February 2, 2011

When did the left turn against free speech?



One of the commenters declares that my "assertion that 'the best test of the truth is its ability to get accepted in the marketplace of ideas' was probably the most offensive part of her argument." When questioned about whether I really said that, he comes back with:
She cited a Justice whose name I haven't retained, as in: "As Justice X says, ..." followed by the verbatim passage I quoted.
She cited a Justice whose name I haven't retained.... Oh, for the love of God, why doesn't every educated person in America know the name of the Supreme Court Justice who said that... or at the very least know that it's embarrassing not to know? As if I'd thrown out some abstruse legalistic peculiarity!

And that was part of an argument by the commenter — echoing Bob Wright — that free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways.

Remember when lefties were all about free speech? When did that change? Why did that change? Perhaps the answer is: Free speech was only ever a means to an end. When they got their free speech, made their arguments, and failed to win over the American people, and when in fact the speech from their opponents seemed too successful, they switched to the repression of speech, because the end was never freedom.

349 comments:

1 – 200 of 349   Newer›   Newest»
Comrade X said...

I'm putting it at Nov 7th, 1917

paul a'barge said...

The end was never freedom

Kah-ploweee! Smack down! Right in the Leftist kisser.

chuck said...

I don't recall any time in which the left was in favor of free speech, although I do remember times when the call for free speech was used as a tactic. No doubt some mistook that exploitation of bourgeois morals as actual belief in free speech.

Tibore said...

"Remember when lefties were all about free speech? When did that change? Why did that change? Perhaps the answer is: Free speech was only ever a means to an end."

So the answer to the title question is actually: From the very beginning.

ricpic said...

Everything is pure tactics for the Left. They're gung-ho for freedom until they're in the drivers seat. Then it's all shut up you hateful fomenters of hate. And, uh...be civil.

traditionalguy said...

Great post , Professor. Wright who condemns established religious faith in a supernatural God, has a new source of faith deserving moral pronouncement and judgements ready to replace religion...it's Bob "Moses" Wright himself who is well able to fill this morality vacuum. And NO free and bold speech from an opposing faith shall be allowed in the camp until it is PURIFIED.

shoutingthomas said...

I'm putting it at Nov 7th, 1917.

Got to agree.

One of Solzhenitsyn's most often repeated themes is that Marxists are always trying to find a way to save the ideology from indictment as the actual cause of genocide and GULAGS.

So, the useful idiots in his novels argue that it was just Stalin's doing, and if Lenin had had his way, the great ideal of democratic socialism would have been achieved. Then, when it became clear that Lenin also endorsed genocide and the camps, the argument became that Marx himself was absolutely pure of heart, and it was Lenin who misinterpreted the holy writ.

PatCA said...

"because the end was never freedom."

Exactly. That's why lefties rarely debate--they know they have weak arguments and thus prefer puppets and protest parades. I have heard this in so many words from lefties I know.

Mr. Wright just got schooled. I admire him for debating at all.

Scott M said...

I believe you nailed part of it, AA. It was a means to an end. This is what happens when you have an agenda that's not based on principle, but rather on the prevailing "I want" winds.

Another thing that's happened is that they have lost their stranglehold on info-flow. Newspaper, radio, TV...for the most part, are all overwhelmingly one direction, flowing from the institution to the individual. This is certainly no longer the case as individuals in their metaphorical pj's wield as much infopower these days as the MSM once did.

Combine that with the technical shock a couple of generations lived through, "I heard/saw it on the radio/tv so it's got to be true", which has been replaced by a savvy and cynical news consumer, and what you have are a bunch of people on the left that at the same time teetering back on their heels because of the situation and pissed that their own medicine is being forced upon them. Crap theories, bad philosophy and a complete supplication to the alter of "but...I want" over the reality of "it's actually this way" lead to a group of people that are increasingly at odds with themselves.

It's the ones that knew this all along, that aren't back on their heels, and are still pressing their agendas that we really need to worry about. I count the current crowd at 1600 Penn Ave as part of this latter group.

AllenS said...

Lefties have never been for free speech. The only speech that they've been for is their speech. Don't believe me? Check out most university campuses. How about the U of Wisconsin? Have they ever suppressed the ability of anyone from the right to come on campus and voice their opinion?

Scott M said...

Exactly. That's why lefties rarely debate--they know they have weak arguments and thus prefer puppets and protest parades.

James Cameron and his turning tail from the climate depate in Colorado, for instance.

peter hoh said...

When did the left turn against free speech?

When the hippies became old farts.

I know that's not true. True Believers aren't in favor of free speech. They are interested in getting their way.

I think there are still great swaths of the left who believe in free speech. Unfortunately, a sizable chunk of the left has fallen for the siren song of speech codes and the like.

By the way, had you asked me about this quote before I read the post, I would not have known the Justice associated with it. I might have guessed correctly, as OWH stands as one of the most quotable Justices.

David said...

What makes this particularly amusing is that Glenn Beck's ratings are plummeting. He's lost more viewers in January, compared to a year earlier, than any other cable show.

MikeR said...

I believe that Dennis Prager has always said that one of the things that turned him right was his experiences with the Free Speech Movement at Columbia: how they shouted down anyone's free speech but their own.

Eponym said...

Since that "lefty" was me, I'll respond here.

The argument is this: There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies. The things he has said about those "enemies" are often untrue on their face. If he actually believes those things, then he's incompetent and ought not have a prominent broadcasting job. If he doesn't believe those things, then he's a reckless liar and ought not have a prominent broadcasting job.

Bob Wright's (or my) freedom to critique Beck is as much at issue as Beck's freedom to speak. (And nobody has suggested that Beck ought not speak. The question is about public morality and whether he should retain the venue from which he now holds forth.) That's not an argument "that free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways." It's an argument that people who use deliberate lies, or crazy lies, (it's one or the other) can, and ought to, be called on for their behavior. If "calling them on their behavior" means they lose a cherry broadcasting job, you're going to have to demonstrate how that violates any reasonable notion of free speech.

shoutingthomas said...

The argument is this: There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies.

No, there is no such evidence. Your insistence that such evidence exists shows that you are indeed an enemy of free speech.

Beck is no more responsible for the behavior of his listeners than the Beatles are responsible for Charles Manson's behavior.

You are a believer in censorship. You just have a clever way of stating it.

victoria said...

Ann, I am disappointed in you, referring to liberals as "lefties" it sounds pejorative. I always look to you for a balanced, both sides kind of person. To see you lean too far either way is sad. Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged.


Vicki from Pasadena

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

What makes this particularly amusing is that Glenn Beck's ratings are plummeting. He's lost more viewers in January, compared to a year earlier, than any other cable show.

Meaning his audience is only THREE times that of MSNBC's as opposed to 3.5 times that MSNBC's?

And this relates to Free Speech, how?

MnMark said...

It's true that the Left's end is not freedom, but radical equality. And engineering equality necessarily means eliminating freedom because free people (with their different levels of ability, both genetically-based and character-based) end up with very unequal levels of power and wealth.

But beyond that, I think the reason the Left so often opposes free speech now is that they have victoriously marched through the institutions and are now in control. And those in control don't care for there to be further discussion that might threaten their power. Those who are not in power are the ones who want free speech.

The Left is especially threatened by criticism of their core ideology of racial, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural/religious equality. To dispute that human beings are all equal along those lines is to have one's observations labelled "hate speech" and is considered beyond the pale. Basically, anything that disagrees with core Left ideology is "hate speech" in their minds, and if they have the political power - as they do in Europe - they will imprison you for daring to publicly challenge their core beliefs.

DADvocate said...

Free speech was only ever a means to an end.

You hit the nail on the head. And, as you said, when it didn't work out for them, suppression became they're method.

shoutingthomas said...

Interestingly, that moron Wright didn't stop at accusing Beck as guilty of inciting one his listeners to violence.

Wright kept insisting that Beck had to be stopped before he became a new Hitler and embarked on his hidden plan to commit genocide.

Yes, this is about censorship.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies.

There’s evidence that the Beatles got the Labianca’s and the Tate’s murdered too…..And then there’s the Jeremiah Wright follower mailing poison to California officials…what should we do there?

AJ Lynch said...

I'd say that happened around the time librul Ivy Leaguers flocked to media jobs so they could be the next Woodward & Bernstein and bag their own evil president. Around the same time, reporters became known as "journalists".

peter hoh said...

I'm not all that convinced that the right embraces dissenting speech, either.

In this forum, those on the right have a strong libertarian streak. This is not true of all of those on the right.

Quayle said...

