2012 November 30 Friday
Gloria Steinem, Jane Fonda: Ban Rush Limbaugh From Radio

Leftists aren't big fans of freedom of speech when it is speech they oppose.

Spectrum is a scarce government resource. Radio broadcasters are obligated to act in the public interest and serve their respective communities of license. In keeping with this obligation, individual radio listeners may complain to the FCC that Limbaugh's radio station (and those syndicating his show) are not acting in the public interest or serving their respective communities of license by permitting such dehumanizing speech.

Some of the commenters at that site claim people do not have a right to free speech on the airwaves. They say as long as someone isn't gagged or arrested the government can go pretty far to ensure that person can't be heard. What I wonder: will the percentage of people who think that way increase with time? Will the demographic changes underway in America undermine support for free speech? I'm thinking the answer is Yes. But can one figure that out using polling data by ethnic group?

My guess is that women are more likely to claim that people should be protected from getting their feelings hurt. Is that the case?

Once Republicans become unelectable for the Presidency the Right's freedom of speech will be at the mercy of the people who future Democratic Party Presidents nominate for the US Supreme Court. How much are they going to let us say?

Update: I realize that some object to my labeling of all leftists as anti-free speech. Okay, I agree there are leftists who aren't against free speech. But look at America today. Who is actually trying (and even succeeding) to muzzle speech? In academia it is the Left. In workplaces it is the Left. Who labels quite rational viewpoints as hate speech and attempts to silence it? The Left. The Right in America today is more tolerant of opposing viewpoints than the Left. It is usually Right-wingers who bite their tongues in social, work, and academic settings because too many Leftists see Right wing viewpoints (especially what has come to be called alt right) as so morally illegitimate that Rightists don't even bother to contest statements from the Left. Effectively, in the workplace The Blank Slate (aka the standard social science model is the law of the land. We have to pretend to believe falsehoods in order to hold jobs. That's oppressive. Plus, it is quite bad for the Republic.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2012 November 30 07:54 PM 

James Bowery said at December 1, 2012 4:54 AM:

"How much are they going to let us say?"

Seriously? With everyone in the Republican party with any muscle, (including, crucially, Rand Paul), pulling for a repeat of Reagan's 1986 amnesty -- which caused a drop from 37% of hispanics voting for the Republican party in 1984 to 30% voting for the Republican party in 1988 -- and a repeat of what happened to California, which will never again elect a Republican governor, let alone President, the fate of the US is sealed and that fate is approaching with much higher acceleration.

The "new Americans" are being "assimilated" by indoctrination into the cult of anti-white hatred. According to "The Narrative" offered up by media and academia:

Whites, being the spawn of Hitler (who was Satan incarnate) are to be left alive simply because they have to pay off their enormous debt for all the evils they have inflicted. No amount of past invention can atone for these evils as those inventions would have been given the world so much sooner if only whites had not been oppressing others. I mean if we'd only opened the door to immigration from India in 1900 we would have had the transistor in 1929 rather than 1947. Then there are those White Supremacist Wright Brothers...

Free speech?

Sgt. Joe Friday said at December 1, 2012 1:02 PM:

I'd like to see Obama's FCC actually try to do this, then we'd have a pretty good idea what we're up against. Put it another way: the government would be using its power, including the (implied) threats of confiscation of private property, imprisonment, and/or denying an individual the right to make a living at his chosen profession because he's an entertainer who says things that hurt some peoples' feelings. If the left were to succeed in getting Limbaugh taken off the air, the unintended consequences would be enormous, possibly even including a very long and deep economic depression. Businesses would "connect the dots," pretty quickly figuring out that if one basic right - free speech - is no longer a sure thing, then property rights and contract law are probably in jeopardy. Nobody in their right mind is going to put their capital at risk when they think arbitrary confiscation is a possibility.

Lyle said at December 1, 2012 5:40 PM:

Blah, blah, blah, a few people say something and suddenly it is attributed to all Leftists. That's a fallacy common on talk radio but one you only recently started falling into Randall.

