When reason fails to argue in your favor, there is always coercion. In The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech, liberal Democrat, Kirsten Powers, writes about the Left’s methods:
- The illiberal left yearns for a world sanitized of information that offends them. So why not just tune out the views they don’t like? They can’t. They are authoritarians at heart; they know what Americans should think and what information they should consume. So they launch petitions to have particular views censored from newspapers. They try to get columnists fired for expressing the wrong views. The illiberal left has maniacally maneuvered to delegitimize the Fox News Channel, unable to abide the existence of one news network critical of the president. High- ranking White House officials were the face of this effort, telling anyone who would listen that Fox News was “not really a news station” and not “legitimate.” These top government officials were joined in their illiberal campaign by the progressive nonprofit Media Matters for America (MMFA), which enjoys the support of some of the Democratic Party’s top donors. 12 At one point, Media Matters’ CEO David Brock told Politico that the organization’s ninety- person staff and $10 million annual budget was dedicated to the purpose of waging “guerrilla warfare and sabotage” 13 against Fox News. A leaked MMFA memo for liberal donors detailed a strategy to destroy Fox that included plans to assemble opposition research on Fox News employees.
- The illiberal left hunts down heretics, dissidents, and run- of- the mill dissenters to not only silence them, but make examples of them for the rest of society. Dissent from liberal orthodoxy is cast as racism, misogyny, bigotry, phobia… Those who oppose same- sex marriage don’t have rational, traditional views about marriage that deserve respect or debate; they are bigots and homophobes. When conservatives opposed the Affordable Care Act’s “contraception mandate” it wasn’t due to a differing philosophy about the role of government. No, they were waging a “War on Women.”
Why does Powers term them “illiberal?”
- The illiberal left, on the other hand, believes that people who express ideological, philosophical, or political views that don’t line up with their preferences should be completely silenced. Instead of using persuasion and rhetoric to make a positive case for their causes and views, they work to delegitimize the person making the argument through character assassination, demonization, and dehumanizing tactics. These are the self- appointed overlords— activists, university administrators, journalists, and politicians— who have determined what views are acceptable to express. So, shut up— or else.
Sadly, these Leftists aren’t a fringe element. According to Powers, they have great latitude to shape young, idealistic, but naive minds:
- On campuses there are speech codes, so- called “free speech zones,” and a host of “anti- discrimination” policies that discriminate against people who dissent from lefty groupthink. Christian and conservative groups have been denied official university status by student government organizations for holding views not in line with liberal dogma.
We might think that the universities and media have a vested interest in upholding the freedom of speech for all. However, myopically, they are convinced that, by depriving a voice to some, their voice will remain unbridled.
This is what the proletariat masses, who met Lenin upon his return to Russia in 1917 with enthusiastic cries of “Power to the people; Power to the Soviets” thought. They had been promised that they would be in control and not the Tzars. However, Lenin had other ideas:
- One of the first moves of Lenin’s government was to ban all opposition press. When asked about freedom of speech Lenin answered: “Freedom of speech?! We are not going to commit suicide.” (Russiapedia)
Powers is certainly not alone in her analysis:
- “This tainting and ostracism of sinners is the secret power of the leftist faith,” wrote David Horowitz in Progressives, Volume II of The Black Book of the American Left. “It is what keeps the faithful in line.” It is “part of a ritual that has become familiar over generations of the left, in which dissidents are excommunicated and consigned to various Siberias for their political deviance. It is a phenomenon normal to religious cults, where purity of heart is maintained through avoiding contact with the unclean.”
The reaction to Powers’ book by her fellow liberal leftists was predictable. Breitbart reports:
- Powers, a lifelong liberal and supporter of gay marriage, has suffered an avalanche of abuse from her side. She’s called a “bigot,” “homophobe,” “f-ckface,” and more. It is a classic Leftist tactic – take something the person did or said, lie about it, make it into a huge deal, and use it to discredit them. It is also a Leftist tradition to bury any independent thinkers on their side the moment they express disagreement.
How is it that the Left is able to get away with libel? There is little accountability from the media and the universities. Either these institutions are thug-sympathizers or they are afraid to stand up against the thugs. At best, they compromise their integrity and fail the public trust.
You can purchase the book here.