Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 18, 2007 / 30 Nissan, 5767

A post-Imus Republic Of Virtue

By Tony Blankley


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Imus affair was not about Don Imus; it was — and more importantly, is — about the motives of those who brought him down. And we should be familiar with those motives, because they recur throughout history. They were well articulated in a once famous speech:


"Since virtue (good citizenship) and equality are the soul of the republic it follows that the first rule of your political conduct must be to relate all of your measures to the maintenance of equality and to the development of virtue.


" What is our goal? The enforcement of the constitution for the benefit of the people. Who will our enemies be? The vicious and the rich. What means will they employ? Slander and hypocrisy The people must therefore be enlightened. But what are the obstacles to the enlightenment of the people? Mercenary writers who daily mislead them with impudent falsehoods. What conclusions may be drawn from this? These writers must be proscribed as the most dangerous enemies of the people. Right-minded literature must be scattered about in profusion.


" If the driving force of popular government in peacetime is virtue, that of popular government during a revolution is both virtue and terror: virtue, without terror is destructive; terror without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice that is prompt, severe, and inflexible; it is thus an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a consequence of the general principle of democracy applied to the most pressing needs of the patrie."


These are excerpts from the speech "Republic of Virtue," by Maximilien Robespierre in 1794, which justified and accelerated the Reign of Terror into its culmination, "La Grande Terreur" (The Great Terror) — the blood bath from which the French Revolution never fully recovered.


Do I exaggerate? Of course. Last week, the mob didn't cut off Imus's head, merely his microphone. But it is by studying repression of ideas in its extreme, unambiguous form that we may understand clearly its earlier, partly obscured symptoms and motives.


For me, the repressive mentality was brought home last week while participating in a National Public Radio interview on the Imus affair. A "respected" liberal journalist and I were exchanging views when she said (to closely paraphrase): As long as we got Imus off the air, I don't much care how we did it.


In other words, the ends justify the means. If Imus's words are destructive, the people shouldn't hear them. Just shut him up any way you can. Of course, the acceptance of the proposition that "bad" words or ideas should be suppressed is itself, a priori, a rejection of the principle of free speech.


But note, we need to distinguish between constitutional free speech and a culture conducive to free speech. Neither Imus, nor any of us, have a right to be published or broadcast. Constitutionally, we only have a right to stand on a street corner or otherwise self-publish our ideas and words.


But a culture that cheers on collective efforts at suppression of heresy, dissent or other unpopular words is every bit as chilling as one merely enforced by law. And there is usually a political agenda (often hidden) behind such public exhortations to suppression: Crassly silence one's political opponent in the name of public virtue. Or, as in the case of Imus, use his suppression as a chilling threat to others — who are one's true political enemies.


Imus used a nasty phrase, reasonably believed by many to have been hateful. His transgression was merely a convenient moment to launch an intimidating suppression campaign against other "hate speech."


But we all know that "hate speech" is in the ear of the listener. In Europe, citizens can be — and have been — criminally prosecuted for calling elements of Islam violence-prone. The great crusading journalist Camille Paglia was forced to live out her last cancer-ridden days in exile to avoid paying the penal price for her honest (and accurate) expressions on that topic.


Dissent is often filled with hate — at objects well worthy of such hatred. But whether the hatred is justified or not, once we have accepted the proposition that hateful speech should not be free, we have lost the battle. The right to speak offensively is at the heart of freedom of expression. One needs no rights to say that puppies are cute, or that it's nice to be nice.


And it is worth noting who has been defending Imus's rights. Although he is a liberal and gave his microphone over to mostly liberal journalists, it was conservatives (and out of the mainstream lefties like Rosie O'Donnell and Bill Maher) who defended his right. Because we are the ones who value and need both a law and culture of free expression.


The liberal journalists were mostly hiding under their desks last week, because their ability to be published and broadcast is dependent, not on freedom of expression, but on friends in high media places (the executive suites of CBS. NBC, ABC, NY Times, Newsweek, Time, etc.)


If one has friends in the palace, one doesn't need justice — but one must be careful not to displease one's friends. It is the common people, the outcasts who need justice.


While the executives in the liberal media elite no more represent the views of Americans than Louis XVI represented the sentiments of the French people, they do represent current media power — and they are weak and easily scared by activists such as Sharpton and others who brandish the charge of "hate speech" at commentators who don't support their political agenda.


Imus may be an imperfect martyr, but the malign forces that brought him down must be opposed ferociously.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Archives


© 2007, Creators Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles