Thursday, August 6, 2015

Je suis le Donald!! Trump has become a symbol of the new threat to free speech in the United States and the West

Donald Trump

Excerpt from a column by Mike Hume:

  • As a veteran of the U.K. left, I may not agree with what the Republican presidential hopeful says about Mexican migrants, Sen. John McCain or much else. I may think the one thing stupider than all that was his lawyer’s ignorant opinion on spousal rape.
  • As a diehard supporter of unfettered free speech, however, I believe we have to defend his right to be offensive.
  • Trump, the ubiquitous “billionaire buffoon,” may seem an unlikely victim of censorship. Nobody is prohibiting him from speaking or cutting off his microphone; his audiences are growing and he’s hogging the airwaves.
  • Yet to me, he has become a symbol of the new threat to free speech in the United States and the West — not jackbooted political censorship, but a more common and insidious threat from a creeping culture of conformism whose slogan is “You can’t say that!”
  • Trump’s thought crime has been to step outside of the increasingly narrow terms of mainstream political debate and say things which would not be deemed palatable at a dinner party — or, in this case, in a tame political campaign. The main response has been not to counter Trump’s arguments (such as they are), but to pile on the condemnations and effectively declare that his rhetoric is out of bounds.

And Hume summarizes:

  • The First Amendment has not, for example, prevented the spread of restrictive speech codes across U.S. college campuses. We might recall the words of judge Learned Hand at a wartime rally for liberty in New York’s Central Park, who warned against investing “false hopes” in the law: “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.”
  • From the heart, let’s insist that free speech is for fools, fanatics and the other fellow too. Like all true liberties, it is indivisible and universal. We defend it for all or not at all. Even for dirty Larry, and the Donald.

Complete column HERE 

 Hume is author of “Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?”