"There's evidence that.....:"

Please cite to and present said evidence.

Otherwise, you're introducing hearsay and it's worthless.

In fact, it is what lefties always do - start a stampede of unsubstantiated conclusions and move the crowd without ever looking at the facts.

Stan said...

And Holmes was just following John Milton's argument against censorship.

Henry said...

What I find repellent is the way the anti-speech left takes refuge in petty legalisms. When challenged, Bob Wright claims that he isn't against free speech because he's not asking for the government to step in. He just wants the media to refuse a forum to people he doesn't like. Or, even better, for those people to shut themselves up.

They substitute the ideal of free speech and free expression with an abstraction. It's a totem they claim to venerate, but it has no bearing on their behavior.

What Wright and his ilk are arguing for is a kind of gray flannel conformity. Shun the rude, the crude, and the vehement. I don't think they even realize how reactionary they are. No Glenn Beck means no Lenny Bruce.

virgil xenophon said...

"...because the end was never freedom."

This is a revelation? I would have thought it intuitively obvious to anyone over the age of 12 and with an IQ within shouting distance of room temp....and of course to all those obviously sane individuals who've commented here so far it isn't/wasn't. It's all about shaping/framing the "narrative"/"discourse." Dr. Sanity has a great post about EXACTLY this syndrome in her 30 Jan Sunday post entitled: "RHETORIC VS REALITY." Go See..

garaji mahal said...

I love how Limbaugh and O'Reilly call websites that play video clips of them saying things, "hate websites". The real hate is the act of posting the video/audio of a Limbaugh asking if we're all supposed to "bend over and grab our ankles because Obama's father is black", not what, you know, they actually said.

Eponym said...

Of course there's evidence.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/30/AR2010073003254.html

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann, I am disappointed in you, referring to liberals as "lefties" it sounds pejorative."

Here in Madison, people find it charming.

But even if it sounds pejorative, it's deserved. If they were liberals, they would believe in free speech. Look up "liberal." It's not liberal to be repressive like that.

You know, if you really believe in freedom and the autonomy of the human individual, it's very easy to remain consistent and coherent. The real enemies of freedom reveal it.

A person from 1969 watching that video of me and Bob Wright would assume Bob was right wing and I was left wing. Bob's ranting about law and order. The me of 1969, sitting in a room with my college friends, would have said "Nixon!" and everyone would have laughed.

shoutingthomas said...

Certainly, a Dana Milbank opinion piece in the Washington Post is "evidence."

Beck is not responsible for what this lunatic did.

Even if the lunatic cited Beck, Beck is not responsible for what this lunatic did.

You are an advocate of censorship.

Trooper York said...

Bob Wright and people like AemJeff want you to sit down and shut up and listen to your betters. How dare anyone challenge the convential wisdom promulgated by the left. Anyone who challenges them must be silenced no matter how profitable and popular they may be. The "Right" people don't like it and the "Right" people should get to decide who has a platform.

We should only be able to hear former Democratic operatives who think the Panama Canal is in Egypt.

Ann Althouse said...

"I love how Limbaugh and O'Reilly call websites that play video clips of them saying things, "hate websites". The real hate is the act of posting the video/audio of a Limbaugh asking if we're all supposed to "bend over and grab our ankles because Obama's father is black", not what, you know, they actually said."

Hey, remember the old Shirley Sherrod don't-take-quotes-out-of-context thing? That was funny.

mesquito said...

Yes, eponym, your insistence on so many qualifications, combined with your use of the blood libel, marks you as an opponent of the first amendment.

caplight said...

Where is this generation's Mario Savio? (A name that I have retained since I was thirteen)

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I'm not all that convinced that the right embraces dissenting speech, either.

No one does, not really…We all love Free Speech when we all are doing the same thing:
1) When we’re all walking down to the Fourth of July Picnic and Parade with our children; or
2) When we’re off to the Park for the Rally and Demonstration Against the War and For Social Justice, each of us with his giant Papier Mache puppet….
No one loves Free Speech on cold gray, November mornings when we’re walking in the sleet and rain, and coming down the street against the tide, is:
1) Some Rasta dood listening to some Goody-@rsed Hippie song;
2) Some Skinhead, listening to “Oi” Music.
But as there are enough Hippies or Righties, unhappy enough with the status quo and therefore supportive of a right to speak, it all works out…and any way much of the Right’s complaint about the Left isn’t about Speech, it’s about hypocrisy. “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” UNTIL Harry Reid is in charge, then it’s be civil and shut up!

bagoh20 said...

"because the end was never freedom. "

In the words of our esteemed left commenters: "Duh!"

bagoh20 said...

But, equality does not require free speech, so get some principles would you?

pst314 said...

"Perhaps the answer is: Free speech was only ever a means to an end...and the end was never freedom."

There's no "perhaps" about it.

So, is there any reason we should not treat Comrade Wright with hostility, contempt, and intolerance? We wouldn't treat a proud Klansman with respect, so why this proud piece of shit?

Revenant said...

I don't recall any time in which the left was in favor of free speech

I don't recall any time in which EITHER wing was in favor of free speech. Liberals and conservatives differ in what kinds of speech they want to suppress, that's all.

Henry said...

Eponym, you're missing an "l" from your link.

I have to say that I enjoyed this sentence from the middle of Milbank's eight paragraphs of finger-pointing:

It's not fair to blame Beck for violence committed by people who watch his show.

HAHAHAHA. Now back to our regular programming.

Forget free speech. When did the left become blind to irony?

Trooper York said...

If you are truly in favor of free speech, you have to support even those who lie because they have a right to speak. You can prove that they are liars with you own speech and the truth will come out. It always does.

The liberal’s problem with Beck, Limbaugh, Fox News and all the rest is a control issue, not a speech issue.

They have lost their monopoly and they are afraid that what they are selling….well nobody wants to buy it.

You see Obama and the Democrats won because they lied. When they revealed that they were the “Same Old Jets” with the tax and spend and the government has to control everything thingy…..they lost.

The truth always comes out.

showbiz111 said...

The left was never in favor of free speech, just anti american, anti traditional values, pro marxist speech. Speech to advance to dictatorship of the proletariat (or rather the dictatorship of the elite in the name of the proletariat).

Paul Zrimsek said...

That's not an argument "that free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways." It's an argument that people who use deliberate lies, or crazy lies, (it's one or the other) can, and ought to, be called on for their behavior.

It's also an admission that Wright's-- and apparently your own-- allusions to violence are a red herring. If all you're saying is that people in the press who say untrue things should lose their jobs, then say just that. Don't try to use crazies with guns to stampede us.

Ann Althouse said...

"And Holmes was just following John Milton's argument against censorship."

Just.

James said...

There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies.


Show the evidence.

Trooper York said...

"If all you're saying is that people in the press who say untrue things should lose their jobs, then say just that"

You can't be serious. Because every journalist would lose his job because they are all lying sacks of shit......hey wait a minute.....you might have something there.

Bruce Hayden said...

I find it interesting, and a bit humorous, that Beck is the target of all this, as has been Rush.

But why?

My guess is that the left is petrified of the fact that he speaks to the lower middle class in their own language. And, a lot of them eat it up. The result is that they listen less and less to the leftist elite at the MSM.

The reason that this is dangerous to the left is that these are the dupes who put them in power by listening and trusting them.

Oprah had or has her book club, or whatever, and essentially so does Beck. But his books are about our founding, freedom, etc. Not the type of books that the left wants this group of people reading.

And, then he spends a lot of time connecting the dots. Who on the left is tied to whom, and how. You would almost think him, and them, paranoid, except that he seems to be right much more often than he is wrong.

But this reveals the ugly underbelly of the left, and the Democrats in and around power in this country.

The reason that I think it is partly a class thing is that Beck's presentation really bugs me. Somewhat like when Sarah Palin rubs me the wrong way. They both rub my upper-middle class sensibilities the wrong way, in a way that O'Reilly, Hannity, and Rush do not.

Freeman Hunt said...

Eponym:

The Discovery Channel hostage taker was inspired by "crazy lies" (as many would term them) by Al Gore. Shall we shut him down too?

And if the counter argument is that Gore wasn't lying and Beck was, who is going to decide who is lying and who is not? Right now, the audience does. That's the marketplace of ideas. How would you have it done? Would you appoint a panel? Perhaps better a government Bureau of Truth?

Also, it is complicated this notion that free speech should be decided by how it affects the behavior of the unhinged in society. Are those the people we want controlling discourse? Is that a good precedent? Wouldn't that lead to the obvious conclusion that whoever does the most violence will receive the least criticism? (See radical Islam.)

Ann Althouse said...

What's the point of the side issue of whether Holmes was being original? Holmes's reputation as a champion of free speech doesn't depend on him being the first person to think of it!

Paddy O said...

"that free speech is too dangerous because it might be false and it might inspire bad people to act out in terrible ways."

Which makes sense in a way. I think this is a nice generalization and cozy ideal.

But the problem -- the real, living, and historical problem -- is that controlled speech might also be false and inspire not only the bad but also the good people to act out in terrible ways. Good people do terrible things when given lies and falsehoods as foundations. They think they are doing good, but are instead pawns of a malicious, lying power.

That's why the hypocrisy of the Left honestly bothers me more. When they talk about the power of words, then use words for rhetorical and political gamesmanship, they show themselves to be entirely untrustworthy in the pursuits they claim to honor.

They show that the speech they want to control is not always true or honest.

So, the only response is to make all speech free, because no one, no matter their stated goals, can be trusted.

Just as someone who works with the poor is entirely untrustworthy if they're corrupt. Their claims to helping the poor are false they're stealing from them.

Palladian said...

"I don't recall any time in which EITHER wing was in favor of free speech. Liberals and conservatives differ in what kinds of speech they want to suppress, that's all."

Amen.

The left, however, spends considerable energy, and has achieved considerable success, in pretending otherwise.

In the end, ideologues are only interested in the promotion of their own ideology.

Paddy O said...

"it is complicated this notion that free speech should be decided by how it affects the behavior of the unhinged in society"

Emancipation of the slaves was the right and moral position of the day. Even if John Brown was unhinged, then provoked and engaged in violence.

Borepatch said...

Eponym, if you believe that Beck's media platform should be removed because his speech is "dangerous", do you also call for the same thing for Frances Fox Piven, who called for street riots like the ones in Greece?

Or is the instinct to censor merely tribal?

edutcher said...

At the risk of being redundant, I have to say chuck and shout are correct. The Left only wants their speech heard.

Uncle Saul's rules, in large part, are about suppressing the other side's speech, discrediting it and forcing them to concede the Left's talking points.

But Ann talks about the Free Speech Movement and that was merely the stated desire to be able to inflict foul language as part of everyday discourse (even with the conservatives here, it's obvious they succeeded) and was the first step in the culture war they waged for the last 50 years to infiltrate and destroy the institutions of society.

Cloward-Piven at work.

Robert Cook said...

Most people (of either right or left--or in between) do not really believe in free speech, when pressed. They believe in free speech for themselves, of course, but they are curiously able to find "good" reasons why some speech at some times for some people should be limited.

On the other hand, there are those few who truly believe in and speak up for free speech who, again, come from across the political spectrum from right to left.

Free speech cannot be said to have a preponderance of sincere champions anywhere, and there is no monopoly or even majority of either left or right views among those who are its sincere champions.

As to the statement "the best test of the truth is its ability to get accepted in the marketplace of ideas", this hardly seems to follow, as many "shoppers" (to take the metaphor) too often make poor choices in the "marketplace of ideas" (a bad metaphor, as what may be "true" is not up for grabs, not determined merely by majoritarian acceptance of or belief in a given idea).

Just as with the the tasty but non-nutritious foods we too often eat (or overeat), ideas may be unsound or "non-nutritious," and appealing ideas may be accepted in ignorance of their counterfeit nature.

Trooper York said...

Bruce Hayden as usual has astutely put his finger on it. The elitist media and the liberal intelligentsia are aghast that the unwashed masses are forming their own opinions. Or more correctly acting on what they really believe. The "Silent Majority" is waking up and the people who can talk to them in their own language are scaring the fancy pants right off these weenies.

Ann Althouse said...

"I don't recall any time in which EITHER wing was in favor of free speech. Liberals and conservatives differ in what kinds of speech they want to suppress, that's all."

Some of us are for freedom as an end in itself. You can look at whether I'm painted as a lefty or a righty and make some inferences.

Salamandyr said...

I tried watching your Bloggingheads with Wright. First he tried to dishonestly restate your argument in a fashion more easy for him to rebut. Then, in the gun control argument, he seemed incapable of understanding that reasonable people might disagree on something.

He is manifestly unsuited to debate.

Paddy O said...

For that matter, when did the Left turn against violence?

Sure there's Martin Luther King, but read any 20th century book on liberation or such, at it's all Revolution this and Revolution that. That's why Leftist and Guerilla are two words that have long gone together.

The oppressor cannot liberate himself, but must be liberated by the oppressed. The oppressed must rise up and fight. Workers unite! And not for tea and discussions, but for action!

King and Gandhi are the exceptions to the exceedingly violent rhetoric and actions of the Left in the last centuries.

dbp said...

Eponym said...
The argument is this: There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies. The things he has said about those "enemies" are often untrue on their face. If he actually believes those things, then he's incompetent and ought not have a prominent broadcasting job. If he doesn't believe those things, then he's a reckless liar and ought not have a prominent broadcasting job.
The problem many on the left seem to have is a confusion between assertion and argumentation. Why would any reasonable person expect their philosophical opponents to accept unsupported assertion?

Here we are, smack-dab in the middle of the Marketplace of Ideas. Try using logic and facts not in dispute to prove your assertions.

DADvocate said...

The question is about public morality and whether he should retain the venue from which he now holds forth.

When you start controlling the venue of speech, you no longer believe in free speech but in restricted speech. Free speech has no meaning if you can only do it in an empty room.

This has been the left's position on religion for a long time. You can "practice" any religion you want as long as it doesn't influence you decision making on the job, in public office, in everyday life and is restricted to one hour a week on Sundays.

Eponym said...

It's also an admission that Wright's-- and apparently your own-- allusions to violence are a red herring. If all you're saying is that people in the press who say untrue things should lose their jobs, then say just that. Don't try to use crazies with guns to stampede us.

Except that that isn't a good characterization of what I argued. I'm not talking about "people in the press who say untrue things." There's plenty of room for subjectivity in most circumstances. I'm talking about people who habitually and demonstrably lie. Particularly when those lies are used for incitement against specific people or groups - and definitely when it becomes evident that the incitement might be motivating people to violence.

If you want to argue whether Beck meets those criteria, that's fine.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Here we are, smack-dab in the middle of the Marketplace of Ideas.

Does that mean it's not a Theatre of Topicks any more?

Eponym said...

Try using logic and facts not in dispute to prove your assertions.

Name the disputed facts.

Ann Althouse said...

"Just as with the the tasty but non-nutritious foods we too often eat (or overeat), ideas may be unsound or "non-nutritious," and appealing ideas may be accepted in ignorance of their counterfeit nature."

Extend you analogy to the point where one tests the soundness of ideas in a way parallel to our ability to test the nutritiousness of food. I think it will fall apart.

PaulV said...

The Left has never been classical Liberals. The Progressives are true liberal fascists. Their hatred of free speech and capitalism makes them closer to communists and fascists,

WV:unmake The Left wants to unmake the Bill of Rights

Ann Althouse said...

"Does that mean it's not a Theatre of Topicks any more?"

It can be. We need new divas.

Patrick said...

Eponym; "It's an argument that people who use deliberate lies, or crazy lies, (it's one or the other) can, and ought to, be called on for their behavior."

Well, then call them on it - with speech, explaining why he is wrong, why he is so screwed up. That's what speech is for. But your insistence that his "mistakes" or "lies" should mean that he is not entitled to his particular platform is really nothing more than suppression of speech that you don't like. It puts you into the position of deciding under what circumstances someone is entitled to a particular speech platform. And what criteria would you use making those decisions. Are you really certain it would be objective, and a political? Would Olbermann stay? Limbaugh? Maddow? They've all made errors, many of them, and not all admitted to? Should they be taken off the air? Who decides this?

What you should do is convince others that his speech is so unreasonable that it doesn't deserve their time or trust. Ratings will fall. Remember Dan Rather? Lots of people spent a lot of time showing that he ginned up the whole TANG controversy, and now he's doing HAM radio broadcasts from his mother's basement. THey didn't try to kick him off the air, they just set the records straight.

knox said...

Someone brought it up in the thread yesterday, but it really is insultingly obvious how Wright is not even listening to Althouse.

This in itself reveals the disinterest lefties have for other points of view. Small wonder he can't understand why *anyone* would find value in a show like Beck's. From there it's a relatively small leap to start labeling it "Dangerous."

Trooper York said...

I for one have always appreciated your comments Robert and would fight to the death for you to have the chance to express them no matter how much I might disagree.

Your gracious presence here puts to rest the base calumny that we only have conservatives on this sight. The presence of thoughtful liberals such as you, Beth, Garage, somefellar and even Roachy are a vital and irreplaceable part of what goes on here. You truly represent your point of view and I always value your comments. Thank you for your participation here.

Your free speech will always be protected if I have anything to say about it

bagoh20 said...

If people act out violently as a result of being exposed to the truth, then ...?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

I'm talking about people who habitually and demonstrably lie. Particularly when those lies are used for incitement against specific people or groups - and definitely when it becomes evident that the incitement might

Walking back, now? Now it’s not BECK, but those who “Habitually and demonstrably lie”…whip out some names of the Lying Liars and the Lies They Tell….Incitement, really you mean like “vote them out” or “shoot them”? BOTH are incitement, be specific, please, what are these Lying Liars Inciting folks to do? Again, move past assertion, as someone said, and move onto EVIDENCE and ARGUMENTATION.

Trooper York said...

Ann Althouse said...
"Does that mean it's not a Theatre of Topicks any more?"

It can be. We need new divas."


Ewwwwwwww. That was a shot.

bagoh20 said...

"Extend you analogy to the point where one tests the soundness of ideas in a way parallel to our ability to test the nutritiousness of food."

Yea, the government does that for us. We need the U.S.D.S(peech).

Paddy O said...

"I'm talking about people who habitually and demonstrably lie."

How do you tell the difference between someone who lies, someone who is simply mistaken about facts, and someone who you just disagree with?

Bush lied, people died. Did he? Why and how are you, or anyone the arbitrator? What about mistakes others make in the press? Mistakes, for instance, that to rioting, and real death, in Muslim countries?

I'd feel much better about platitudes if they were equally applied to all speech. But they're not. Platitudes are used as political weapons and are thus entirely untrustworthy.

When each side makes a bigger deal about its own "lies" then I'll trust them more about when they point out the actions of others. But, all I've seen from both sides is excusing their own while lambasting their enemy.

I don't trust you, or anyone, to regulate the speech others, because you are untrustworthy. You use words as a game, then complain when others play the game the same way.

Meanwhile, truth eventually rises out of the chaos, if the chaos is allowed to be free.

Lincolntf said...

"Particularly when those lies are used for incitement against specific people or groups..."

Or to win elections? Remember the fundamental dishionesty of Obama's campaign? Holding terrorists in Gitmo was "causing terrorism" until Obama got into office. Drone strikes were war crimes until Obama got into office. Ethanol was a vital part of a new economy, until it was exposed as a fraud. Oil prices were rising because of Bush's "Big Oil" buddies, etc.

The Left doesn't just lie about objective facts, they lie about their own basic principles.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm talking about people who habitually and demonstrably lie.

Again, how would you like lie and truth to be decided? As of now, people are left to decide for themselves in the marketplace of ideas. Everyone can present his arguments, and everyone can decide for himself as to which arguments win the day.

How would you have it done? By an oversight committee of some sort?

PaulV said...

Would Wright object to free speech so much if reasoned speech did not undermine his positions? The man is so unsure of himself.

dbp said...

Eponym said...

Name the disputed facts.

"Facts" in dispute:

1. There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies.

2. The things he has said about those "enemies" are often untrue on their face.

How is that for a start?

bagoh20 said...

I'm hearing the marketplace of ideas needs regulation. Liberals love their regulation more than anything.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

How would you have it done? By an oversight committee of some sort?

Yes, the oversight Committee Appointed by the POTUS, from a list of names submitted by the Sociology,. Political Science, and Journalism Departments of the Top Universities in the Nation…..

bagoh20 said...

In a world completely run by liberals, would Soylent Green be: regulated for purity, required eating, properly labeled with ingredients and nutritional content?

Freeman Hunt said...

How would you have it done? By an oversight committee of some sort?

"We have top men working on it now. ... Top... men."

Trooper York said...

Didn't Newsweek magazine publish a lie about Korans in the toilet that got people killed?

Didn't JD Salinger publish a book full of lies that got John Lennon killed?

Who is the person who decides who gets to be on the air?

An information czar?

You guys are pitiful.

Robert Cook said...

"Extend you analogy to the point where one tests the soundness of ideas in a way parallel to our ability to test the nutritiousness of food. I think it will fall apart."

Some will test the soundness of ideas before accepting them just as some do test the nutritiousness of foods and make prudent choices accordingly. Many do not and will not. There are those who don't want to hear ideas contrary to those they find appealing just as there are those who may know the food they choose to buy is "bad" for them but who don't care.

Of course, for those who do care, this is a reason free speech must be championed, as this is how the soundness of ideas may be examined...through the analysis of debate supported by example and proof.

traditionalguy said...

The Professor is right. People must eat a variety of words until they can discriminate the taste of true words. It is like wine tasting. But there is a sine qua non which is a love for the truth. Without that every delusion and cult tastes the same as truth, which is a very sad state, but it is exactly what Obama's guys are depending on to be our Rulers. Can you spell Kill Switch?

Scott M said...

Most people (of either right or left--or in between) do not really believe in free speech, when pressed.

Service in the military, probably one of the most totalitarian (by design and rightly so) institutions we have, makes one very aware of speech rights for the most part because those rights are surrendered in the initial phase of your duty.

I would suggest to Cook that veterans in general are very aware of both free speech and what it means to put one's life down for speech one hates. It's never fun, but that's what you sign up and take an oath for.

Robert Cook said...

"Your free speech will always be protected if I have anything to say about it."

Thanks, TY.

Trooper York said...

But Robert, I like donuts. They might not be good for me and be full of harmful sugar and trans fats and what not but I like them and I should be able to eat them.

Why would you want to take my donuts away from me. What gives you the right to take away my donuts?

DKWalser said...

Althouse - Your conversation with Bob Wright about Glenn Beck was scary. I had always put Wright into the category of "reasonable" lefties -- those with whom it was possible to have a rational discussion of the issues and, at worst, end up agreeing to disagree. He demonstrated that he does not belong in that category. Instead, if it were up to him, anyone with whom he disagrees would be burdened with severe penalties if they dared express a contrary opinion.

Beck should be fired for daring to criticize the Tides Foundation! You should be condemned because you wouldn't acknowledge that there's no reasonable basis for Beck's criticism -- Wright told you Beck was wrong, how dare you insist on doing your own research before forming an opinion? Condemn Beck or be condemned for condoning his lies! That was the choice Wright insisted you make. Of course, if you were to persist in refusing to acknowledge Wright's rightness, you must be too incompetent or dishonest to be a law professor. This isn't argument, it is intimidation.

In Bob Wright's world, free speech consists of getting people fired for participating in the political process (such as supporting Proposition 8). Free speech involves having union thugs show up on your front lawn to protest your opposition to X. In other words, you're free to say anything you want as long as you're willing to be burdened with whatever consequences Wright and his ilk might choose to impose for your daring to disagree. There's no need to prove the other side wrong through facts and reason. Just raise the price of disagreement until the other side shuts up. But that's okay because the government's not involved.

Scary, scary stuff.

Lincolntf said...

"Most people (of either right or left--or in between) do not really believe in free speech, when pressed."

An absurd statement meant to make the free-speech advocates on the Right equivalent to the institutional censors on the Left.

traditionalguy said...

Another truism: to spot counterfeits, you must first diligently have studied the genuine article.

Trooper York said...

Liberals want you to eat salad.

Conservatives like donuts.

It's just the way it is.

wv: scones. I shit you not. How weird is that?

YoungHegelian said...

@dpb/eponym

One "fact" to take into account is that the shooter himself has already admitted that he knew about the Tides Foundation and that Beck had nothing to do with it:

http://www.examiner.com/sf-in-san-francisco/freeway-gunman-byron-williams-says-glenn-beck-did-not-incite-him-to-violence

And, by gumbers, it seems that GB just wasn't being fascist enough to satisfy our boy the shooter.

Just think, if only GB had advocated good old lefty "propoganda of the deed" there would have been one less right-wing terrorist.

Trooper York said...

Liberals are tofu lasagana.

Conservatives are meatball heroes.

edutcher said...

I think Cook, like Katha Politt, doesn't understand that disagreeing with someone, or even getting a laugh out of what they say, is not the same thing as taking away their right to be heard. It may be on the Left (Uncle Saul again), but no one here has ever said Cook shouldn't be allowed on the site.

Scott M said...

The Left doesn't just lie about objective facts, they lie about their own basic principles.

I'm quite positive there's an oxymoron in this sentence somewhere. I'm sure of it...

