A Few Links On Free-Speech, Duck Dynasty & Gay Rights

Phil Robertson, of Duck Dynasty, may have beliefs with which you agree or disagree, but he’s managing to push a lot of buttons.

Addition:  As a reader asked before, are we talking about legal and constitutional definitions of speech and case-law, or some broader ones?

For my part, given where I live, I’m accustomed (numb, really) to the excesses of the PC crowd.  Some people really want to control public debate and silence opposition, which ought to be assurance enough they shouldn’t be controlling public debate nor telling the rest of us what we can say without serious push-back.  The discontents of the New Left, and more Left-of-Center movements promising liberation from oppression and ever more rights for all (conveniently granted by themselves, their leaders and their ideological commitments) can often drive such debates.

It’s worth noting that it’s not just social and religious conservatives, but often people more familiar with the turf, who are pushing-back against these particular groups:  classical and free-speech liberals, more non-communitarian and non-collectivist constitutional liberals, neo-conservatives, libertarians, and folks like Christopher Hitchens.

-Camille Paglia, Catholic-leaning child of the 60’s, argues that gays and lesbians might want to take pause before joining a mob which could eventually turn on them:

“I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility,” Paglia said. “This is not the mark of a true intellectual life

-Nick Gillespie, at Time magazine, makes a broader argument about celebrity, technology and instant feedback which levels authority.  We still want more speech, not less (libertarians tend to see both Right and Left as having authoritarian bases which threaten individual liberty):

‘Between the suspension by A&E of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson for anti-gay remarks in an interview with GQ, the firing of actor and MSNBC talk-show host Alec Baldwin for his own homophobic ranting, and the Food Network’s cutting ties with chef Paula Deen due to racially insensitive remarks that came to light during a lawsuit, it seems like it’s open season on celebrities.’

Here’s a quote I put up just last Sunday from Peter Berkowitz on Leo Strauss, which strikes me as quite reasonable.

“As Strauss understood it, the principle of liberal democracy in the natural freedom and equality of all human beings, and the bond of liberal society is a universal morality that links human beings regardless of religion. Liberalism understands religion to be a primary source of divisiveness in society, but it also regards liberty of religious worship to be a fundamental expression of the autonomy of the individual. To safeguard religion and to safeguard society from conflicts over religion, liberalism pushes religion to the private sphere where it is protected by law. The liberal state also strictly prohibits public laws that discriminate on the basis of religion. What the liberal state cannot do without ceasing to be liberal is to use the law to root out and entirely eliminate discrimination, religious and otherwise, on the part of private individuals and groups.”

And Hitchens still makes for compelling and interesting listening on speech: