Liberal theologian William Ellery Channing once observed, “The cry has been that when war is declared, all opposition should be hushed. A sentiment more unworthy of a free country could hardly be propagated.”
War has indeed been declared. Channing’s contemporary liberal counterparts have declared a war for our culture. But while Channing presumably held to the oft-bandied supposition that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” today’s secular-progressive has no choice but to endeavor that “all opposition should be hushed.”
Liberals recognize that when arguing on the merits, they cannot prevail. Not only are their morally relative, redistributionist philosophies untenable and utopian, but they read the same polls demonstrating that reasonable people reject their ideas outright. In fact, Americans identify as conservative over liberal by a two-to-one margin. Even those who call themselves “moderate” lean conservative.
It makes sense. The “progressive” movement wars against natural law, pushes perpetually failed secular-socialist policies and places — above constitutionally safeguarded individual liberty — thickheaded tenets of postmodern political correctness. Liberal elites demand tolerance for all things perverse and find intolerable all things righteous.
And so, the final, desperate act of the left-wing, lemon-hocking charlatan is to marginalize, smear and ultimately shut down the competition. As a result, liberals obfuscate, propagandize and strive to silence all dissent. They no longer even try to hide it.
The evidence of this calculated assault on free speech is overwhelming, but the most recent and high-profile examples include carefully orchestrated campaigns by three well-funded, interconnected, George Soros-linked organizations: Media Matters for America (MMFA); the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC); and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
After years of trying to censor the conservative voice of Rush Limbaugh, for instance, the George Soros-funded Media Matters recently pulled out all the stops to get him booted from the airwaves.
The pretext was Limbaugh’s unfortunate word choice in describing Georgetown “reproductive justice” radical Sandra Fluke’s attempt to compel the Jesuit university to violate its own Catholic doctrine. Democrats held a mock hearing in the Capitol building wherein Fluke demanded that Georgetown underwrite her admitted fornication practices and fork out free birth control. Limbaugh said this made her sound like a “sl*t” and a “prostitute.”
The hard-left Media Matters pounced, rolling out a pre-packaged campaign against Limbaugh. It has targeted radio stations with ads and continues a floundering crusade to get Limbaugh’s radio sponsors to drop him. Ironically, this has resulted in a revenue increase for Limbaugh, and his already millions-strong listening audience has grown significantly.
Another example of this Orwellian censorship crusade involves the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, an outfit that, until recent years, was viewed as a relatively credible civil rights organization. Unfortunately, the SPLC has now cashed in most of its remaining political capital, taking the same cynical path as its fellow travelers over at Media Matters. The SPLC too has become little more than a mouthpiece for left-wing extremism.
In a “too cute by half” attempt to marginalize those who observe the traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic, or who embrace a constitutionalist view of government, the SPLC has moved from monitoring actual hate groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis, to slandering mainstream Christian and tea party organizations with that very same “SPLC-certified hate group” label. Indeed, in its promotional materials and on its website, the SPLC indiscriminately lumps well-respected, highly influential Christian organizations like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association together with domestic terrorist and white supremacist groups.
But the SPLC’s transparent guilt-by-false-association ploy has largely backfired. Whereas the strategy was intended to discourage media outlets from engaging these Christian groups, the scheme has, instead, had the unintended effect of significantly marginalizing the SPLC. You can only cry wolf so many times before people ignore you.
Finally, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has picked up where the SPLC left off. This radical homosexual pressure group recently ramped up its tried-and-true practice of employing the very outrage it purports to oppose: defamation.
One of the left’s favorite pejoratives is “McCarthyism,” yet liberals employ it — as they mean it — masterfully. In an effort to strong-arm mainstream media outlets — already sympathetic to their cause — into blacklisting, once and for all, conservative and Christian professionals who oppose liberal sexual identity politics, GLAAD has issued an enemies list of 36 top pro-family leaders and luminaries (a list upon which yours truly is most honored and humbled to be included).
Engaging a scheme eerily reminiscent of the former Soviet Union, GLAAD’s euphemistically and paradoxically tagged “Commentator Accountability Project” enlists fellow progressives to dutifully report on a designated website anytime a pundit identified on the blacklist appears in media.
Because “hate is not an expert opinion,” GLAAD then takes the reports and browbeats the offending media outlet into disengaging the “inappropriate” conservative pundit.
As feeble justification for its censorship efforts, GLAAD provides a list of out-of-context, cherry-picked quotes — some accurate, some not — the organization finds offensive. This is paint-by-numbers, Saul Alinsky style: Rule 12, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”
In their manuscript, “After the Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the ’90s” (1989, Doubleday/Bantam), Harvard-educated marketing experts Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen meticulously laid out GLAAD’s approach — something they called “jamming.”
“Jamming” refers to the public smearing of Christians, traditionalists or anyone else who opposes left-wing sexual identity politics. “Jam homo-hatred [i.e., the Judeo-Christian sexual ethic] by linking it to Nazi horror,” wrote Kirk and Madsen (sound familiar, SPLC?). They go on to suggest that activists should try to associate all who oppose homosexuality with images of “Klansmen demanding that gays be slaughtered,” “hysterical backwoods preachers,” “menacing punks” and “Nazi concentration camps where homosexuals were tortured and gassed.’”
“In any campaign to win over the public, gays must be portrayed as victims in need of protection so that straights will be inclined by reflex to adopt the role of protector,” they wrote. “The purpose of victim imagery is to make straights feel very uncomfortable.”
George Orwell famously said: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” Today, conservative truth tellers are revolutionaries, fighting a guerilla war against an elitist establishment that blankets free speech with bunker-buster bombs.
Their motives are disgraceful, their tactics are cowardly and their actions are un-American. But these things rank high among the progressive “book of virtues.”
Paraphrasing Voltaire, British author Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
It’s little wonder that today’s progressives reject this noble sentiment. The success of the left-wing socio-political agenda relies upon deliberate suppression of the reality-based conservative alternative.
Such is life for the pamphleteer of bad ideas.
Spero columnist Matt Barber is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action (LCA on Facebook).