“Shut Up.” He Explained. – Ring Lardner
I’ve noticed something worse than usual about the Left of late. They are more brazen and ham-handed in their efforts to silence their detractors. They don’t outwit or out-debate them. They just explain that the debate is over before it is ever really allowed to commence in the first place.
How does one identify defamatory speech in Post-modern America? A Hustler Magazine parody ad depicting the Reverend Jerry Falwell getting drunk and losing his virginity to his mom in an outhouse was considered “course but acceptable parody.” A Mark Steyn blog post at National Review Online, which accused Michael Mann of being “The Jerry Sandusky of Climate Science,” is the gravamen of a lawsuit. Does the definition of defamatory include all written words that disagree with a leading pop-scientist? Apparently this is the case.
Political humor aside, we are currently seeing the unfortunate resonance of two societal trends produce the negative externality of a renewed attack against freedom of expression. The Post-modern Left has become Purificationist in spirit and intent. They are essentially engaged in a secular crusade or jihad to annihilate all ideas that do not conform to their view of the world. In the abstract, this is not such a bad thing. Seriously. Would you want to buy a car from Toyota or Ford if they were not both doing their level best to annihilate GM and Honda? Intellectual competition is good. The problem occurs when the means of winning these competitions have no bearing on the validity or decency of the ideas being championed. This brings us to our second of the two trends.
American Jurisprudence has adopted laws against libel and slander as a form of societal improvement. It’s meant to enforce a level of civility and pacifism. Before one gentleman could sue another one for libel or slander, the only available remedy for slighted honor was to demand satisfaction. The gentleman and his opponent would choose seconds, arrange a meet-up and settle it with cocked pistols or bared steel. The libel and slander laws became problematic when they became used as a ban-hammer to shout down anyone who disagreed with your particular strain of opinion. At this point, they become useful to Progressive Purificationists. They can use them to help invoke what has been euphemistically dubbed Soft Totalitarianism.
What does soft totalitarianism mean? First, it means that any dissent with be met with destruction of your livelihood. The only people with true free speech will be billionaires, because they do not require income. Anyone else who speaks up will be driven out of his job; anyone who aids him will be driven out of her job. Anyone who speaks up in her defense will be driven out of his job, in turn. You are the diseased monkey, and the only permissible act is to throw stones at you. We have un-done civilization itself and reverting to witch hunts and lynch mobs.
This abuse of the standards of decency that under-gird decent and salutary libel and slander statutes is a way in which society is undone. Libel is no longer deliberately false speech – it is simply any speech that harshly disagrees. This lapse of standards helps fuel the fires used for events like the Brandon Eich witch-burning. This trend must be fought because the ideology behind it calls for the fundamental destruction of the moral and philosophical basis of the American Nation.
The Tennessee State Legislature has recently felt compelled to pass a law protecting the Freedom of Religion for students in state schools. This seems ridiculous. We have a 1st Amendment Thingy that already does that. However, the exception seems to be anyone who deigns to practice or proselytize Christianity. An article in The Atlantic describes how this works below.
“Anger has been building up on both sides,” said Haynes. “On the conservative Christian side, they see this as being used to inappropriately hush up kids. But the reality is that this speech does trigger a lot of emotion, and for some people on [the other] side, we’ve come to a place where kids talking about homosexuality being sinful [is considered] unacceptable in public schools.” One of the big questions is how to define bullying in the first place. “To say that homosexuality is a sin is not bullying,” said Mathew Staver, the founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, which helped craft similar legislation in Texas. “You can’t make a litmus test that certain words or viewpoints aren’t protected by the Constitution.” Haynes agreed that it can be difficult to establish the difference between harassment and free speech. “In the name of stopping what all of us are against—bullying—some groups want to censor religious convictions,” he said.
So the desire “not to bully” or “not to defame anyone” becomes a cynical fulcrum point to attack the fundamental freedom of expression of anyone who holds any point of view that offends the Liberal Catechisms. If you don’t believe the Federal Government should control all of the grazing land West of The Pecos and are willing to oppose their ham-handed attempts to shut you down, you are a domestic terrorist. If you disagree with Michael Mann and ridicule his obsession with Global Warming, you are practicing defamatory speech*.
If you donate money to non-Left-Wing-Approved political activities like Brandon Eich did, your career must be !BUUURRRRNEDDD! to the ground. If you believe the Bible is God’s truth and refuse to recant the rather blunt and direct sections of 1 Corinthians or Jude that mince no words regarding homosexual fornication, than you are bullying homosexuals. All of these “modifications” to freedom of expression have no place in a society that claims to be open and tolerant.
*-Perhaps if Dr. Mann had gotten the Falwell Treatment, his mother could rightfully file the defamation suit.