If Speech Never Offends You, Then There Isn’t Free Speech

Mark Steyn points out some really horrific actions around the Western world of late suppressing free speech.

  • In Galway, at the National University of Ireland, a speaker who attempts to argue against the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) programme against Israel is shouted down with cries of ‘F***ing Zionist, f***ing pricks… Get the f*** off our campus.’

  • In California, Mozilla’s chief executive is forced to resign because he once made a political donation in support of the pre-revisionist definition of marriage.
  • At Westminster, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee declares that the BBC should seek ‘special clearance’ before it interviews climate sceptics, such as fringe wacko extremists like former Chancellor Nigel Lawson.
  • In Massachusetts, Brandeis University withdraws its offer of an honorary degree to a black feminist atheist human rights campaigner from Somalia.
  • In London, a multitude of liberal journalists and artists responsible for everything from Monty Python to Downton Abbey sign an open letter in favour of the first state restraints on the British press in three and a quarter centuries.
  • And in Canberra the government is planning to repeal Section 18C — whoa, don’t worry, not all of it, just three or four adjectives; or maybe only two, or whatever it’s down to by now, after what Gay Alcorn in the Age described as the ongoing debate about ‘where to strike the balance between free speech in a democracy and protection against racial abuse in a multicultural society’.

Here’s the thing, guys and gals, if you want to have not liberty but merely a moderately functional society, you have to allow free speech.  The reason for this is that if people are not free to say whatever they darn well please without threat of official or social retaliation, then the truth will not come out.  It is only by allowing everyone to have their say that we can have any chance of actually discovering what is going on.  While in a place of free speech you will get a large pack of lies being said, you’ll also ensure that the truth is told, as well.  And the truth will eventually be acted upon because it is, in the end, the only thing which will work.

It goes beyond just that, of course.  If you set out to keep everyone polite, then you will eventually allow the most rude to control all debate.  The theory behind politically correct speech is that we need to ensure that we aren’t denigrating anyone, thus allowing all people to have the courage to speak up.  It doesn’t work like that because the sort of people who are most willing to be rude will simply shout down everyone else – and claim they are doing it in the name of enforcing politeness.  Someone has a pet theory and then someone comes along and destroys it with facts – the rude claim that the person destroying the theory with facts is racist/sexist/homophobic/what have you and is exiled from the public square.  The pet theory goes on undisturbed and everyone is now afraid to challenge it…and the rude are in charge.

I’m very sorry to all and sundry, but you simply must allow everyone to have their say and you MUST NOT seek to do anything to them for saying it.  Corporate CEO writes a racist rant in a neo-Nazi website?  Condemn him.  Write an article refuting him. Point out to everyone that said store owner is a racist.  And then leave him alone.  You’ve got no business doing anything else.  Don’t organize a boycott.  Don’t organize a picket line.  Don’t pressure local authorities to investigate his business practices.  Leave him alone.  He did nothing but speak his mind and he must be allowed to do that without let or hindrance from anyone, ever.  You can only interfere when words are transformed into actions or where the words are clearly inciting someone to imminent action which will violate the rights of others.

It goes for both sides, of course – write the worst sort of slanders you wish about my Catholic Church.  You’re a CEO of a major corporation?  Fine.  I’ll write about it.  I’ll condemn it.  I’ll point out that you’re an anti-Catholic bigot.  And that is all I’ll do (well, I’ll also pray for you). It is no business of mine to try and wreck the business the CEO runs.  It is no business of mine to try and get him fired.  It is no business of mine to do anything to him because he has done nothing to me or to anyone else.  He just spoke his mind.

We’re all in this together, my friends.  There are 310-odd million of us and in such a large community there will be every possible sort of opinion.  We will not ever all agree on anything.  And we can’t function unless the truth comes out, and it only comes out if everyone can fearlessly enter the public square and speak their mind.  Drop all attempts to interfere in what people say.  Let them say it; if you think they’re wrong (or even downright evil) for what they say, then you must confine yourself to no more than saying things against them.  If we do this, we will remain free and relatively rational as a people – if we keep going down this route to controlling speech, we are doomed – and I mean “doomed” as in “doomed to death” because we will not survive, as a people, if we seek to control each other.

Hiding the Decline, ObamaCare Style

They just get more dishonest by the day:

The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law in the next report, due this fall, census officials said.

The changes are intended to improve the accuracy of the survey, being conducted this month in interviews with tens of thousands of households around the country. But the new questions are so different that the findings will not be comparable, the officials said.

