Thursday, May 18, 2017

Wave

Camille Paglia's editorial in Time starts thus:

History moves in cycles.  The plague of political correctness and assaults on free speech that erupted in the 1980s and were beaten back in the 1990s have returned with a vengeance.  In the United States, the university as well as the mainstream media are currently patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police, as dogmatic in their views as agents of the Spanish Inquisition.  We are plunged once against into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group.

I've heard this general concept expressed elsewhere, but I don't agree.  The anti-free speech political correctness of the 1980s has been a steady force ever since.  It may have been slowed at various times and places, but those behind it have been tireless.

So why do some think it was beaten back in the 1990s? I'm not sure but here are at least two reason I can imagine.

1) The 1992 Supreme Court case R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, which struck down a hate speech law.  This was a victory for free speech, but it didn't change the hearts and minds of those who believe speech they don't like should be stopped.  (And, of course, this only applies to the United States.)

2)  The Bill Clinton presidency. He was attacked for allegedly harassing women, and many on the left saw no choice but to defend him, and attack the attackers.  So some might have imagined the same people were getting soft on relations between the sexes, but this was seriously misreading the situation.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time is still publishing?

4:09 AM, May 19, 2017  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

You wrote: "many on the left saw no choice but to defend him, and attack the attackers."

This sounds like an excuse that the "many on the left" to whom you refer might offer on their own behalf. Are you saying you believe this claim?

James Carville said "Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." As he said these words, did he have a deep loathing of his own hypocrisy, having been forced to say this because he had no other choice? Gloria Steinem wrote in the New York Times that she believed Kathleen Willey's accusation that Bill Clinton fondled her against her will, and then went on to praise Bill for the fact that when Willey resisted, Bill stopped -- and thus "he took 'no' for an answer." When she spent hours writing this op-ed and submitting it to the NYT, was she writing these words reluctantly, having no other choice?

This excuse suggests that Carville and Steinem, deep inside, detest sexual assault no matter who does it, but they were forced by political circumstances to defend Bill Clinton. That might be true, but what's your evidence for it? It seems to me that the evidence equally supports the theory that Carville and Steinem don't care about sexual assault, but merely care about politics.

[In the years since the accusations, new evidence makes the Willey accusations seem implausible. But Steinem defended BC before this new evidence came to light, accepting Willey's testimony at its word, and nonetheless arguing that BC hadn't done something awful.]

7:19 PM, May 19, 2017  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I can't read people's minds, but I can make my best guess.

In general, partisans are able to forgive their side for things that would make them go nuts if the other side did them. Further, they don't do this knowingly--they honestly believe what they're saying, no matter what side of the issue they take. The question that would give their true views would be if the people involved were anonymous.

I see little reason to doubt what the people you're referring to vote for and speak out for. In other words, my best guess is Gloria Steinem and others are truly against what they think is sexual harassment, and gave Bill Clinton a pass because he was their man.

12:42 AM, May 20, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The accusations came out of (or were publicized) by the crazy hyperpartisan crowd (who if anything have got worse since then)- probably a normal response to discount them

6:43 AM, May 21, 2017  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discounting charges related to extra-marital sexual activity and lying regarding Bill Clinton? When he was just an Arkansas politician he was known as being a master at both.

10:52 AM, May 21, 2017  

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