December 23rd, 2013

Freedom of speech and the PC-crowd: whatever happened to the leftists of the 60s?

Ace has a great article about the recent suspension of Phil Robertson and the firing of Justine Sacco because of non-PC speech:

A&E has the right to fire or suspend Robertson. So what? The argument is not about what people can do, it’s about what they should do.

Indeed. These company actions have a very chilling effect on freedom of speech despite their legality.

But there’s another angle, as well. Companies are primarily in the business of making money. My guess is that if Robertson had said the same thing without it having been broadly published or broadcast—for instance, if he’d said it in private to the CEO of A&E—there would have been no suspension. Or, if Sacco’s tweet had only been read by a few of her friends and not become an online cause célèbre, she’d still be working at IAC and the worst that might have happened to her is that a few people would have unfriended her on Facebook.

But once each statement became famous and notorious, and the drumbeat for punishment grew stronger, A&E and IAC executives most likely thought there would be negative economic fallout for them if they didn’t do something to show themselves on the side of The Good. A&E didn’t think quite far enough to see the possible backlash to that action. But I strongly suspect their motives regarding Robertson had less to do with stifling speech and more to do with succumbing to the pressure of others that they stifle speech or else.

The latter impulse is actually even more cowardly than the first one, because a company would be acting in fear rather than out of its own convictions (although perhaps in this case it was both). At any rate, Ace highlights an interesting question Ann Althouse asked, and he answers it, too:

At the end of her post, Althouse asks:

“Why is the left taking the narrow view of the concept of freedom? It’s a general principle, not something you save for your friends. Like Paglia, I remember the broad 1960s era commitment to free speech. There was a special zeal to protect those who said outrageous things. Today, we’re back to the kind of repression that in the 60s seemed to belong to the 1950s. What the hell happened?”

I can answer this: They came into power.

This is a human thing, I’m afraid, and not a failing specifically located on the left.

Those who have less power — who fear coercion more — will naturally tend to argue for the widest possible latitude, the largest zone of tolerance, for “weird” beliefs, statements, or practices.

Those with more power — who fear coercion less, because, end of the day, they’ll be the ones doing the coercing — will naturally become more and more hostile to the idea that people can do whatever they like.

Ah, the 60s! Ann Althouse and I are of the same generation, but Ace is young enough (at least, by my estimate) to have no personal memory of that much-ballyhooed decade. I’m with Ace in saying that the left has the motivation now to let out its inner thug, but that thuggish point of view was always in evidence. The Left, even back in the 60s, did not have a live and let live attitude towards points of view with which it was in disagreement.

Yes, there were some free-spirited souls on the Left who really did champion tolerance of speech with which it disagreed, but they were always few and far-between. The hard Left and the love/peace hippie movement overlapped—but not all that much, except so far as the former was merely hiding and biding its time among the ranks of the latter. I saw enough of the hard Left in the 60s to notice the presence of a stifling and totalitarian impulse. And of course we had the example of Communism to see that trend in its full and sickening flower.

Orwell knew this impulse well, and in his book Nineteen Eighty-Four he came up with the idea of an invented language (“Newspeak“) having the goal of making it less likely that a person could state thoughts that ran counter to the Party line, or even to think them (“thoughtcrime“).

In Nineteen Eighty-Four it was the Thought Police who enforced the rules, scanning and seeking out any citizens–especially prominent ones, rather than proles—who needed restraining and retraining and maybe even destroying. The present-day PC-crowd, and groups such as GLAAD (whose website has the somewhat ironic tagline [emphasis mine] “leading the conversation for lgbt equality”), have become the new Thought Police. As the years have passed, and discriminatory acts and/or laws against gay people have become less common, they feel they must move on to the fight against speech and even thoughts they find offensive, and harness their power to silence and suppress them. Then, and only then, can we have a proper “conversation.”

36 Responses to “Freedom of speech and the PC-crowd: whatever happened to the leftists of the 60s?”

  1. Ymarsakar Says:

    I’m not sure how many WACOs we got left to go before Americans start waking up by the train load, but it’s at least more than 60/100.

    Not that I think 40 WACOs have happened by now. We’re probably at the 1 or 2 marker. Maybe 3/100.

  2. parker Says:

    The 60s had a few very good ideas about small is beautiful and creating local culture free from DC and other authoritarian influences; I know because I am 65 going on 66 and I have long ago discarded the t-shirts. What happened was the lack of true grit to stand up and be independent, to be individuals working with other like minded individuals. Instead, 99% got suckered into supporting the gun to the head of big government to accomplish their imaginary goals.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqmyWBdAz1c

    I keep holding on.