An internal Census Bureau document said that the new questionnaire included a “total revision to health insurance questions” and, in a test last year, produced lower estimates of the uninsured. Thus, officials said, it will be difficult to say how much of any change is attributable to the Affordable Care Act and how much to the use of a new survey instrument…

Now, you can think that this is just some honest effort by the Obama Administration – or you can be rational and understand that they want a success that Low Info Voters can believe in and so they are just going to fudge the numbers until they get it.  This is much like the way they’ve finagled around with the unemployment and labor force participation numbers – can’t create jobs?  Then just change the way we report the number of jobs!  Have a completely unworkable health care system?  Then just change the way insured and uninsured are counted until you get fewer uninsured!

Just waiting for a report just before election day about how the number of uninsured Americans is at a record low…

But, it won’t work.  The problem with ObamaCare is not in the marketing, it is the fact that people are having to pay more for health insurance than they did before.  The problem is in the millions of people who have had their policies cancelled.  The problem is in the fact that the bloody thing just doesn’t work.  Democrats will pay the ObamaCare price this November no matter how many made-up numbers Team Obama comes up with.

Social Security Hitting Kids for Parents’ Debts

This is just hideous:

A few weeks ago, with no notice, the U.S. government intercepted Mary Grice’s tax refunds from both the IRS and the state of Maryland. Grice had no idea that Uncle Sam had seized her money until some days later, when she got a letter saying that her refund had gone to satisfy an old debt to the government — a very old debt.

When Grice was 4, back in 1960, her father died, leaving her mother with five children to raise. Until the kids turned 18, Sadie Grice got survivor benefits from Social Security to help feed and clothe them.

Now, Social Security claims it overpaid someone in the Grice family — it’s not sure who — in 1977. After 37 years of silence, four years after Sadie Grice died, the government is coming after her daughter. Why the feds chose to take Mary’s money, rather than her surviving siblings’, is a mystery.

Across the nation, hundreds of thousands of taxpayers who are expecting refunds this month are instead getting letters like the one Grice got, informing them that because of a debt they never knew about — often a debt incurred by their parents — the government has confiscated their check.

The Treasury Department has intercepted $1.9 billion in tax refunds already this year — $75 million of that on debts delinquent for more than 10 years, said Jeffrey Schramek, assistant commissioner of the department’s debt management service. The aggressive effort to collect old debts started three years ago — the result of a single sentence tucked into the farm bill lifting the 10-year statute of limitations on old debts to Uncle Sam.

No one seems eager to take credit for reopening all these long-closed cases. A Social Security spokeswoman says the agency didn’t seek the change; ask Treasury. Treasury says it wasn’t us; try Congress. Congressional staffers say the request probably came from the bureaucracy…

This is just a desperate ploy from a government which is greedy for every dollar it can lay its hands on – but it also shows (if ObamaCare didn’t clue you in) that no one in government really knows what is happening…its all done behind the scenes with lobbyists and bureaucrats and staffers inserting things into bills and regulations without anyone accountable to the people really knowing what is going on.

This, of course, needs to be repealed – it is un-American to seek to collect debts owed by one person from another.  If the person who owes the money is dead and there’s no estate to collect it from, then the debt is a write-off.  Whether or not anyone in Congress will step up to fix this particular problem remains to be seen – but the ultimate fix to this is to prohibit Congress from passing laws of more than, say, 10 type-written pages…and to prohibit the bureaucracy from implementing new regulations (which also must not be more than 10 type-written pages long) before Congressional approval of each new regulation.

UPDATE – technically unrelated, but check out what is happening with the Bundy Ranch in Nevada.  True, its a dispute over grazing rights which has been going on for decades…but whatever one wishes to think about the particulars of the case, why did Uncle Sam whistle up an army to round of the man’s cattle?  Why make a “free speech” zone?

Given that this is Nevada and we have Harry Reid and the BLM is involved, I’m immediately suspicious that this is just another corrupt land deal – there are stories that this land is to be set aside for a solar plant with a Reid son involved.  I’m not so sure about that – this has been going on too long for that (since 1993).  I’m more thinking that since it is some really nice countryside (and the Virgin river runs year-round through it as it heads towards Lake Mead) that someone has a mind to build some resorts out there – and ol’ Harry has been more than once involved in screwy land dealings where, hey presto!, BLM land is made available to the “public” and Reid cronies make a killing.

The GOP’s War on Women Continues!!!!

The pay gap between men and women continues without sign of closing – even after repeated speeches by the pResident.  The GOP still does not pay women equally to men!!!

The White House continues to pay women 88 cents for every dollar men earn….. oh wait!!!

http://dailycaller.com/2014/04/09/white-house-pay-gap-twice-as-large-as-pay-gap-in-district-of-columbia/

Another sign from the pregressives, do as I say! Not as I do!

