Shut Up, You Right Wing Extremist Nut
There have been many articles lately about attempts by those on the left to silence their opponents. Jeff Jacoby at the Boston Globe, Peggy Noonan at the Opinion Journal and Victor Davis Hanson at Real Clear Politics, to name three such journalists, claim that the problem that exists is that liberals have been out of office for so long that they have become increasingly angry and frustrated – and that it is this anger and frustration that leads them to try to shut down or shout down any opposing viewpoints than their own.
I disagree. I think the whole history of events since the Communist Manifesto is filled with examples of leftists trying and often succeeding in shutting up anyone who disagrees. I remember my own experience while teaching at Stonehill College, a Catholic and traditional college, but still one where the Liberal Arts Department had been completely taken over by the left, and conservative views were not to be tolerated. One year the college had invited Mike Barnicle to speak at Commencement. This provoked a major protest by Liberal Arts faculty who did not want him to appear – apparently because, even though he is a liberal, he is not liberal enough. I wrote an open letter to faculty stating that a college is one place where different viewpoints should be heard, and that Mr. Barnicle was a famous journalist. I said that the protest was juvenile and should not be undertaken.
This brought a response that “a white, Christian heterosexual should just shut up and let those trying to define themselves set the agenda”, whatever that means. Anyone today who challenges Neodarwinism or global warming on a college campus also does so at the risk of one’s career, because these thoughts do not conform to what is ‘politically correct’ and, of course, are also part of the leftist credo along with abortion on demand and denial of this country’s Christian roots and traditions.
There were some recent common events that prompted the above journalists to speak out. For example, Peggy Noonan in The Opinion Journal (Excerpt):
“At Columbia University, members of the Minutemen, the group that patrols the U.S. border with Mexico and reports illegal crossings, were asked to address a forum on immigration policy. As Jim Gilchrist, the founder, spoke, angry students stormed the stage, shouting and knocking over chairs and tables. "Having wreaked havoc," said the New York Sun, they unfurled a banner in Arabic and English that said, "No one is ever illegal." The auditorium was cleared, the Minutemen silenced. Afterward a student protester told the Columbia Spectator, "I don't feel we need to apologize or anything. It was fundamentally a part of free speech. . . . The Minutemen are not a legitimate part of the debate on immigration."
On Oct. 2, on Katie Couric's "CBS Evening News," in the segment called "Free Speech," the father of a boy killed at Columbine shared his views on the deeper causes of the recent shootings in Amish country. Brian Rohrbough said violence entered our schools when we threw God out of them. "This country is in a moral freefall. For over two generations the public school system has taught in a moral vacuum. . . . We teach there are no moral absolutes, no right or wrong, and I assure you the murder of innocent children is always wrong, including abortion. Abortion has diminished the value of children." This was not exactly the usual mush.
Mr. Rohrbough was quickly informed he was not part of the legitimate debate, either. Howard Kurtz in the Washington Post: "The decision . . . to air his views prompted a storm of criticism, some of it within the ranks of CBS News." A blog critic: Grief makes people say "stupid" things, but "what made them put this man on television?" Good question. How did they neglect to silence him?”
Victor Davis Hanson (Excerpt):
“The Democrats have not elected congressional majorities in 12 years, and they've occupied the White House in only eight of the last 26 years. The left's current unruliness seems a way of scapegoating others for a more elemental frustration - that they can't gain a national majority based on their core beliefs. More entitlements, higher taxes to pay for them, gay marriage, de facto quotas in affirmative action, open borders, abortion on demand, and radical secularism - these liberal issues don't tend to resonate with most Americans.
To compensate, leftist pundits, billionaire philanthropists and politicians, from current officeholders to ex-presidents, work to ensure that isolated moments of Republican ineptness (George Bush strutting on a carrier deck in his flight suit) and wrongdoing (repulsive e-mails from a perverted Congressman Mark Foley) blare out as the only issues of the day. This distracting drumbeat, not their own agenda, is the only strategy for success in the next election….”
And Jeff Jacoby (Excerpt):
“In Seattle, two teachers are suing the affluent Lakeside prep school for illegal racial discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment. ``Among the plaintiffs' complaints," reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, ``was Lakeside's invitation to conservative commentator Dinesh D'Souza to speak as part of a distinguished lecture series." But D'Souza, a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a veteran of the Reagan White House, never gave the lecture: Faculty members opposed to his views howled when he was invited, and the school's headmaster, bowing to the censors, rescinded the invitation.
Asked about the campaign against him, D'Souza had said: ``I am coming to speak on one day. If they think what I am saying is so awful, they have the rest of the year to refute it." But that isn't enough for the enemies of free speech. They insist not only that speakers with politically incorrect opinions be shunned, but that anyone offering them a platform be punished as well.
Then there is ``Grist," an environmental webzine whose staff writer David Roberts recently proposed that global warming skeptics be put on trial like Nazi war criminals.
``When we've finally gotten serious about global warming . . . we should have war crimes trials for these bastards -- some sort of climate Nuremberg," Roberts wrote. Negative publicity led him to recant, but he is far from the only one invoking the Holocaust as a way to silence global warming heretics.
Environmental writer Mark Lynas, for example, puts dissent on climate change ``in a similar moral category to Holocaust denial -- except that this time the Holocaust is yet to come, and we still have time to avoid it. Those who try to ensure we don't will one day have to answer for their crimes." This totalitarian view is taking root everywhere, making skepticism on climate change taboo and subjecting anyone reckless enough to question the global-warming dogma to mockery and demonization. Former vice president Al Gore lumps ``global warming deniers," some of whom are eminent scientists, with the ``15 percent of the population (who) believe the moon landing was actually staged in a movie lot in Arizona" and those who ``still believe the earth is flat."
The silencers are at work in the marketplace of ideas, using hook or crook to smother opinions they dislike. The lust to censor is as powerful as ever. If only liberty's defenders were equally vigilant.”
Leading Democrats have threatened to try again to impose what they call ‘the fairness doctrine’ if they gain control of Congress. If the FCC were to enforce ‘the fairness doctrine’, this would shut down Rush Limbaugh and other political talk shows, because it would require equal time to be given for each side of every issue. Although they talk about fairness, their object is to destroy Rush’s effectiveness and his program. They tried once and failed to remove his program from being broadcast to the military; they are hoping to try a new tack in the near future.