The U.S.A., once number one for economic freedom, has sunk to number 12 per the Heritage Foundation. (Top seven: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, Chile.)
Somewhere, some leftist is going “Yeah cool! Because economic freedom sux!” Well then. The U.S.A., once number one as a place to be born, has sunk to number 16 in The Economist magazine’s more Europe-friendly rankings. (Compare to 1988 ranking, here.)
What about political-social freedoms, like freedom of the press? The U.S.A., once number one for that, has sunk to number 49. Behind South Africa, Slovenia, even Germany.
As Reporters Without Borders puts it:
In the United States, 2014 was marked by judicial harassment of New York Times investigative reporter James Risen in connection with the trial of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer charged under the Espionage Act with giving him classified information. US journalists are still not protected by a federal shield law that would guarantee their right not to name their sources or reveal other confidential information about their work. Meanwhile, at least 15 journalists were arbitrarily arrested during clashes between police and demonstrators protesting against black teenager Michael Brown’s fatal shooting…
And where would RPB rank us, if they could consider that our tax authority specially targets our domestic political dissidents (Tea Party conservatives)?
If news accounts are correct, a Libertarian-leaning Australian Senator had a terse reply to a Multiculturalist Social Democrat who wanted to curtail free-speech rights in the name of not offending the oh-so-delicate feelers of Islamics.
An anti free speech social Democrat named Gary Burns in Australia got a firm rebuke when he wrote to senator David Leyonjhelm about how Australia’s multiculturalism is the law. Leyonjhelm responded harshly, saying “Go f**k yourself you communist turd.”
I think pretty much the same thing whenever I hear certain politicians flapping their yaps, but I keep it to myself. I know it was not a civil way to reply, and not one that should typify political discourse, but what should one’s response be to people who want to take your human rights away from you? Some would argue that Leyonjhelm should have replied with a well-thought out argument on the virtues of free and open speech. That probably would have been a waste of time; you can’t reason people out of what they weren’t reasoned into.
Meanwhile, the recipients of Senator Leyonjhelm’ s email have responded with Drama Queen Butthurt.
“This boofhead is not a fit or proper person to represent the good people of NSW. I’ve been called many things in life but never a communist,” he said.
“When I received the offensive email from the Senator I was so shocked I clutched my pearls and reached for the smelling salts.”
Mr Burns has previously sued broadcaster John Laws under the Anti-Discrimination Act for calling gay men “pillow biters”.
The story of the Gang Rape of a woman named Jackie at a fraternity at the University of Virginia in 2012 is partially true. The supposed victim was a female student at the University of Virginia in 2012. Every other part of the story seems to be a complete fabrication.
The Progressive Left is not backing down, still defending the story as, essentially, “fake but accurate.” To quote an editorial in the Washington Post:
This is what we mean in America when we say someone is “innocent until proven guilty.” After all, look what happened to the Duke lacrosse players.
In important ways, this is wrong. We should believe, as a matter of default, what an accuser says. … Because Rape Culture is real.
“Rape Culture” being the name for the Narrative that the UVa story was made up to fit.
The Progressive Left, except for a few out-liars, have quietly begun abandoning defense of the story. They have resorted to the tactic of attacking those who were skeptical of the story. They are claiming that anyone who doesn’t support the notion that rapists are guilty until proven innocent, or who suggests that stories like Jackie’s should be subject to scrupulous fact-checking… is that right-wingers want to deny that rape exists.
mindset emerging on the right that because rolling stone royally effed up, all rape allegations can be ignored is super dangerous
Who on the right is saying this? Nobody, that’s who, but there is no one left but Straw men to defend the Progressive argument. When defending a lie, it’s always easiest to recruit volunteers from the voices-in-your-head.
One should very properly be skeptical when a story in the MFM fits into a left-wing narrative like the costume of a comic-book superhero.
BTW: The UVa fraternity gang-bang story isn’t the only brick in the facade of Rape Culture that’s starting to crumble.
A few days old but, lest we forget: Ezra Levant was fined $80,000 by a Canadian court:
Levant’s posts centred on Awan’s testimony at a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal case…Awan was a law student when the article was published and was among a group of students who alleged the article was Islamophobic…Some of blog posts are titled “Awan the liar,” “Awan the liar part two” and so forth…Levant’s lawyer had said his defence was primarily one of fair comment. He had said the blog posts were based upon what Levant observed over two days of Awan’s testimony at the human rights tribunal and were comments on a matter of public interest.