  3. Mr. Frank Says:

    The left has managed to change the very definition of morality. Traditional Judeo-Christian morality focused on the behavior of the individual vis a vis God and one’s neighbor. The individual should not lie, cheat, steal, assault, rape or murder, and so forth. Over the past fifty years or so the left has redefined morality as having the right views on issues favored by them. There is a proper view on race, gender, homosexuality, class, the environment, climate change and so forth. If you do not have the proper view, you are immoral and deserve to be hurt. People who have the right views enjoy wide latitude in personal behavior (Ted Kennedy, Clinton, Spitzer, Soros, many movie stars and entertainers).

  4. Mr. Frank Says:

    It seems to me that I’m seeing increasing references to Orwell, Orwellian, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and various concepts of his like thought police, memory hole, and Big Brother. Has he become more relevant?

  5. Cornhead Says:

    Special scorn for GLAAD as it asserted what Robertson said was a *lie*.
    It wasn’t a lie. It was some facts, some religous belief and some opinion.

    And when President Obama repeatedly tells a mega lie in order to get elected, re-elected and transform nearly 20% of the economy, nothing happens.

    The Left declares facts to be a lie and – in the immortal words of the NYY – one of the biggest lies in American political and business history is just a case of misspeaking.

    Orwellian indeed.

    And I thought the Left consisted of the “smart” people. They lie and think they can dupe us flyover people. For the most part, they can and that may well be our ultimate downfall.

  6. kaba Says:

    Many, if not a large majority, Americans are tired of constantly walking on eggshells. We self censor in fear that some casual comment or gesture might result in a loss of employment, a civil suit, or, (God forbid), ridicule on Twitter.

    Social discourse and a genuine exchange of ideas and beliefs are muted. We isolate ourselves in smaller and smaller groups of those we know that share our general values.

  7. Cornhead Says:

    And here’s another thing.

    The Left’s main line of attack is personal demonization. Robertson and Sacco are mean and hateful persons. Liars! Dopes!

    We need to do the same to them.

    Libya hasn’t stuck to HRC but it may well if the military people in the know finally talk. Maybe they will at the right time. Someone knows plenty.

    Does this country want the Clintons and their sexual drama back in the White House?

    Some one needs to ask HRC, “Do you have a sham or open marriage? Are you a practicing bi-sexual? Is your husband going to move back into the White House with you and take up with younger women?”

    I would submit the Clintons’ sexual practices reflect poorly on their honesty, judgment and ability to govern.

  8. NeoConScum Says:

    I often wish that Tammy Bruce would publish a new and completely updated edition of her 2000 tome,”The New Thought Police”.

    Oh, and Neo, did’ja see that the honorable & righteous Charlie Sheen has declared Phil’s GQ interview as being,”..horrendous and mendacious.”??

    Then Charlie demanded another toke from the crack pipe and some nummyness from a well paid ‘Ho.

  9. vanderleun Says:

    What will you do if we let you go home,
    And the plastic’s all melted,
    And so is the chrome?
    WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?

    What will you do when the label comes off,
    And the plastic’s all melted,
    And the chrome is too soft?

    What will you do if the people you knew
    Were the plastic that melted,
    And the chromium too?
    WHO ARE THE BRAIN POLICE?

    FRANK ZAPPA LYRICS – Who Are The Brain Police?

  10. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Read a column, maybe PJM, about doing to the libs.

    For example, if one of them says something stupid, respond with “I can’t believe you said/mean that.”
    They use it to put the conservative’s point beyond the bounds of civilized thought. Turn that sucker around on them.
    Etc.

  11. Lizzy Says:

    Didn’t Althouse get fed up with commenters on her site earlier this year and now has her husband pre-screen them? (I know, it’s her blog, but funny she’s now writing about free speech control-freaks).

    ***
    The best part of Sheen’s rant to Robertson: he said he used, “small words so that he would understand.” Sheen is a druggy, high-school drop-out and Robertson is a successful businessman and holder of a masters degree.

  12. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “As the years have passed, and discriminatory acts and/or laws against gay people have become less common, they feel they must move on to the fight against speech and even thoughts they find offensive, and harness their power to silence and suppress them. Then, and only then, can we have a proper “conversation.”

    My perception is that, GLAAD and the LGBT ‘community’ “must move on to the fight against speech and even thoughts they find offensive, and harness their power to silence and suppress them” not primarily to stay relevant or even to retain power but because the fight was never about tolerance but about full societal acceptance and the only way they can get full acceptance is through endorsement. And they are entirely willing to use coercion to get endorsement.

    Mr Frank,

    When was Orwell ever irrelevant?

    Cornhead,

    Asking HRC those questions might well give her a stroke! And one should be ready for the retaliatory IRS audit…

  13. Don Carlos Says:

    I will ask y’all to ask yourselves when, if ever, the concept of ‘hate crimes’ first troubled you.

    Hate crimes are now a serious and well-established component of the American criminal joostice system. Are you good with that?