Brian said...

Yeah, it's a good point brought up earlier about the Discovery Channel hostage taker. He specifically mentioned in his list of demands to broadcast shows based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael".

link.

So I guess this means we should ban Daniel Quinn's book, and any appearances on TV, right? After all, he's provoking violence!

kcom said...

"I'm talking about people who habitually and demonstrably lie."

Since I don't listen to Glenn Beck please give me an example of a habitual and demonstrable lie. You don't necessarily even have to prove it's a lie (I have Google) but please give me a concrete, specific, researchable example. Pick your best one. Make it as easy as possible for me to prove your case with independent research.

And please don't put it in your own words. Provide a quote or some specific wording that comes from Beck himself. The reason I say that is that I don't trust one side when it characterizes the argument of another side. (You could see that in the diavlog with Bob and Ann). The temptation is too great to say things that weren't said or imply things that weren't implied.

I'll tell you my bias up front. I don't trust anybody who tells me they're going to decide that someone else is lying to me and they'll suppress that person's speech on my behalf. The reason we absolutely have to have truly free (Althousian?) speech is that there is no Big Brother. No one can decide for another what is the truth and what is a lie when all men are created equal. I alone have the right to make that decision for myself. Your only right is to try to convince me your position is true. That requires speech, not suppression.

Trooper York said...

You know provokes violence?

This Nate Berkus asshole. Whenever I see him on TV I want to go punch somebody in the face.

Robert Cook said...

"Why would you want to take my donuts away from me. What gives you the right to take away my donuts?"

I have no interest in taking your donuts away from you. Why do you suppose I would?

On the other hand, I would object to the government asserting that donuts are good for us and either compelling or influencing more people to eat more donuts than are good for them, (like, remember when the Reagan administration categorized ketchup as a vegetable? See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ketchup_as_a_vegetable).

This is why ideas, like food, should be tested for sound content, so an educated public may make informed choices, (if they wish to).

Lincolntf said...

It's no accident that American university students and professors routinely shout down (or completely bar from appearing)speakers who veer from the Leftist orthodoxy.
The people frantically squelching freedom of expression in America aren't evangelicals, Tea Partiers or even the Muslim Brotherhood. They are Academia.

Trooper York said...

That is fair and reasonable but differnt than what Robert Wright and AmeJeff want to do. They want to take Dunkin Donuts commercials off the air because they think they "Lie." And people buy their lies and go out and get more donuts which drives them crazy because they want to control everything we do in our lives.

See Obama, Michelle and Bloomberg, Michael.

metasailor said...

In a nutshell:

Criticizing what someone says, is not restricting their free speech. Rather, this criticism is *also* the exercise of free speech.

So, whether or not you agree with what the "Leftist" says, it is not logical OR fair to suggest said "Leftist" is trying to shut down free speech when said "Leftist" criticizes someone. Or even when said "Leftist" says the someone should face free-market-based repercussions for their statements.

Seems simple, right?

This is in fact the principle behind every boycott ever.

Now could you "Rightists", including the alleged moderate Ms. Althouse, continue debating logic and facts and not get sidetracked into hyperbole? Regardless of whether or not "Leftists" do it.

Trooper York said...

MSNBC is rice cakes.

Fox News is Hostess Twinkies. Wit Yoohoo on the side.

Robert Cook said...

"An absurd statement meant to make the free-speech advocates on the Right equivalent to the institutional censors on the Left."

Talk about an absurd statement. Where are these armies of free speech advocates on the right? For that matter, who are the institutional censors on the left?

(Not that I don't suppose there are institutional censors...but they are institutional, and "left" or "right" is a negligible or nonexistent distinction.)

Robert Cook said...

"I think Cook, like Katha Politt, doesn't understand that disagreeing with someone, or even getting a laugh out of what they say, is not the same thing as taking away their right to be heard."

Umm...what?

Richard Dolan said...

Freedom has always been treasured as an idea, even as its substantive content has differed from one legal culture to another and its very meaning has been a battleground between left and right. Plato was famously against freedom of speech for poets, and that Platonic strain in Western thought is still there to be found. The commenter Ann is talking about, and perhaps Bob Wright too, were echoing Plato's argument from long ago in stressing the dangers of free speech. Anyone who thinks, like Plato, that they have grabbed hold of the key to virtue is unlikely to value freedom of speech -- that was the history of religious attacks on freedom in the medieval period in the West and the current story in much of the lands of Islam today.

Freedom of speech (the Bill of Rights mentions "the freedom of speech," suggesting a concept of known contours and limits) is more of an American thing. It's not much in evidence in Canada or the UK as a fundamental value, certainly not in the same sense as it is here, and even less so in the EU.

The American idea is freedom as an attribute of individuals, both a 'freedom from' and a 'freedom to'. That's always had plenty of enemies and few friends among those in charge even in the US. Lefties, who usually see individuals primarily as members of larger groups, regard the group as the more important focus of attention. Conservatives look at the same thing, and consider groups to be aggregations of autonomous individuals. Life, being a messy thing, doesn't fit easily into either paradigm.

Humility, a recognition of one's own limitations and fallibilty, is the characteristic that is likely to make someone treasure the American idea of freedom of speech. Those who have all the answers are morely likely to think that they should dominate the conversation, even (if necessary) to drown out competing voices. No wonder freedom of speech is not much treasured, except as a slogan, on American campuses today.

bagoh20 said...

"On the other hand, I would object to the government asserting that donuts are good for us and either compelling or influencing more people to eat more donuts than are good for them"

Then defund PBS, NPR, and NEA!

Trooper York said...

The “Leftists” are not just critizing. They want people to lose their jobs because of what they said. That is censorship and a violation of the First Amendment no matter how you slice it bub.

Liberals are watercress finger sandwiches.

Conservatives are BLT’s with extra crispy bacon and lots of mayo.

Scott M said...

Conservatives are BLT’s with extra crispy bacon and lots of mayo.

Why do you hate black people?

(lol)

Lincolntf said...

The institutional censors are many, but among the worst offenders are the massive bloc of Democrat public "educators" who banned the study of real Earth Sciences in favor of Al Gore's well-funded apocalyptic fantasies. As for free speech advocates on the Right, we're everywhere. Look around.

Comrade X said...

For that matter, who are the institutional censors on the left?

RC, would you agree anyone trying to put in an internet kill switch is a censor?

Brian said...

I had a chance to watch Glenn Beck a few times, while recuperating from an operation, because normally I'm at work. Glenn, a recovering alcoholic, and graduate of a 12-step program, seems to want to lead America to an intervention, and a 12-step program. Mainly it seems to get out of debt, and stay free.

Maybe the tone of his message appeals to people who have some sort of addiction, or know someone who does. It does get old after a while, because eventually you say to yourself "OK, I understand, debt bad, freedom good, buy gold."

Paddy O said...

"Conservatives like donuts."

Donuts are the reason I voted for George W. twice.

All the other discussions about war and politics makes my head hurt.

I'm a single issue voter.

Trooper York said...

MSNBC is a fish taco.

Well at least when Rachel Maddow is on.

Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Oligonicella said...

Robert Cook --

"This is why ideas, like food, should be tested for sound content, so an educated public may make informed choices, (if they wish to)."

Fine, as long as I'm the one controlling the testing.

Andrew said...

Here are some examples of prominent conservatives advocating actual, government enforced censorship:

Tony Blankley editorial: "Yes, we need censorship"

Ben Shapiro editorial: "Should we prosecute sedition"

Bill O Reilly: "Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less."

Office of Legal Counsel attorney John Yoo: "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully."

As for boycotting Glenn Beck, that's just the free market at work. What are advocating exactly? Should the government force advertisers to advertise on Beck's show just to protect his "right" to millions of dollars in revenue? Do you even understand what the First Amendment is?

jerryofva said...

Epynyn:

Do you think that Markos Moulitsas is responsible for Jared Lochner's attack against Congresswoman Giffords? He did put a bullseye on her picture (vice Palin's use on a congressional map) and published a blog entry that said "She's dead to me." on the Daily Kos several days before Lochner pulled the trigger. Lochner himself may be the Daily Kos poster identified as lher2. So would censor Moulitsas for possibly inspiring this act?

kcom said...

"This is why ideas, like food, should be tested for sound content, so an educated public may make informed choices, (if they wish to)."

So what are your thoughts on Michael Bloomberg? Is he overstepping his governmental (or moral) authority?

Andrew said...

I'm glad that Ms. Althouse's ideas on free speech only apply to trashy multimillionaire cable TV news hosts and not college professors.

