Sunday, November 20, 2016

Free Speech

I was talking with my oldest about the limits of free speech.  Some of you will recall a time when even Democrats would defend the right of the KKK to march in public, to express its views in public.  There was a particularly controversial march I recall as being in Skokie, Illinois.

Most college kids would say that there is a range, but we should not accept anyone outside that range.  My point was this: how can you engage in dialogue, and help evolve, people with whom you refuse to speak, and whose opinions you systematically denigrate and shut out of the public conversation?

Let us say someone IS a KKK member.  They have perhaps 5,000 members in this country.  What benefit accrues to the world, to society, to decency, when you shout them down and tell them they can't talk, that their opinions are completely wrong, that they are evil and should die?

Do you change their minds?  No, in most cases, they will cling to them more tightly.  No conversation happened.  No meeting of the minds, no baring of the souls.

The intent of the Left, of course, is to give the shouting-down the power of law, such that non-conformists are arrested and hauled away to someplace they can't talk any more.  This breeds fear, of course, which is their intent, but what it does not breed is social integration, openness, spontaneity, or the social complexity which alone enables GENUINE social evolution.  What it is, of course, is a retrogression to the Salem Witch Trials, or the Spanish Inquisition, or to any other social form which brooked no difference, and which punished it with death.

Genuine emotional intelligence WELCOMES the expression even of hateful views.  People can be influenced.  It may take time.  It may take generations, but influence is the only way in which REAL change happens in a world which is not a shitty disaster filled with people foaming at the mouth and a terrified populace living in the "dark" world the Left so easily projected onto Trump.

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