The following is a guest post submitted at my invitation by commenter David Dickinson. I believe we both had some degree of expectation that his post would express an “opposing view” to what one of our regular authors might have said about the “Duck Dynasty” drama, had we said anything about it. -Epluribusunum
“I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility….This is not the mark of a true intellectual life.” So said Camille Paglia, professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, social critic, and lesbian activist.
“utterly fascist and utterly Stalinist” is another way she put it.
She was, of course, referring to the treatment “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson has received for expressing biblical views in his now infamous GQ interview.
And she is completely correct.
Many fascinating events have transpired since Phil Robertson’s words ignited a maelstrom of events. There was, or course, the knee-jerk condemnation from the Left followed by the counter-condemnation from the Right. Par for the course. More interesting was Cracker Barrel removing Duck Dynasty gear, only to put it back on the shelves a few days later after observing the strength of the backlash and, I’m sure, noting that Wal-Mart was quickly selling out of Duck Dynasty merchandise. Conservative politicians praised Phil Robertson. It seemed like a repeat of Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy’s remarks supporting traditional marriage.
But this time it is different. This time the liberal machine is starting to crack.
Phil Robertson supporters came out quickly and they came out strong and they – much to peoples’ surprise – came from both sides of the aisle.
It seems that maybe, just maybe, the libertarian wing of the Left has finally had enough. Perhaps it was the NSA spying on our own citizens, perhaps it was the Obamacare falsehoods filtering through to the reality of higher premiums and policy cancellations, perhaps having the IRS target “undesirable” political groups was too Nixonian, or maybe it is a bit of all of the above that has finally pushed these folks to speak out.
There are still many old-school liberals who recall fighting for equal rights for everyone. And by “everyone” they meant everyone, whether they agreed with them or not. These liberals fully embrace Voltaire’s famous quote, “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” They fully embrace the 1st Amendment of the Constitution and put its free speech clause to good use. These classical liberals have been pushed aside by political players whose main pursuit is power for the sake of power and doling out favors (and money) to political friends. Finally, these classical liberals have had enough of left-wing hard-liners who belie the liberal ethos purely for political gain.
Whether you agree with Phil Robertson isn’t the issue. Whether you believe that Phil Robertson has a right to express his views without fear of reprisal is.
The coercion of citizens to suppress their right to free speech must stop. Let the battle for hearts and minds be waged with the intellectual weapon of choice: words.