Government vs. Civil Liberty

The Constitution guarantees the right of free speech. Some Americans rebel against those who have different perspectives relating to unencumbered speech. Anytime a college or a high school censors free speech of a student or a guest speaker, it is a direct attack on our liberty. In a free society, citizens, the press and the opposition must have free rein to present their side of an issue. Of course, a speaker who incites violence is not, and should not be, protected.

Lately, liberal elements and institutions of higher learning have unilaterally canceled opportunities for dissenting voices. Often, the issues involved are highly contentious. Women’s rights, BLM, gay marriage, civil rights, the right to protest and the role of police officers are front and center. Burning down cities, looting stores, destroying property and committing bodily harm are too often associated with “free speech activities.”

Do you feel that the government is too intrusive into the affairs of average Americans? It seems to me that federal and state politicians are in our faces, pockets and lives far too often. Our civil liberties are being threatened on a daily basis.

The first thing that comes to mind is taxation. Our government has the right and duty to tax income and purchases to fund its needs. Since Washington is responsible for defense, security and a plethora of services, it needs to take part of our earnings every paycheck. But who evaluates whether the federal and state governments are using our money wisely? And who determines how much every citizen should contribute to the expenses of state? Of course, the answer is Congress. The people we elect every two years are the stewards of taxes imposed on citizens and noncitizens alike.

I’ve always been amazed that the 1% of earners have not been have not been abused in this regard. If 99% of Americans effectively have control of the government, why wouldn’t they attack the affluent more strenuously? If you ask someone who makes $50,000 or $100,000 to vote for a person who believes in higher taxes, why wouldn’t they be agreeable. It will not cost them anything while they increase government revenue that can be spent on things that improve society.

I suppose that everyone, rich and poor, aspires to make more money and to become part of the 1%, even though this logic is faulty. Thank goodness some of our leaders recognize that you can’t tax the rich at 90% and have a true capitalistic society. Many 99%ers want capitalism to thrive. They understand that the richest people subsidize the poor and middle classes in the country. Trickle down economics is a reality.

Are our tax dollars being spent wisely by our legislators? Should we spend almost $1 trillion each year to defend our country? These dollars are being used to protect our freedom, and worth every penny spent. Aircraft carriers and nuclear weapons are expensive items.

Why does the government try to keep taxes low on corporations? The answer is simple, corporations hire millions of Americans and pay them good wages.

But what about welfare and financial aid? America has an obligation to care for the needy. No one really disagrees with this principle. What roils people is that welfare always increases and never subsides. Aid that was needed years ago, but it’s no longer required, should end. And why shouldn’t every able-bodied person have a job, rather than a monthly check that enables them to stay home? There should be a quid pro quo for securing aid.

Parent involvement in schools is being attacked in recent months. There has always been a conflict between teachers and student parents about the level of involvement of the latter. Some parents want to have a say about what novels are read by students and, generally, the curricula designed by school administrators. Some teachers want to press students on certain theories about controversial issues too early or too often. For instance, the legitimacy of gay marriage has been a hot topic as well as issues regarding evolution. These topics are fair game only when the students are old enough to digest the facts (not opinions), and with parental input.

In recent months during the pandemic, the conflict between teachers and parents came to a head. In-school instruction versus home teaching has been a hot topic. Most parents, even those who are concerned about the deadly virus, want their kids back in the classroom. They believe children learn more when the teaching occurs face-to-face, in person. Many teachers are concerned about the health risks of an in-person teaching. Should the federal government intervene? This would be better than allowing the teachers to run free rein over our children.

Another fire storm involves the southern border of our country. Radical elements really do believe that entering our country without proper authorization is not a crime. These people are dead wrong. There is a procedure that must take place for immigrants to enter the US and ultimately become citizens. Local governments have no right to unilaterally change these requirements.

The same elements are also betting that illegal immigrants will become citizens even though they have broken our laws. And if enough of these immigrants become citizens, they will impact the balance of liberals and conservatives and in the country. Really? Do radical elements think that conservatives are going to stand aside and allow millions of people who illegally crossed our borders to become citizens?

Actually, the answer is yes. Millions of illegals are already living in America, and if they follow our laws, they will likely receive citizenship. But the flow must stop, and conservative groups must do everything possible to stem the illegal flow of humanity onto our soil. If not, the rights of legitimate citizens will be denigrated.

As you can see, there are many areas where our government has usurped the power of the people. Our leaders must recognize that they are in power at our pleasure and only if we vote for them again in the next election. Unfortunately, because of opposition to term limits, too many of the people in Congress have remained in power to the detriment of all citizens. I believe a strong federal government is important to our country, but the power of the people should never be minimized.