  14. waitforit Says:

    God, being gentle Creature, created a set of rules. Satan didn’t. Whereas God, being a Creator, and not a Destroyer, created complexity, diversity and unity; the Devil, being greatly limited, lied. He stated simplicity.

    The lie, being competitive with the Will, is the Choice.

  15. reliapundit Says:

    neo;
    please watch this youtube by F.I.R.E founder – a former sixties radical who calls the current PC crowd he used to run with STALINISTS:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHh1WV-81gE

  16. Harry the "Extremist" Says:

    Well then, as even some conservative columnist have opined, there are the Dixie Chicks. Im no fan but isnt his the same thing?
    http://www.hitfix.com/news/the-dixie-chicks-controversy-10-years-later-natalie-maines-rehashes-it

  17. Mr. Frank Says:

    G.B. said “When was Orwell ever irrelevant? ”

    The short answer is never, but the technological developments in surveillance (internet, digital cameras, GPS, drones, cell towers, etc) make big government hard to hide from.

  18. Mr. Frank Says:

    Harry,

    The Dixie Chicks were done in by their own fans and media. Phil Robinson has enjoyed great support from his fans.

  19. Hangtown Bob Says:

    “Thought crimes” are NOW part of our legal system. What else can you call a “hate crime”? A person is given a more stringent penalty if, when he commits a crime, he does so because of a perceived thought contrary to PC. A man who kills a person while yelling “ni**er” will be treated more harshly than one yelling “you stupid worthless SOB”. A man is DEAD in either case.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Never did like hate crimes, the legislation or the concept.

    http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/so-what-happened-to-the-pr-exec-who-tweeted-white-people-cant-get-aids/news/2013/12/21/80669#.UrmhK9JDvE0

    The funny thing is, when people like Phil and Justine say such things against the social flow, I treat them as human. Justine makes the choice to go back to the pillar of skulls, to be raped and digested over and over, mostly for survival. It’s her choice, but the fact that she can say or write or think such things, means she is more human, even now, than many on the Left.

    But to the Left, she is sub human and needs “retraining”. For she is and has always been, just another livestock animal on the tax farm to the Left.

    These Leftists are the same ones hollering to us about human rights and tolerance and how if we don’t think as they say, we are the bigots and the X, Y, and Z.

    Hrm….

  21. Ymarsakar Says:

    “A man who kills a person while yelling “ni**er” will be treated more harshly than one yelling “you stupid worthless SOB”. A man is DEAD in either case.”

    Not if the killer is a black guy doing knockout games against crackers and white hores.

    Then he is given a medal and an Oprah contract.

    Tookie shot whites when they were on the ground, in the back, with a shot gun. The lovely Lefties went to back him up in public and tried to make sure he lived, so that more whites can die.

    That’s not a hate crime. Hate, as considered by the Left, is just a tool to controlling the animals. It’s the 2 minute hate as depicted in 1984. Hate has always been a fundamental tool to control brains and make them into tools.

    Most people have extremely low resistances to hate.Which is why I often tell people they need to experience more hate, so as to learn how to control it, for once.

  22. NeoConScum Says:

    Cornhead: AMEN. Easily the sickest f***s to ever occupy the White House. (*Well, possibly a tie with the Kennedys of ’61-’63. But, at least, JFK had become a very solid leader by 11/22/1963.*)

    Suggested further questions for HRC: Are you The SICKEST-CODEPENDENT Wife in America or simply The MOST Cravenly Ambitious??**

    (**Answer: BOTH.**)

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    Learn about mind control or conversational hypnosis. It’s very important.

    http://www.kickthemallout.com/article.php/Video-Darren_Brown_Mind_Control

    This is connected to subconscious hypnotic conversational techniques, Pick Up Artist dating and sex amplification techniques, and even the whole Creative vs Social Authority piece I wrote before this one (via my blog).

    I’ve never heard of this Darren Brown before or services he has been associated with. My research on mind control started with PUA community, or rather Pick Up Artist communities.

    So I cannot verify his source or abilities, just on this. I can independently verify that such psychological control operations are real. It has been done before. As for how I know, it’s not hard to test if you use 1 on 1 techniques. You can test it yourself and learn it, you don’t need a company or a government backing you.

  24. Steve Says:

    I find it encouraging that the pushback against PC has moved from politics to entertainment. I cannot recall the last time that the public has second guessed PC attacks against a celebrity. To me it means the culture is shifting.

  25. Charles Says:

    IMHO, this whole Duck Dynasty flap is overblown. So what if some ZZTop look-alike said something rude – it cannot have come as a surprise to most people as he has been saying such stuff for years.

    Those on the left are “outraged” at him saying what he said, while those on the right are “outraged” at A&E distancing themselves from him.

