Empower Wisconsin | June 24, 2020.
By T. Elliot Gaiser, The Federalist
A decade ago, I got a hard lesson in practical freedom. My summer boss — then and now a famous media personality — told me and the other interns that if we ever disagreed with him on any subject, he would debate us then and there, proof of his commitment to freedom of thought and speech.
I took him on one day about a controversy in the news. He gave me the floor, then respectfully mopped it with me. Today, he holds the opposite position on that issue, loudly taking up my old position in recent months. Perhaps someone more persuasive came along. The practical freedom we had to reason together worked.
As turmoil has swept our streets and Facebook feeds, however, we’ve lost sight of the importance of our free speech culture: Human beings are both fallible and redeemable, so words can change minds and reorient hearts.
But following horrific images of callous death mingled with riots, too many Americans are learning the wrong lesson about how we need to respond: Say the wrong thing, or fail to say the right thing, and you might find yourself canceled, life ruined, with no hope of redemption from your 15 minutes of shame. While the formal First Amendment remains, the practical freedom to speak slips away.
Black Lives Matter goes after Tucker Carlson
As Tucker Carlson reported last week, 62 percent of likely voters have a favorable view of Black Lives Matter, an organization named after an incontrovertible fact that has been too often denied by the law.
I suspect there are many reasons for such significant public support, chiefly that the ends of law and order do not justify the means of police brutality, especially considering it was not so long ago that this country explicitly subordinated blacks under the law. That utilitarian bargain of brutality for order, which has persisted in many American cities for generations, ignores the nature of beings created in God’s image — persons deserving equal protection, due process, and the freedom to speak and be heard.
Still, too many in the name of Black Lives Matter have neglected these universal principles, embracing the same utilitarian calculus they purport to resist.
If you do not publicly support their specific platform, without reservation, you risk being made into an example.
If you are in the path of a real or digital mob, your destruction may become a means to the ends of this cause. Many activists will say, “We tried speaking, we tried kneeling, and nothing changed.” So now a phalanx of activists and HR departments resort to policing speech while criticizing the police.
Carlson rightly pointed this out last Monday night. In a monologue that drew more than 4 million viewers, he truthfully reported that many people who respectfully disagreed with Black Lives Matter have been summarily cast out of their jobs, hit with a digital scarlet letter staining their Google results forever.
But it got meta, fast: Carlson’s critique of Black Lives Matter for silencing anyone who critiqued it was met with activists trying to silence him by threatening his advertisers. Those who disagree with Carlson are doing a wonderful job proving him right.
Read more at The Federalist.