Mike – We’ve been having the exact same argument for about two years in here. You come from the perspective, I’m now quite certain, which believes there’s a great deal of heft and meaning to such phrases as “I may disagree with what you have to say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” I come from the perspective which says such statements are usually diversionary treacle, intended to distract from the substance of the issues at hand. When I hear Wes Clark, for example, brush off questions about Michael Moore by saying “I support Mr. Moore’s right to dissent” or some such, I think he’s being a monumental wuss and, frankly, a coward. Who cares if he supports his right to dissent, that’s not the issue. If Clark had the integrity to say what he thinks about Moore’s comments, he would say it. Instead he falls back on a tired cliché to dodge the question.
Similarly your “Mosaic” stuff takes the condescending view that there’s something quaint or charming about even the most vile speech because of its contribution to “diversity.” Fine, but really: So what? All it says to me is that when push comes to shove those who fetishize extreme speech will make for unreliable allies in the fight against the ideas that speech communicates. It’s almost like you subscribe to a radical chic that is charmed by the fellow you meet at a cocktail party who would — if given the power — put you in a reeducation camp. Indeed, this whole “speech should be suppressed” thing you and your reader raise (again) is really a strawman. Who is talking about “suppressing” speech? Where did that come from? Not from me. Not from your original post about the Brian Lamb book etc. No, you brought it up again, almost reflexively as if any criticism of the sort of un-intellectual diversity you celebrate necessarily implies the organized suppression of dissident speech. I’m sorry, but that’s your hobgoblin, not my threat, real or implied. I am for shunning, shaming and mocking voices like Moore’s, not for suppressing them with the force of law. And if that drives those voices from public life, Wahoo! Mission accomplished. That to me is what the marketplace of ideas is all about. But if that strikes you as suppression, then I guess I am for suppression.
There endeth my lesson. Amen back at ya.