“What’s more interesting is his complete refusal to recognize that the uproar around his statements isn’t just about name-calling, but rather his offensive misunderstanding of the importance and uses of birth control. As I wrote on Friday, Fluke’s own testimony was not about her sex life, but rather the painful experience of watching a friend who was forced to have an ovary removed because she couldn’t afford the pill, which, of course, has many medical uses aside from contraception. Many women depend on birth control, not for “social activities,” but for their basic health. And it is in light of his abject ignorance of female biology that Limbaugh’s willingness to demean a woman becomes truly outrageous. This apology only brings that ignorance into sharper relief”
—-Slate blogger J. Bryan Lowder, arguing that the outrage over Rush Limbaugh’s attack on law student Sandra Fluke was not just because of his cruel and inappropriate denigration.
Perhaps I ought to applaud Lowder for his candor, but if sincere, then this is an admission that some of the furious effort to punish and silence Limbaugh is motivated by his opposition to Fluke’s position—that contraception must be paid for in church-run institution health plans. Reminding readers that I a) wrote that the Administration was correct to require such institutions to obey the current laws like everyone else, and b) believe that Limbaugh crossed all lines of decency, fairness and civility in his attacks on Fluke, I find Lowder’s statement a blatant admission that he and his political allies aim to purge dissenting opinions from the media and the public square through intimidation, as well as a confession that the outrage over Rush’s insults was, at least by those who think like the blogger, a cover for the real objective: punishing someone for not bowing to progressive cant.
Fluke wasn’t arguing that only individuals who required birth control for special health problems should receive theirs under insurance plans, but that every woman should. It is not automatically anti-woman or ignorant to disagree with this proposition, although Rush’s characterization of birth control was indeed ignorant. Ignorance on a particular topic, however, is not a justification for running a pundit off the air. If so, we would have to part with, well, all of them.
I insist that commentators should pay a high price for engaging in hate, bigotry and incivility. Lowder and his anti-democratic bullies, however, would silence opposition voices because of “ignorance,” which in their minds can and often does translate into “thinking differently than we do, and we know best, because we are intrinsically smarter and better.” Such people are authoritarian, self-righteous censors at heart, and far, far more dangerous to American values than any blowhard like Rush Limbaugh. Trading his boorishness for their intolerant and close-minded consensus -by-command is a terrible and un-American exchange.