Tim Dunkin
March 15, 2014
Why liberals hate freedom of speech
By Tim Dunkin

I'd like to begin with a question for my readers – do any of you actually remember a time when liberals truly supported and believed in freedom of speech? I'm not talking about how they say they do whenever the "speech" in question is something that agree with or want to use to further subvert American society. Instead, I'm talking about genuine, bona fide agreement with the principle that liberty includes allowing those with whom you disagree to have access to the marketplace of ideas, and that this marketplace itself will decide which are the best ones. You know, Voltaire's "I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it," and all that?

I can't either. Probably nobody can who was not born during or before World War II, and who thus came of age before the middle of the 1960s when the radical Left began its long march through the institutions.

Thus, it should come as no surprise to you when I declare that those on the Left do not believe in free speech. They simply do not accept the fundamental principle that people of all opinions ought to be able to express those opinions without being punished for it, or at least hindered to the greatest degree possible in their ability to express them. How else can one explain last month's editorial in Harvard's student newspaper The Crimson, in which Sandra Korn, a student columnist and "women's studies" major (who didn't see that one coming?) obligingly calls for academic totalitarianism,

"Yet the liberal obsession with 'academic freedom" seems a bit misplaced to me. After all, no one ever has 'full freedom' in research and publication. Which research proposals receive funding and what papers are accepted for publication are always contingent on political priorities. The words used to articulate a research question can have implications for its outcome. No academic question is ever 'free' from political realities. If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of "academic freedom"?

"Instead, I would like to propose a more rigorous standard: one of 'academic justice. When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue.

"The power to enforce academic justice comes from students, faculty, and workers organizing together to make our universities look as we want them to do. Two years ago, when former summer school instructor Subramanian Swamy published hateful commentary about Muslims in India, the Harvard community organized to ensure that he would not return to teach on campus. I consider that sort of organizing both appropriate and commendable. Perhaps it should even be applied more broadly...

"If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of 'academic freedom'?... When an academic community observes research promoting or justifying oppression, it should ensure that this research does not continue
."

There, in a nutshell, is the modern liberal attitude toward freedom of speech, and by extension freedom of thought. If research doesn't substantiate the cultural goals and priorities of today's Neo-Fascists, then we must ensure that it "does not continue." If speech refutes the Left's positions on any number of issues, then it has to be silenced. "Academic justice" means suppression of all those naughty things that people might say that contradict us. As far as speech is concerned, the Left definitely prefers a command economy over the free market.

In some earlier writings, I observed that the Left most definitely qualifies as a "knowledge-control cult." Allow me to elaborate on this a bit. One of the classic marks of a cult group is that it seeks, as the term suggests, to control the knowledge held and made available to its members. Members may be forbidden to read anything except for the writings of the group or its leader. Members are warned to stay away from outside sources of information. They may even be forbidden to interact with their families or with friends they had before joining the group, unless they are actively trying to recruit them. Sources of information that contradict the group's teachings are not just critiqued, but are demonized as evil and dangerous influences. The leader is held up as the only source of knowledge or information, and is lionized accordingly.

Sounds a lot like the modern Left, doesn't it?

Think about it. Doesn't the way the Left continues to shill for Barack Obama, even despite all of his obvious lies and frankly ludicrous statements and claims, seem just a little bit cultish to you? Doesn't the obsession that the Left has with demonizing and muzzling Fox News (which isn't really all that "right wing") seem the same? How about the calls for ObamaCare supporters to harass their family members over the holidays to try to get them on board with the Unaffordable No-Care Act? A "women's studies" major with a skull full of mush exhorting her fellow-travelers to excise the cancer of speech diversity from among the faithful? Totally fits the pattern.

Like I said: Knowledge-Control Cult.

This explains the response that some of the students at Swarthmore had recently to the presence of Robert George, a conservative academic, when he was on campus as part of a debate with Cornell West, a professor noted for his radical Left views. Note again that the debate itself featured one Righty and one Lefty – so both sides of the aisle were evenly represented. So what to make of the statement by Swarthmore student and left-wing catechumen Erin Ching,

"What really bothered me is, the whole idea is that at a liberal arts college, we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion...I don't think we should be tolerating [George's] conservative views because that dominant culture embeds these deep inequalities in our society."

Of course. Who would have thought that a liberal arts college, with its traditional ideals of open inquiry and the championing of unpopular beliefs, would ever need to be hearing a diversity of opinions? Even more ironic is that these same types of barely-educated, closed-minded children such as Ms. Ching mistakenly believe themselves to already be "diverse" because in the mantras of the left-wing cult, "diversity" means "whatever disagrees with traditional ideas," while "conformity" means "holding to traditional ideas." Hence, when young puppies like Erin Ching and her enablers in university administrations rigidly enforce ideological conformity by punishing anyone who is pro-life, pro-traditional marriage, pro-capitalism, or pro-2nd amendment (all of which have happened on American campuses), they think they're being "diverse," while tolerating these things is viewed as "conformity" and "being dictated to by the Man."

