By Nathan Barton
For decades, and especially in the last decade, we have seen our freedom of speech attacked in a wide variety of ways, almost always based on how our speech, our expression, is “denying other freedoms” to people. Speech expression is attacked as being aggressive, evil, and dangerous to others. More and more institutions, especially (but not only) government-run institutions, seek and do limit free speech.
And free speech dangers grow worse. A series of news articles this week identify this growing trend. Many revolve around the Supreme Court decision on “homosexual marriage.”
Let us start with World Net Daily, concerning an announcement from editorialists at Pennlive.com that they would no longer allow opinion or editorial pieces “in opposition to same-sex marriage.” “These unions are now the law of the land,” the publication said. And it likened those who still support traditional and biblical marriage, despite the court’s opinion, to those who are “racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.” As with manmade global warming, evolution, and the value of a planned political economy, this topic must now be stricken from the list of rights employees and professionals (and the public) have.
WND raises significant concerns about the impact of the Nazguls’ decision on “same-sex marriage” on churches and religious institutions. Will they be able to speak out against it? Will they be forced to perform such ceremonies? The SCOTUS decision sounds good as far as recognizing free speech and free exercise of religion, but how will it be applied? Even before the Nazgul decision, the free speech of those opposed to this was being restricted by governments and private groups: people and companies and institutions were being attacked for not just expressing their disapproval, but for not actively supporting and “celebrating” the actions they saw as perverse and wrong. It is reasonable to assume that it will get worse, not better.
Anything to do with homosexuality seems justification for taking away freedom of speech. World Net Daily also discussed a doctor censured and on the verge of being fired for pointing out that homosexual sex has health risks. Political science, specifically political medical science, drives out good science, good people who do not go along with the “politically correct” consensus.
Indeed, many so-called Libertarians have seemingly signed on to this attack on free speech. Sheldon Richman’s arrogant commentary this weekend is an example of that: he claims that there is no legitimate “libertarian” argument against the Supreme Court decision. So we are all to shut up, I guess, since our opposition is obviously “illegitimate.” To “support” his claim, he creates a string of strawman arguments and dismisses the idea that government would “redefine” marriage by claiming the concept has “evolved.”
Obviously, we have no more freedom to question evolution than we do anything else that government and the activists for perversion want to force on us. And obviously, if “the right thing is done,” according to Sheldon and others, it doesn’t matter whether government, whether the Nazgul, have any legitimate authority – or even the least claim to such authority – to do what they did: this is nothing but an argument that might makes right. But that is distracting from the theme of this commentary: Richman no longer supports freedom of speech in this one area. How many more topics, issues, will be added to that list?
Because, of course, “marriage” is not the only place or topic in which free speech is denied. I’ve written in previous commentary about the entire idea of the Confederate Flag as being illegitimate expression (just as Nazi symbols are forbidden in much of Europe), and touched on free speech for those who own (or support the ownership of) guns. Freedom of expression includes the ability to buy the symbols that we display. Wearing a tee-shirt with a gun on it is now forbidden in many places as being “threatening” or “offensive” and so, free speech is denied.
Here is another: Speak No Evil: Keeping Silent About Workplace Safety Concerns. A new survey finds a conflict between what employees claim they value (a safe environment) and what they’re willing to do to get it (speak up about workplace safety concerns). Fifty-three percent of employees who took part in a recent survey said they would not be willing to speak up if they saw an unsafe work condition or act. Why? They fear that if they speak up, they will suffer for doing so. Just as those of us who speak up about religious freedom, freedom of speech, or freedom to keep and bear arms worry about how we will be punished for expressing our opinion.
The Daily Express, a UK paper, clearly has problems with free speech as well. The Express’ recent article on solar activity creating freezing winters in Britain had to be peppered with statements assuring that the sun’s changes would NOT change or reverse global warming, which is after all caused by humans, who are SO much more powerful than the sun. Even when reporting on a story that raises still MORE doubts about the validity of manmade global warming, they must couch their reporting in politically correct terms to avoid being condemned. Of course, this is in a nation where a “christian preacher” is being attacked by the police and courts for claiming that his religion is better than Islam.
It appears to me that one of the greatest dangers to free speech is those who seek to “protect freedom” by limiting freedom. If our neighbors have a right to sit anywhere on the bus, then we must be prohibited from saying (or even implying) that they don’t have a right to do so. If we have the “right” of “freedom from hunger,” then that freedom must be “protected” by forbidding us to speak up and question whether or not government is obligated, or even allowed, to provide food for the hungry. The examples can go on and on.