Friday, October 13, 2006

The First Amendment Applies to Conservatives Too

A great article in today's WSJ by Peggy Noonan demonstrates once again how the free speech arguments advanced by the left are buttressed by toothpicks and spit. These folks like to wear the first amendment on their sleeves and throw it your face as they, inter alia, burn flags, protest at Solider's funerals, and bring traffic to a halt. While they act within the law, they do have the first amendment right to do these things. But heaven forbid that a contrary view comes about. So long as you agree with them, let them hear you from coast to coast. But if you espouse a contrary view, they will silence you (e.g. the minuteman speech at Columbia); they will heckle you (as they did at Condy Rice at a commencement address), they will ridicule you, they will defame you, or in the case of the media, they will ignore you. Have the folks who espouse an opposing view of Nobel Price Finalist Cindy (Chavez is Cool) Sheehan been given equal time on the network news? in the press? You get my drift. Peggy's article hits it on the head.

She writes in part:

Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don't. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn't come quickly, they'll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.

And they don't always recognize themselves to be bullying. So full of their righteousness are they that they have lost the ability to judge themselves and their manner.

And all this continues to come more from the left than the right in America.

Which is, at least in terms of timing, strange. The left in America--Democrats, liberals, Bush haters, skeptics of many sorts--seems to be poised for a significant electoral victory. Do they understand that if it comes it will be not because of Columbia, Streisand, O'Donnell, et al., but in spite of them?

What is most missing from the left in America is an element of grace--of civic grace, democratic grace, the kind that assumes disagreements are part of the fabric, but we can make the fabric hold together. The Democratic Party hasn't had enough of this kind of thing since Bobby Kennedy died. What also seems missing is the courage to ask a question. Conservatives these days are asking themselves very many questions, but I wonder if the left could tolerate asking itself even a few. Such as: Why are we producing so many adherents who defy the old liberal virtues of free and open inquiry, free and open speech? Why are we producing so many bullies? And dim dullard ones, at that.
Read the entire article here.

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