Yesterday, while eating lunch, I received news that journalist Steven Sotloff was killed. Although the mass media was refusing to show the video, within about 20 minutes one of my associate producers managed to find what ISIS released to the world. It begins on a brief and color-distorted image of President Obama saying that the United States would fight ISIS, and then cuts to a shot of Sotloff in almost the exact situation James Clay was in only two weeks ago. As soon as I saw it, shivers went down my spine knowing exactly what would happen.
It has been less than 24 hours since I’ve posted that video to the public. Governments and companies are scared to have it be seen. Despite removing the killing (and only showing the speech ISIS forced Sotloff to give) Youtube actually initially pulled the video down as we had received 800 views in mere minutes. Ultimately, I appealed and was able to get the video back online (which has now gotten 50,000 views overnight), but this along with the content of the video show ISIS’s war with liberty.
What is free speech? How governments and individuals around the world would define it may vary. However, a world with a conscience can agree that forcing someone to speak words and opinions other than their own while holding a knife over them doesn’t fit the bill. In doing this, ISIS really killed Sotloff twice. Firstly, they killed his ability as a human to speak for himself, and then they killed his body. I can only imagine what thoughts ran through his mind as he was forced to speak their words, but I’d prefer not to.
They also destroy freedom simply by virtue of their terror. In releasing a video like this, they force companies (that are otherwise very hesitant to self-censor) to instinctively cut down content. My version of the video, which is posted above and did not include the killing, was cut down nearly instantly for violating their policy “violence.” The people tasked with filtering content at Google are not the enemies of speech, they are simply afraid.
Terror itself is the greatest violation of liberty that the world can produce. Terror can cause the world’s companies and governments to restrict their own freedom for safety, while violating people’s rights to their own lives and the right not to be afraid.
Liberty-lovers tend to live according to the non-aggression principle, which expressly forbids initiating force against any person or their property. If every person in the world lived by this, there’d be no need for governments, or retaliation against violence. The world would be at peace. Some would go so far as to describe governments themselves as a form of force against their citizens, so it draws attention to ISIS’s mission to be the “Islamic State.” If they had their way, they’d be a new government of sorts. One perhaps more deadly and brutal than any other. But fear not, they will not have their way. While I tend to be adamantly non-interventionist, they’ve spilled American blood. Their recent video ended with a threat to the life of a British citizen. Particularly with the anniversary of 9/11 approaching, when they try to terrorize western nations in this sensitive time, they will likely be exterminated. It will come at the cost of many lives that didn’t need to be lost, and many freedoms that shouldn’t have been restricted, but they will be crushed. If the “Islamic State” is at war with liberty as their name implies, then perhaps they will make progress towards that goal. If their war is to dominate the world, then they will win nothing.