As has been noted here many times in the past, the Left — who have the upper hand in Culture (due to the still-dominant sway of Political Correctness) — are on a mission to curtail the First Amendment. Today’s episode comes from Slate where (Dahlia Lithwick) has a piece titled “When the Nazis Come Marching In”, the byline of which reads: “I never feared the First Amendment until white supremacists came to my hometown.”
Oh boy. I can quickly see where this is going… which is the only reason I continued to read the piece. It’s about the triggered-trauma Ms. Lithwick experienced when Richard Spencer came to town:
Last week, I had come to a place where I was thinking—if not saying aloud—that maybe it was time for me and the First Amendment to see other people. It’s not me, to be sure, it’s the First Amendment—or at least what’s become of it. I am weary of hate speech, wary of threats, and tired of the choice between punching back and acquiescing. I am sick to death of Nazis. And yet they had arrived, basically on my doorstep…
There’s that obligatory-novelistic-pretension-of-an-opening.
It is a short hop, we are learning, from “words can never hurt us” to actual sticks and stones and the attendant breaking of bones.
That is what has become of free speech in this country. That is why I was contemplating breaking up with it. I don’t think I’m alone, either. There are a lot of people out there who feel that they ignored racist, xenophobic, sexist white supremacists at their own peril, for months and years, when they should have been punching back. And now, a lot of people in my town are not quite sure what to do. Some liberals cheered when Richard Spencer was confronted at his gym and cheered again when Ann Coulter didn’t speak in the free speech haven of Berkeley, California. Some have decided to meet what they perceive as violence with violence of their own: A growing list of “anti-fascist” groups have announced they are willing to use “direct action” against their foes if necessary. Many progressives are sick and tired because they have found that their attempts to protect free speech have resulted in a world that is not flush with the reciprocal exchange of ideas, but one that is shimmering with the threat of imminent violence and the daily fear that comes when you live with the possibility of that violence.
The cognitive dissonance here is deafening.
But to guarantee an escape from conflict, from violence, requires censorship. To have free speech in this moment, when the stakes are so high, is to live with fear. This is not an easy thing to confront—or to accept.
Ah, there it is.
By the way, I’m noticing a pattern to Slate’s list of contributors, as listed on the right hand side of their main page… but I can’t quite put my finger on it:
- Jamelle Bouie
- Mark Joseph Stern
- Jim Newell
- Jordan Weissmann
- John Dickerson
- Daniel Engber
- Isaac Chotiner
- Dana Stevens
- Fred Kaplan
- Dahlia Lithwick
- Katy Waldman
- Laura Miller
- William Saletan
- Willa Paskin
- Will Oremus
- Michelle Goldberg