The Left: “We Must Destroy Freedom To Save It”

I’m trying to picture what would happen if, in the interest of preserving liberty, any conservative were to advocate forcing those who disagree with us to  fall in line, “for everyone’s good”.

Volokh points us to this extraordinary call from The Nation – Chris Hedges’ demand for censorship of the fringe right:

This is the awful paradox of tolerance. There arise moments when those who would destroy the tolerance that makes an open society possible should no longer be tolerated. They must be held accountable by institutions that maintain the free exchange of ideas and liberty.

The radical Christian Right must be forced to include other points of view to counter their hate talk in their own broadcasts, watched by tens of millions of Americans. They must be denied the right to demonize whole segments of American society, saying they are manipulated by Satan and worthy only of conversion or eradication. They must be made to treat their opponents with respect and acknowledge the right of a fair hearing even as they exercise their own freedom to disagree with their opponents.

I’m trying to think of any credible conservative (and Hedges is “credible”; he’s worked for the NYTimes and NPR) that’s called for anyone on the left to have anything forced (Hedges’ word) upon them.

Oh, and there’s no parsing his meaning; Volokh has Hedges’ “clarification” from an appearance on Talk of the Nation:

I think that, you know, in a democratic society, people don’t have a right to preach the extermination of others, which has been a part of this movement of – certainly in terms of what should be done with homosexuals.

Of course they do – noxioius as such preaching is.  I’ve heard some of the “Christian” Radio that Hedges is complaining about – and some of it is sickening.

But for Hedges to assume that there’s no slippery slope – and to ignore the absolutism with which his fellow NYTimes and NPR correspendents regard equally egregious free speech from, say, Louis Farrakhan or some moslem clerics or for that matter Mary Daly – is myopic at best.

Not to mention “par for the course”.

Read the whole sickening thing.

(Via Peg Kaplan)

6 thoughts on “The Left: “We Must Destroy Freedom To Save It”

  1. Yep, I’m 100% behind mitch on this one. Whether its the KKK or Fred Phelps, they’ve got a right to speak and a right to assemble.

    Now, if they put one toe over the line of converting that speech to action, its time for a curb-stomping party.

    The one I’m curious about is this: If a powerful and effective speaker is able to whip their audience into a frenzy and encourages that audience to commit a crime, if the crowd (or members of it) go and committing that crime, at what point is the speaker complicit? One can get charged for “inciting a riot” so there’s a legal line there somewhere.

    I suspect its somewhere in proximity of the difference between “hate hate hate and society should kill them” and “hate hate hate and we should kill them” but there is an unavoidable slippery slope somewhere in there.

    What do you think? Is the “inciting a riot” law already too far? Is it OK? Where is the line?

  2. “…at what point is the speaker complicit?”

    Hitler never personally killed anyone. That we know of.

  3. Of course they do – noxioius as such preaching is. I’ve heard some of the “Christian” Radio that Hedges is complaining about – and some of it is sickening.

    I think he’s making a dig at television:

    “The radical Christian Right must be forced to include other points of view to counter their hate talk in their own broadcasts, watched by tens of millions of Americans.”

    I’d be curious if Christopher Hedge could actually point to a specific example where someone with a television program “watched by tens of millions of Americans” has actually called for the “eradication” of anyone.

  4. One also wonders if he holds the same stand for people who preach that women who go out wearing the “wrong clothing” are asking to be raped. I believe the term the “preacher” used was “fresh meat”…..

    LL

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