Woke and Cancel Cultures Threaten Free Speech

Cancel culture definition: A modern form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles. [Author’s note: It’s a common weapon among woke anti-freedom of speech advocates.]

Have liberals created a new form of discrimination that is aligned with cancel culture? It is no longer possible for conservatives to speak freely on sensitive subjects in public places including schools, workplaces, in the media and even in the halls of Congress without being “cancelled.” Let’s explore the aggressive posture taken by Democrats in recent years.

Most recently, Dorian Abbott, a physicist and professor at the University of Chicago, was asked to make a speech during the John Carlson Lectures at MIT about “… new results in climate science to the general public.” A backlash by MIT students and alumni erupted. They called on MIT to cancel Abbot’s invitation because of his publicly stated opinions about student admissions at elite colleges. This is one instance of cancel culture at its worst. Abbott was “cancelled.”

Since when are conservative commentators banned from places of higher learning? Consider Berkeley in 2017, the original epicenter of free speech in the 60s, when liberal students burned down the town to prohibit a conservative TV personality from making a speech. Shame on them. It was another case of cancel culture.

Woke misbehavior started quite a few years ago.  In 2000, for instance, if you disclosed to a liberal that you were a George W. Bush supporter, you may have been verbally abused? Did Al Gore supporters call you an idiot because you voted for the second Bush? Were you lambasted every time you spoke up for Bush’s policies that happened to champion exceptionalism, capitalism, free speech, closed borders, quid pro quos relating to welfare, charter schools, and balance budgets?

I know Republicans who lost friends because they worked at financial institutions, bastions of good economic policies and many conservative perspectives. I know people who were ostracized at their children’s school because they donated “too much money” for scholarships. In the meantime, monetary gifts were subsidizing the critics’ children.

The situation is dire. Families have splintered because a member supports conservative candidates. It has become so difficult for parents and children to have political conversations in a civil manner. I hasten to point out that young liberals don’t believe free speech is the right of all Americans, only the right of liberals. Did they happen to learn this at school or at home, or both?

Our schools and colleges are overrun with teachers and professors that discourage students from having conservative perspectives. Even in grade school, liberal minded teachers forbid the discussion of issues that are contrary to their dogma, like gun ownership and abortion.

What is the problem with the woke culture? Do they really believe conservatives are stupid, uninformed, uneducated, misogynists and outright bigots? Keep in mind that since Franklin Delano Roosevelt there have been seven Democratic presidents and six Republican presidents. There is a large contingent of conservatives in our society, and they will be heard in the political arena.

It just so happens that there are also more and more moderate Republicans in the country that were infuriated by the actions and rhetoric of Donald Trump. They are proud Americans that are educated, well read, alumni of excellent colleges and grad schools, who pay their fair share of taxes and resent the sledgehammer politics of liberals.

For the most part moderates are supportive of important social issues such as a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage and gun proliferation. They despise the radical right that sponsored the hooligans that attacked the Capitol.

Moderate Republicans don’t want medals. But they do want our leaders and lawmakers to be civil with each other and to negotiate compromises on all important issues. They want fair taxation that is driven by well thought out entitlement policies that are not perpetual. Aid should be given when needed and stopped when Americans are back on their feet.

And finally, moderates will not except lies and exaggeration from our leaders. Our presidents and congresspeople should be truthful and transparent. If you consider all these things you probably won’t ban conservatives and Republicans from your homes and schools.

The last thing Americans need is more discrimination against any group.

Censorship Diminishes Freedom

I just read a story in the New York Times that said a number of book publishers are turning away manuscripts received from “conservative” authors, in particular Trump and anyone affiliated with the former president’s administration.

Some blowback is coming from employees of the publishers who believe that any writer who supports Trump or any of his policies should be treated like a criminal, unfit to write and be published.

What the hell is this country coming to? Are we going to have book bonfires in coming months? Is censorship the ultimate demise for any books that are contrary to liberal ideology? Is dissent forbidden if it is not liberal based? What about all the protest for freedom of speech in the 60s at Berkeley? Has all the blood, sweat and tears affiliated with those efforts faded away in history?

I have great problems with the censoring of books by publishers and anybody in a position to do so. First of all, I am perfectly capable of deciding which books would be detrimental to me personally. I would never censor a book for another adult. That should be up to him or her to decide. But to have employees working at publishing companies effectively censoring what they feel is inappropriate is beyond the pale.

Just because Trump and some of his followers believe the elections were unfair, does not justify censorship of their opinions. I would remind you that 70 million Americans voted for the president. Note: just so all of you know, if I never heard the name Trump mentioned again, I would be very happy. Yet, I would never suggest he be censored.

Liberals have taken over our country and respond harshly to anyone who disagrees with them. They hate Fox. They hate Republicans. They hate anyone who questions their ideology. They brand anyone who doesn’t endorse their proposals regarding women, minorities and proposed legislation misogynists, racists and un-American.

