1 readers online now  |  69 million page views

The real danger: libel laws

Reader comment on item: [Douglas Card and] My Day in Court

Submitted by Irfan Khawaja (United States), Dec 7, 2004 at 15:33

This story is yet another proof that the libel laws should simply be thrown out. If I spread falsehoods about someone, the falsehoods can only harm him if the falsehoods are believed. (Example: If I spread the rumor that Daniel Pipes is really part of a conspiracy based on the planet Neptune, who will that harm--him or me?) But if the harm in a false rumor comes from its being believed (not its falsity per se), why not sue everyone who believes it? The proposterousness of that last outcome shows the preposterousness of the very idea of libel laws. What a waste of time, effort and resources!

Even in this case, who believes that the legal procedure has led to the truth's coming out? For all we actually know, Card could really espouse the beliefs he once espoused, and for all we know, Pipes and Schanzer are not authentically convinced of his retraction. (Pipes very carefully says, "Mr Schanzer and I *said* we were convinced...." That doesn't mean they were convinced in the usual, colloquial sense of that word; it means that they were sufficiently convinced for legal purposes so that the case would be dropped.) The whole thing is a pointless charade. Or rather it has one and only clear purpose: it puts money in the pockets of the lawyers.

Imagine a person who (unlike Pipes and Schanzer) doesn't have the wherewithal to hire a good private attorney, and (unlike Card) doesn't have access to pro-bono representation. If he's accused of libel, what is he supposed to do? Go bankrupt?

Pipes is wrong that "free speech" is alive and well. He only says that because he happened to win this case. And he happened to win it because he's probably got a good attorney. Not true for the rest of us.

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Submitting....

Submit a comment on this item

<< Previous Comment      Next Comment >>

Reader comments (27) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Lawsuits and the left-wing [21 words]Octavio JohansonDec 26, 2004 17:2319135
My Day in Court [186 words]Judith SchechterDec 8, 2004 13:3718935
My Day in Court [31 words]KamathDec 8, 2004 09:5218930
Truth always comes to the surface. [10 words]Mary EdingerDec 8, 2004 09:4418929
Thank you, Mr. Pipes [13 words]Gary GoldsteinDec 8, 2004 09:3118928
"My Day in Court" [29 words]Menahem DunskyDec 8, 2004 08:1618926
Congratulations [97 words]Hari IyerDec 8, 2004 00:4318924
Commenter Irfan Khawaja misses the point [135 words]AlexDec 8, 2004 00:3918923
No need to worry [45 words]Alex SabyDec 7, 2004 23:2718922
Congratulations! [6 words]Harold FoxDec 7, 2004 21:2418921
OUTRAGEOUSLY EXCELLENT WORK! [9 words]JohnDec 7, 2004 20:5618920
Congratulations! [24 words]John W. McGinleyDec 7, 2004 20:1418919
Free speech [108 words]Peter J. HerzDec 7, 2004 19:4918918
Sleight of Hand [172 words]Robin DienstmanDec 7, 2004 19:1818917
Anti-Semitism/Zionism/Israel IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS [535 words]Hinda BlasDec 7, 2004 18:0918914
Hitler and Bush birds of a feather [122 words]Judah Fenton md.Mar 2, 2006 21:0618914
Who are the real baby killers? [112 words]T.A.Dec 7, 2004 17:0818912
Freedom isn't free [55 words]Larry E TooleyDec 7, 2004 16:3818910
The real danger: libel laws [302 words]Irfan KhawajaDec 7, 2004 15:3318908
Lawsuit outcome [19 words]LeeDec 7, 2004 15:1118906
Your Day in Court Was Excellent! [62 words]Dr. Phil CorsonDec 7, 2004 13:0718904
The Jewish Problem, again [44 words]Kenneth S. BesigDec 7, 2004 11:4218902
Good Lawyers? [20 words]Howard VeitDec 7, 2004 11:2618901
Freedom of speech [206 words]Robert KleinDec 7, 2004 10:1218899
My Day in Court [20 words]Joe Halbach,SrDec 7, 2004 09:5918898
Fundamentalist Muslims are poised [79 words]G.BisvasDec 7, 2004 09:4318895
Millions support your work [41 words]Jerry GreenbergDec 7, 2004 09:1318894

Comment on this item

Mark my comment as a response to The real danger: libel laws by Irfan Khawaja

Email me if someone replies to my comment

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

See recent outstanding comments.

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

ADVERTISEMENTS

eXTReMe Tracker

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2019 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)