Free speech is unfair to losers

Several of my liberal friends have a funny conversational tic: Whenever the talk wanders into certain topics, they abruptly switch off --- change the subject, or urgently go off to do something else. We're friends, so I never try to push them back to that dangerous little "Eeeek!" moment. But it's just as if they have a little thermometer in their heads, and when things get dangerous, the red line goes way up and all that mercury threatens to squirt out of the top. You can practically see it happening right in front of your eyes.

That's what Sigmund Freud called "signal anxiety" --- or mentally going "Eeeek!" --- there's danger up ahead! Don't let your thoughts run that way! Because, of course, liberals are horribly afraid that they might be wrong --- about abortion, or the war, or whatever secret doubts they harbor in their hearts. It's why they have to shout so loud to drown out other voices.

All that is tremendously ironic. The Left has controlled the media at least since the 1970s, and actually even back to the 1930s. As a result of their monopoly they have lost the ability to compete intellectually --- to persuade by logic and evidence. Instead, they think that just stating their often bizarre and simply false opinions is good enough. But it's not. It is the conservatives who have been forced to think hard, to justify their ideas over and over again. Practice makes perfect, and many (not all!) conservatives have now become very skilled in stating their case to the American public. Liberals are thrown back on using personal insults, because they no longer know how to state their case;  and they are afraid to think freely, for fear they might have to change their minds.

When people become afraid of following a thought to its logical conclusion, they can no longer think.

Free speech is unfair to intellectual losers. That's why the "Fairness Doctrine" is raising its Medusa head again. Liberals want government-enforced equality because genuine intellectual opposition scares them.  Quick, turn on NPR! (Phew, that was a close one!)

The fear of free speech is the fear of skepticism. All stagnant  orthodoxies fear doubters, just as Pope Leo xxx feared Galileo, --- who was a feeble old man when he was sentenced to compulsory silence. It's interesting that the censorious Pope was a close friend of Galileo, and he may have privately agreed with him. But as Pope, he protected the Church of Rome by silencing the greatest scientist of the age.  The Church has paid the price for its censorship ever since. 

Every Leftist establishment in the last hundred years has exercised censorship over speech, from Jozef Stalin to Hugo Chavez and yes, even Harvard University. LINK It's that fear of its own inner self-doubt that makes the Left instinctively reach for the censor's rubber stamp  --- the one that says PROHIBITED THOUGHT! in capital letters.

I have a good friend in Sweden who simply goes ballistic with rage at the atmosphere of intellectual oppression over there. Sweden is a socialist paradise only for True Believers. Political doubters are fired, excommunicated and censored. No wonder that socialist countries claim to have a "social consensus." That simply comes from silencing all the doubters, and then denying they even exist. But they are still there, all right, quietly thinking politically incorrect thoughts.

Old Bill Shakespeare knew all about the fear of one's own thoughts. He has mad King Lear ranting on the heath, and raging against his daughters who have cast him out into that dark and stormy night:

Filial ingratitude!

In such a night
To shut me out! Pour on; I will endure.
In such a night as this! O Regan, Goneril!
Your old kind father, whose frank heart gave all, ---

O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

So when you hear Trent Lott or John Kerry bemoan the rise of Free Speech Radio, just remember that they are listening, all right, and simply saying to themselves

O, that way madness lies; let me shun that;
No more of that.

That's why they need to shut you up.

Don't let them get away with it.

James Lewis blogs at