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Robby George recently chaired the now bi-annual meeting of the Harvard campus conservatives(1).
Yes, we do exist. We are much like the Christians in ancient Rome…except, the catacombs are nicer. And we don’t bury our dead in the walls. At least not yet.
The topic du jour, appropriately, was the thuggish liberal suppression of conservative ideas on college campuses, in the media, and even in corporate boardrooms – something that seems to have grown acute lately.
Robby opened the meeting by citing the now familiar cases of Ayaan Hirshi Ali’s dis-invitation to receive an honorary degree from Brandies and Brendan Eich’s firing from Mozilla. Similar snubs to Condoleezza Rice and Charles Murray were yet to come. And what Robby said was this (I am paraphrasing):
The problem is not that the left wants to keep people from talking about certain conservative ideas. The problem is that they want to keep people from thinking them.
And that’s really the whole nut, isn’t it?
Although there is already a lot of talk out there about this, I wanted to add my two cents. Because, forgive me, but this whole censorship thing is getting kind of depressing!
So here is my attempt to fight back.
First, a good way to start fighting any liberal idiocy is to take a look inside the liberal mind. At the very least it’s always good for a laugh.
Be it the Sunday morning bagel brunch gathering with the New York Times or the dinner with the department speaker after the colloquium, liberals really only talk to each other. They listen to NPR and watch MSNBC and parrot Paul Krugman and Rachel Madow.
It hurts them to hear conservative viewpoints, especially about gays, abortion, global warming, guns, and illegal aliens. The expression of these ideas is acutely embarrassing to them. It makes them want to run and hide their heads. Like when someone farts loudly at the brunch. It’s especially bad if someone farts…and then smiles…like they’re proud.
So imagine Fox News from their point of view.
Therefore, when liberals try to censor the expression of conservative ideas in society, they are not trying to prevent others from thinking those ideas. They are trying to prevent themselves from thinking those ideas.
Second, liberal ideology is rooted in the Ratchet Theory of History or (as I have written elsewhere):
…the idea that history is like a great ratcheted wheel that the enlightened must painstakingly turn, notch by notch, in order to haul the ignorant masses up out of brutality and chaos…
The paradigm for all liberalism is the civil rights movement and, psychologically, every struggle brings them back to Selma, Alabama.
I cannot emphasize how important it is that we take this seriously.
Because we all now believe that, for instance, slavery is unthinkable. (And please don’t equivocate about how it is the Republicans who freed the slaves. It makes no difference. The point is that social views evolve over historical times and some things that were formerly commonplace have become anathema to polite society).
Therefore, our job is to show how gay rights and rights for illegal aliens, etc. are not the same as freedom and rights for Black Americans.
And that brings me to the final point, which is this: I’m not actually worried at all about the attempted Gestapo behavior of the liberal intelligentsia toward the voicing of conservative opinions. Brendan Eich, Ayaan Hirshi Ali, Secretary of State Rice, Charles Murray, and a hundred more suppressed!
Irritating? Yes! Funny? Always! But seriously a worry? No.
And the reason why it doesn’t worry me is breathtakingly simple: because they, the liberals, are wrong. And hiding truth doesn’t make it untruth.
Do most people want their children to grow up to be gay? No. Will suppression of thought change that? No.
Are people who arrived in America by breaking our laws, packed in the backs of trucks, likely to make good citizens that we’d like to have as neighbors? … Whose kids will play with our kids? No. Will suppression of thought change that? No.
Is abortion a pretty thing? No. Are late-term abortions horrific? Yes.
Do the tenets of Islam as expressed in the Koran lead to the oppression of women all over the world even in relatively “liberal” Muslim nations? Yes.
Is government likely to run healthcare better than the private sector?
You get the idea.
Of course, I am just as infuriated by the brazen suppression of free speech lately as you are. And I intend to keep fighting it where I see it.
But I have often thought that one of the key differences between liberals and conservatives is that we conservatives have to play by the adult’s rules and liberals get to play by the kid’s rules. Of course, that’s as it should be. As adults – as conservatives – we take rules seriously.
And, of course, it’s a handicap. But it doesn’t come close to compensating for how big a handicap it is for them that the truth, by and large, is on our side.
(1) I am now a former member of the Harvard community. But the conservatives still invite me back for their events.