Intolerance Is a Progressive Disease
Our First Amendment champions freedom of speech. It is perhaps the most important concept in our long (and embattled) list of constitutional guarantees. This bundle of articulated freedoms (expression, assembly, association etc.) is — at least ostensibly — universal to all who live and breathe in this country.
By design, our freedom of speech is not supposed to be limited or impacted by citizenship, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, wealth/poverty, or religion. This noble concept is still honored in our society — with one or two notable exceptions. Those exceptions are political blinds (et. all) and the insidious offspring of left leaning politics — political correctness.
Political conversation in this country has become intensely personal — and volatile. At its base, this phenomena is not really new. A brief study of political history will show that we’ve often become embittered and entrenched in our political discourse. What is new is the abject lack of reason or applied logic. It’s actually quite stunning in this age of instant facts and information that so many are swept up into hard-wired political camps where the prevailing vision is doctrine, and ideological dissent is considered unthinkable.
To be clear, this happens to some extent, on all sides of the political spectrum…but it was best described by Dr. Thomas Sowell in his timely book ‘The Vision of the Anointed’ (1996). A wonderful peek into modern political character.
I think that most of us, if pressed, would admit that there is too much character assassination on all sides of our current political spectrum. However, from a strictly freedom of speech perspective, the prevalent degradation (and the danger) is found in the progressive left. It is nearly inexplicable that a political movement claiming tolerance as a central tenant could be so venomously and so publicly intolerant of any and all who don’t sign on.
There has in fact been a call to action. Unfortunately, most of us have been too busy thumbing inane messages into our smart-phones to really pay attention. As we speak, conservative speakers are routinely shouted down on college campuses. As we speak, our national flag has been impeached without trial, and then (thankfully) pardoned on the campus of UCI Irvine. As we speak, the geniuses at Emory University are flocking (love that visual) to emergency counseling to address the traumatization of Trump supporting graffiti on their campus sidewalks (an obvious failure of progressive safe-zones).
As we speak, progressive protesters are massing at political rallies (both sides of the isle) to prevent others from enjoying their own freedom of speech. As we speak, mainstream political commentary (often it the guise of network news) is three times more likely to be negative if the subject or person being discussed is conservative. The stories are twice as likely to be negative if the person or topic being discussed is considered centrist. The gauntlet has been dropped — is anyone paying attention?
In spite of this slide, we are a wonderfully diverse and resilient society. We are not in serious danger (at least not yet) of falling down some rabbit-hole where we wake up in a cartoon infested George Soros re-education camp.
“Please check your free-will and any latent tendencies to embrace facts at the gate.”
It is, however, time for reasonable people to insist that we all pull in our claws — at least a little. We are a civilized people. We can certainly disagree and remain civil. The first step is to stop using political correctness as a cudgel, clubbing anyone who challenges our ideas or ideals.
If someone has something negative to say about a politician or their policies, our first impulse should not be to call them a racist, or to accuse them of having some other non-specific, gender-based or sexual orientation based phobia. Enough is enough! We’ve become a nation of jesters serving a court of PC fools. The truth is, 99 percent of us out here in fly-over country don’t really care if a politician has green skin or a tail. We just ask that they do their job — keep us safe, refrain from lying to us, stay out of our gun cabinets, and at least try not interfere with our pursuit of happiness and prosperity.
There are no unassailable positions here, no circumstances that call of a single world-view, and no one-sided political posture that provides all of the answers. On the whole, it’s past time to tell George Soros, the Koch brothers, and MSNBC to back off! A politically balanced discourse is not only possible, but it is also desirable and necessary. If we are still a nation that aspires to freedom, we need to have these politically incorrect conversations in our homes, our churches, and most especially, in the hallowed halls of our public schools and universities.
Oh, and we probably need to say a quick prayer for the indoctrinated and embattled young minds at UCI Irvine and Emory University.