Lincolntf said...

This is why Obama and Co. want an Internet kill switch...

"You're coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don't always rank that high on the truth meter," he told the students. "And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work -- information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it's putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy."
His fear and loathing of information/personal technology is representative of the Party that produced him.

DKWalser said...

Criticizing what someone says, is not restricting their free speech. Rather, this criticism is *also* the exercise of free speech.

So far, so good. If all Wright were doing was criticizing Beck's speech, I'd not have any problem with it. (I might disagree with Wright's criticisms, but I wouldn't object to them.)

Wright was doing more than criticizing. He wasn't demonstrating the falseness of Beck's speech (he merely asserted without proof that Beck was a liar). Wright was calling for Beck to be fired. Wright was trying to impose a consequence on Beck for Beck daring to express an opinion Wright disagrees with. That is, Wright was trying to repress Beck's speech and to intimidate others from expressing similar opinions. That's far more than mere criticism.

To try and make this clear: When uttered in some dark alley, the phrase, "Your money or your life" is not protected by the 1st Amendment. Wright and the rest on the left are not engaging in free speech when they try to get Beck fired. They are engaging in intimidation and repression of speech. It might be legal for Wright to engage in such intimidation and repression, but that doesn't obligate us to celebrate it.

Andrew said...

I have yet to see a single example of a prominent leftist advocating government-mandated censorship. Private boycotts and protests are not censorship.

Under Bush it was common for conservatives to call for executing liberals for treason. Does anything on the mainstream left compare to that?

knox said...

when said "Leftist" says the someone should face free-market-based repercussions for their statements.

Did you watch the video?? Wright rejected the "marketplace of ideas," stating that it is too slow in rejecting "dangerous" speech like Beck's. That's why he kept calling on Ailes to summarily fire Beck.

Where have you been this entire thread?

Lincolntf said...

"I have yet to see a single example of a prominent leftist advocating government-mandated censorship."

Really? Maybe that's because they call it "net neutrality" rather than "censorship". They are identical in practice.

Lincolntf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrew said...

Wright and the rest on the left are not engaging in free speech when they try to get Beck fired.

I suppose that Octavia Nasr, Eason Jordan, Ashleigh Banfield and even Ward Churchill would all qualify as victims of "intimidation" under your definition then. Right?

Eponym said...

"Facts" in dispute:

1. There's evidence that Glenn Beck has directly inspired at least one person to attempt to assassinate people Beck had identified as enemies.

2. The things he has said about those "enemies" are often untrue on their face.


1. is plainly, unambiguously false. The incident involving the Tides assassin is well documented.

2. What Beck has said regarding "enemies" such as the ACLU, Obama, Tides, the SEIU, teachers, etc... are all on the public record. Media Matters provides documentation and links to primary sources.

e.g. href=http://mediamatters.org/research/201010110002

or
At various times, Beck has referred to Tides as “bullies” and “thugs” whose mission is to “warp your children's brains and make sure they know how evil capitalism is.” More recently, Beck (who describes himself as a “progressive hunter”) has warned the foundation “I’m coming for you.”
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/1016/Did-Glenn-Beck-s-rhetoric-inspire-violence>

franglo said...

Remember when lefties were all about free speech? When did that change? Why did that change? Perhaps the answer is: Free speech was only ever a means to an end. When they got their free speech, made their arguments, and failed to win over the American people, and when in fact the speech from their opponents seemed too successful, they switched to the repression of speech, because the end was never freedom.

Wow! Althouse is so full of shit, this argument doesn't even need to be countered. It's just plain shit.

knox said...

This is why ideas, like food, should be tested for sound content, so an educated public may make informed choices, (if they wish to).

This is what we mean when we assert that liberals don't believe the public is capable of thinking and making up their own minds about issues.

I don't need to be spoon-fed information. The media has been trying to do that for years, and were ultimately unsuccessful. Thank god for the internets.

shoutingthomas said...

Bill O'Reilly does not and never has advocated censorship. I watch him once or twice a week.

A Media Matters blog is not proof of anything.

O'Reilly likes to bait Media Matters. I've seen him say something provocative, and obviously satirical or sarcastic, precisely to bait Media Matters into making a fool of itself.

On one occasion he said (and I paraphrase): "Can we have Dana Milbank beheaded?"

Media Matters reported the next day that O'Reilly wanted Milbank beheaded, but neglected to cite O'Reilly's next statement.

"I just said that to get Media Matters all riled up. Watch. Tomorrow, they'll report as fact that I want Milbank behaded."

And Media Matters did precisely that.

Trooper York said...

"I suppose that Octavia Nasr, Eason Jordan, Ashleigh Banfield and even Ward Churchill would all qualify as victims of "intimidation" under your definition then. Right?"

Yes. You are correct.

And you will agree that it is no more acceptable when the left does it than when the right does it. Right?

Robert Cook said...

"RC, would you agree anyone trying to put in an internet kill switch is a censor?"

Well, that goes quite a bit beyond mere censorship. Who is trying to do this?

jerryofva said...

Eponym:

You seem to be avoiding the Markos Moulitsas question. Why is that?

knox said...

I love the characterization of Beck as this obviously full-of-shit idiot. *Yet* he simultaneously possesses the capability to brainwash millions.

Reminds me of how the left painted Bush as a retard and a criminal mastermind at the same time.

Andrew said...

Net neutrality is about preventing censorship by private companies. It's about protecting open access to the internet and the right has made it out to be the exact opposite. If George Soros were to buy up some ISPs and block or give lower bandwidth speed to right-wing web sites then he damn well should face legal repercussions from the FCC. Do you not mind private ISP's blocking certain sites they don't like?

I doubt you even know what net neutrality is or understand what the entire debate is about.

craig said...

"The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog." -- GK Chesterton

shoutingthomas said...

So, Eponym, your proof is always the assertions of far-left blogs supported by Media Matters.

In other words, you have only opinion and no facts.

Give up. You're making an ass out of yourself.

If you have a single fact to offer to substantiate that Beck has ever called directly for violence against people he opposes, put it forward now.

You don't have it, because, I suspect, it doesn't exist.

William said...

OK, he said a few dumb things about eugenics that a later generation found repugnant, but over the course of a long career, Oliver Wendell Holmes was notable for his honor, courage, and wisdom. In his own time, he was as great an icon among liberals as Earl Warren was in his. But all that changed in the blink of an eye. He upheld the conviction of Sacco & Vanzetti, and this counted more against him than his long, honorable career......The left believed that S&V's conviction showed how unjust and prejudiced American society was. It is still an article of faith among the left that these two men were convicted because they were immigrants and anarchists and not because of the facts of the case. The fact that Holmes believed that they had had a fair trial just demonstrates how bigoted the man was. Just as free speech is secondary to the necessity of expressing the right opinion, so is a jury trial secondary to the necessity of arriving at the politically correct verdict...There was very little in S & V's past to indicate the lofty character the left claimed for them and almost nothing in Holmes' record to make him out to be the crude snob that writers such as Dos Passos cartooned him as. But that's what happened. In order to find S&V innocent, it was necessary to find the totality of the American justice system from the jury on up to Oliver Wendell Holmes guilty. This was not a hindrance to their cause, but the very point of it.....The left certainly cared nothing for the death of innocent anarchists when such deaths occurred in Spain during the civil war there. But the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti is an example of the innate corruption of American society and its so-called wise men such as Oliver Wendell Holmes. Thank God we have the left to lead us ever higher in our quest for moral excellence. There is no possibility that Robert Wright and not Glenn Beck is in thrall to his own prejudices and mouthing platitudes for his own mob.

Lincolntf said...

Andrew, you're kidding right? Even some of Obama's most loyal lap- dogs had to back off their quest for net neutrality (keep an eye out for an Exec. Order, by the way) when it's real world consequences became public.
You can keep trusting Big Mama Gubmint to make sure you get only the "right" information, but don't force the rest of us into that hell.

Lincolntf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

"Institutional censors"? That's too easy! Every college campus that has "speech codes" has by definition at least one if not a group of institutional censors. Really, where have you been?

Andrew said...

For what it's worth, I actually oppose the effort to get Glenn Beck fired. But the entire point of the original blog post was to malign the left as somehow unique in trying to get people fired for their views. As the record shows, this simply isn't the case.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm glad that Ms. Althouse's ideas on free speech only apply to trashy multimillionaire cable TV news hosts and not college professors."

I stand by my position that a university should hire qualified teachers who are teaching the subjects that the students sign up for and not promoting their flaky conspiracy theories. A university must exercise judgment. We don't hire just anybody at random.

