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View Diary: I support Rush Limbaugh's right to freedom of speech (199 comments)

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  •  Legal or not, it's censorship (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, without question, it's constitutional for people to boycott the advertisers of people they disagree with and thus turn the question of who gets the public microphone into a popularity contest among our most politically organized citizens.

    But any student of these issues should know that things like the First Amendment were created precisely to protect minority views against the tyranny of the majority, precisely to keep the right to speak and be heard from becoming a matter of public opinion.

    That the new means of turning the right to speak into a matter of public opinion is based on economic power rather than government power makes no difference. The result is the same -- censorship.

    Nor is this just about the attempt to silence Rush, as those who are engaged in this well know. It's about sending a message to those who might agree with him that they better not speak up either.

    And it's not limited to celebrity shock jocks, whom we all generally feel little sympathy. Recently, the same forces at work against Limbaugh succeeded in driving Pat Buchannan from MSNBC -- a long-time respected commentator (I know, not respected here). Buchannan's views were often xenophobic, paranoid and racist, but that was not the total sum of his views and regardless of the view he expressed he always did so honestly and respectfully.

    And then there are all the lower level public officials, public servants and public figures that get threatened with the loss of their jobs for saying the wrong thing.

    There was the judge -- judge Cebull -- recently who many here demanded resign over a racist email he apparently sent.

    And then there were the sports announcer and headline writer at ESPN who got fired or suspended from their jobs recently because they used a phrase that some people took as racist about Jeremy Lin even though Lin himself said he didn't think it was intentional.

    This stuff doesn't stop with the egregious cases like Limbaugh. It takes on a life of it's own and soon affect everyone and becomes ridiculous.

    Political correctness becomes the demand for the firing of teachers and judges and police officers and virtually anyone who even accidentally has diarrhia of the mouth one day and says something objectionable.

    Political correctness becomes this club that liberal political groups reflexively use to beat people about the head with anytime someone says something they find remotely disagreeable because it's easier to do that than actually engage and debate ideas.

    It is the intellectual and political laziness that comes with power -- even apparently the power of the majority.

    And it's effect is to shut down debate on all kinds of subjects that we really need to have open discussions about because everyone becomes afraid to say what they really think for fear of the consequences that people here apparently want to impose.

    And again, you have the legal right to impose them. But don't kid yourselves about what you're doing. You are not persuading anybody. You are coercing people whose views you don't like into shutting up.

    You are also not changing anything. You are just driving the views you don't like underground where you won't hear them and those who speak them won't hear your response. And there those views will fester like a disease, spreading among and through various groups of friends and families and church groups until it one day springs forth into the public arena and you find yourself just shocked that people still think this way. That argument was settled long ago, you'll say.

    What I've just described is exactly what in my mind happened in the 70s and 80s, which led to the virulent strain of conservatism we're fighting today and succeeding against precisely because their views are out in the open where they can be responded to and dealt with.

    Everything about political correctness is just flat out wrongheaded and counterproductive.

    •  That comment has an extremely low (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...content to word count ratio.

      The correlation between word count and inanity, however, is fairly solid.

      "The first rule of pillow fight club is do not talk about pillow fight club." --Keith Olbermann

      by Julie Waters on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:21:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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