Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Are You Bored Yet?

cross posted at Right Michigan

A college roommate of mine hung a poster on our dorm room wall for a total of two rather long and poorly decorated semesters. I didn't complain too much, it still looked better than the pile of empty pizza boxes in the corner. The poster depicted a 30s era gangster sitting on a comfy overstuffed chair with the words, "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

It is my ability to remember such minutiae that should make me a killer contestant on Jeopardy, but alas, has instead rendered me an unrelenting (and unrepentant) bore at the dinner table. And family reunions. And sporting events. Also, don't sit too close to me in church--both you and the pastor will appreciate it.

In many ways that gangster's attitude typifies the interpretative power that political operatives on the progressive left demand today. While I do believe that in many cases this has been manifested in poorly guided innocence, in most others it is the result of sinister motives, motives designed not only to dismiss offhandedly the arguments of rational opponents, but also to keep wayward thinking members of identity groups subservient to proper-thinking members of the group. These tactics can be valuable weapons in either shaming or financially intimidating through the threat of lawsuits, their political opponents into silence lest they be labeled something bad, like a racist, a homophobe, a sexist, or, worst of all, an unrelenting bore.

The gangster has demanded the sovereignty to interpret your words, thoughts, and wants in any way that he sees fit, and has demanded that his interpretation hold sway over your intent. Under such a surrender of intent, your words mean nothing outside of the nutshell that the gangster defines. If you cede such power to the gangster, what you mean, your words, your intent, your motivations, the foundation of your thoughts, will amount to nothing. And that is wholly the gangster's strategy. You will be held accountable not for what you try to convey, but for the interpretation he assigns to your words.

He will have given you your opinion.

Welcome to the world of progressive thought, the mindset that holds the upper hand in next week's election.

On October 21, Lewis Diuguid, Kansas City Star Editorial Page columnist made the following comment:

The "socialist" label that Sen. John McCain and his GOP presidential running mate Sarah Palin are trying to attach to Sen. Barack Obama actually has long and very ugly historical roots.

J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI from 1924 to 1972, used the term liberally to describe African Americans who spent their lives fighting for equality.

Those freedom fighters included the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who led the Civil Rights Movement; W.E.B. Du Bois, who in 1909 helped found the NAACP which is still the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization; Paul Robeson, a famous singer, actor and political activist who in the 1930s became involved in national and international movements for better labor relations, peace and racial justice; and A. Philip Randolph, who founded and was the longtime head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and a leading advocate for civil rights for African Americans.

McCain and Palin have simply reached back in history to use an old code word for black. It set whites apart from those deemed unAmerican and those who could not be trusted during the communism scare.
Of course what McCain and Palin had been doing was truthfully calling Barack Obama a socialist thinker.

Never mind that De Bois, Robeson, and Randolph were actually self acclaimed socialists. De Bois of the communist variety. In Diuguid's application, the actual truth of any of McCain's or Palin's statements are dismissed through an intentionally applied mischaracterization of the motivations behind the comments. By dismissing the speakers as falsely motivated, the truth can also be easily discarded.

In effect the argument becomes, "don't listen to them, they are racists!"

Diuguid, conveniently, is able to refuse an opportunity to defend Obama's socialist opinions. He doesn't want to have to do it for he has no plausible defense, and identity politics provides him the cover.

On October 9, James T. Harris made the following comments at a town hall meeting in Waukesha, Wis:
"I doubt that anyone in this room has taken, pardon me, the ass-whuppin' that I have taken for supporting you. Sir, I believe that in the next coming debate it is absolutely vital that you take it to Obama and that you hit him where it hurts. ACORN is out there, we have Reverend Wright, all of these shady characters that surrounded him. I am begging you, sir."
Harris has been forced to endure his "ass-whuppin'" because he is black and because straying from the blessed path of group think progressivism is not allowed--at least not if one wants to keep his membership. Harris immediately became a sell-out, inauthentic, and a tool.

No where is the viciousness of identity politics more on display than in the feminist attacks against Sarah Palin who has displayed the audacity to not only declare that she is pro-life, but has actually proven it. Rochelle Riley wrote this on September 30:
Palin is setting the gender back by decades. The next time a woman runs for any national office, her opponents will have sound bites galore from the Palin ditz reel, the last time a woman ran.
Gloria Steinem in the LA Times:
Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie.

Selecting Sarah Palin, who was touted all summer by Rush Limbaugh, is no way to attract most women, including die-hard Clinton supporters. Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with [Hillary] Clinton.
In case no one was paying any attention, let me be the bearer of bad news. This country is becoming increasingly polar in its political discourse. As the polarization becomes more and more apparent, and as fringe elements attempt to rein in free speech in order to further their own causes, the intent of what we say and our ability to voice our opinions are taking on ever greater importance.

The Fairness Doctrine is already being brushed off. Google is hinting at an internet framework where blogs could be filtered for their quality and content. On several occasions the UN has suggested that it should take over the administration of the internet. Advocacy groups such as the Council on American Islamic Relations are advancing thought and hate crime litigation as a way to intimidate or silence comments that they feel could be critical or offensive to Islam. While there has been no serious overture that I am aware of, there have been some discussions that may lead to proposals that would require that journalists and boring bloggers receive a license to jabber on about politics.

All of these types of initiatives are designed to control the public conversation in such a way that only the proper and accepted discourse, the one that is approved by those in power, will be available.

The best defense any of us can mount against this tyranny is to remain diligent and protective of our free speech--the right of which was granted to us by God and not by government. The battle may very well end in the chambers of the Supreme Court, but it must start at home and at school and at work, in our letters and our blogs, while shopping, singing and rolling the dice.

We own our words. They are the property of no one else.

Better we bored to silence by someone's free speech, than be forcibly silenced by those that refuse to be crossed.

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