Those few do not represent the opinions of many "Leftists." The ACLU for instance, a group I suspect you'd label as Leftists, defends the speech of the right-wing as well as left-wing.

Randall Parker said at December 1, 2012 8:27 PM:


I ought to be more clear: there are liberals that, yes, are very dedicated to free speech. Yes, the ACLU still seems to be. But where do speech restrictions come from? The Left. Look at Europe where speech is much more regulated and those speech-restricting laws have leftist goals. Leftists in the US want the US to be more like Europe. Academia (which is very left wing) seems like a leading indicator: many universities have adopted speech regulations. How could this happen unless the ACLU style of liberalism is on the wane? Academics discriminate against conservatives. Another report on discrimination against conservative academics. They want to prevent their opponents from having a platform for presenting their viewpoints.

Another indicator: labor law effectively enshrines the blank slate viewpoint. You already can't publicly hold a variety of opinions and also be a manager in a large corporation. That's the Left's doing that and the alt-right are the biggest suppressed group as a result of this.

Randall Parker said at December 1, 2012 8:30 PM:

BTW, the University of California at Los Angeles Higher Education Research Institute finds academia is moving further leftward.

Randall Parker said at December 1, 2012 8:56 PM:


I realize I've got some left-leaning readers who are sort of old school in the sense of being class warriors in ways that are honorable. Big business does not equal free market. There are class interests below the elite level that seem legitimate to me. I realize that they may find some of my arguments against the Left may seem unfair to them. But the Left overall has become much more oriented twother divisions in society. Lots of leftists are more about ethnic group identities, sexual identities, cultural identities, and other identities that basically make them see white males as the primary enemy. I'm somewhat nostalgic for the loyalties that the old Left had even though I was never a member of their faction. But the new Left is the one that matters.

James Bowery said at December 2, 2012 2:41 AM:

Sgt. Joe Friday: It is hardly relevant whether Obama does this or not. The point is that the US's demographic fate is now sealed. The demography will shift until the speech restrictions -- and far far worse -- are considered "justice" so long as they are applied against "whites". It may take decades but it will happen. Of that much you can be sure.

now i do said at December 2, 2012 3:03 PM:

"The Right in America today is more tolerant of opposing viewpoints than the Left" Yeah, so is the Catholic Church nowadays.... Well, of course Randall. After corporations have taken over the government and turned this country into a neo-fascist nightmare, it has to be. Business wants the popular aspects of government, the ones that actually serve the population, beaten down, but it also wants a very powerful state, one that works for it and is removed from public control.

Corporations have never been in favor of Democracy. Let's be serious for once. There's a very committed effort to convert the US into something resembling a Third World society, where a few people have enormous wealth and a lot of others have no security ...
Corporations are fundamentally illegitimate, they don't have to exist at all in their modern form. Just as other oppressive institutions - slavery, say, or royalty - have been changed or eliminated, so corporate power can be changed or eliminated. What are the limits? There aren't any. Everything is ultimately under public control.

sestamibi said at December 3, 2012 8:46 PM:

First of all, you are citing an incident that occurred in the wake of the Sandra Fluke "slut" controversy last spring, the furor over which has died down considerably. Rush weathered the storm and is still on the air bigger and better for it.

Nevertheless, the efforts of The Left will continue, and future Rush Limbaughs with nowhere near as large a following or legal resources may fall victim to left-wing intimidation.

The solution for those of us who still believe in freedom of speech is not to wax poetic about the First Amendment, Emile Zola, etc. etc. These people have pretty much come out and arrogate to themselves the power to determine what may and may not be said, and they do so through threat of violence and intimidation. Cf. Eric Posner, who among many asserts that the US has to fall in line with the rest of the world on this matter.

No, the answer is to confront them in the exact same manner: with threats and intimidation that clearly indicate "No, WE will tell YOU what YOU can say!" When they get that we mean business, then they'll back off.

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