Americans Spend More in Taxes Than Food, Clothing and Housing Combined

 

 

 

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http://taxfoundation.org/article/tax-freedom-day-2014-april-21-three-days-later-last-year

Tell us something we didn’t already know. But we get the usual drivel, we don’t pay enough.  We are greedy when we say that we pay too much in taxes.  The Pregressives demand more and more and attack us when we ask “when will it be enough”.  After receiving over $3 Trillion in direct revenue per year, they demand more since they want to spend more in social spending.  All the while slashing the military budget to the point that aggressive world leaders take notice.

When will enough be enough for these moochers and thieves?

We’re Still Number One. For Now.

Victor Davis Hanson neatly skewers the latest in a line of liberal “studies” which purports to show the United States is behind other major, industrialized nations – these studies often comparing us to small, homogenous nations which lack major numbers of immigrants and who are largely freed from such impedimenta as large defense budgets because we defend them.  He notes some of the handicaps we have, and yet still do pretty well:

…Speaking of social progress, the United States lets in the largest number of legal and illegal immigrants in the world. Currently 45 million or more residents were not born in the U.S. — a number four times larger than any other nation. Ethnic, religious, and cultural homogeneity promotes some of the values (such as Internet access) that social progress indices usually value.

Yet in my hometown, which has been overwhelmed by illegal immigration over the last two decades, I can see why recent arrivals from Oaxaca have some difficulty in getting online free at the local Starbucks. The problem is not that they do not have cell phones with Internet service or that Starbucks and other franchises don’t offer free Internet services, but that the language, past experience, and culture of central Mexico are not quite the same as those in the United States.  Speaking Mixtecan languages and not being able to read Spanish in an English-speaking country makes it hard to surf the net.

One reason why the U.S. is volatile, influential, dynamic, and by far the most culturally influential society in the world are the number and variety of its legal immigrants. No one wants to move to Russia. Switzerland does not want any new immigrants. France and Germany don’t quite know what to do with those already residing in their countries. China and Japan could never consider an African, Swedish, or Mexican immigrant fully Chinese or Japanese. The Arab World would not let in Jews and in many places is driving out Christians. Building a large new Church anywhere in the Islamic world is for all practical purposes now impossible.

In short, people vote with their feet, and by huge margins prefer the greater freedom, economic opportunity, and security of the U.S., not to mention its meritocracy that assesses talent far less than elsewhere on class, racial, tribal, or religious criteria. Because the U.S., also unlike other countries, strangely does not value that much education, capital, or skills in assessing potential immigrants (family ties and the fact of reaching U.S. soil being the more influential criteria), and because it hosts somewhere between 11 and 20 million illegal immigrants, it naturally has ongoing challenges to provide near instant parity to millions who arrive here poor, uneducated, and without money…

While you will certainly find some Americans who will ardently state they prefer Europe to the United States, you’ll also find that they are invariably well off (and thus could afford a higher cost of living) and currently residing in places like San Francisco and New York City.  As most Americans have not visited foreign lands, they don’t know how they live in the great Outside – but most Americans also instinctively know they won’t get better, elsewhere.  Its why they stay – and why 45 million poor foreigners have moved here of late.  And as for those middle class Americans who have traveled overseas, we know first hand just how lousy it is compared to living in the United States.  There’s no place like home and we are thankful that we won the “where to be born” lottery.

Continue reading

When Fighting the Left, Never Give an Inch

I remember a while back ago when I saw a picture of Cindy and Meghan McCain made up in the “NoH8″ logo and it immediately occurred to me just how absolutely disgusting it was – while “NoH8″ had been around for a while, it suddenly struck me what it really meant – what the liberal fascists, that is, meant by using it:  that anyone who disagrees with them is a hate-filled bigot, unfit for decent company.  It told me, point blank, that by the mere fact of being a Catholic in accord with the Magisterium, I was the modern version of Bull Connor.  Plenty of  Republicans fell for it – after all, it was just about not hating, right?  Perhaps not.  Maybe the whole purpose of “NoH8″ was to get people to hate the “other” – in this case, anyone who disagreed with same-sex marriage?

