We're talking goal lines and "hidden goals" today.
First, when did America's political Left become the sworn enemy of free speech? It is a question I have posed before but I keep getting fresh new examples.
The liberal website Forward Lookout is home to a campaign to expunge Sunny Schubert's column from the Monona Herald, led by someone known only as "Jeff."
Sunny was a star editorial writer at the Wisconsin State Journal for many years. She also contributes articles to the quarterly Wisconsin Interest magazine, published by the free-market Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. (As have I.)
Sunny's apparent sin, according to "Jeff," is "her lack of journalistic ethics in not disclosing that she also writes for ... a far right wing think tank that has the objective to rid the state and the schools of unions."
The pseudonymous "Crackbaby" agrees. Sunny's column in the weekly newspaper gives "the shrinking group of right-wing goofballs that make Monona their home ... a disproportionally large voice, helped by the Herald."
A commenter known only as "Katrina" counsels "Jeff," "If you wrote to the Herald and criticized her that would probably be the end of her column."
Notice that none has offered to write a column from a Leftist perspective; nor has any of them made the case that Sunny's Herald column is particularly political in the first place.
Yes, "Jeff," whoever he is, could write a letter to the editor. But he'd have to sign his name to it. Something he is unwilling to do on the Forward Lookout website. (I've asked.) Funny, that, for a guy who claims to want full disclosure.
"Jeff" might also want to indicate whether he is a unionized teacher, state employee, Prog Dane or whatever - only in the interest of fairness. Or is that for other people?
It might be nice to know whether his "hidden goal" is to support the teachers union come what may, despite the best interests of the students, parents, and taxpayers.
'The end was never freedom'
This seemingly trivial example is important because it is so commonplace in Madison as to be almost background noise.
When I started this blog over three years ago a Foron opined (anonymously, of course), that "Blaska is not fit to live among decent people." That was before the Tucson massacre, which the New York Times and others blamed on conservative speech.
Time and again, the liberal response to the conservative critique is to try to shut it down rather than debate it. This phenomenon has not escaped the notice of UW-Madison law professor Ann Althouse, who asks: Why does the left hate free speech? She answers:
Because they don't know how to talk about the substantive merits when they are challenged. Having submerged themselves in disciplining each other by denouncing any heretics in their midst, they find themselves overwhelmed and outnumbered in America, where there is vibrant debate about all sorts of things they don't know how to begin to talk about. They resort to stomping their feet and shouting "shut up"... when they aren't prissily imploring everyone to be "civil."
... Free speech was only ever a means to an end. When they got their free speech, made their arguments, and failed to win over the American people, and when in fact the speech from their opponents seemed too successful, they switched to the repression of speech, because the end was never freedom.
"Protesting" free speech
Over 1,000 "protestors" engaged in the raucous, arrest-marred picketing at a biannual meeting of conservative thinkers hosted by the Koch Brothers in Rancho Mirage, Cal.
"You know why they're being scrutinized, don't you?" asked Herman Cain, a former pizza company CEO and Tea Party star. "Because they're not liberal. That's all that's about," said Cain.
Name the last liberal conclave picketed by conservatives. I can't either. Contrast that to the wilding in the streets at the last Republican national convention held in the Twin Cities, and the disruption of John McCain's acceptance speech. Conservatives never do that to liberals.
The same liberal payback motivates "Move to Amend" efforts to eviscerate the First Amendment in the wake of the Citizens United ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. The decision overturns the McCain-Feingold campaign financing law which would have, in the words of Chief Justice Roberts, "allow(ed) censorship not only of television and radio broadcasts, but of pamphlets, posters, the Internet, and virtually any other medium that corporations and unions might find useful in expressing their views on matters of public concern."
The Move to Amend movement "implies a distrust of citizens and wide-open free speech," UW political science professor Donald Downs told Blaska's Blog. Prof. Downs was a hero of the fight against the restrictive UW "P.C." speech codes of the 1990s.
The Left: voters are stupid
This antipathy for free speech is founded on the Left's fervent belief that the citizenry are too stupid to sift and winnow the truth for themselves without the careful ministrations of good progressives to regulate, ration, restrict, and redistribute political speech.
Keith Olbermann spoke for many on the political Left when he calumnied "those poor, dumb, manipulated bastards, the tea partiers."
Capital Times columnist Bill Berry casts a wider net: voters in general. They are "restive, frightened and easily manipulated."
Bill Maher on HBO right before the big election said of the American electorate, "They are too stupid. They are like a dog. They can understand inflection. They can understand fear. They can understand dominance. They don't understand issues."
We won't recycle another UW political scientist's verdict about stupid voters, since he fully retracted the statement, except to note that a certain local news editor fully agrees with the original sentiment and has not disowned his endorsement of it.
Actually, Keith, Bill, Bill and Bill, voters do understand issues. They just disagree with you.
A random thought:
Was the revolution now sweeping the Mideast -- first Tunisia, then Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen -- unleashed by George W. Bush? Will it go the way of more democracy or less?
'Feelin' So Fly Like a Cheesehead'
Packers 31, Steelers 28. Mason Crosby wins his first game and it is a big one!