It’s a refreshing refutation of the notion that the aesthetic quality of the Muslim troll film is at all relevant.
Saletan doesn’t really fight back very hard.
I mean, he offers up a few tired equivocations. Poor Salman Rushdie is invoked. But by and large, he has very little to say, and quits the field post-haste. Which I find most revealing.
I suspect that progs don’t actually believe this “abuse of free speech” very strongly. They’ll assert it, but as a formula which absolves them from the need to speak further. They don’t actually want Terry Jones, or whoever, prosecuted. They just want to be out of the way of the possibility of having to defend some redneck Jesus freak who probably believes that Cain and Abel fought on the backs of dinosaurs. Because even if he has rights, he is a stupid white man, and we will not defend his rights.
In other words, what most died-in-the-wool, Portlandia-aspring progs already think. Which is why I will quote only the last paragraph (that you may Read The Whole Thing):
The Little Blue Book is being marketed as an “Indispensable Handbook for Democrats” to help them communicate their values more clearly. But I think that the marketing is itself a ploy. The Little Blue Book was not written to help liberals communicate; instead, it was designed as a feel-good mantra, a comforting rectangular teddy bear reassuring the left-wing audience that they are good people. The book’s real underlying message is this: We liberals are morally superior to our nasty and small-minded opponents; if everyone could just see what was in our hearts, we’d be more popular than those mean old conservatives.
That is the conceptual frame Lakoff embeds in The Little Blue Book: We’re better than you. Progressives can position it carefully on their coffee tables and feel righteous.
In the Civil Rights Era, people on either side of the debate understood “access” to refer to being able to enter a place and do business there according to one’s ability. Blacks having “access” to the same public amenities — drinking fountains, bathrooms, luncheon counters, seats on buses, voting booths — as whites did meant that whites would no longer physically prevent their entrance.
In that debate, the progressives were right and the conservatives were wrong. This gradually became so obvious that the debate ended and access was granted — which is to say, attacks on access were prevented — with bipartisan support in both houses of congress.
Recreating that purity and that victory has become something of an obsession to the Left. If either side of a debate carries costs and benefits which must be balanced, then compromise is necessary and just. But if one side is monstrously denying something that a struggling person needs, then we are right and pure, they are wrong and corrupt, and we must bring them down. QED.
They constantly attempt to mislead people with rhetoric designed to imply that the question here is about outlawing contraception.
Of course it’s not. You could find only one voter in ten willing to even consider such a proposition.
The question is whether third-parties will be dragooned by yet another government law to cover yet another personal expense.
This is what they call “access” — their ability to compel you to pay for their wants.
When I was 4, I wanted an AT-AT Walker. Lacking the funds for such a purchase, I demanded that my mother buy me one. She refused, and a vivid discussion on the basis of economic decisions ensued. If only it had occurred to me to define my desire for an AT-AT Walker in Civil Rights terms, my childhood would have been vastly enhanced.
The fact that two days ago I sold my Imperial Shuttle, Millenium, Falcon, Ewok Village, and Tie Interceptor for $3 at a yard sale means NOTHING about my NEED for an AT-AT then. My access was denied, and the fascists in the Reagan Justice Department ignored my plight. At least, so goes the logic if we accept the progressive discourse on “access” and “‘freedom.”
Progressives are fundamentally uninterested in freedom, defined as one’s ability to make choices based on your individual needs and means. This “freedom” they continually compare against the reality that not everyone can afford an AT-AT in their garage. Their idea of freedom involves freedom not only from coercion but from reality itself.
The balance in one’s checkbook is a stark reality. You cannot persuade the bank that you have more money than you have, nor that they should grant you infinite credit to make up the difference between your means and your aspirations. What Progressives in general and Sandra Fluke in particular insist upon is that such infinite credit is sine qua non of a just society. And to get around the manifest absurdity, they misappropriate terms like “access”.
What Sandra Fluke wants is for others to pay for her choices. She may claim that to be a right in any way she chooses, but this right, like the AT-AT, exists mostly in the imagination of children and those who know how to exploit them.
These are the same points I brought up earlier, when explaining that I did not care about Limbaugh’s outburst. But as Frum points out, Letterman did apologize for what he said about Willow Palin, as did Ed Schultz when he called Laura Ingraham a slut. And he concedes that Bill Maher did not apologize, but doubled down.
So far, so good. If Frum had stopped there, he would have the better of the argument, if the argument was about why Rush should apologize (which he has done, and which I seemed to bemoan in the comments of my earlier thread, having forgotten that Letterman and Schultz did apologize). The fact that Maher refused an apology does not give Limbaugh a pass, merely underline Maher’s degeneracy.
But Frum does not stop there. He tries to fashion out of straw and manure some manner of contention that Limbaugh’s act was different, a “new low”. He tries to assert that Schultz and Letterman and Maher are unimportant, whereas Limbaugh is the Right. All of which makes his preceding fairness a weak, old rhetorical trick aimed at smearing everyone on the Right with Limbaugh’s words, while simultaneously absolving the Left of everything Bill Maher says.
I haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh in years, because I work for a living, and have better things to do ‘twixt one and three than be told things I already agree with. When I was a young fellow, Limbaugh’s mix of iconoclasm and populism set me free to say things already in my head. I don’t need that anymore. He’s not the entirety of the Right. He wasn’t even the entire Right in 1994, at what was perhaps the height of his influence. He’s even less so today.
It would be better if we could just police our own, and trust that the other side would police theirs. To the extent that I implied that Letterman et al. got off scot-free for their calumnies, I was in error with my earlier post. To the extent that Frum pretends that one side’s calumnies don’t matter, he remains in error, and complicit in the error of others.
Basically, its the 2010 Delaware Senate election all over again, wherein Ace inveighed for Rockefeller-ite Mike Castle rather than crypto-wiccan and professional campaigner Christine O’Donnell. The comment threads during that period brimmed with sightings of RINO horns and proclamations of doom.
And why? Because someone somewhere has dubbed Romney “electable,” that mystical invocation powerful enough to propel John Kerry to the 2004 Democrat nomination. How did that work out again?
In any case, aside from the Daily Doom™, there’s no point in reading Ace for politics until the general election. He’s not going be satisfied until all the Not-Mitts are dead and buried, or every social conservative is driven from his site, whichever happens first.
Pity the man. He was so effective in underlining how much Romney sucked, his audience believed him.
To read what I have thought about these primaries, click here.