I’m going to answer Jamie Goodwin’s comment as a new post, because I have an important point to make. Yes, it’s true that there’s way too much toeing of the party line, and both sides think little of the logical abilities of the other- I, for example, am fond of the Churchill quote “If you’re not a liberal at twenty you have no heart; if you’re not a conservative at forty you have no brain”. But the left has taken this to a new level that the right is ideologically incapable of following- a dangerous and undemocratic level.
Their argument is that since there is no rational opposition to their views, then any opposition must be based on something else- hatred. This goes way beyond the “Hatred is not a family value” bumper sticker that serves as the access pass to UU parking lots. Colleges all over the country are defining conservative opinions as “hate speech”- which allows them to suppress those views without shame and with impunity; the first amendment does not apply to hate speech. If, for example, you publicly espouse anti-affirmative action views, you have committed a racist act- since there is no rational argument against a liberal position. There may be hearings to decide whether you can stay, and you will undoubtedly have to take sensitivity classes.
So there will be some fodder for the AM radio, and some lawsuits by some conservative kids- so what? Let’s suppose you were one of those kids- flash forward a few years. Say you get involved in a bar fight, or perhaps an apres traffic accident dust-up. You’re in front of the judge when the DA suddenly says “Your honor, the other man is gay- and this man has a history of hate speech. This isn’t misdemeanor public nuisance; this is a felony hate crime!” It can’t happen here? The President can’t throw citizens into concentration camps because of the color of their skin, either- and yet that happened in 1942. It would take only a little change in the law- perhaps just a court decision- to make “hate speech” itself a hate crime. The more I hear Democratic politicians take up the view that there is no rational opposition to certain positions, and that such opposition is “out of the mainstream”, the less sure I am that free speech will be protected in the future.
Nor can we certain the Supreme court will defend it. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law is a clear violation of “Congress shall make no law”, and the Court upheld that. The (to me) inexplicable eminent domain decision showed that the Supreme Court is no longer the champion of the individual citizen. And there’s always the capricious nature of courts in general- my father used to say that not even God himself knew what would happen once court was in session.
Perhaps I am being chicken little- but I get a little chill whenever I hear someone deny another’s inherent dignity and worth because of a differing political view.