Today, the public is more wired to the news than at any point in our history thanks to technological innovation. Oddly, a great case can be made that today’s public is also less knowledgeable. That is because free speech in America is under attack. Where there was information, now there is intimidation. Where there was persuasion, now there is public shame.
The entire dynamic is interesting to watch unfold. As these strategies work, only the extreme voices remain. Accusations of bigotry are used to shut down debate where no bigotry exists. The extreme is to simply and summarily censor what is perceived by the Leftist gatekeepers to be bigotry. While it would be great to live in a world devoid of bigotry, when even the speech of the actual bigot is censored, everyone is the loser.
All the discussion about diversity or fairness or equality- all noble goals- have had the effect of creating an atmosphere of chauvinism and racial discrimination, but on terms favorable to the Left. Instead of progression, they have planted the seeds of regression. For example, the Black Lives Matter movement now segregates white from black reporters relegating the white ones “to the back of the line.” Black students at campuses now advertise for only black roommates, or even their own dormitories. These bastions of higher learning and liberalism are emulating the Jim Crow South through voluntary segregation.
It is easy to the blame the Left because they are the biggest, most audacious offenders. But when it comes to social media especially, the so-called alt-right is taking trolling to new obscene depths. Expressing their free speech rights, they are- just like the Left- using those rights to suppress the free speech rights of those with whom they disagree. One supposes this is only human. Lest we forget, the men who wrote and passed the Bill of Rights also passed the Alien and Sedition Acts a few years later. When one “punishes” or condones the punishment of those who criticize politicians or political views under the erroneous belief that such criticism somehow upsets the social order, then one has more in common with China, Russia or Saudi Arabia than the United States.
So how did we get here? It is often said that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. It is also said that dissent is the lowest form of crime. If you live in the Leftist echo chamber, then you believe both simultaneously. Their prevailing mantra is: “Free speech for me but not for thee.” They use it, they enforce it and they celebrate their victories. Where they have power, they will use it to crush debate, dissent and criticism through whatever means necessary. I have yet to hear of a conservative group forcing a Leftist speaker off the campus. I have yet to hear of a conservative group demanding student diversity indoctrination seminars.
While the free speech advocates on the Left support NFL players for expressing their views symbolically against the National Anthem and even respect for the flag, on the other hand they condemn those who wish to express their free speech rights by displaying the Confederate flag. What is the philosophical difference? There is none other than, “Free speech for me, but not for thee.”
Certain subjects have become taboo and those subjects often involve an inconvenience called facts. It is a fact there is a high level of violent crime among black youth. It is a fact that black-on-black crime has reached epidemic proportions. It is a fact that type-2 diabetes is an chronic epidemic among Mexican immigrants. But, woe to he who states these facts. Speaking of suppression, noting the racialist undertones of Black Lives Matter runs with the risk of being labeled a “bigot.” Noting the lack of statistical evidence to prove an epidemic of rape on campus comes with the label of “misogynist.” Noting the relationship between radical Islam and terrorism makes you “Islamophobic.”
“Safe spaces” is a new term for voluntary segregation based on one’s skin color, ethnicity, or gender. To those who wish to see one’s skin color, ethnicity or gender incidental rather than essential, they are ostracized and likely reprimanded and sent to sensitivity training to unlearn the crime of cultural appropriation and assimilation. To the Left, assimilation is cultural genocide. Meanwhile, “trigger warning” is the new, Orwellian name for censorship.
In fact, the campus diversity czar is the epitome of Orwell’s Big Brother. Simply saying “all lives matter’ has become a thought crime. Due process? Forget about it on college campuses; it is too counter-revolutionary. “Proper” sexual etiquette is now a scripted affair on many college campuses. Colleges restrict free speech, ruin the lives of innocent students through the denial of anything resembling due process, and have created a generation of social justice warriors trying to shut down the marketplace of ideas. Is it any wonder that a majority of today’s millenials support restrictions on free speech?
The hypocrisy is palpable in one area especially where free speech activists, feminists and progressive reformers are free to attack fundamentalism of the Christian Right as if they or this country is at some risk. But where is the indignation against the fundamentalism of Islam? There is a strange silence when the systematic discrimination against gays and women is brought up in the context of Islam. Honor killings and female circumcision are just “culturally relative” things to the Left. Those who do bring it up are drummed off campuses and the television.
Political correctness is now just another name for being a coward. Combine it with a career and you get your average Leftist politician. Cheap silence, someone once said, is always preferable to principled, but risky dissent. If that is what this country has become, then the Left has won the battle and democracy in America is surely in it’s ending stage.