    To those on the left I want to say: Save your outrage for those who are putting to death gays in Iran and Saudia Arabia. Save your outrage for the new anti-gay laws in Russia and Uganda, the one can land you in jail, the other gets you killed.

    To those on the right I want to say: Save your outrage for those who are attacking Christians in the Middle East. Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt are under attack on a daily basis. They are “warned” to get out of town. Their churches are burned, their homes destroyed. Their centuries old cultures are soon to go the way of Jewish culture in central Europe – just a memory.

    Folks on both the left and the right need to spend their outrage on things that really matter, not some “reality” TV crap.

    P.S. Merry Christmas all and a happy New Year!

  26. Ymarsakar Says:

    To those on the left I want to say: Save your outrage for those who are putting to death gays in Iran and Saudia Arabia.

    The leader of Iran was invited to speak at an American Uni, to tell the kiddies what to think.

    Save your outrage for the new anti-gay laws in Russia and Uganda, the one can land you in jail, the other gets you killed.

    We’re supposed to tell them that gays aren’t a threat to their kids?

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/12/why_i_cannot_blame_russia_and_india_for_taking_on_the_gays.html

    Their methods may be authoritarian, but the threat to kids from gays is real.

    Before Americans can think about fixing problems overseas, they need to fix the problem in their own homes.

  27. NeoConScum Says:

    Charles: “rude”..? What RUDE thing did he say, ‘Yo? 1st Corinthians, Brutha.

  28. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Dixies wanted to get rich and to insult their fans. They couldn’t make people buy their stuff though. But Obama can and did.

    Duck clan over there grew up amongst mud and squirrel hunting. Their money and success didn’t come from AE. Nor are their fans composed of mostly homosexuals or GLAAD backed child rapists.

  29. Artfldgr Says:

    and what if making the most money was not the game? and the game was tearing apart culture (to destroy racism as trotsky intended)?

    then the thing blew up in their face from creation to now…

  30. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} A&E didn’t think quite far enough to see the possible backlash to that action.

    Considering you’d have to be a congenital IDIOT to not have noticed the whole Chik-Fil-Et thing earlier this YEAR, I’d suggest you need to be replaced as a corporate officer and/or high-level manager to have not seen it coming.

  31. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} Duck clan over there grew up amongst mud and squirrel hunting.

    Ummmm, actually, no. They grew up yuppies like many others. Irrelevant to the controversy, mind you.

  32. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} The Left, even back in the 60s, did not have a live and let live attitude towards points of view with which it was in disagreement.

    Indeed, as William Ayers himself is noted for expressing…

    In No Place to Hide, [Larry] Grathwohl explains that the Weathermen actually believed that they would be successful in overthrowing the U.S. government and that, with the help of the Cubans, Chinese, Russians, and North Vietnamese, they would occupy America. Americans would have to be “re-educated” in camps, similar to what the communists did in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and other countries they had taken over. Here is one of the chilling revelations Larry Grathwohl made in the film:

    I asked, “Well what is going to happen to those people we can’t reeducate, that are diehard capitalists?” And the reply was that they’d have to be eliminated.

    And when I pursued this further, they estimated they would have to eliminate 25 million people in these reeducation centers.

    And when I say “eliminate,” I mean “kill.”

    Twenty-five million people.

    I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people and they were dead serious.

    Here’s video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWMIwziGrAQ

    And this piece of murderous, genocidal shit is someone who Obama found support from when starting his political career.

  33. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} Instead, 99% got suckered into supporting the gun to the head of big government to accomplish their imaginary goals.

    Sorry, Parker, but I believe it’s far more likely that 1% — that is, you et al — got suckered into imagining that wasn’t always the goal.

  34. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} It seems to me that I’m seeing increasing references to Orwell, Orwellian, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and various concepts of his like thought police, memory hole, and Big Brother. Has he become more relevant?

    No, he’s always been relevant. It’s just that more and more are SEEING that relevance.

  35. OBloodyHell Says:

    }}} For example, if one of them says something stupid, respond with “I can’t believe you said/mean that.”
    They use it to put the conservative’s point beyond the bounds of civilized thought. Turn that sucker around on them.

    LOL, I’ve been doing this for more than a decade. The one that’s the most fun is to ask them how, as a Democrat, they can honorably support blatantly racist policies and oppressive measures against blacks.

    If their heads don’t explode immediately, you’ll have them on the defensive for an hour or more, if they don’t go off in a huff.

  36. blert Says:

    A HATE crime is, by definition, a POLITICAL crime.

    For what is determinative in such ‘jurisprudence’ is the politics of the ‘offender.’

    The USSC should’ve thrown out the notion ages ago as a violation of due process; it being impossible to impute the driving emotions inside ANY perpetrator’s head to the requisite standard.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>



About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
Read More >>








Blogroll

Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge