The lies we were told about who would silence free speech – Chicago Tribune

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/kass/ct-free-speech-kass-0430-20170428-column.html

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2 thoughts on “The lies we were told about who would silence free speech – Chicago Tribune

  1. pm1956

    Typically shallow point scoring attempt. Right and left are not monolithic. Free speech is a core value of liberalism (here I refer to classic liberalism, and mainstream US conservatives, libertarians and liberals are all a part of classic liberalism).

    Shutting down free speech is a value of the more extreme wings of both the left and the right (see: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/priebus-trump-considering-amending-or-abolishing-1st-amendment ). It is authoritarian in impulse, reactionary, more an expression of Trump than much else.

    The current manifestation of this effort (to limit free speech) finds its origins in fear, the fear that was engendered by 9/11 and the Bush reaction to that event. People were willing to trade freedoms for safety, and many in power were eager to make that trade (and, frankly, most but not all of those have been Republicans).

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  2. pm1956

    One more point to try to make this just a bit more clear: I think that the current situation is largely a function of a reaction/rejection of modernity. Classical liberalism is THE product of modernity, as are its values. Trump and many of the people who supported him are rejecting the ideas of modernity, feeling that it has failed them (experts, internationalism, reason, logic, cosmopolitanism, cities, intelligentsia, book learning, science, etc–all are values of and expressions of modernity. Basically everything that you ever learned in a Western Civ class).

    What do they want to go back to? loyalty, tribalism, the land, tradition, religion, the people/volk, community, community values, conformity, common sense, the past (when things were good). It comes down to a question of the “Golden Age”, when things were as they should be. Liberals tend to see the Golden Age as in the far future, and we are heading towards it gradually, but will inevitably get there through gradual change, incremental steps in that direction. Radicals (far left) see the Golden Age as in the near future, almost within our grasp, and we can reach it in our lifetimes, if we just have faith and make the necessary (radical) changes (getting rid of capitalism, in the communist version of this fairy tale). Conservatives see the Golden Age as in the recent past, and resist change because it takes us farther from that golden age, but they don’t really hold out a lot of hope for getting back there. They just want to stop the slow slide away from it. Reactionaries see the Golden Age as in the distant past, and want to blow up current institutions, values, etc., because they think that a destruction of what we have now will inevitably lead us back to that Golden age.

    Thus, both liberals and conservatives want to maintain current institutions and norms, but differ about speed and direction. Radicals and Reactionaries want to destroy current institutions and norms, but differ about direction. Free Speech is one of those norms and institutions that is beloved by liberals and conservatives both. Those who want to throw it out are either radicals or reactionaries.

    At least, that is how I see it. (with help from a philosopher of history called Hayden White : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayden_White )

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