Via HotAir, where Jazz Shaw explains that Levant was fined for expression of *opinion*:
When you get to subjects such as social evolution, religion and prognostication about the future (which was the subject of the original article) it’s fairly obvious that you are talking about matters of opinion. Even here in the United States, you can’t go around writing, for example, that Bob is a drug dealer unless you can come up with some proof to support the allegation. That veers off from the arena of opinion and into the land of slander and libel. But Ezra Levant was disagreeing with Awan – albeit somewhat strenuously – on more subjective matters. For this exchange of ideas a Canadian judge has fined him $80K.
I’m sure this is just what the Left would love to see in America. Levant plans to appeal; feel free to help him pay for it.
UPDATE: Not that I’m sure the U.S. is that much better. Of his order on deportations, President Obama has now boasted, “I just took an action to change the law” – thus ignoring the U.S. constitution, which assigns that power to Congress.
Something in Bruce’s Twitter stream got me to notice this petition on Daily Kos, which is
…calling on Congress and the States [to] Act now to do whatever is within your power to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.
I don’t know when DK started the petition; probably a few years ago. But it’s still active. Now, in terms of the U.S. constitution, what caused the Citizens United decision? As Justice Kennedy wrote in 2010 for the majority:
If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.
So, the principle of Free Speech caused the decision. The First Amendment right of citizens, or associations of citizens, to engage in political speech – is what the decision expresses and defends.
If we do the math, the Daily Kos petition is effectively:
…calling on Congress and the States [to] Act now to do whatever is within your power to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn free speech.
…calling on Congress and the States [to] Act now to do whatever is within your power to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the First Amendment right of citizens, or associations of citizens, to engage in political speech.
Example #12,770 of leftism actually being fascism and vice versa.
UPDATE: Something more current…With approval from the National Science Foundation, Indiana University researchers spent $1 million of taxpayer money on activities to silence non-leftie voices on Twitter. Here’s another link.
The lesbian mayor of Houston is backing down from her demand that churches in her city turn over all of their sermons, emails, and other communications so her lawyers could examine them for any criticism of her.
Mayor Parker admitted that the subpoenas were too broad, and that the pastors’ sermons should not have been included. “It’s not about what did you preach on last Sunday,” she said. “It should have been clarified, it will be clarified.”
However, she still maintains that the Government has the right to monitor the content of religious speech; because that’s who the Democrats are these days.
The same regime that destroyed Lois Lerner’s emails and then lied about it to cover up its persecution of conservative political groups is looking for ways to censor internet speech so as to “assist in the preservation of open debate.”
Through a National Science Foundation grant, the U.S. government is paying for the creation of a database of “suspicious memes” and other “false and misleading” political ideas posted on social media.
“[The proposed technology] could mitigate the diffusion of false and misleading ideas, detect hate speech and subversive propaganda, and assist in the preservation of open debate,” the grant states.
Those sentences should be horrifying to anyone who wants to continue to live in a free society, but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t. They want their feelings protected from being hurt by being exposed to ideas that challenge their prejudices. e.g. Criticism of Obama’s policies, opposition to gay marriage, skepticism of human-caused global warming and anything else the left defines as “subversive” “misleading” or “hate speech.”
They want to silence the opposition, and they are working on the tools to do that.
Hat Tip: Sondra K
Captain Picard delivers a message to all of those who cheer when someone loses their job because they oppose gay marriage, or a business is forced by the
heavy crushing hand of the state to participate in a gay wedding or provide abortion-inducing birth control against the will of its owners.
[Not sure Sir Patrick Stewart would agree with Captain Picard; Stewart's kind of a moonbat.]
Leftist union thugs are demanding that two managers be sacked for sporting stickers on their personal vehicles that hurt the feelers of a neurotic, hypersensitive gay person.
A union representing federal employees at Eglin Air Force base in Florida is demanding that two senior management officials be removed from their posts because they put decals on their personal trucks supporting Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson.
Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said one of the officials also displayed the “I Support Phil” decals in his office last month and offered them to subordinates.
“The BUE (bargaining union employee) was clearly offended and disgusted that a senior management official would display the decal on their pod,” read an email Cooper wrote.
“We took offense,” Cooper told me in a telephone interview. “These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American – and we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions.”
Unlike some of the people who comment here, Andrew Klavan finds the heavy-handed fascism of the gay left somewhat distasteful.
I think Homofascism — this current movement to regulate and restrict opinions and outlooks toward homosexuality — indeed, toward anything — should be crushed. Lawsuits against photographers who won’t shoot gay weddings. Television show cancellations because the hosts oppose gay marriage. Attempts to silence anti-gay preaching or force churches to recognize gay marriages. Crushed, all of it. Crushed by the united voice of the people, crushed in courts of law, in legislatures, in businesses and in conversation. When someone is sued, attacked, shamed, boycotted or fired for opposing gay marriage or just opposing gayness in general, straight and gay people alike should protest. No one should lose his television show, no one should be dragged before a judge, no one should have his business threatened. Don’t tell me about a company’s right to fire its employees. It has the right, but it isn’t right. It’s unAmerican and it’s despicable.
