You will be happy to learn that, unlike every other blogger today, I will not mention President Trump’s post-summit news conference with Vladimir Putin.
Today I wish to reminisce about that which I consider our single most important “right” as Americans – freedom of speech. It was not a mistake that our Founding Fathers thought to embody that right in the First Amendment to our Constitution. Why is it that you use the word ‘reminisce,’ ask you? Because, answer I, it has been effectively destroyed by leftists.
My first reminiscence is the recollection that I was a liberal Democrat until my conversion from the dark side by Ronald Reagan. However, not all of my liberal notions evaporated in that transformation. I was then and remain today a “First Amendment absolutist.” While my infatuation with the liberal philosophy ended, no surprise was as great as to see the Democrat Party daily undermining this foundational principle of American freedom.
Perhaps you have seen the movie, The American President. In that movie the final speech by President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) speaks loudly of the Democrat Party’s previous devotion to free speech. Of course, he portrayed a Democrat president (it was a Hollywood production after all) and an extremely liberal one at that. “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who is standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”
Now to the point of today. A friend and reader (BC) sent me an article that tore at my heart. The article was: Commentary: How I lost the war against ‘free’ speech, by Daniella Greenbaum.
[From the Greenbaum article] As an opinion columnist for Business Insider until my resignation Thursday, I had grown accustomed to strong reactions from readers when I wrote about Hamas (I’m not a fan) or the problems with accusations of cultural appropriation.
But I didn’t see this one coming.
Commenting on recent criticism of actress Scarlett Johansson for taking a movie role that called on her to portray a transgender man, I made the commonsensical and, I admit, not particularly original observation that actors specialize in make-believe and ought to be allowed to take any jobs they like.
The brief online post stirred immediate fury — among some of my Business Insider colleagues… several people within the organization complained to the editor, who responded by scrubbing the ScarJo post from the site and instituting a new policy of requiring “culturally sensitive” work to be reviewed by an executive editor or an editor in chief before it can be published. As the Daily Beast reported, he also suggested writers and editors talk with a group of employees who would volunteer to be sounding boards on issues of cultural sensitivity.
Given that in these thin-skinned days just about any subject can be called “culturally sensitive,” and given that a committee basically would ensure my column became a safe space, I had no alternative but to resign. And so I’ve had the disorienting experience of becoming one small data point in what is a disturbingly large set.
Leftists are a persistent lot. The chip and chip away… no, that is incorrect. They intimidate and intimidate until the foundation is so weakened that it collapses. The constant policing of speech and opinion has had the appropriate intimidating effect. Policing speech is now the new normal.
The left has invaded and secured a landing zone in every institution that could possibly thwart their agenda: colleges (safe spaces), the media, entertainment, etc. As Ms. Greenbaum so poignantly describes: It’s beginning to permeate every area where we use language — every area of life. Ultimately, even the wokest (I simply cannot express how that very word eats at my soul and not simply because it is a grammatical abomination) of the warriors will realize that when it comes to outrunning the predatory mob they’ve created, no space is safe.
If the leftists want to destroy democracy, they have secured their first victory.
I invite you to read her entire article (and do not fail to note that is was published in the Washington Post). It is very sobering.