Free Speech and Power


The recent free speech wins in the Supreme Court and the Left’s meltdown over the retirement of Justice Kennedy set me to thinking about the collision between the Left’s traditional support for free speech and the Left’s use of their political power to suppress speech. As usual, others have been pondering what I’ve been pondering, and they’ve beaten me to the keyboard with their thoughts.

Ron Coleman has a post over at Likelihood of Confusion™ dealing with the free speech, trademarks, and “weaponized” speech. (The Slants were the band Coleman represented before the Supreme Court in the Tam trademark case.)

A sad day. How did we get past this mentality — the “weaponized” language comes from Justice Kagan’s dissent in the recent Janus decision — to get the result in Matal v. Tam (in which all the justices, including Kagan, joined), when the progressive professoriate was already nipping at the heels of free speech?  “Vile trademarks will be registered!” they wailed. And they were right… kind of.

I told you that case was about more than trademarks, and certainly more than the Redskins’ trademarks.  So did Rich Lowry.  So did Martha Engel.  Everyone knew it — including those who did not support the outcome.

I don’t quite know how The Slants managed to set a high-water mark for free speech before “weaponization” set in. But thank God, and everyone else I’ve thanked already, we did. It could be a long time until we get back there again.

Read the whole thing, and then check out Victor Davis Hanson’s piece over at NRO.

Progressive pundits and the liberal media almost daily think up new ways of characterizing President Trump as a Nazi, fascist, tyrant, or buffoon. Celebrities openly fantasize about doing harm to Trump.

Yet the current progressive meltdown is about more than just political differences. The outrage is mostly about power — or rather, the utter and unexpected loss of it.

Furious over the sudden and unexpected loss of power, enraged progressives have so far done almost everything to lose even more of it.

And that paradox only leads to more furor.

Read all of that post as well.

Given the neo-Marxist ideas underpinning so much of what passed for thought on the Left these days, it’s not surprising that the search for Truth via free speech would be abandoned for an attempt to shore up losing arguments with raw power.

2 thoughts on “Free Speech and Power

  1. The fact that the ACLU is now reconsidering its full-throated support of the 1st Amendment tells you all you need to know – it isn’t about rights or what is right, but about power. And Progressive have lost much of their power, and it is making them lash out like a wounded animal.

  2. They’ve never cared about rights, just power. Even abortion and sodomy are progressive sacraments, subject to the whims of their government gods. As long as they’re useful, they stay. But when young women or gays start straying from the hive, it’s all up for grabs.

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