Now Fox News chooses who to hire to do programs, and they have to have their standards. We could debate about what those should be, but they are of course free to fire him and make him look for another platform.

That is discussed in the diavlog. I think you're being a bit fuzzy-headed about this, Andrew. Sharpen up, and I will respond.

Robert Cook said...

:This is what we mean when we assert that liberals don't believe the public is capable of thinking and making up their own minds about issues."

How is this about liberals? How do people think and make up their minds about issues if they don't have facts or a variety of opinions and perspectives to help in their analysis?

I don't need to be spoon-fed information. The media has been trying to do that for years, and were ultimately unsuccessful. Thank god for the internets."

But you do need information. The internet is a resource for information but also for misinformation. It is only as useful as the care of the person using it.

Robert Cook said...

"...that's because they call it 'net neutrality' rather than 'censorship'. They are identical in practice."

How so? What do you believe "net neutrality" is?

Lincolntf said...

"But you do need information. The internet is a resource for information but also for misinformation."

Like when Obama's website was pimping the absurd notion that HCR would lower costs, ensure care for all and not change a single thing about your current health coverage. All lies, all perpetuated by the people you are willing to allow to decide what's "truth".

Scott M said...

But the entire point of the original blog post was to malign the left as somehow unique in trying to get people fired for their views.

Incorrect, I believe. The point was to ask when the left gave up defending free speech as a fundamental principle.

MOswingvoter said...

"1. is plainly, unambiguously false. The incident involving the Tides assassin is well documented."

Then provide a link FFS. The guy upthread said the suspect said Beck did not influence him. Find something that indicates the guy is lying or give it up.

shoutingthomas said...

...trashy multimillionaire cable TV news hosts...

This is a deliberate misstatement.

Beck is not a cable TV news host. Fox clearly describes his program as an opinion program, not a news program.

If you're going to describe Beck, at least get it right.

Robert Cook said...

"So what are your thoughts on Michael Bloomberg? Is he overstepping his governmental (or moral) authority?"

Be specific.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wow! Althouse is so full of shit, this argument doesn't even need to be countered. It's just plain shit."

That is typical left-wing argument. Acting all alarmed about how terrible what the other person has said is. I have experienced that form of disciplining amongst the lefties of Madison, Wisconsin for more than a quarter century. One of the main motivating forces behind this blog is my desire to help others who are experiencing this discipline and feeling vulnerable to it. It is actually pretty effective, and my central political goal is undercutting its effectiveness and helping people who might be repressed by it, as I was for many years.

rdkraus said...

I think Ann just got Maddowed.

DKWalser said...

I suppose that Octavia Nasr, Eason Jordan, Ashleigh Banfield and even Ward Churchill would all qualify as victims of "intimidation" under your definition then. Right?

No, not always. Do those on the right sometimes engage in the tactics I find objectionable when used by those on the left? Yes, and I find such tactics objectionable when used by those on the right, too.

It's not always wrong to call for the firing of someone over something the person said; it's almost always wrong. Indeed, off the top of my head, I cannot come up with a case where I'd believe it appropriate. Perhaps if a straight news reporter demonstrated a habit of fabricating his stories (such as Jason Blair), it might be appropriate to call for the reporter's firing -- but I cannot imagine the news organization that wouldn't fire the reporter before such a protest could be mounted. (Despite Wright's assertions, Beck hasn't lied nor is he incompetent. He makes inferences from the facts that Wright doesn't accept, but there's a huge difference between interpreting facts and making them up.)

Churchill and most of the others on your list shouldn't have been fired for any controversial opinion they may have expressed. Churchill should have been fired because he was an academic fraud, but that's another matter entirely.

jerryofva said...

Andrew:

Like most leftist you apply the First Amendment to private entities. The First applies to government entities and not to private citizens. If Professor Althouse determined that you should be censored from this blog then it is within her power to do so. It is her private property.

If Soros wants to buy or establish an ISP that blocks opposing views and websites he is free to do so. It is his private property. He will fail in the marketplace but he would still be free to spend his fortune on a money losing enterprise.

homeyd said...

Very nice, Anne. Wright's shrill, loud voice says it all to me. Not a fan of Beck, but what he says is hardly outside the mainstream, and yet Wright and the left want him fired. Their unwillingness to confront the unpopularity of their positions and arguments is telling, and thus they want to resort to censorship. Sad for the left, when it used to be prominent advocates of unfettered free speech, such as Justice Douglas, were lefties.

Revenant said...

Some of us are for freedom as an end in itself. You can look at whether I'm painted as a lefty or a righty and make some inferences.

There are people in the left, right, and center to believe in free speech, and of course off-the-grid weirdies like libertarians believe in it as well.

But it isn't reliably associated with "left" or "right" the way, say, abortion, guns, and affirmative action are. On both the left and right, the majority position is that speech should be regulated.

Revenant said...

Wright and the rest on the left are not engaging in free speech when they try to get Beck fired.

Of course they are. "You should fire him" and "I won't patronize your business until you fire him" are perfect examples of the exercise of free speech.

"Free" means "unrestricted". It does not mean "devoid of consequences".

Coketown said...

The Left still believes in the Marketplace of Ideas, but they model their marketplace on the grocery outlets of Chavez's Venezuela: a central planner decides what to stock, how much the given stock is worth, and eventually scarcity sets in and the stock dwindles.

In the words of Stan's cousin Magda, choice leads to confusion. When there is one road, nobody gets lost.

G Joubert said...

I don't recall any time in which EITHER wing was in favor of free speech.

Maybe I'm missing something in my life experience, because I can't recall ever coming across a situation or even an environment where the right wing prevented or even attempted to prevent the left from saying their piece. Example please? Seriously.

Lincolntf said...

For those phonies who claim "net neutrality" is a way to protect ourselves from future corporate threats might want to look at Obama's hand-picked FCC chairman, Juilius Genachowski. Surprise, surprise, he's a a multi-millionaire who has served on the board of international conglomerates ranging from Expedia to Ticketmaster. Yup, he's your white knight.

Ann Althouse said...

"Wright's shrill, loud voice says it all to me."

If I had used that tone in a diavlog, everyone over there would be calling me crazy and saying I'd had a "meltdown." Notice how I remain completely calm, even smiling while being yelled at and interrupted repeatedly.

Alex said...

And please don't put it in your own words. Provide a quote or some specific wording that comes from Beck himself. The reason I say that is that I don't trust one side when it characterizes the argument of another side. (You could see that in the diavlog with Bob and Ann). The temptation is too great to say things that weren't said or imply things that weren't implied.

Do you keep to the same standard of slurs aimed at left-wing media figures?

Alex said...

Yes Professor you are our rock.

Lincolntf said...

"Do you keep to the same standard of slurs aimed at left-wing media figures?"

No need to slur, we just post the video/audio clips. Why don't you?

Alex said...

I just feel that there is hardly any emphasis on the slurs & lies that Beck/Limbaugh do against left-wingers.

Robert Cook said...

"Like when Obama's website was pimping the absurd notion that HCR would lower costs, ensure care for all and not change a single thing about your current health coverage. All lies, all perpetuated by the people you are willing to allow to decide what's 'truth'."

Not that I am a proponent of Obama's Republican health care plan--copied as it is from Romney's Massachusetts plan, and it being a gift to the health insurance companies--but how do you know it won't save money somewhere? Have you read the bill and done the necessary analyses? Or do you just believe it won't?

I don't think he ever promised his plan would provide care for all, and it won't, just one among its failings.

Where do you get the idea that I am "willing to allow" anyone to "decide" what is "truth?"

You seem to be operating under a number of untested or unverified assumptions.

Alex said...

Cook - who can read a 2000 page bill drafted by lawyers who specialize on obfuscation?

Alex said...

Media Matters on Glenn Beck

Read it and weep Glenn-tards!

Coketown said...

Wright always talks like that. He could be reading a chocolate cake recipe and it would sound like Truman Capote just melted the buttons on his favorite blouse.

I just never assume he's actually angry. Most people he diavlogues with don't seem to react as though he's angry, just that he's raising his grating, shrill voice and it probably hurts coming over the headphones.

Patrick said...

Brian: "OK, I understand, debt bad, freedom good, buy gold."

For the same reasons you mention, I don't watch GB either. (Also, no cable). Now, I don't have to.

Could you please sum up Judge Vinson's opinion striking down Obama care as concisely? Thanks!

Lincolntf said...

"--but how do you know it won't save money somewhere? Have you read the bill and done the necessary analyses? Or do you just believe it won't?"


