Doug Hagin
August 10, 2004
Liberals and free speech
By Doug Hagin

Freedom of speech is touted as the greatest thing in the world by those on both sides of America's political aisle. Certainly both Liberals and Conservatives preach and practice their right to express their views with regularity. Yet it is the Liberals who seem to most often proclaim a special affinity for expressing themselves. It is the political left which espouses their special devotion to American's First Amendment right to free speech.

There is only one real problem with Liberal's devoted defense of freedom of speech though. They seem to somehow have convinced themselves that they and only they have a right to speak freely. Yes they can speak all day and night espousing all types of views. They may say the most insidious things. They may rattle on with rhetoric and hyperbole and not think twice about their words. And, truth be told, they do have every right to do so.

Yet when their speech is examined and critiqued by their political opposites they do not seem to hold the same affection for free speech. In fact they seem to lose all adoration for this great liberty we enjoy in America. In fact they seem to think their freedom of speech is threatened and in peril whenever someone uses their freedom to speak to criticize Liberalism.

Rather strange isn't it? The self-proclaimed champions of free speech seem to lose their collective minds when they do not agree with the speech. And this fact has only become more apparent since the United States has gone to war against terrorism following the 9-11 attacks.

The Dixie Chicks express their displeasure with President George W. Bush and then rightfully claim their right to make these expressions. But when their fans who are upset over the remarks criticize the Dixie Chicks they cry censorship. Excuse me?

Censorship would entail the government punishing the Dixie Chicks for their remarks. This did not happen to the Dixie Chicks or to anyone else who has criticized our war on terror or this president. Yes individuals have used their freedom of speech to take the Dixie Chicks to task. Yes radio stations refused to play their music. But that is their rights isn't it? Surely it is.

The very same freedom of expression used by the Dixie Chicks and other celebrities, can be used by those who disagree with their views. After all, the freedom to speak your mind is a right all Americans enjoy. This little fact has seemingly escaped our Liberal friends.

Recently another musician, Linda Rondstadt chose to speak out in support of Michael Moore during a concert. Many of her fans chose to speak out by walking out on her performance. And the venue she was performing at chose to exercise their view by giving Rondstadt the boot, a decision they later reversed.

Michael Moore, of course, chose to blast the decision to blast Rondstadt and even proclaimed the venue held no right to fire the singer. Really? Ever heard of private property Mr. Moore? Once more a Liberal shows no understanding of freedom of others to express themselves.

It is the very height of hypocrisy for someone to exercise their freedom of speech then expect those who disagree not to use theirs to answer them. Yet every time an outspoken Liberal is called to task for their views we do not hear them expressing anything but utter contempt for freedom of speech.

Seems that only certain speech warrants protection according to Liberal ideology doesn't it? Perhaps they fail to recognize that freedom of speech is not freedom from having your speech criticized? Yes we can shoot off our mouths and feel secure of no government sponsored retaliation. But we have no realistic reason to expect those who disagree with us to be forced into silence.

In the eight years I have been writing columns I have used my freedom of speech repeatedly. Yet, while I have protection against government interference with my writings, I know that those who publish my columns do have a right not to run them. I also fully recognize those who are upset by my writings have just as much right to express their views as I do. Why is this so tough a lesson to learn for so many Liberals?

There are consequences for being outspoken. People who are free expressing their views must be willing to accept those consequences. Of course facing up to consequences is hardly a favorite activity for many of the same Liberals who moan when their speech is criticized.

They seem to much prefer to live in a world where they can say anything they wish with no criticism or consequences. This is not a realistic ideal for anyone to hope for. Nor is it a desirable one. Think of how dull a world where only some had the right to speak would be. Further think of what type of country America would be if only certain speech were allowed.

There are nations like that. Cuba is a good example, and surely no one wants us to be more like Cuba do they? Given the far left's love of suppressing certain speech maybe they would prefer Castro to Bush?

After all it is Liberals who seek to silence Conservative voices on college campuses isn't it? It is Liberal groups who steal college newspapers which dare to print articles they deem unfit isn't it? Sort of makes you question how much Liberals really respect our First Amendment doesn't it?

© Doug Hagin

 

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Doug Hagin

Doug Hagin was born in Tampa, Florida, and now resides in Dallas, Texas. Doug has been writing political columns for nearly a decade... (more)

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