Saturday, October 14, 2006

Why Liberals Don’t Want Free Speech

Via Sykes writes, columnist Peggy Noonan on the intolerance of liberals and leftists when faced with speech they disapprove.

She deals with one case we have blogged about (the uproar at CBS over giving a Christian parent of a Columbine student victim a chance to speak).

She also discusses three other cases of liberal or leftist intolerance, and observes:
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This--listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity--is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.

We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?

Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don’t. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn’t come quickly, they’ll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.

And they don’t always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.

And all this continues to come more from the left than the right in America. [emphasis in original]
This is certainly true on the Marquette campus, where the President of the Gay/Straight Alliance insisted that no speaker should be allowed on campus who opposes gay marriage, since opposing gay marriage is “hate speech.”

Likewise, Philosophy Department Chairman James South tore down a quote from columnist Dave Barry that was posted on the office door of a graduate student. He claimed it was “patently offensive.” What did it say?
“As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”
So here at Marquette, as in the broader culture, liberals and leftists think they have the right to shut up ideas with which they disagree.

They are a very unattractive bunch.

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