I bring this up because in the Mozilla case, we can now all see where we are heading – into a world where the left hounds out of public life all of those who disagree.  Many years ago, a Russian girl got something like 10 years in Stalin’s Gulag for writing, “you can pray all you want, but only so God can hear”.  That seems to be what the left wants; a world in which we of the right might be allowed to exist, but only if we in no way, shape or form enter the public square in opposition to leftwing ideology.  A case can be made that hatred and a desire to suppress are the actual motivators of leftwing activity.  Anything else that they do or that results from their actions is pure happenstance.  Take gun control, for instance. If the left was motivated by the desire to reduce crime and reduce violent deaths, then the vast evidence now proving conclusively that more guns equals less crime would move the left to be opposed to gun control.  Given the facts and the left’s alleged concern for liberty, they’d be out there advocating for widespread gun ownership.  And yet, there they are – taking every opportunity they can to try to demonize gun owners and restrict the right to bear arms.  This indicates that the great gun control debate was never anything other than an attempt to generate hatred for gun owners so that they may be suppressed.  In the case of the Mozilla CEO, we have a situation in which the man’s past support for a now overturned law is used to force him out of his job.  This is not a heat of the moment fight – this is a cold-blooded attack on a man over an issue already settled as far as California is concerned.  Doing this does not advance the cause of gay rights – but it does allow free reign for hatred and a golden opportunity to not just get that CEO, but put fear into the hearts of all people in California that if they back anti-leftist causes, they will be exposed and fired from their jobs.

Here’s my warning to my fellow conservatives:  don’t be fooled.  You can’t partner up with any one on the left, ever.  Even if you believe that a particular bit of leftwing ideology is good (for instance, same-sex marriage) if you partner up with them – show your support for their views – then you are merely helping hate-filled people work up a system where everyone they hate will be suppressed.  Just because they are lauding you for being so open-minded and wonderful doesn’t mean there isn’t room for you in the Gulag. Your space is already reserved – and they’ll get you there all the easier once all those troublesome social conservatives are forced into silence because they are, in the public mind, hated as much as the segregationists of yore are hated today.

We are in a battle for the whole of society.  Either the conservative/libertarian side will win 100%, or the left will.  The two sides cannot meet in the middle.  This not because a reasonable conservative can’t be in favor of gay marriage, but because the left never quits in it’s quest for total power over everything.  Conservatives were pushed away from opposing divorce; were pushed away from opposing birth control; were pushed away from fighting political correctness on campus; were pushed away from one thing after another – because the left demanded it, and some conservatives were willing to agree, never thinking the matter all the way through:  that if you give these people an inch, they will take a mile.  Then demand yet another.

Ask yourself this question:  at the end of the day, what sort of society do you wish to live in?  If the price of backing this or that aspect of leftwing ideology is going to be a society where everyone who disagrees with the left is silenced, where will you be?  And, yes, I’m mostly looking at you libertarian, fiscal conservatives who wish the whole social issues thing would go away.  It may well go away – but only because we who back traditional morality will be turned in the LIV, public mind into monsters that no decent person will associate with.  This might work well in terms of making certain that abortion is not an election year issue, but it won’t work so well in the sense of having a 20 million or more hole blown in the anti-Democrat vote.  To put it to you bluntly:  the libertarian/conservative side of the aisle cannot survive with out the support of the tens of millions of people who believe that same-sex marriage is wrong.  True, social conservatives cannot win without you, either; but right now the left is on a campaign to make adherence to Judeo-Christian morality socially unacceptable…to a point where no one will dare defend such ideals in public. Once we’re silenced, you’re doomed – because you won’t be able to win, and then the left will turn the screws on you.

We’re all in this together, my friends.  My right to adhere to Catholic teaching lives and dies with your right to not adhere and just go on and do what you wish.  If I don’t have my rights, then you won’t have yours…and while I’ll be in socio-political Gulag for believing the Church, you’ll be in there with me for not adhering to 100% of whatever the left is on about at the moment.  Pick your side, and stand with it.

UPDATE:  Its not just me – from Richard Fernandez:

Much of the shock following the removal of Brendan Eich from the position of Mozilla CEO came from the realization that, in a manner of speaking, America was now at war. True it’s a culture war, not a physical conflict. But if you were waiting for the moment when the Cold Civil War actually begins, this might be it…

Read the whole thing.

UPDATE II:  Matt Walsh lets ‘em have it:

…You fancy yourselves the ideological descendants of civil rights pioneers, but these tactics put you in the same vein as book burners and Puritan witch hunters. When your story is ultimately told, it’ll read more like The Crucible than the Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

And that’s why you’ll lose.

You might have fooled society forever if you’d just kept singing about love and kindness, and never started bombarding Christians with your bitter hate and hostility. You might have gained some lasting ground if you hoisted your banner of free love, and never used it to diminish free speech.

But the proverbial cat is out of the bag. You’ve been made.

Because of your own behavior, when people like myself tell the world about the vicious death wishes and vulgar hate mail we receive from your kind on a DAILY basis, everyone will believe us. It’s no secret anymore. Without question and without exaggeration, the ‘gay rights movement’ is the angriest, most ruthless, most controlling, most intolerant of all the ideological enterprises in the country. Now, everyone knows it.

So you’ll lose. People are starting to see that you are the pigs on this Animal Farm, and the equality of which you preach is a very unequal equality indeed…