Unfortunately, the academy is not the only place from which the Left seeks to drive out open inquiry and freedom of thought and speech.

Take, for example, the perennial leftist goal of restoring the "Fairness Doctrine," colloquially known as the "Hush Rush" law. Ostensibly this FCC regulation, which was in place from 1949 until 1987, was established to ensure that holders of broadcast licenses (i.e. anybody who wanted to legally broadcast on radio or television in the United States) had to present both sides of "controversial issues" in a way defined as "honest, equitable, and balanced," in the opinion of FCC bureaucrats. Of course, it will come as a shock to no one that this doctrine, which ruled at exactly the same time as the U.S. mainstream media outlets were garnering their reputation for one-sided liberal bias, was itself generally only enforced against expressions of conservative sentiment, which had to be "balanced" with the other side. This was achieved by generally considering conservative or libertarian sentiments to be "controversial," while liberals ones were not, and therefore not subject to the same regulations.

It is also not surprising that this doctrine was ended by the Reagan administration. Those on the Right, not the Left, are the ones who really believe in freedom of speech.

Ever since, the Left has had this simmering pot of restoration of the "Fairness" Doctrine sitting on the back burner, just waiting for the right time to stir it back up. They know that it would be unpopular, and they know that it would currently be shot down by a Republican Congress (yeah right?), but they're hoping for the day when that perfect confluence of Democrat political power and public inattentiveness will allow them to slip it back in. They've seen the damage to liberalism that has been done by allowing conservatives like Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, and the rest to have an open forum, and they want it to stop.

They're still trying to sneak it, or something like it, into place.

In a move that would have required a clown nose to be more obvious, the Obama administration's FCC recently floated a plan under the innocuous-sounding title of "Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs." This plan (which was tabled eventually due to widespread condemnation) would have given the FCC power to essentially regulate broadcast media for content, determining what stories TV and radio stations should report and not report, based on the need for "responsiveness to underserved populations" (left-speak for "giving Democrat Party talking points to Democrat constituencies." It would also have allowed the FCC broad latitude in combating "perceived station bias." Essentially, "bias" would consist of saying what liberals don't like, while "neutrality" would involve saying what they like. Stations – if they want to be able to keep broadcasting – would have a strong incentive to abstain from reporting on stories that look bad for Obama, Democrats in Congress, or other left-wing entities. Some apologists on the Left try to claim that none of this would happen – but if this is the case, if you have no intention of actually interfering ideologically in what stations can and cannot broadcast, then why even bother putting such a plan into action in the first place? The apologism sounds like so many other lying talking points that the Left has used to mask its true goals.

If you like your freedom of speech, you can keep your freedom of speech?

Of course, Hush Rush isn't the only place where the Left manifests its hatred for free thought and speech. Why do you think the Left continues to try to criminalize expressions of disagreement with homosexuality, as they've already pretty much managed to do in Canada and Europe? It's the same reason they want to force business owners to grant services to "gay marriages," even when this is against the owners' own personal convictions. It's about control – controlling what people say and do in public, controlling what they're allowed to think.

This is one reason why we can be sure that the actual, genuine support level for "gay marriage" and the rest of Big Gay's agenda is not nearly as high as the media say it is. As I discussed in a previous article, left-wing efforts at manufacturing "support" for the gay agenda through cooked polling, top-down judicial legislation, and the use of America's shallow yet (for some odd reason) appealing popular culture are designed to generate a form of psychological bullying intended to coerce Americans into giving at least verbal assent to the gay agenda. Yet, if the Left really felt that it had the support level it wants to convince you that it has, none of this would be necessary. If the Left were really on "the right side of history," then they wouldn't have to try to shut you up from speaking freely about the evils of the homosexual agenda in America. But since their agenda is not about "equal rights," but is rather about coercion, force, special rights for handpicked members of the left-wing coalition, and trying to convince people that what is blatantly unnatural is nevertheless "alright," the Left resorts to all kinds of means for subverting your ability to speak and think freely on this issue.

Another aspect of this is the left-wing opposition to homeschooling and private schools. The Left hates any competition to publik skoolz. This is because the Left largely controls the publik skoolz, while it does not get to control the education of children in private, parochial, and home schools. While there are good teachers in the publik skoolz who oppose the left-wing indoctrination, the fact remains that the curricula and the administration from the top levels on down are largely controlled by the radical Left. Just look at the nonsensical "common core" curriculum that they're trying to push off onto the states. From the ridiculous insistence on hanging onto "global warming" despite all the actual scientific evidence against it to the continued efforts at historical revisionism that elevate Cesar Chavez in importance to American history over the Founding Fathers, the Left has ruined American education for the purposes of actual education, and has remade it into the image they want for purposes of indoctrination into left-wing ideology.

