Squaring the Culture




"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

09/28/2009 (8:54 am)

Fox Ordered Not To Run Anti-Olympics Story?

That’s the headline on the top of the Drudge Report this morning. Drudge has never had to retract a story, but…

FOX-TV CHICAGO ORDERED NOT TO RUN ANTI-OLYMPICS STORY
Sun Sep 27 2009 21:56:11 ET

A local TV station that reported on Chicagoans NOT wanting the Olympics has been told NOT to run the report again, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT!

The Chicago Olympic Committee told FOX Chicago that its broadcast “would harm Chicago’s chances” to be awarded the games.

The station’s news director ordered staff to hold fire after the report aired once last Thursday morning, claims a source.

Chicago is making a bid for the 2016 Olympics. Apparently, this is very, very important to the President of the United States, so important that he has an Olympics office in the White House and is making a trip to Copenhagen to visit the Olympic Committee.

However, there is a group in Chicago that is openly supporting the competing bid from Rio de Janero, in Brazil. In fact, there are as many Chicagoans opposing Olympics in Chicago as defending them. They fear it will be a windfall for corrupt politicians and contractors, but a huge drag on the economy of the city, which is already nearly bankrupt. They created an ad, which you can see below, that highlights their opposition to the Olympic bid, and they aired it on Fox News Thursday morning.

According to Drudge, Fox has been ordered not to run the ad again by Chicago’s Olympic Committee.

This is an intriguing claim. I can’t imagine anybody other than the owners of Fox News that would have the authority to order the news organization to do anything. To say they were “ordered” to drop the ad suggests a claim of greater authority, and possibly a threat. The story has no explanation, though.

Bossing people around seems to be the Chicago way, and also seems to be becoming the American way under President Obama. This story is of a piece with last week’s under-reported story concerning Humana insurance, which was threatened by the White House with lawsuits if they continued to send their customers political ads explaining how Obama’s health care plans threatened their benefits. It’s also of a piece with the thuggery of the Obama campaign’s attempts to control stories about candidate Obama that they did not want the public to hear. It is no surprise to those of us who were keeping our eyes open during the campaign, but it is becoming increasingly clear that President Obama hates free speech, and, like any dictator attempting to control the minds of the people in order to retain power, is doing whatever he can to end it.

Orders Fox not to run an ad? Orders them?

I know the White House has approached news organizations on patriotic grounds in the past, asking their assistance regarding war efforts; there are times when national security might be compromised by a story, and for the sake of defending the nation or protecting the troops, the President needs to ask for the cooperation of private news organizations. This is sobering, but not unheard of.

However, what we’re seeing here is not about national security, it’s about a city’s power brokers gaining wealth by winning a bid for Olympic games. This is not even a proper topic over which to ask a news organization not to run stories.

Steve Bartin explained the appeal of the Olympics to the corrupt city bosses in Chicago in an article a couple of weeks ago; basically, the Olympics present a marvelous opportunity for graft, enriching those who are fortunate enough to have connections at city hall. For everyone else, though, Olympics have been financial disasters, resulting in enormous long-term debt and seldom paying off vendors and businesses with the level of business they’ve been promised. The Chicagoans for Rio site explains in some detail. So does the No Games Chicago site. Basically, members of the one party that rules Chicago want to enrich themselves by breaking the city financially. This is corrupt.

Corruption is the enemy; it is the thing that must be rooted out first, if the United States is ever to become a viable nation again. The current administration promised to do this, but they seem to be a more virulent strain of the disease rather than the cure. If the Tea Party movement does not have the effect of rooting out corruption in both parties, both in Washington and in state capitols across the nation, it will have been a failure. Government must be smaller, but it must also be honest.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin, who was on top of this story from the beginning. Her article is eye-opening. And she adds more today, too.

08/29/2009 (12:23 pm)

Excusing the Politically Correct

I have avoided the entire Edward Kennedy discussion, choosing instead to pray for the man’s soul. I detested his politics; I was incensed by his involvement in besmirching the reputation of Judge Robert Bork; I heard good things about his personal treatment of employees and constituents; his family has a big house a few miles from where I’ve been living for the past 2 years; he had a reputation as a philanderer and a drunkard; he was a well-liked power broker in the US Senate. That’s how much I know of the man, and I feel I’ve already said too much about a man whose funeral is proceeding even as I write this. He should rest in peace.

However, I’m incredulous after having read this misguided editorial by Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune, who wants us to consider what a shame it would have been if the accident at Chappaquiddick had been the subject of a 21st-century-style media feeding frenzy.

This disgusting piece implies that if it had taken place today, the media would have gone berserk over the accident, turning it into a circus and, in the process, ending Kennedy’s political career. It then simply assumes that nobody disagrees that the remainder of Kennedy’s life was such an unmitigated boon to the public good that we all would have been worse off for his career having ended.

250px-chappaquiddick_bridge1What astounds me is how clueless Zorn is about the protection of privilege in America, particularly Democrat privilege, and how this protection by the press makes a mockery of the central requirement of a free society that every citizen must be equal before the law. The unequal treatment before the law rides on an awful inversion of morality: the bizarre notion that if a man’s politics are Democratic enough, no moral malfeasance, no matter how horrific, is sufficient to offset his virtue. Virtue is defined as “supporting Democratic party initiatives.”

It’s the same blindness that was exhibited as it was becoming embarrassingly obvious that President Clinton was a pathological liar, a perjurer, a grafter, and possibly even a serial rapist. Democrats simply closed their ears and eyes. How could somebody who supported welfare, ecology, and women’s rights be considered morally bad? He is such a good man, simply by virtue of his politics!

This substitution of political correctness for moral character is evil, and undermines our republic.

There is no legitimate doubt that Kennedy avoided serious investigation into the accident by virtue of the fact that he was, in effect, royalty. Whether there ought to have been a conviction, or even an arrest, is completely beside the point; there ought to have been an investigation, and there would have been… except that in Massachusetts, Kennedys are not the subject of investigations, because they’re Kennedys.

There are valid reasons to object to the manner in which media turn a tragedy into a circus. However, the process serves to ensure that no party is exempt from public scrutiny, and eventually from the law. Kennedy did plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident, arguably because there was no way to avoid the public knowing that he had done so. He was sentenced to 2 months in prison, but the sentence was immediately suspended by the judge. Appropriate press attention could have served to ensure that a proper investigation took place.

So public scrutiny, and particularly press scrutiny, is a necessary goad to produce appropriate legal action, and protects our liberties — when applied in a fair and impartial manner.

The fact is, however, that press attention has long since ceased to be applied fairly and impartially.