Gay rights, like all rights, do not in any way supersede the rights of others. A free person may have any opinion about homosexuality he chooses — or about blackness or about Judaism or any other damned thing — and he should be able to speak that opinion out loud and act on that opinion if he does no immediate harm.
I guess Klavan is one of those crazy radical extremists who thinks the Constitution even protects the free speech of those who hurt gay people’s feelers.
Update: The Gay Left cannot be shamed by calling out their behavior as ‘fascist.’ They know they’re being fascists. They’re enjoying it, they’re getting off on it. All bullies get off on the power they wield over the less powerful.
Gabriel Diaz is a NYC cab driver of Dominican descent. He is also a proud National Socialist.
And he doesn’t just tell the media about his beliefs. He likes to wear a swastika armband while on the job driving around local citizens. This hasn’t pleased his bosses and he is currently suspended after numerous complaints about his armband were filed with the Taxi and Limousine Commission and the Anti-Defamation League.
But this cabbie, who is of Dominican-background, offers no genuine apologies for his armband or his beliefs, and is rather displeased with having to say sorry for his actions.
“If a Muslim can drive a cab wearing a turban, if a homosexual can walk around with a big rainbow flag, why can’t a person like me wear a Nazi armband?” Diaz explained to the New York Daily News.
“I don’t hate Jews. I’m critical of them, but I don’t hate them. That doesn’t mean that I’m anti-Semitic. That don’t make me a hater,” Diaz said. “Who says you have to be white to be a National Socialist? You don’t have to be white, it can be anybody.”
If he just wore a hammer-and-sickle, he would have no problem.
Well, when you put it that way.
Whether it’s HGTV canceling the Benham Brothers show or the NFL fining players for tweeting negative remarks regarding Michael Sam’s kiss, what we’re witnessing is not a liberal assault on freedom of speech, religious intolerance or political correctness run amok. It’s just people saying the world isn’t flat.
It’s okay to punish people who don’t think the way you do. It seems so obvious now.
Nick Adds: It’s worth noting, that this very metaphor (“world isn’t flat”) is the same paradoxical charge against scientists (paradoxical because it is a scientist’s natural instinct to question and be critical and skeptical, especially in the face of loud unanimity of thought among peers) who dare express anything other than dying fealty to the religion of ACC. Keep in mind, these are the same folks who demand reason-based policy-making. Well, if mal-reasoning is the only thing to describe knuckle-dragging discomfort with homosexuality or mouth-breathing apostasy against the agreed-to gospel of climate change, who could be against it other than Neanderthals, right? We win because we’re smart and they’re stupid. QED.
Erin Ching, a student at Swarthmore College (Tuition: $60K per year) was quoted in her student newspaper with the following:
‘What really bothered me is the whole idea that at a liberal arts college we need to be hearing a diversity of opinion.’
And Rutgers University answers: “Right on, Sister.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice abruptly withdrew Saturday from speaking at Rutgers University’s commencement address amid protests at her selection from faculty and students and denouncements of her as a “war criminal.”
The largest student newspaper, The Daily Targum, also urged the school to reconsider in a strong editorial that said that none of their commencement speakers should have “questionable politics.”
Other Rutgers campuses followed suit in calling for the forced withdrawal of Rice and students and faculty at the main campus staged a sit-in protest on Monday. During that protest, some participants held up signs that read “No honors for war criminals,”War criminals out” and “RU 4 Humanity?”
One notes that the Little Fascists of Rutgers had no protest at all when another Iraq War supporter, Hillary Rodham Clinton, spoke on campus. Curious, isn’t it?
Rather belatedly, a group of prominent Gay Marriage supporters has signed an open letter politely asking the Gay Mob to stop persecuting people like Brendan Eich and be more tolerant of people who disagree with them.
The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.
As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.
Don’t expect cooler heads to prevail; the real force behind gay marriage activism has never been the desire for equality, but the desire for vengeance.
Those perfidious Koch Brothers must have gotten to Justice Scalia. He’s talking the Libertarian crazy-talk.
“You’re entitled to criticize the government, and you can use words, you can use symbols, you can use telegraph, you can use morse code, you can burn a flag. “It’s all expression and it’s all covered by the First Amendment.” …
“The Constitution is not a living organism for Pete’s sake. It’s a law. It means what it meant when it was adopted,” he said.
After his prepared remarks, Scalia took questions from eager law students who lined the aisles of the theatre. His remarks there were more candid, pointing to the Washington, D.C. v. Heller opinon — a second-amendment case — as his proudest moment on the court.
When another students asked about the constitutionality of income tax, he assured the student that the government could, in fact, take his money.
