"I speak with authority here because I was openly gay before the 'Stonewall Rebellion,' when it cost you something to be so... And I personally feel as a libertarian that people have the right to free thought and free speech. In a democratic country, people have the right to be homophobic as they have the right to support homosexuality — as I 100 percent do. If people are basing their views against gays on the Bible, again they have a right to religious freedom there … to express yourself in a magazine in an interview -– this is the level of punitive PC, utterly fascist, utterly Stalinist, OK, that my liberal colleagues in the Democratic Party and on college campuses have supported and promoted over the last several decades. It's the whole legacy of the free speech 1960's that have been lost by my own party."Meanwhile, some liberals are making the predictable narrowly legalistic point that freedom of speech has only to do with rights held against the government. This is a point I've strongly objected to over the years, most obviously, in debating the liberal Bob Wright (see "When did the left turn against freedom of speech?" and "[W]hat free speech means in the context of saying Roger Ailes needs to kick Glenn Beck off Fox News"). Why is the left taking the narrow view of the concept of freedom? It's a general principle, not something you save for your friends. Like Paglia, I remember the broad 1960s era commitment to free speech. There was a special zeal to protect those who said outrageous things. Today, we're back to the kind of repression that in the 60s seemed to belong to the 1950s. What the hell happened?
December 20, 2013