A View from the Left

The state is the biggest threat to freedom of speech, argues a writer at the Atlantic. Well, of course it is; the state is always the biggest threat. The state is the only organization with an army and a secret police allowed to run around. But it's fair to hear out the other side, especially when they are arguing against interest -- normally concerns about the power of the state are right-leaning, and the left likes to think that only milk and kindness flow from the government.
At Texas A&M, Tommy Curry, a black professor, was driven from his home with his family after his controversial remarks on violence and race drew the attention of American Conservative columnist Rod Dreher; singling out left-wing college professors is a frequent source of content at Steve Bannon’s Breitbart News. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick cannot find employment in the the National Football League after his protests against police brutality. A police union in St. Louis urged members to bombard a local store owner with calls, after he accused some officers of misconduct, one of several recent examples of police unions attempting to intimidate critics. Black Lives Matter activists protesting the lack of accountability in lethal shootings of black men by police are routinely attacked as terrorists....

Neither have some conservatives disdained to use of the power or authority of the state to censor free speech. Republican legislators have proposed “Blue Lives Matter” bills that essentially criminalize peaceful protest; bills that all but outlaw protest itself; and bills that offer some protections to drivers who strike protestors with automobiles. GOP lawmakers have used the state to restrict speech, such as barring doctors from raising abortion or guns with patients, opposition to the construction of Muslim religious buildings, and attempts to stifle anti-Israel activism.
Some of the complaints are silly (the French were in no way harmed by the "Freedom Fries" thing), and some are unfair (even though we have frequently observed failures to hold police officers accountable for improper shootings, it is too strong to paint them as having "the authority to kill").

Still, there is a core to the complaint that is valid, and deserves attention.


Ymar Sakar said...

The state, church, and economic corps together are the biggest threat.

It was only when those 3 forces joined together, that Lucifer took over the South in 1830s.

If humans are free economically, free to believe in faith or not, or free under the State powers of law and punishment, then there is an escape option. Not when everything is within the State, nothing outside of the State.

Christopher B said...

"All media outlets are businesses"
"All businesses are right-wing"
"Therefore the media is controlled by the right"

"All of these people are associated with government"
"Trump runs the government"
"Therefore all of these people are bad actors"

Where was this person when Obama's IRS was interfering with the creation of and harassing conservative political groups, his DOJ was shaking down businesses for donations to left-wing groups, the Fed was using bank card regulations to force people to stop legitimate businesses, civil rights laws were used to put people with religious objections to gay marriage out of business? It isn't the right that weaponized government for political purposes.

This goes back to your comment at AVI's about the Anthem protests and how the left and right have different views. Conservatives keep assuming that the tactics of the Left are their objectives, and that if somehow we find a reasonable response to their objections they will be satisfied. They won't. Their objection to what's happening is not the thing they are talking about, it is they aren't in charge. As soon as conservatives give way on the Anthem protests, something else will be found to take another step towards ensuring they are no places where people can interact without having to accept the approved political view.

Grim said...

There's definitely an element of that; I'm not sure how many of them are even aware of it as an element.

Still, it's good not to make the same error. There are mistakes and abuses coming from the right, especially from the Republican party in the Federal government. It'd be wise not to turn a blind eye to them, the same way that so many on the left just refuse to see that the IRS targeting scandal (e.g.) ought to have led to many people going to prison, and did not.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I admit to suspicion about many of these. Curry's "controversial" remarks were approving of killing white people. It doesn't seem to be any government agency or force that is putting the pressure on him, however. The gov't may be inadequately protecting him, I suppose. I can't tell. "Singling out" left-wing professors. What does that mean? It sounds ominous, but what is it? BLM routinely "attacked" as terrorists? In what way? By whom? And what lack of accountability are they referring to? There is evasive language all through that article, not-quite-claiming something but making every effort to get you to believe it.

Whenever I read that such-and-such legislation "essentially" does something, I secretly bet to myself that it does no such thing. (It is often still something I disagree with, but it is not the extremity presented.)

I like measurables. There is prejudice and I have seen it. There are bigots and I have met them. But what is the damage being alleged here?

Texan99 said...

Hey, maybe there's a reason the FIrst Amendment limits the power of the state, not of private people.

Gringo said...

"Singling out" left-wing professors.

When the vast majority of professors are left-wing, I fail to see how being aware of that consitutes "singling out." When there are so many lefty professors who make sure that their students and/or the general public are aware of their left-wing views, I fail to see how being aware of what lefty professors WANT you to be aware of constitutes "singling out."