The belief that ideas themselves are dangerous is a theme in American politics which has been growing in importance for some time. It is a cherished ideal of the American Left. It is also a belief all reasonable people should find very scary.
For the last seven and a half years the Left has pushed a narrative of angry Republicans who oppose President Barack Obama and have been saying and writing “dangerous” things (“hate speech”) and espousing “dangerous” political ideas. Implied in the narrative is the notion that if Hillary Clinton does not win the next election we will instead have a Republican president who is a racists, sexist, homophobe who wants the homeless and poor people in general to suffer while dying a slow death.
The Thought Police
The concept that ideas can be dangerous is actually very scary. One example are “hate crimes.” If a person murders someone for money they receive a certain amount of jail time. In some states, someone who is convicted of the exact same murder will receive many additional years of prison if they were motivated to commit the crime by hatred of a particular group of people. This means that individuals are being kept behind bars for what goes on inside their heads. The thought police have arrived and are prosecuting people for thought crimes.
The insanity of thought crimes can be easily seen in the example of a case that worked its way through the justice system not long ago. A man was arrested for a series of muggings of gay men. He admitted that he was singling out homosexuals and was charged with hate crimes. However, he said he only robbed gays because he assumed there was less chance they would fight back. Should he have been charged with a hate crime even though he did not act out of a hatred of homosexuals?
Attacks on Free Speech
The notion that ideas can be dangerous also plays out in the Left’s attacks against free speech. The Left justifies speech codes that restrict free speech on university campuses because of this notion. The same can be said for efforts that have been made to bar Conservative speakers from addressing college students and shouting down those that have made it on campus and tried to speak.
In the last several months Leftist have made a concerted effort to, in their own words, “shut down” Donald trump’s campaign events. They wish to deny Trump the right to speak and his audience the chance to hear him. The protestors argue that it is dangerous to allow Trump to speak and his audience to listen.
Another manifestation of this twisted logic is the Left’s belief that people who dare to do things such as speak out in opposition to gay marriage should not just be fired from their jobs but be blacklisted and never be able to work again. Many examples of people which this has happen to could be cited.
I wish I could be optimistic and suggest that one day the American Left will realize that believing Conservative beliefs are dangerous is just as bad as the McCarthyism and blacklists of the 1950s. I would be lying if I wrote this. One day the question may be asked: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a Conservative.”
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