All good things must come to an end. This is the 8th and final COTD that arrived in response to my post about Noah Berlatsky’s disturbing call to gut the First Amendment because Nazis BAD. That idiot gets national publicity on an NBC sub-page called “THINK.” All eight of the authors of the Comments of the Day could squish Noah in Jeopardy, Scrabble, or a moderated debate, and all they got was a post on Ethics Alarms. Not even a lousy T-shirt. There is no justice.
Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, An Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! Identify The Rationalizations, Logical Fallacies, Falsehoods And Outright Errors In This Essay Advocating Limits On Speech…
The upside and the downside of the internet is that almost nothing disappears once it’s posted, a lesson I myself should probably grasp before I post in anger. That said, I’m not angry right now, just disgusted with this article and the two I linked to above. (Here and here.) I’m not going to say that all of the left is like this, but it’s clear that a healthy core of the elite at the top of the left and their supporters are interesting in two things before all else: power and control. Some of these may actually believe that they are doing the right thing and helping people, but many, and I think both our last president and his chosen successor belong to this category, simply believe that they know best, and anyone who disagrees is simply wrong and not worthy of a hearing.
The fact is that this country was founded, indeed settled, with the idea in mind that everyone was entitled to be heard and no one’s opinion, no matter how wrong it might be, would be silenced by the heavy hand of government. We threw off the British yoke in part because they had resorted to trying to silence dissenting opinions and trying to arrest those who dared express them. In essence the British had failed to “co-opt” the colonies back into their way of doing things and tried to turn to the mailed fist when the velvet glove had failed.
Since then the U.S. has usually been strong on freedom of speech, even when it’s been odious. We’ve typically only slipped in time of war or national security emergency, with things like the Smith Act in WWI and HUAC during the early Cold War. With the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and the conversion of the journalism industry from a valuable service to unofficial watchdogs of government honesty, even clamping down a bit on freedom of speech in time of war or protecting certain important truths with Churchill’s proverbial “bodyguard of lies” has gone by the boards. Continue reading