Book publishers are going down a treacherous path, one which will degrade all Americans and rip apart a freedom that is basic to our country. Allow others to express their themselves even if their ideas are objectionable to you personally. You will be better informed by doing so and you will be protecting a cornerstone of our republic.

One more point that should be noted is that schools, and in particular colleges, are taking it upon themselves to censor not only historical books but new books on subjects that some might find objectionable. The best colleges are those that allow freedom of thought that represent both sides of the aisle and both sides of social acceptance. I’m often flabbergasted when I hear college professors and their students protesting to ban books, veto open discussion in classrooms and not allowing certain speakers an opportunity to express their opinions on campus. Once again, I recall Berkeley because that institution worked very hard in the 60s to protect our right to express ourselves.

Indiana U. Protects Free Speech On Campus

Indiana University has taken a courageous stance to protect freedom of speech on its campus.

The IU provost, Lauren Robel, indicated that “[an Indiana professor’s] views were racist, sexist and homophobic . . . They were ‘vile and stupid’ . . . [They] were consistent with someone who lived in the 18th Century . . .’”

Robel then said, “The First Amendment prohibited the university from firing the professor, Eric Rasmusen, for expressing his views.”

What a reversal from Berkeley, which cratered when a right leaning commentator was not allowed to speak, and students violently protested his presence on campus.

And more recently The Daily Northwestern, the school newspaper at Northwestern University, apologized for covering a speech made by Jeff Sessions, the former Attorney General in the Trump administration. After a highly charged condemnation by activists, the paper promised not to report, take photos or ask students to comment on any events that might offend any students or specific groups at the institution.

Thank you Indiana for stepping up to protect free speech, even if the purveyors of some perspectives are abhorrent. And thank you for recognizing that censorship subverts the right of every American to speak his or her mind.

Left wing professors and activists overrun colleges these days. It’s disappointing that some teachers poison their lesson plans by only presenting one side of the most controversial issues. True scholars encourage civil discussion and debate of opposing sides of the most important issues facing America.

College students will find that after graduation they will encounter many people who have different opinions than they do. Society away from universities is much more diverse.

The ability of Americans to freely speak their minds is our nation’s greatest freedom and is the basis of most other freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Yet Another Attack On Freedom Of Speech

The Daily Northwestern, the student newspaper of Northwestern University, apologized to students for reporting on a speech made by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to a group of student Republicans. This act of contrition by the university media represents yet another direct assault on freedom of speech. It’s becoming more and more prevalent that opposing opinions to liberal perspectives are not tolerated on college campuses, places where freedom of speech has flourished historically.

Liberal activists were also unhappy with the manner in which The Daily covered the event. In fact they were apoplectic about Sessions expressing his opinions on campus at all, as his perspectives are not aligned with the protesters’ ideology. Many students were upset that they were contacted by The Daily reporters asking for comments on Session’s presentation after the fact, and that student photographers took pictures of dissenting students (a supposed invasion of their privacy).

The student newspaper has pronounced that it will no longer report on any events, or take photos of students if they, in some way, traumatize or threaten said students or specific groups at the school. In other words The Daily will only report on events and issues that are consistent with liberal, and radical, dogma. The students are to be protected from the opposition to these political and moral perspectives.

This affair is reminiscent of a recent student revolt that occurred at Berkeley just a short time ago. Activists reacted to a proposed speech by a conservative commentator. Property was destroyed and violence was encouraged to emphasize liberal ideology. This activity, protesting and repressing all opposing opinions, is becoming more commonplace every day. It seems as if liberals believe free speech should only be protected for left wing interests.

Four year college students live a charmed life in an ivory tower. It should be a time to experiment with new ideas and test the validity of all perspectives pertaining to the most controversial issues of the day. Why are colleges, professors, activists, and left-wing radicals demanding censorship of ideas? Why is free speech being denied to anyone on campus? Why would students resort to violence to inhibit the most basic right of an American? You would think that schools of higher learning would want to present all sides of important issues. But liberal activists don’t see it that way.

Northwestern is the home of the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. Why would professors in this department condone the censorship of anything? Are they really concerned about student feelings if a Fox commentator makes a speech about the virtues of Trump’s policies? What’s going to happen when students graduate and read about the horrors occurring in the world every day in the most prestigious newspapers? Will graduating students weep in response to genocide, terrorism, wars and the like?

Students should be taught to recognize that when the most hideous among us are silenced, the right of free speech is diminished for all Americans. You can’t have it both ways. Neither liberals nor conservatives own free speech. Students are cheating themselves by not listening to the other side of every difficult issue. You will never be an effective advocate if you don’t appreciate what the opposition is thinking about.