Beating and censoring our way to a progressive new America.
By Daniel Greenfield, FPM
Liberalism is a dirty word in today’s left. You hear it most often as an insult, neoliberalism, hurled by the hard left against anyone accused of insufficient hostility to free enterprise and other open systems. If you trust the free market and individual judgement over state regulation, you might just be a neoliberal.
And neoliberals are the biggest enemies of the left.
Liberal has become a slur on the illiberal left which is intolerant of open and tolerant systems. The defining symbol of the illiberal left is the campus safe space where no free speech is allowed. Safe spaces take the college, once the symbol of a liberal commitment to the free exchange of ideas, and invert it into a space that is safe from the free exchange of ideas under a warm and fuzzy name.
The safe space isn’t a campus eccentricity. As the riots from Berkeley to Boston show, using violence to silence free speech isn’t just something overzealous college kids do. It’s what the left does now. And sympathetic lefty mayors of cities put on the same show of helplessness as university administrators.
When the New York Times runs multiple editorials attacking the very idea of speech, one such op-ed claimedthat some forms of speech were stressful and therefore a form of violence, it’s not college kids.
It’s the illiberal left.
After Trump’s win, the left reacted by finding fault with an excessively open society. The media blamed “Fake News” spread on social media for his victory and pressured Facebook, Twitter and Google into agreeing to its let its fact checkers decide what was and wasn’t legitimate. It wasn’t censorship, they insisted. It was social responsibility. And social responsibility is how censors justify what they do.
Meanwhile the latest wave of blacklists seeks to shut down organizations and silence individuals.
The post-election paranoia over Fake News and Russia, and the blacklisting surge have a common underlying theme. Our society is too open. Something has to be done to securely shut it down.
Free speech has the same problem as free enterprise. It assumes that we should trust people.
And why would we want to do that? People are stupid, racist, selfish and greedy. If you give them a chance they’ll sell large sodas, buy salty foods, shout racist slurs, watch FOX News and vote for Trump.
The illiberal left’s contempt for the individual has even bigger implications for the justice system.
There was a time when “Innocent until proven guilty” was the gold standard in criminal justice. These days it’s as extinct as “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Instead certain kinds of people are always innocent and other kinds of people are always guilty. The Baltimore drug dealer has a presumption of innocence from here to eternity, but the police officer who arrests him needs to be locked up now. Campus rape cases should begin with guilty until proven innocent, but …read more