Boots & Sabers

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Everything but tech support.

0648, 17 Nov 20

In praise of messy

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. Here’s a part:

In the American culture, people like to claim that they support free speech, but are increasingly willing to silence people who express views with which they disagree. Since it goes against the traditional American self-image to silence opposing views, the oppressors among us have taken the convenient moral shortcut of labeling thoughts with which they disagree as X-ist or hateful. Since everyone agrees that it is immoral to be X-ist or hateful, the oppressors can claim that silencing such thoughts, and the expression of them, as not only justified, but a moral imperative.

This is the faux moral high ground that movements like antifa and the leftists who lend them support seek to claim. They stand in righteous judgment of everyone who they deem “fascist” or “hateful” or “bigoted.” Their definitions are fluid, but their fury is constant. And when the silencing of evil foes is a moral imperative, any means of doing so can be justified because it promotes a higher good.

Those means have manifested themselves across America in a hundred different ways. News organizations have spawned “fact checking” squads to seek out opposing thoughts and label them as untrue. These self-anointed arbiters of truth stride forth with the confidence and wisdom of 19-year-olds who are home from their first year of college.

In an earlier column, I rang a warning bell about the tech giants who are using their market dominance to regulate which speech is allowed to be heard and which must be quashed into the digital abyss. Some Democrat politicians and leftists are espousing the virtues of blacklists to prevent any Trump supporter from being able to work or hold a position of public influence. In both Wisconsin and in Washington D.C., we saw how elected leaders and bureaucrats weaponized government agencies to silence speech and punish the speakers.

The crushing of American public debate under the pretext of purging it of hate, X-ism, and bigotry is an attack on the freedom of thought and an affront to the ideals upon which our nation was founded. That does not mean that all thoughts are good, helpful, or positive, but the way to eradicate them is not to mute them. The way to eradicate them is to allow the light of truth in the public space to show them for what they are and allow them to retreat to the fringe. Freedom means permitting the expression of all thoughts — not just the ones that are accepted by the current orthodoxy.




0648, 17 November 2020


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Very on point article.


  2. Tuerqas

    I would call it axiomatic.

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