly demonstrates prejudice and intolerance on your part. It is understandable that others would call you anti-semitic, and it is understandable that you would receive a strong reaction from society at large. Yet if you say that the Israeli prime minister is wrong for ordering a missile attack that kills Palestinian children in response to a suicide bombing by Hamas, then you are not making a generalization of the Jewish people. You are commenting on the specific behavior of specific individuals, and it is incidental that they are Jewish. You are not intolerant of Jews, you are rightfully speaking out against behavior that is wrong according to an absolute standard.
Yet if you are still labeled as anti-semitic and receive a strong condemnation from your society, then you will be reluctant to speak out the next time the Israeli government violates the inalienable rights of its neighbors. Thus, this government has now become a power elite group that cannot be questioned or gainsaid, meaning that they can – in effect – bully the international community.
The bottom line is this. It is not intolerant to speak out against specific actions of specific people. Being intolerant of actions that violate inalienable rights and universal principles does not deserve to be labeled as intolerance. If people are afraid to speak out against the violation of rights and the misuse of democratic freedoms, then those freedoms will quickly be lost for the majority and will now be enjoyed only by the elite who is willing to bully the majority into silence.
My point here is that it is an absolute necessity that people in a free society are alert against all attempts to undermine their democratic freedoms. Free speech is essential for a democracy because it is the only peaceful means for stopping a downward spiral that leads to the loss of freedom. If people are not willing to speak out against ANY restrictions of free speech, they will lose that right and with it all democratic rights.
Another important issue is that the present situation effectively blocks the only possible solution to the current crisis in western democracies, namely that people find a new approach to the role of spirituality in their personal lives and in society. This requires people to be completely free to talk about spiritual and religious issues, which is not currently the case. In the middle ages, the Catholic power elite prevented people from being free to talk about religion. In today’s world the secularist and scientific power elites prevent people from talking freely about spirituality. This form of thought control must be overthrown before modern democracies can move to the next logical phase of their development.
Most people think a democracy is such an easy form of government and once you have it, it could never be lost. Yet for the foreseeable future, democracy can survive only if people are willing to defend it against the power elites who will continue to undermine it as long as they are allowed to embody on this planet.
Freedom means that you are FREE from DOMination. It does not mean that you are FREE to DOMinate others. Yet you can maintain freedom from domination only by being vigilant against those who seek to use their freedom to dominate you.
Yet in doing so, you should not fall prey to the temptation to label certain groups as a power elite. You should speak out only against specific behavior of specific people or groups without making sweeping and judgmental generalizations. Not all powerful or rich people belong to or support a power elite.
Kim: What do you think about the Iranian newspaper that has created a contest for cartoonists to create cartoons about the Holocaust?
Jesus: It is a potentially clever response. As I have said, there can be no restrictions of free speech, so this is a way to test whether western media has a double standard. Are there any holy cows in western free speech?
However, there is one obvious condition. Since the Iranian paper is doing this in response to the Mohammed cartoons, they must be willing to print these cartoons. If they will not do so, they are demonstrating that THEY are hypocrites with a double standard.
Thus, the ideal response from western media would be, “Sure, we will publish your Holocaust cartoons—if you publish our Mohammed cartoons.”
Copyright © 2008 by Kim Michaels