The Mind-Reading Left

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Victor Davis Hanson looks at several recent examples of celebrities who got into trouble with the leftist media for "hate speech" -- as well as a few who got off scott free for doing essentially the same thing (or worse). Hanson rightly concludes that what is really being penalized isn't speech, but thought. But then he makes the following additional observation:

Poor Paula Deen. She may protest accusations of racism by noting that she supported Barack Obama's presidential campaigns. But the media instead fixates on her deep Southern accent and demeanor, which supposedly prove her speech was racist in a way that left-wing and cool Jamie Foxx purportedly could never be.

We cannot forgive conservative Mel Gibson for his despicable, drunken anti-Semitic rants. But it appears we can pardon liberal Alec Baldwin for his vicious, homophobic outbursts. The former smears are judged by the thought police to be typical, but the latter slurs are surely aberrant.

The crime is not hate speech, but hate thought -- a state of mind that apparently only self-appointed liberal referees can sort out.
It makes sense on a psychological level that the kind of personality that imagines it knows better what is good for you than you do would "know" better than you do what you actually think. It also makes sense that someone accustomed to yanking data out of context (or adding one's own random emotional associations to it) when it suits him would realize on some level that he doesn't know it all. Being able to so easily wield the club of "hate speech" serves several purposes to such a mentality, but first and foremost it is to avoid exposure of what he is to others and, most of all, himself.

It is too bad for those of us who do not need such mollycoddling that there are real-life consequences to innocent victims for it, be they unjustly accused of bigotry or unjustly victimized by it. We do not serve the cause of liberty (or, therefore, ourselves) by pretending that certain words, however repulsive, should be illegal or that they, alone, apart from any and all context, damn the one who utters them for all eternity.

-- CAV


Vigilis said...

Gus, whatever the cause of the cultural hypocrasy VDH skillfully notes, the underlying seeds seem to date from the late-fifties to early sixties and flourished (in print) during Bill Clinton's administration, according to Googl's Ngram:

My guess is that this was also a time of widespread adoption of such biases by the press and academia.

Any thoughts (as if I really doubted)?

Gus Van Horn said...

Interesting tool that Ngram is. Hadn't heard of it until now...

Yes. Lots of these terms came into widepread use as the "counter"culture became dominant during the 1960s.

Ayn Rand had some interesting thoughts on the roots of this "counterculture", which she elaborates on at some length in Return of the Primitive and other places. Very briefly, she thought that the work of Immanuel Kant and other philosophers (who had little serious opposition) exerted more and more influence over intellectuals and then the popular culture over time, first coming to full bloom at that time.