Homeschooling, private schooling, religious schooling – these all work to take kids away from the claws of left-wing administrators and curriculum developers, and put them into environments where they are much more likely to learn traditional (read: non-left wing) values and gain real knowledge. The Left can't allow that. This is why the Obama administration has been doing nothing to help (and in fact wants to make an example of) the Romeike family, a German family that sought asylum in the United States after they were threatened with having their children taken away from them...for the crime of homeschooling them. This was based upon Hitlerian laws against homeschooling that are still on the books in Germany today. And no, that last statement is not a case of Godwin's Law – the anti-homeschooling laws in Germany actually were put into place by the Nazi Party, specifically for the purpose of preventing parents from withdrawing their children from Der Publik Skoolz so that they wouldn't be infected by Nazi propaganda.

Which, when you think about it, is pretty much the same reason liberals don't want you homeschooling your kids today.

The Left isn't even content to try to regulate what broadcasters report and what kids can and cannot learn. They'd even like to be able to monitor (and presumably punish) speech even down to the level of what you say to your friends in as informal a setting as social media,

"The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is seeking a 'social media analytic tool' that will give the government access to 'full Twitter historical data,' according to a solicitation released on Tuesday.

"The agency is seeking feedback for a 'possible future acquisition to provide near real time social media analysis.' HHS said it wants to use the tool for 'ongoing monitoring' of public health issues.

"HHS provides a long list of requirements, including 'access to real-time social media posts' and 'access to full Twitter firehose
.'

"The agency requires an archive that goes back at least five years of 'full Twitter historical data.' The government will also need 'access to multiple account log-ins,' 'real-time alerting,' the 'ability to construct lengthy Boolean searches,' and a function that can filter search results based on the location of a Twitter user."

Yeah. For some reason, I strongly doubt that the federal government wants full access to social media analytic tools with real-time alerting and your "Twitter firehose" for the last five years so that it can monitor any imminent outbreaks of a Stephen King-style Superflu. More likely, it's so they can more easily track crimethink as it is being expressed in real time. Careful, citizen, do you really want to "Like" that picture making fun of "Moochelle" Obama that your soon-to-be-in-a-concentration-camp brother-in-law just posted to his Facebook feed?

So we know the Left hates free speech and wants to suppress it however and whenever they can. What do we do about it?

Well, the first step is to take the blinders off and recognize the enemy for what they are. If they want to suppress speech, it's because they also want to suppress everything else about you that they don't like. There are many conservatives and liberty-lovers who simply need to stop thinking of left-wingers as deluded but well-meaning people. They are not. The Left does not mean well. The Left hates freedom. It's not just that they have a "different idea" about what freedom is, but hold to the same general set of values about liberty and freedom that we do. Instead, the Left has a completely alien ideology that hates the very concept of individual liberty, and therefore hates you for believing in it. Understand this, and you will go a long way towards understanding what drives those on the Left, from the most highly-placed Inner Party member in the US government all the way down to the barely-literate mouth-breather trolling the comments section on a blog.

Second, we have to be willing to resist any efforts at restricting our freedom of speech and thought – even if it means breaking so-called laws in the process. There can be no genuine law that violates the plainly worded text of our Bill of Rights – and this is so, regardless of what any court or politician says. Keep saying what you want to say, regardless of whether it has been "criminalized" or not. Refuse to pay fines. Spread anti-left wing propaganda wherever you can. Go underground and spread samizdat if you have to. Just like those heroic gun owners up in Connecticut who are refusing to register their rifles under Connecticut's new unconstitutional gun law, the day may come (and will, if it keeps in the direction it is going now) when you and I will have to refuse to register our blogs, our books, and our Facebook feeds.

Finally, we need to push back and hit the Left twice as hard. Force them to confront the ideas they want to hide from. We need organized efforts to invade and swamp the marketplace of ideas with our beliefs. Find the places where opinion is made demotically – the comments sections on online news articles, the blogs, the forums – and overwhelm them with numbers. After all, the lefties already try to do this, so why don't we counter it? Every place they turn, we must harass and hound the Left by confronting them with liberty ideology and traditional values until they have no safe place to which they can go to hide from us. Show them that their efforts at suppression are generating tremendous blowback. It's time to stop playing games with the Left. It's time to crush them under the weight of truth and reason.

© Tim Dunkin

 

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Tim Dunkin

Tim Dunkin is a pharmaceutical chemist by day, and a freelance author by night, writing about a wide range of topics on religion and politics. He is the author of an online book about Islam entitled Ten Myths About Islam, and is the founder and editor of Conservative Underground, a bi-weekly email newsletter focusing on foundational conservative worldview and philosophy. He is a born-again Christian, and a member of a local, New Testament Baptist church in North Carolina. He can be contacted at tqcincinnatus@yahoo.com. All emails may be monitored by the NSA for quality assurance purposes.

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