The fact that Obama had to exempt millions of people from his own law lest they lose their health coverage should be a clue that he was lying.

Obama in 2009: "If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what."

Does the term "No matter what." mean something different to you than it does to me?

jerryofva said...

Alex:

Media Matters is a George Soros funded organization that is a locus of leftwing hate speech. It produces propaganda and not fact. However, Soros has his rights so I would never advocate shutting him down.

Robert Cook said...

"Cook - who can read a 2000 page bill drafted by lawyers who specialize on obfuscation?"

Given Lincolntf's assertive assertions, I just wondered if perhaps he had.

Actually, no, I didn't. My question was rhetorical in nature.

Freder Frederson said...

Some of us are for freedom as an end in itself. You can look at whether I'm painted as a lefty or a righty and make some inferences.

That's laughable at best. You are for state sponsored torture (although you refuse to be drawn into the definition of torture). When it is in defense against terrorism, you are ready to throw all freedoms out the window. You are even ambivalent about the Egyptian people fighting for their freedom against an oppressive, torturing regime.

You only believe in freedom for upper-class white people.

Lincolntf said...

Robert, I've read enough of it to be sure that it should collapse under it's own weight. Apparently, Obama should've skimmed it itself, then maybe he wouldn't have been caught lying about it's every facet.

Alex said...

Freder - torturing terrorists is not incompatible with freedom for fun-loving Americans like us!

Eponym said...

Media Matters provides direct quotes and links to primary sources. Regardless of its ideological tilt, it's a perfectly good source.

jerryofva said...

apologies to Alex, I meant my last for Andrew.

Alex said...

Eponym - Media Matters just airs out the right-wing for all to see. The right wing thinks TRUTH is hell.

Robert Cook said...

My question is not whether Obama is lying or not, but as to how you come about your certainty--your knowledge--regarding what the bill will or won't do.

Me? I think he's lying, and was willing to push through a terrible bill just so he could claim he had "passed healthcare reform," but I can't say I know as a certainty the bill won't have a net favorable impact. I think it will have a net negative impact, but I could be proved wrong if and when it is implemented.

DKWalser said...

Media Matters provides direct quotes and links to primary sources. Regardless of its ideological tilt, it's a perfectly good source.

It's also been shown time and again to take quotes out of context and to attribute meanings to the quote that the missing context counters. It is neither objective nor accurate. Other than that, it's a perfectly good source.

Freder Frederson said...

and my central political goal is undercutting its effectiveness and helping people who might be repressed by it, as I was for many years.

Oh yes, you are so repressed! How much time have you spent in jail? I bet you are pulled over by the Madison police all the time for DWC (driving while conservative).

If you weren't so pathetic, you would be funny.

At least Glenn Beck has an excuse. In my amateur psychologist opinion, he is seriously mentally ill.

Robert Cook said...

"Media Matters is a George Soros funded organization that is a locus of leftwing hate speech. It produces propaganda and not fact."

This is an example of non-nutritious information. Actually, it is noise rather than information.

jerryofva said...

apologies to Alex, I meant my last for eponym.

Yeah, just Pravda and Izvestya were perfectly good sources in the days of the USSR.

Still avoiding the question of Moulitsas.

Kirk Parker said...

"A person from 1969 watching that video of me and Bob Wright would assume Bob was right wing and I was left wing. Bob's ranting about law and order. The me of 1969, sitting in a room with my college friends, would have said 'Nixon!' and everyone would have laughed."

This.

Patrick said...

Eponym: Are you suggesting that Media Matters should be arbiter of what is suitable for airing on networks or elsewhere? Funny, that may seem a little ideological for some. If you think citing an organization that loves nothing more than shutting down speech with which it disagrees helps your case, you should think this through a little more.

Freder Frederson said...

torturing terrorists is not incompatible with freedom for fun-loving Americans like us!

Which shows you how warped your (and Ann's) definition of freedom is.

Synova said...

http://www.examiner.com/sf-in-san-francisco/freeway-gunman-byron-williams-says-glenn-beck-did-not-incite-him-to-violence

Interesting.

I did notice that when Wright made that claim that he first said "Glenn Beck" and after that said "Glenn Beck or Malkin". The obvious conclusion was that Wright didn't know what or who motivated the shooter and by extension of that, it's wise to question if the person had actually listened to either of them. What was presented as something we "know" was possibly only a "guess."

And if we want to talk about *liars* then we need to talk about those who present guesses as if they are known facts. That is, if that's the way we want to go on this.

After the shooting in Tuscon the immediate "guess" with no attempt to find out the facts, was that the shooter was motivated by Sarah Palin, Beck and Boehner. If we fire liars then a whole bunch of people should no longer be employed. On the contrary, when the indisputable facts came out about the shooter the guess became an "opinion" that one was entitled to. It was never an opinion. It was a lie.

"I prefer the color pink," is an opinion.

"The sky is pink," is not.

If social pressure and loss of employment should be the result of passing on lies there are a whole lot of people who would be unemployed in the media. Rosie O'Donnell the first time she said "fire doesn't melt steel." Al Gore should not only be "fired" but have all his worldly possessions confiscated. The entire staff of Newsweek. The fellow who connected immunizations to autism and each of his hollywood promoters.

And to say, well, they didn't *know* they were lying. They were presenting their information as if it was reliable, so they were lying about that and ought to be held responsible.

That is, if being right is going to determine who can speak.

It's dangerous beyond anything at all, this insistence that being right matters. It doesn't matter and it can't matter. We don't have freedom until we have the freedom to be wrong. We don't have liberty until we tolerate, truly tolerate, those with wrong thinking and wrong ideas.

When being right matters and justifies the mob trying to squelch the wrong ideas for the greater good we're all the way back to religious persecution and intolerance of the other. After all... How can it be wrong to force religious conversion when you are *right* and people's souls are in the balance? How can it be wrong to impose severe social controls on those who step outside what is good for the community, who don't conform to what is *right*?

If that is truly where we want to go, we most certainly will end up there.

Clay-ipso Facto said...

If Soros wants to buy or establish a radio station that blocks opposing views, and call it AirAmerica, he is free to do so. It is his private property. He will fail in the marketplace but he would still be free to spend his fortune on a money losing enterprise.

Yup. Same thing.

Lincolntf said...

Robert, stop being obtuse.
My analysis comes from partially reading the bill (yes, I slogged through multiple key passages, despite being warned by the Dems that I couldn't possibly understand them), watching reality strike the hospitals and insurance companies forced to weather the storm, and a lifetime of experience seeing how these massive Government programs (though none as disastrous as HCR) are snuck into place.

Mark said...

Couldn't watch. Bob Wright (poorly named in so many ways) came off as a prissy bully whose idea of debate involves either shouting someone down (Althouse) or deeming they shouldn't be allowed to talk at all (Beck).

shoutingthomas said...

Media Matters provides direct quotes and links to primary sources. Regardless of its ideological tilt, it's a perfectly good source.

No, it doesn't.

It isn't even a source.

It's just opinion.

madawaskan said...

Trooper said...


That is fair and reasonable but differnt than what Robert Wright and AmeJeff want to do. They want to take Dunkin Donuts commercials off the air because they think they "Lie." And people buy their lies and go out and get more donuts which drives them crazy because they want to control everything we do in our lives.

See Obama, Michelle and Bloomberg, Michael.


And-they're hypocrites too-

Because they're always promising to fill senior's holes.

Donut holes, that is.

LoafingOaf said...

Althouse chose two clips that bookend the part where Bob Wright is discussing Glenn Beck's attacks on, and nutty conspiracy theories about, the Tides Foundation. Althouse told Wright she has no idea what he's referring to. It would've been a better Bloggingheads if Althouse had been prepared and could have addressed the specific Beck controversy Wright was using to make his argument.

Lincolntf said...

Speaking of the true nature of HCR, remember this gem that was discovered after the bill had been signed into law?

"Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week and estimates that he will be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect."

Yay, the Government gets thousands of new forms to process, and that means more Govt. employees, which means the Govt. needs more money. How does this affect your health care? Not one bit, but it's one example of why the Dems refused to allow Americans to see the bill before they passed it.

Revenant said...

and it being a gift to the health insurance companies--but how do you know it won't save money somewhere?

What does "save money somewhere" mean? If I took all your money and used it to buy comic books for bored rich kids it would "save money somewhere" -- specifically, it would save the kids some money. But it wouldn't save any money overall, for obvious reasons.

The Democrats claimed that ObamaCare would lower overall health care costs. This has not happened and there is no known way in which it COULD happen; it goes against basic economic principles of supply and demand.

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