Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A commenter writing from Britain yesterday says the following:
Anyone watching the BBC coverage would think violent tea party rhetoric and websites supported by Sarah Palin were responsible for this man's murderous rampage, despite the fact he was described by one of his classmates on a college course as "a left wing pothead."I haven't exactly been glued to my television set, but I'd hardly be surprised to find news coverage here to be similarly poor, especially given how quickly the Democrats are racing to establish greater government control of guns (as noted yesterday) and, now, of the airwaves:
The shooting is cause for the country to rethink parameters on free speech, [Jim] Clyburn [D-SC] said from his office, just blocks from the South Carolina Statehouse. He wants standards put in place to guarantee balanced media coverage with a reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine, in addition to calling on elected officials and media pundits to use "better judgment."[bold and link added]If Clyburn truly values individual freedom, he should follow his own advice about using "better judgment." But then, given his haste to equate political positions he does not agree with to incitement, I have a mild hunch that individual freedom isn't part of his agenda. (I set aside for the sake of argument the matters of whether the gunman was a "right-winger" or even sane when he acted.)
Clyburn used as an example a comment made by Sharron Angle, an unsuccessful U.S. senatorial candidate in Nevada, who said the frustrated public may consider turning to "Second Amendment remedies" for political disputes unless Congress changed course.This is ridiculous: Angle was plainly not seriously proposing an armed revolt, and "What would an insane or unreasonable person use as an excuse to commit murder?" is not a standard for weighing whether someone advocates the same.
Clyburn said the man accused of shooting Giffords did just that.
Thanks to the fact that the government currently respects our right to debate political ideas, America is nowhere near the point that only armed revolt could restore freedom (or should be even seriously considered). It is noteworthy that Clyburn's proposal to restrict freedom of speech would push us closer to just such a point.