In fact, it has become disturbingly common, in modern America, for Democrats generally to believe they are above the law, with good reason. Republicans who get charged with a crime step down; Democrats never do, and the press protects them. Try to imagine what a Lexis-Nexis search of the mainstream media articles would reveal of the $90,000 in Representative Jefferson’s freezer (D, La), the bribery tapes capturing Representative Jack Murtha (D, Pa) making deals, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D, Ca) shuffling of more than $1 billion in defense contracts to her husband’s company, Senator Harry Reid’s (D, Nv) profiting from land scams, or dozens of the scandals instigated by President Bill Clinton (try to find a discussion of the possible graft in declaring the Grand Escalante Staircase a national park, for instance). Compare them to the unhinged attempts to tie Abu Graib to high public officials who had nothing to do with it (43 days on the front page of the New York Times), the number of mentions of the Abramoff scandals, the coverage of possible indictments of Tom Delay, who, so far as we can tell, is guilty of no crime, and the unspeakable savagery aimed at Sarah Palin, who has not even committed the public appearance of a crime. The truth is, we rely almost entirely on conservative blogs and talk radio for information regarding violations of the law by Democrats, whereas the least foible of any Republican becomes a front-page story and headlines the 6 o’clock news. The Chappaquiddick accident would never become a feeding frenzy unless the Senator were a Republican.

tk-diagram3This is not to say that there has never been an instance of Republicans currying favor so as to avoid prosecution; it happens. However, the imbalance between the way Democrats and Republicans treat felons within their ranks is stark, and makes it clear which party is currently a danger to the rule of law.

One wonders whether Mr. Zorn, or any other Democrat, would so blithely ignore possible disagreement over the value of a politician’s public service if that politician were not of their party. And then one realizes, there is no need to wonder; Ronald Reagan’s death did not benefit from this same assumption of positive feeling, and the deaths of such figures as Tony Snow and Jerry Falwell were used as excuses for rage-filled diatribes against the right. No, in the modern press, liberals are saints, and conservatives, devils. Consequently, the irresponsible killing of a young woman is treated as an unfortunate accident simply because the man who committed it has the right politics in the eyes of reporters. In such an environment, where correct politics are the only publicly-accepted measure of virtue, it is only a matter of time before a legislature passes laws to outlaw conservatism. Liberty is not safe where morality is measured by political correctness.

Zorn’s editorial is nonsense. If he has so little regard for equal protection and so little awareness of how he’s savaging it, he would serve the public better if he kept his mouth shut. However, it is because the law he treats as meaningless still has some power that he retains the right to publish his opinion. He may learn, soon enough, that if he continues to saw the limb of equal protection, it will not be conservatives alone who fall from the tree of liberty; it will be everybody, including himself.

08/18/2009 (4:38 pm)

What the Diversity Czar Thinks

I have spent far too little time documenting the new “Czar” structure of the Obama administration. Better late than never, I suppose.

Czarring is really just appointing an administrator to oversee and coordinate a particular executive function. Many Presidents have one, some two or three, and most recently, George W. Bush appointed more than anyone before him, with something like 19 different “czars,” many of them ad hoc appointments for temporary matters (he had a Katrina Czar, and a Bird Flu Czar.) But the Obama administration has outdone them all, with the President having already appointed some 35 individuals to head new administrative teams reporting to the White House.

As near as I can determine, the practice is Constitutionally iffy. Article II, section 2, clause 2 seems to assume that Congress retains power to confirm Presidential appointments of minor officers in the Executive branch, and can only refrain if it does so explicitly. The same clause seems to imply that executive departments can only be established by acts of Congress, although I doubt that that provision has ever been enforced.

At any rate, the real entertainment associated with all these Executive underlings has been reading the ideas these folks have expressed prior to being appointed to the government. It appears that President Obama has taken to appointing whoever has “progressive” ideas of note and wants a chance to try them out. Some of these ideas have been… interesting.

The latest in the string of “Czar” appointments was the appointment of the Chief Diversity Officer at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Diversity Officer, you ask? Well, apparently the position has never existed before, but now President Obama has created it, and installed in it an attorney named Mark Lloyd, formerly Senior Fellow at the ultra-liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress. Mr. Lloyd has some… ahem… novel ideas about how the government can solve for everybody the horrendous problem the citizenry has been railing about forever, the absence of “progressive” voices in media. Yes, you heard that right.

You see, the fact that leftists utterly control every newsroom of every major television network in America other than Fox, that leftists control perhaps 90% of major market newpaper newsrooms, that leftists dominate scriptwriting and production in television and film, that leftists completely dominate popular music, and that there is practically no such thing as an artist who is not a leftist of some stripe, progressives like Lloyd have expressed outrage that in most radio markets, nearly all the partisan talk shows are conservative. It’s just. Not. Fair.

In a June 2007 paper entitled “The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio,” Lloyd (with 9 others) observed that 91% of talk radio programming is conservative, and only 9% is “progressive.” This does not include government subsidized, mostly leftward-leaning public radio stations, which don’t count because… well, golly, they just don’t. Pay no attention to those government-paid men behind the curtain. The reason for the disparity is as follows:

Our conclusion is that the gap between conservative and progressive talk radio is the result of multiple structural problems in the U.S. regulatory system, particularly the complete breakdown of the public trustee concept of broadcast, the elimination of clear public interest requirements for broadcasting, and the relaxation of ownership rules including the requirement of local participation in management.

If you have your LeftSpeak Jargon Translator turned off, the above translates to “conservatives are talking because we have not officially shut them up yet.” You’ll notice, of course, that consumer demand is missing from the list of the causes of the disparity; it cannot be that there is a lot more conservative talk radio because the public is willing to pay for and listen to a lot more of it. Oh, no. The report does consider the argument that demand causes the disparity, but it dismisses it. It can’t be that, you see, because conservatives are not even half of the total market, but more than 90% of the shows are conservative (not counting NPR and the like.) What’s worse, in the few markets where a leftist talk show is performing well, there is only one such talk show, but there are as many as four conservative talk shows. It’s. Not. Fair. And of course, there’s no reason to consider how nicely the left’s taste for hearing its own talking points gets satisfied by movies, music, TV, the arts, mainstream newspapers, and network “news” programs (“60 Minutes? Middle-of-the-road, of course,) which would explain why leftists feel no urge to listen to radio for information or support. We have to consider radio in a vacuum. It’s the only fair way.

So how can the government solve this awful disparity that the clearly expressed taste of the public has created? How can the government force radio stations to air programming that is truly fair and balanced? Why, by threatening to remove stations’ broadcast licenses every three years if they don’t “serve the public interest” as defined by… well, by Progressives (shouldn’t the public interest be defined by, I dunno, the public?) And by limiting the size of the company that is permitted to control the radio station — because everybody knows that Big Corporations cannot run local radio stations that meet local demand.

New Diversity Czar Lloyd also wrote some ideas in a book entitled Prologue to a Farce in 2006. I’ve not read the book (apparently, very few have), but blurbs suggest that it claims that the fact that communications are carried out by Evil Corporations® means that people cannot find out what they need to find out for a free society. Consequently, Good Progressives® have to correct the Evil produced by these Evil Corporations®, so people get to hear what they genuinely want to hear, instead of what they pay to hear by supporting advertisers. See how easy it is?

In order to tame these Evil Corporations®, apparently Lloyd suggests that the FCC levy a fine on corporate broadcasters equal to — wait for it — equal to their entire operating expenditures. The proceeds would go to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (ok, now public broadcasting counts. Because… um… well, it just does.) And of course, no Big Corporate Broadcaster is going to exit the radio business because they’re being forced to double their expenditures to support their competitors. Big Corporations have unlimited funds, and do not really need to earn a profit. It’s in the public interest. They’ll surely see their responsibility.

Land of the free. Home of the brave.

Listen to Glen Beck discussing the ideas from the book with Seton Motley from the Media Research Center, and brace yourself for American Liberty, Progressive Style. For darkhorse’s sake, though, let’s remember that Czar Lloyd has not actually proposed these ideas as FCC regulations yet, so it constitutes Obama Derangement to suggest that he might consider doing what he’s advocated at some future time. There is no cause to be concerned. All is well. All is well.

Everybody has written about this one: Michelle Malkin, Bobby Eberle, Newsbusters, CNS News. Hat tip goes to Eberle and GOPUSA for the Beck clip.

08/07/2009 (4:17 pm)

And the Thugs Come Out to Fight

streetbattle1

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” So said candidate Obama; it may be the only campaign promise he’s keeping. Discussing strategy in the wake of an unexpected wave of anger facing Representatives in their home districts, which they delusionally believe to be organized by Republicans, the White House staff is advising Senate Democrats that they intend to “punch back twice as hard.” Only, is that how we want the President of all Americans to govern?

I reported yesterday that the unions were planning to bring their thugs into the town hall meetings. Gateway Pundit reported early this morning that a conservative handing out Gadsden flags (“Don’t Tread on Me”) was assaulted and beaten by six men wearing SEIU t-shirts. SEIU is the Service Employees International Union; Michelle Malkin today has the portion from her new book Culture of Corruption pertaining to SEIU posted on her blog. Gateway Pundit has since posted a letter from the victim’s attorney describing the incident. Six men were arrested, but the victim had to go to the Emergency Room. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D, MO), outside of whose meeting the incident took place, blamed the victim as a “disruptive force.”

There was also a scuffle at a Tampa, FL town hall meeting yesterday. So far I have heard nothing about who fought with whom or who started it, but a video from a Fox affiliate in Tampa, via Hot Air, paints a pretty clear picture: the Democrats, who genuinely believe there could not possibly be this many sincere people who are angry about their bill, locked opponents out of the hall, but let their own hand-picked attendees in through the side door. I’m having trouble with shockwave videos that I’ll resolve soon, but in the meantime, clicking on the image, below, will take you to the Hot Air post with the video. It’s definitely worth the 3:50 it will take to watch.

yborcityriot

And then we have the orchestrated Progressive attempts to paint the entire set of incidents as organized disruption. Some of them are pretty annoying; a commenter here on my own blog posted a link to Rachel Maddow’s hilariously wrong, 5-minute diatribe about a web site called Recess Rally, claiming that it proved that the anger at the town hall meetings was manufactured by wealthy Republican activists, and advising that we need to “follow the money.” Only, Recess Rally is nothing but a call to attend rallies on August 22 at various Representatives’ offices. It has nothing to do with current town hall meetings. This is obvious to anyone who bothers to visit the site.

The Weekly Standard blog cites another attempt, a Think Progress meme that’s been picked up and rebroadcast by the DNC, about a tiny activist group in Connecticut called Right Principles that apparently sent some of its own members to a town hall meeting with instructions on how to get the Representative out of his script. The group has a facebook page sporting 23 members, and a Twitter account with 5 followers; the founder is an Independent, and has never voted for a Republican in a national election; there’s even a video of the meeting showing how mild and respectful they were. And the DNC’s national ad posts one of their internal memos prominently, with a voice-over saying the town meeting tactics are “straight from the playbook of high-level Republican political operatives.” Hilarious. And utterly false. But it’s been repeated by ABC News, the Washington Post, CBS, the New York Times, and CNN as instance of a national outfit organizing mobs.

There’s also been a flurry of incidents reported by Michigan Republicans about the Michigan Democratic party teaching interns to write fictitious letters to local commissioners from imaginary constituents, pretending to be in desperate need of health care, as a means of turning sentiment in favor of health care reform. The Michigan Democratic party wrote a formal apology, blaming the incident on isolated individuals within the organization, and the Republican party accepted their apology; but this is not the first time we’ve heard staged complaints from Democratic operatives.

“If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” Can you imagine President Bush II, President Bush I, President Reagan, President Carter, or President Ford saying such a thing about fellow citizens? I can easily imagine President Clinton saying it, but not publicly; he was an angry and vindictive man, but he knew the importance of a friendly facade. President Obama made this public, and seems to be carrying it out. He regards fellow American citizens as enemies to be defeated. How can he govern the whole nation?

I warned about the difficult times that might be ahead for freedom of speech if the Progressives got hold of the reins of government. They seem to be upon us quickly. Protect your liberties, and don’t be surprised if you’re faced with outright lies or real violence, ’cause that’s who they are.

06/02/2009 (5:43 am)

Abortion-Advocate Mob Storms Free Speech (Updated)

memetiller

Leftist bloggers grabbed their torches and pitchforks yesterday in the wake of the murder of late-term abortionist George Tiller, and stormed the entire anti-abortion movement with the latest version of their favorite argument, “Shut up,” paying a special visit to Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly.

Salon.com’s Gabriel Winant led the charge, listing all the things O’Reilly has called Dr. Tiller over the years. Mike Hendricks of the Kansas City Star declared anybody who called Dr. Tiller “killer” accessories to the murder, and guilty of a hate crime. Mary Mapes at HuffPo, she who looked the other way while Dan Rather slimed the President of the United States with fabrications, hurled hate-filled rhetoric toward Operation Rescue, crying “No mercy!” Ezra Klein piled on at the Washington Post’s blog site, echoing American Prospect’s Ann Friedman calling the entire anti-abortion movement “an ongoing campaign of intimidation and harassment against someone who was providing completely legal health-care services.” And John Avarosis drags out the word the Obama administration hid at the bottom of the duffel bag, calling the lone murderer a “terrorist.”

There is, of course, a legitimate debate over abortion and how one may oppose it. I’ll address that question in another article. None of this fits that description, though. This article is about a vicious tactic which the left has devised to eliminate free speech in America.

It’s become the impulse of leftists in America to respond to any horrific event by finding out what the perpetrator thought and blaming his actions immediately and loudly on anybody who holds any part of that man’s position. If the gunman advocated gun rights, his acts are the fault of everyone who advocates gun rights. If the gunman fears government intrusion, everybody who has ever said the government is removing liberty takes the blame. And in this case, if a lone gunman shoots an abortion provider, anybody who has ever taken a conscientious stand against abortions is guilty of a crime.

Meanwhile, a soldier was murdered yesterday at a Little Rock, AR recruiting station by an anti-war protester who had converted to Islam — and not a word has been spoken against Code Pink or salon.com, both of which have declared conservatives guilty of mass murder and war crimes for opposing Islamic terrorism with military force. And woe betide the journalist who dares mention the connection to violence committed in the name of Islam around the globe…

Every anti-abortion group in the nation declared their rejection of violence in the wake of Dr. Tiller’s murder, just as they all reject violence in their core beliefs and official public statements generally. They had to; they’re conditioned to expect the wave of hate from the left. They’ve heard it before. It’s become the norm. They know that the immediate response of America’s own Fascisti would be to pin the murders on them. It doesn’t matter how loudly they denounce murder and violence, though, because the Fascisti are not concerned with truth, nor with balance, nor with reasoned discourse. This is Mob Rule, American style. Grab your torches and keyboards, and let’s burn down the wires! And whatever else we do, let’s make a conservative shut up!

exaspbobI actually don’t entirely blame them; when your best argument on a topic is to pretend that the first 8 months of human gestation are not really part of the human life cycle, screaming “shut up” is an appealing alternative. That does not make it acceptable, though, and they do the same on other topics. Last time it was a demented loser getting thrown out of his mom’s house that shot a cop, and his acts were suddenly the fault of everyone who had ever expressed concerns about the Obama administration and liberty. Back in the 90s it was Rush Limbaugh’s fault that a demented loser left a truck bomb in front of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, because… well, just because. I mean, it was Rush Limbaugh; isn’t the connection obvious?

This is not just an abortion thing; it’s a pattern, and it’s about arguing against progressive politics. They hate it when you do that. They want you to stop, and they’ll accuse you of any crime, without the slightest logical reason, in order to make you do it. Because they’re good citizens and they’re concerned about women, you see.

When a man decides to do what everybody around him agrees is an illegal act, that man, and that man alone, is responsible for his actions. Advocates of liberated sexual mores are not personally responsible for date rapists. Peaceful anti-war protesters are not responsible for the assassination of Army recruiters. And anti-abortion protesters, even ones calling a late-term abortion specialist a “killer,” are not responsible for the choices of a demented man with a gun. Bill O’Reilly’s speech was legal and appropriate, and anti-abortion advocacy is the very sort of free speech the First Amendment was written to protect. Attempts to tie protesters to acts they deplore are irresponsible and illegitimate.

Expect more and more of this, though. The Left in America hates free speech, and they’re gaining momentum.


UPDATE, 4:04 PM: A comment at a blog that linked to this one posited a contradiction between the main subject of this piece and the paragraph about the soldier who was murdered in Arkansas. There is no contradiction; the point of bringing up the Arkansas case is to observe that conservatives do not play the same game.

It could be argued, though, that while the violence of the anti-abortion activists is by and large contrary to their publicly-stated positions, the violence of Islamic activists is consistent with theirs. This was one of the major complaints in the wake of 9/11: very few Muslim clerics denounced the violence. Thus, it would be appropriate to draw attention to the Muslim angle in Arkansas, while maintaining that anti-abortion activism cannot be blamed for the violence of the lone gunman.

05/14/2009 (3:46 pm)

Gay Mob Rule In America (Updated)

Beauty pageants are an artifact from a deceased culture. I can think of no good purpose served by a contest to establish, as a matter of subjective taste, which of several silicone-enhanced babes the public finds most attractive. While I enjoy looking at attractive women as much as any man does — we’re wired that way, it’s not a choice — I find the notion of young women hiking around on stage mostly naked for a swimsuit competition offensive; they don’t exist for our visual pleasure, why should they be made to expose themselves in that manner? The idea that worth can be obtained by looking a certain way distorts the development of virtue in America’s young women. And when they’re done, neither winning nor losing makes any particular difference.

So how is it that the runner-up in one of those competitions remains in the news almost a month after somebody else won the pageant?

prejean7-tI know the answer to that question, and so do you. I’m asking this way because I want to emphasize just how unimportant a beauty pageant really is — which makes the offense of the attack on Miss California that much more heinous.

The message to young women is clear: disagree with the gay lobby, and they will destroy you. It does not matter how unimportant you are; I mean, seriously, who really cares what the runner-up in the Miss USA pageant thinks? It does not matter how well-meaning you are. It does not matter how decent a citizen you are. It does not matter how good your grades are. It does not matter how many weak people you’ve defended, how many poor people you’ve encouraged, how many downtrodden people you’ve rescued. Disagree with this particular group, and you will be destroyed by any and all possible means. Even if you’re nobody. They hate, with a hatred so intense that it burns like the sun, the fact that anybody has the courage to disagree with them.

They will insult your intelligence. They will insult your looks. They will psychoanalyze you, based on no information at all, and pronounce you broken. They will publicize any mistake you’ve made, ever, and your parents’ mistakes, and your siblings’. They will compare you to a lynch mob, to a Nazi, to a prehistoric, sub-human species. They will publicize the implants in your breasts, and the caps on your teeth. They will make fun of your beliefs. They will display the worst, most embarrassing photos of you that they can get their hands on. They will call you names I can’t publish. They’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too.

Why? Because you dared to disagree with them. No other reason. They cannot abide in the slightest with the notion that a single person on the planet dares to disagree with them. They demand 100% consensus — or you’re road kill. And they know how to do it.

The innovation that made American self-government worthwhile was not the vote; voting has existed in some form since ancient Greece, and secures only so much liberty. The innovation that made American self-government history’s prized gem of human liberty is the rule of law. If no man has the power to suspend the law for his friends and associates, if every citizen is exactly and dispassionately equal before the law, then citizens are safe from the caprice of bullies and powerful thieves, and can pursue the demands of their consciences in peace.

The rule of law can be damaged by biased, partisan, or bribed decisions, and those are all bad things. But the rule of law can absolutely be obliterated by mob rule. If the mass of people decides to take the law into its own hands and enforce its own will by threats and assaults, there is no power that can stop it. The police can’t. The army can’t. If the mob gets its head up, that’s the end of the game; nothing is safe.

Mob rule is the tool gay activists have chosen in order to enforce orthodoxy to the god of Gay Rights. They’re not interested in democratic elections or fair legislation. Reasoned debate is absolutely the last thing on the planet they desire. No, you have to obey, because if you don’t, they’ll destroy your life.

Just ask Carrie Prejean. She was engaged in the meaningless pursuit of a crown in a beauty pageant when she was ambushed, blind-sided, by a gay activist trying to secure free advertising for his favorite cause. She answered according to her conscience, knowing perfectly well that she was probably ruining her chance to win by answering wrong (which says something pretty awful in itself). She didn’t know, however, that she would be the target of a month-long, country-wide, full-throttle, media-saturated assault on her character. Ms. Prejean has conducted herself for the past month in a manner that demonstrates courage and class. The activist who ambushed her conducted himself like a gibbering baboon on YouTube for all to see. It’s plain on the face of it, to anybody who cares about virtue, which of the two represents good, and which represents the most vile things in human character.

However, the assault is not just on Carrie Prejean, Miss California. The assault is on human liberty and the rule of law. It’s a clear attempt to assert mob rule by threats and bullying. Even something so banal as a beauty pageant cannot be free of their iron fist, their hobnailed jackboot. Even the runner-up has to agree, or suffer demolition. The assault is on us all.

So what I want to know is, where are the honest Democrats?

It does not matter where one stands on gay marriage — not when human liberty is at stake. Whichever side of that debate you fall on, honest people everywhere need to stand up to the bullies and tell them, “No, you may not win by intimidation. Liberty demands that the free expression of unpopular ideas be protected.” When someone so mundane can become the target of character assassination, everybody’s liberty is at risk, and the defenders of liberty must rise up and take a stand.

I think there are Democrats who care about human liberty at some level. Why are they silent about this? Are they afraid of the gay lobby turning on them next? They should be — and that’s precisely why they need to speak up now. Because every time a bully wins by intimidation, the likelihood that they will attempt some other conquest by intimidation goes up an order of magnitude.

A democratic republic survives only so long as most participants are willing to live with the results of participation in the system, even if the result goes against them. If any group large enough to make a difference decides that they’re going to do whatever is necessary to enforce their point of view regardless of the rules, the entire system breaks down.

Carrie Prejean is a nice-looking young lady who models, and who might become a special educator someday. Entirely by accident of history, she’s also the focus of one of the most important defenses of liberty in America. It’s not about beauty pageants, and it’s not about gay rights. It’s about the liberty to express unpopular ideas without fearing for your life.

Good people on both sides of the aisle need to rise up and defend her, because to defend her is to defend ourselves.


UPDATE: And here he is: an honest Democrat, on this topic at least. I don’t agree with Jon Stewart often, but I don’t find much to quibble with in this video, aside from the title, “The Pageant of the Christ” (and even that is a pretty good pun.) What he thinks is stupid really is stupid, what he thinks is inconsistent really is inconsistent, and at the end, what he thinks is unacceptable really is unacceptable. Watch.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M – Th 11p / 10c
The Pageant of the Christ
thedailyshow.com
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Economic Crisis Political Humor

Credit Dr. Melissa Clothier for the video find.

04/13/2009 (6:55 am)

"Shut Up," They Reasoned

Pajamas TV is now in full swing, apparently. Andrew Klavan does a four-minute spot on the political left’s favorite argument; really, their only argument.

Hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ.

03/06/2009 (3:52 pm)

The Durbin Amendment: Smart Activism or Grim Hysteria? (Updated)

This morning I sipped my wake-up coffee to the sound of Brent Bozell’s frantic plea for activism after I found a link to the following video in my in box. Listen:

Bozell, along with Sen. Jim Inhofe (R, OK,) Bobby Eberle at GOPUSA, and a number of other Republican activists, is concerned about an amendment offered by Sen. Dick Durbin (D, IL) passed by the Senate a few days ago (it was an amendment to the DC Voting Rights Act, but that’s incidental) calling on the FCC to “encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership and to ensure that broadcast station licenses are used in the public interest.” This was passed on a straight party-line vote, 57 – 41, about an hour after Sen Jim DeMint’s (R, SC) measure banning the Fairness Doctrine was passed by a huge margin.

Like them, I am concerned about the Durbin Amendment, and I encourage participation in their activism plans. However, I also think it’s important to understand the issues that are being raised.

The Democrats have been concerned about changes in FCC regulations during the Bush years that removed restrictions on station and bandwidth license ownership in local markets. For example, before 2003, a single company was not permitted to own more than 35% of the media in a given local market (in 1996 it was 25%). The Bush FCC raised that limit to 45%, and changed the way it was figured to include TV channels, magazines, newspapers, cable, and Internet services. Also beginning in 2003, the FCC permitted a single company to own a broadcast station (TV or radio) and a newspaper in the same market, which had never been permitted before. The new rules permitted cross-ownership at levels varying by the number of broadcast media stations in the local market, but retained controls to prevent any one company from completely dominating. Limits on ownership based on the FCC’s interpretation of what was “in the public interest” were also removed (see here and here for details.)

Clearly, the Democrats want these changes reversed. They want, instead, local companies to control each local market. Their thinking on the matter seems to be dominated by Herman and Chomsky’s Propaganda Model of media bias, which asserts that the fact that media companies are dominated by large conglomerates creates a bias in the news to favor the owners of the conglomerates, who are, naturally, all conservatives. exaspbobThe theory is too silly to warrant serious rebuttal; the claim that the 50,000 stockholders of General Electric (I’m just guessing at the number) could somehow collectively influence the content of a news program in a division that generates less than 10% of the company’s revenue, let alone the claim that they’d even want to, let alone the claim that they’re all conservatives by virtue of the fact that GE is a corporation, could only be taken seriously by somebody who has not the slightest clue how businesses really work. But Chomsky, ever the good Marxist, not only offers his predictably anti-corporation theory with a straight face, but offers with it the predictable announcement that there’s no debate about the thesis. The debate is over! (Does this sound familiar?) “I would hazard a guess that the Propaganda Model is one of the best-confirmed theses in the social sciences. There has been no serious counter-discussion of it at all, actually, that I’m aware of,” asserts Chomsky. (Snort.) And Democrats believe this crap.

In order not to sound equally silly, though, we should recall that what Sen. Durbin is talking about, when he defends his amendment, is limits that actually existed here in the US until 2003 (some of them until 1996,) and that reinstating those limits might not be the end of free speech as we know it. I’m sure the Obamatrons would like more stringent controls, but I’m not sure Durbin has that in mind, and in either case, it pays for us to make our case precisely.

Make no mistake: it’s a dangerous amendment, and needs to be defeated. As Sen. Inhofe points out in his press release, the real problem is that it’s so vague.

What, I ask, does “encourage and promote diversity in communication media ownership” even mean? I certainly can’t tell you what it means, and the legislation offers no words of clarification or specificity. If I were an FCC commissioner, I wouldn’t know what to do with this language, and in any other line of work I’d send it directly back with a little note attached asking to please be more specific. But federal agencies love this kind of language because it gives them greater leeway to interpret it however they like and impose their will upon the industry that they regulate. And my democratic colleagues who promoted this amendment like this type of language because it (1) means that they don’t have to spend the time drafting quality legislation aimed at solving a specific problem, and (2) means that they can disavow their true intention of having greater government regulation of the airwaves. This legislation is so incredibly vague and so potentially far-reaching that I can’t say with any certainty what the end result will be.

The Durbin Amendment, as it exists today, would establish at the FCC complete discretion to revoke broadcast licenses “in the public interest,” however the FCC panel decides to define that.

The Democrats’ concern over large media holding companies owning lots of radio stations is the usual Democratic Party shibboleth: it’s a contrived concern, manufactured as an issue specifically to permit them the appearance of intellectual probity while in fact they’re just complaining that Rush Limbaugh is too popular. Recent opinion suggests that it was the rise in broadcast syndication, and not the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, that gave rise to Limbaugh’s success. They’d love to shut him up. So, they invent an issue that sounds like an issue of populism and fairness, but actually specifically targets the very thing — national syndication — that makes a Rush Limbaugh possible.

National syndication creates no threat to market diversity at all. The sort of concentration that would genuinely endanger diversity of news sources would be monopoly control of a single, local market, not a broad availability of a national presence. The mere fact that Clear Channel owns 1,200 radio stations nationwide only means that people interested in their products will get a consistent product wherever they are, instead of a different conservative talk show in every market. Of course, it also means that Rush Limbaugh has a lot of influence; and since that’s the target, that’s what the Democrats have concocted an argument to address.

It’s frankly ridiculous to claim a lack of media diversity in today’s market. Whereas diversity was a real problem in 1960, with three major television networks and only one or two major newspapers in most large, urban centers, today the Internet, wireless communication, and cable TV have created a whole new world of news dissemination. In today’s market, only about 10% get their news primarily from a newspaper, and consumers have so many choices that it makes the head swim. Sure, I can hear Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, or Sean Hannity just about anywhere; then again, if I don’t like what they’re saying, I can browse Huffington Post, read Maureen Dowd, watch Keith Olbermann, or punch the channel over to All Things Considered. Concentration in today’s market cannot be segmented by media type, since we all have access to an astonishing variety of news sources.

Conservative pundits have fun claiming that Air American has failed to compete with Limbaugh because… um… Air America sucks, but that’s not really the reason. Air America faces market saturation; there’s no market for liberal talk radio because liberals entirely have their needs met already by ordinary news broadcasts, from NPR, the New York Times, ABC News, and so forth. Conservative talk radio gained traction because one could not hear a conservative point of view anywhere else at the time. The reason Democrats would like to shut up Mr. Limbaugh is not that Democrats lack an advocate, but because, at the base of things, liberals simply can’t brook any competing voices at all. That’s why we’re having this discussion. Remember this, from the campaign last October?

fairnessdoctrine

By all means, sign Bozell’s petition, and call your Senators. The Durbin Amendment is a turkey, and needs to get beheaded, stuffed, and cooked. However, make sure when you do that you’re discussing the matter intelligently, and not just sounding alarmist over the Stalinist intentions of the Obama Administration. Those intentions exist, but we’re only going to have a few opportunities to say so in public before the public tires of the warning. Save it for something where the claim can’t be dismissed easily by referring to rules that existed a mere 6 years ago.


UPDATE: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now touting the Durbin Amendment through the House. This is the Democrat “Hush Rush” strategy, alright.

02/25/2009 (11:02 am)

Another Total Shocker: Degrading Sexual Music Increases Teen Sexuality

Another notch in the category, “Things an 8th grader could tell you that we have to waste research dollars proving.” And no, I’m not opposed to the research; I’m disgusted at the rationalizing and dissembling by social progressives as they dismantle civil society that makes this sort of research so necessary.

Dr. Brian Primack of Pitt’s outstanding medical school discussed his findings yesterday from research soon to be published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, demonstrating a strong correlation between hours per day listening to music containing “sexually degrading” lyrics and early teen sexual behavior, and thus also with sexually-transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy. An abstract of preparatory research by the same authors may be seen here.

Dr. Brian A. Primack of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine says the study demonstrates that, among this sample of young adolescents, high exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music was independently associated with higher levels of sexual behavior. In fact, exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was one of the strongest associations with sexual activity…

The study, scheduled to be published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, says those with the most exposure to the lyrics describing degrading sex were more than twice as likely to have had sexual intercourse, compared to those with the least exposure.

This seems to agree with a RAND study published in Pediatrics back in 2006, that reported similar findings.

The immediate question that springs to mind is, “What do they mean by ‘sexually degrading’ lyrics?” The abstract and articles do not contain that information; however, I was able to find an NPR interview with one of the RAND researchers from 2006, and he defined “sexually degrading” lyrics as lyrics “…that portray women as sexual objects, men as having voracious sexual appetites, and sex itself as inconsequential.” They differentiated those from lyrics about loving all night and forever, and so forth.

kool_g_rap_front_view1The researchers seem to believe that their research illustrates a “cultural message” mechanism, wherein young people take their behavior cues concerning how to treat their budding sexuality from the messages that are available in the surrounding culture. If they frequently hear “Screwing casually is what adults do” when they’re discovering their own sexuality, then they screw casually.

Duuuuuhhh… ya think?

It would be a bit more difficult to construct the research that proves that exposure to lyrics portraying non-marital sex as wonderful, uplifting, eternal, and universal encourages teenagers to engage in sexual relations outside of committed relationships, because such messages are so common that it would be virtually impossible to find subjects not affected by them. However, it’s already been demonstrated that teens who watch more sexy TV are more likely to engage in early sexual activity, and more likely to get pregnant, than those who watch less. And frankly, I don’t have the slightest doubt that the decades-long drumbeat of approval for casual, non-committed sex in the popular media is the motive force behind the epidemic of venereal diseases and teen pregnancy our nation is suffering. And if you feel like responding “But, teen pregnancy is down,” be sure to include your answer to “Down from where?” It may be down from 2001. It’s not down from 1960, that’s for sure.

Allow me to repeat a favorite theme of mine when this topic comes up: condoms don’t help. If you wonder what’s my basis for saying this, here’s where I discuss it in detail. The short version is, birth control is not disease control, condoms fail remarkably frequently and especially among the young, and if you increase condom use by a factor of 3 while you’re increasing sexual activity by a factor of 10, both pregnancy and disease accelerate. “Condoms” is an excuse generated by the same social malefactors that tell us that random teen sexuality is “normal and healthy.” The despair and infertility of a generation is on their heads. They should be driven from polite society.

The NPR interview after the RAND study contained some interesting material illustrating why we cannot allow the music industry to police itself. Listen to this observation from Danyel Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Vibe Magazine, when asked whether rapp was getting a falsely negative image:

A lot of rappers, and more than I would like to see, especially male rappers, are saying things about women that I would not want my niece to hear until she was well into her 20s, and then only if she was forced to. But what I am saying is, while I don’t like it, everything is not for me to like. I just don’t want to shut these guys down. I want them to have their ugly moment. I think this is is an angry, ugly spurt in rap music, I think this is unfortunate, but I think it needs to happen.

Earlier in the interview, Smith offered her opinion that the burst of abusive sex talk in rap music was a reaction to years of the black community having their sexuality stifled by society. I have to wonder which years she meant; I don’t recall any racist memes that insisted that blacks were not sexual at all, or insisting that they ought not to be. Quite the contrary, in fact. I think she’s just repeating urban myths — the one that says if you tell yourself “No” to sex too much, eventually you’ll explode, and the one that says that when you fall into angry and abusive speech patterns, that “gets it off your chest” and then you’ll stop and be all better.

I have no respect for either claim; they’re both sheer nonsense. There’s all the difference in the world between repression and self-control, and learning self-control reinforces itself — it gets stronger the longer you practice it. Choosing to behave in a sexually responsible manner, even to the point of abstaining from sex until you’re married, does not hurt anyone, nor does it cause any sort of explosive behavior. (Abstaining out of neurotic fear is another story.)

Furthermore, the habit of speaking in angry and abusive patterns also reinforces itself. Sometimes it’s necessary, for a moment, to resort to candor where you’ve been practicing restraint, but that’s a completely different matter. Opening the gates to permit a flood of sexually degrading language has not “gotten it off our chests,” it has filled our ears with filth, to which we’re gradually becoming numb and taking it in stride.

Is there a parental responsibility here? Of course. However, having raised four kids myself, I can assure you that parents’ ability to limit the cultural images their kids consume is limited, especially in this age of electronic gadgetry. One could, I suppose, deprive them of music, video, computer, TV, and movies, and lock them away from their friends, and then they’d never hear any of it. As soon as one permits them to step outside the house — even to go to school, or to their friends’ houses — they have access to an array of choices over which parents have no control aside from what they’ve taught them. Even a simple cell phone creates the opportunity for musical exchange, as does any computer worth owning. This level of liberty occurs in our culture long before kids have acquired the ability to make adult consumer choices, and there’s no proper way for a parent to control it, especially in a culture where other parents don’t.

I’m a strong advocate of free speech, but there are clear limits. The “crying ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” proverb applies here; if this sort of talk provably leads young people to behave in a self-destructive manner, then there exists no Constitutional protection for this sort of speech, and it should be banned. In an environment where national and international media cross borders in milliseconds, this is one of those arenas, a subset of “keeping the peace,” where a legitimate role exists for government. I would have little objection to a national ban on sexually degrading lyrics, and none at all to state and local bans.

Don’t “give them their ugly moment.” Shut them down, hard. Shut them down, now.

01/30/2009 (8:24 pm)

Death Threats for the No-Cussing Club? (Updated)

When McKay Hatch entered junior high school in Pasadena, CA, he noticed that a lot of his friends started cussing, apparently so they would fit in with the older kids. McKay refused to go along, and asked his friends not to talk like that around him. When they were 8th graders and about to head for high school, his friends informed him that his conscientious stand had influenced them to stop cussing, so he asked them what they thought about starting a “No Cussing Club.” They liked the idea, so they carried it out when they got to high school. It caught on, and today, there’s a web site and more than 30,000 members, representing all 50 states and several foreign nations.

This would be a human interest story to which I’d pay zero attention, if it were not for the death threats. That’s right, death threats. McKay has by now received more than 60,000 hateful emails, including several that threaten violence against him and his family. They’ve received phone calls on their answering machine, too, threatening enough to involve the FBI. And, they received some $2,000 worth of pizza due to a hateful prank. Of course, most of the emails are not threats, they’re just … well, strings of obscenities. What else?

Take a look at Fox’s news story:

It sounds like a pretty good idea, doesn’t it? Just knock off the rough language. Use language to build people up, not tear them down. So, what is it about this that enrages some folks — a lot of folks, apparently — about a kid starting a No Cussing Club?

Here comes the obligatory disclaimer: I cuss. I cuss like a sailor at times. I have anger issues, and when I get steamed, I use angry words. I dislike the fact that I talk like this, but I’ve never disliked it enough to change my linguistic habits, which I acquired early in life from my father. So in a way, I understand the angry folks who are writing nastygrams, even though I would never write one myself, and even though I think young McKay is doing a very good thing.

The issue is that everybody wants to think of themselves as decent, even if they’re not, and everybody really knows when they’re doing wrong, even if they claim they don’t. Consequently, as soon as somebody demonstrates genuine virtue, those of us who lack that virtue feel as though we’ve been exposed and belittled. Let’s be clear: the guilt does not come from the virtuous person, but from inside ourselves. Some have the good sense to know that they feel guilty because they ought to. Others, though, rev up their rationalizations and fire them off, and the deeper the sense of guilt, the angrier the rationalizations. As Whittaker Chambers once pointed out,

Experience had taught me that innocence seldom utters outraged shrieks. Guilt does. Innocence is a mighty shield, and the man or woman covered by it, is much more likely to answer calmly: “My life is blameless. Look into it, if you like, for you will find nothing.” That is the tone of innocence.

My own experience confirms this. When an accusation has no merit at all, I can take it calmly. It’s when I’m afraid inside myself that there might be some merit to the accusation that I react with rage. Notice that this does not mean I’m necessarily guilty as charged, only that I’m afraid I might be. However, I’ve also found that in an uncomfortably large percentage of cases, we feel guilty because we are guilty.

Guilty of what? In this case, that’s the reasonable question. Many of the objections to young McKay’s club come in the form of rationalizations about the meaninglessness of words. “There’s really no difference between ‘Oh, darn,’ and ‘Oh, shit,’” moderns are fond of philosophizing. Young Mr. Hatch is not impressed. “Words mean things. Everybody knows which words to avoid when you don’t want to offend anyone, or when you’re interviewing for a job,” he replies. It cuts to the heart of the matter. We really do believe, somewhere inside ourselves, that using harsh words is wrong.

Some apparently feel so sensitive about this topic that the mere presence of a 15-year-old somewhere in the world who encourages a higher standard sends them into a seething, frothing rage, a rage so deep that it prompts them to send strings of obscenities, dozens of unsolicited pizzas, and even threats of violence. I have to conclude that the topic is more important than anybody cares to admit. I’m frankly shocked.

Many social progressives among us love to scold, but on topics where their own opinions judge them superior. These are usually politically relevant topics about which one can call oneself righteous simply because one cares: equal rights for women and blacks, empowering the poor, protecting the environment, and so forth. Vote the right way, advocate the right social policy, and voila! you’re a righteous man or woman, regardless of any inner faults of character that you can’t control (or won’t try to.) It’s holiness on the cheap. In this manner, social progressives managed even to call President Clinton, manifestly a narcissistic, compulsive liar, a “good man.”

And so easily defended, too. The fact that one’s adversaries claim to care about the poor, for example, but do not agree that the socially progressive approach is helpful to the poor, can easily be dismissed. They don’t really care about the poor, you see. They’re just protecting their greed. If they really cared, they’d agree with us. See how easy it is?

Apparently this exercise of self-congratulation is extremely important to some, and also extremely fragile. The most narcissistic and self-absorbed cannot stand the existence of even a hint of the suggestion that they might be less than the moral paragons they imagine themselves to be. And a little snip of a kid, actually doing something to improve the way people speak to each other, addressing something that they, the narcissists, would like to excuse in themselves — why, it’s outrageous. He must be stopped.

Mind you, I can relate to the feeling a bit. The kid’s showing me up, too. He’s addressing something I have not changed in myself… and he’s just a kid! I’m a little ashamed of not having done this myself.

These same people like to claim that topics favored by conservatives are, by comparison, unimportant. They have it backwards; it’s the topics that address matters of family, love, commitment, and civility that truly matter. What determines whether one is a good man or woman has nothing at all to do with one’s political opinions, and everything to do with how we treat the person next to us. It is the goal of everyone committed to genuine virtue that they become harmless, doing good to those around them instead of hurting them while pursuing their own, selfish agenda. This is a difficult pursuit that often takes a lifetime to achieve.

So why is swearing so important? Harsh language seems like a minor thing, but it’s not. It’s not just the words themselves, but the harsh feelings in the words that matter. Harshness begets harshness. Politeness begets politeness. Love begets love. All of our lives would be more pleasant and less stressful if we just put a governor on what comes out of our mouths. Those who chant “All you need is love,” if they really believed it, ought simply to stop cursing just to spare the people around them from hearing things that make them feel uncomfortable.

Imagine yourself in a party in someone’s home, and you see somebody ball up a wrapper and throw it on the floor. The owner of the house comes up to the fellow and asks him not to throw garbage on the floor. In one scenario, the owner says, politely, “Please, if you don’t mind, would you put your garbage in the trash container under the sink?” In another scenario the owner growls, “What the (@*& is the matter with you, were you raised in a @#*$& barn like a (*&@ pig?”

Which approach is a) more likely to get cooperation? b) more likely to start a fight? c) more likely to make the person being rebuked feel belittled? d) more likely to make the people surrounding and listening feel uncomfortable?

If you’re inclined to rationalize the latter speech by saying that it’s not the cussing that makes the message so harsh, try doing the same exercise again, only this time make the only difference between the two scenarios be the expletives. Even phrased as roughly as it is, the rebuke without the cussing is less abusive than the one with it — and I think we all know it.

The publicity surrounding the”Don’t CUSS” nomenclature unfortunately obscures the more important message of the movement: “Use language to uplift, not to tear down.” This is the wholesome effect of McKay’s club, and it’s why the dupes of Hell want so badly to stop him. How we treat each other has eternal weight. Whatever you thought about cuss words before, you’ve got some evidence now that they’re a lot more important than you thought. I’m preaching to myself here.

I’m going to stop talking now and let the discussion begin. However, I have to warn you all that I’ll have no patience with “freedom of speech” complaints, because they’re just so far off the mark. A club where people pledge not to swear does not threaten any liberty of any sort. The First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the government from passing laws that abridge freedom of speech. McKay Hatch is not the government, and he’s not proposing any laws; he’s trying to make a case through social messages. If you don’t want to go along with him, you’re free to do whatever you like. There is no free speech issue here.


UPDATE: Shelly and I were discussing this article because we felt it was missing something, and we agreed what it is, so I’m amending.

There’s something afoot in the culture that’s deliberately unmaking Western civilization. We think it’s satanic. Whatever that is, whenever somebody good decides to champion goodness in some effective way, the demons jump on it immediately as hard as they can to try to stifle it.

It reminds me of a silly game at the arcade called Whac-A-Mole, where the player stands in front of a board with holes in it and a soft, black mallet in his hand, and smacks anything that pops its head up. Pop your head up and start saying “We shouldn’t cuss,” and Wham! down comes the mallet. “What gays do isn’t marriage.” Wham! “We shouldn’t murder our children.” Wham! “Our culture’s sexuality is out of control.” Wham!

This is not to rebut anything I wrote before. I explained the mechanism in human terms. I believe it has a demonic component as well, and that a lot of the people objecting to the No Cussing Club are motivated by things they don’t understand, nor do they even believe they exist. I regard the virulence of the reaction to this kid’s harmless goodness as evidence that such things really do exist, and I don’t regard the understanding of human motives to exclude the possibility in any way. They’re not mutually exclusive; they go hand-in-hand.

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