“But if it reaches certain point, perhaps you should revolt,” Scalia advised the young man.
Criticize the Government? In the Age of the Lightbringer? Blasphemy! President Obama and Mr. Harry Reid better send the SWAT Teams into the Supreme Court and put down this sedition and insurrection!
What with Brendan Eich being ousted from Mozilla for not agreeing with the Progressive Left on gay marriage, university professors calling for “climate change deniers” to be thrown in prison for their heresies (Galileo Galilei would be having a good chuckle about that), and the University of Michigan and Brandeis University caving to Islamist demands not to let a feminist atheist critic of Islam speak on their campuses… it’s pretty clear the Progressive … and especially, the “Academic” … Left has adopted a Zero Tolerance policy for speech that falls outside their Dogma.
The brilliant Mark Steyn wrote a brilliant essay on the topic.
I heard a lot of that kind of talk during my battles with the Canadian ‘human rights’ commissions a few years ago: of course, we all believe in free speech, but it’s a question of how you ‘strike the balance’, where you ‘draw the line’… which all sounds terribly reasonable and Canadian, and apparently Australian, too. But in reality the point of free speech is for the stuff that’s over the line, and strikingly unbalanced. If free speech is only for polite persons of mild temperament within government-policed parameters, it isn’t free at all. So screw that. [Emphasis Mine]
But I don’t really think that many people these days are genuinely interested in ‘striking the balance’; they’ve drawn the line and they’re increasingly unashamed about which side of it they stand. What all the above stories have in common, whether nominally about Israel, gay marriage, climate change, Islam, or even freedom of the press, is that one side has cheerfully swapped that apocryphal Voltaire quote about disagreeing with what you say but defending to the death your right to say it for the pithier Ring Lardner line: ‘“Shut up,” he explained.’
By the way, a left-wing show business person who approvingly noted Mark Steyn’s defense of Free Speech was hammered for it by his fellow “tolerant” leftists.
Here’s how it is, my pretties. People who are confident that they can win an argument don’t insist that the other side not be allowed to argue.
Interesting post over at the Volokh Conspiracy analyzing the dissent of the left-wing Supreme Court Justices in the recent McCutcheon campaign contribution case. This summation does not do it justice, so, by all means read the whole thing.
The takeaway is this: To the Conservative Right, Free Speech is a basic human right. To the Progressive Left, Free Speech is a civil right, that is only worthy of protection to the extent that it serves the interest of the State. The dissent in McCutcheon relies on the latter conception of speech to justify limiting people’s ability to participate in the political process.
Justice Breyer’s dissent today shows the way, as he revives the old Progressive conception of freedom of speech as serving instrumental purposes (which he calls “First Amendment interests”), rather than protecting individual rights or reining in potential government abuses.
We on the right see the world very differently from our opponents on the left. You may also note that all four “liberal” justices agreed that Free Speech is only a right to the extent that it advances the state’s interests.
Our freedoms are hanging by a very slender thread indeed.
BTW, Democrats have responded to the McCutcheon ruling with the usual deranged histrionics. However, none of them have put their newly found outrage into practice by renouncing donations from George Soros, Tom Steyer, or any of the other lefty billionaires financing Democrat campaigns.
In a follow-up to the incident in which a University of California Feminist Professor assaulted a teenage girl who was advocating an anti-abortion position in the university’s “Free Speech Zone,” the University has issued a fauxpology.
In a long-winded 1,000-word letter that reads more like a diatribe than a mea culpa, University of California at Santa Barbara Vice Chancellor Michael Young eventually conceded that women’s studies professor Mireille Miller-Young should not have snatched a pro-life sign from 16-year-old Thrin Short, giving backhanded praise to the framers of the Constitution.
“Our Founding Fathers – all white men of privilege, some even slave owners – got it right when designing the First Amendment of the Constitution,” Young wrote in an open memo to the student body.
The price of freedom of speech, Young was enlightened enough to acknowledge, is that students, staff and faculty must tolerate “outside groups and individuals coming here to promote an ideology, to promulgate particular beliefs (at times extreme beliefs), or simply to create discord that furthers a certain personal agenda.””Some passionately believe in their causes, while others peddle hate and intolerance with less-than-noble aims,” Young added, mentioning “evangelical types.”
Translation: “We’re sorry we violated the free speech rights of you racist, bigoted, stupid, invisible-magical-sky-god-worshipping hatemongers; rights that were granted to you by dirty, rotten white slaveowners.”
It is reminiscent of the apology Mel Gibson gave after making anti-semitic comments.
Yes, it’s a bumper sticker!
Hat tip, Powerline. Also this nifty graphic, hat tip Granite Grok:
You can find a larger, clearer version here.