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Free and Open Debate

July 19, 2009

As Americans, we value our freedom of speech more than just about anything else:  Its the First Amendment for good reason.  While your mother told you not to discuss politics or religion in polite company, in the public square that’s about all we talk about.  (Well, that and American Idol.)

Yet today what we see is an all-out assault on freedom of speech from the left.  Leading the charge has been the deceptively-named American Civil Liberties Union (the ACLU) which was formed in the 1930s to promote a communist agenda.  Its goal these days seems to be to sue the pants off anyone who even mentions religion or an opposing viewpoint in public. That’s not what your mother had in mind.

Perhaps following that lead, every minority or special interest group seeks to limit speech relating to their interest.  They seek to implement “hate speech” laws which serve to circumscribe the limits of debate about their particular issue.  There are lots of hateful words out there; we can’t and shouldn’t seek to ban them all.  “You can’t legislate morality” used to be common sense.  Ironically, the very groups that seek to ban certain words use those very same words freely within their own communities.  Make no mistake: “hate speech” and “hate crimes” spell the death of free and open debate.

Lately we’ are seeing yet a third and more dangerous restriction on free speech–limits on debate.  Its the so-called “crisis” mode.  Everything is a crisis; there’s no time to debate.  Pass it now!  No time to think, no time to actually read that thousand-page bill.  That approach has led to a lot of bad legislation in the past seven months.  None of it would have passed had full debate occurred.  The longer it is reviewed, critiqued and debated, the more flawed it is revealed to be.

The fourth danger is the complicity of the media with the agenda of the left.  The media calls itself the “fourth estate,” supposedly positioning itself as an independent voice.  If it ever was, it is not now.  Mainstream newspapers and television tilt strongly and unabashedly left.  The administration is rife with ideas to stifle the rest–including, interestingly, using the concept of “diversity” in an Orwellian sort of way.

Americans are a fair-minded people: we want to hear both sides of an argument and are independent enough to want to make up our own minds.  We really resent anyone shoving their opinions down our throats, as the saying goes.   Leftists take notice.  America is not Russia, nor Venezuela, not Cuba.

One Comment


  1. Dissent is not allowed « Reclaim the Blue

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