Friday, January 27, 2023
The Free Speech Chilling of Free Speech Protests
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
New Depths of "Both Sides-ism": Gun Violence Edition
Commenting on the only-in-America news that the first 24 days of 2023 have already seen 73 Americans killed in mass shootings, Paul Campos points to a CNN article on the matter which he summarizes as
point[ing] out that fault lies on both sides of the political aisle for this epidemic, given that the Republicans don’t want to do anything about it, and the Democrats are unable to force the Republicans to do anything about it.
Ha ha -- good one, but obviously that's an exaggeration. Here's what the article says:
A partisan political system that is little help
Resignation that nothing will change is fueled by a political system that is so entrenched on guns that it can’t usually frame a meaningful response to shootings, let alone solutions. Offers of “thoughts and prayers” by pro-gun rights Republicans are routinely mocked by Americans looking for reform. Conservatives often divert blame to a national mental health crisis that they do little to alleviate.
Second Amendment absolutists often argue that if more “good guys” carried guns, everyone would be safer. In their own ritualistic response, Democrats often re-up demands for an assault weapons ban they know they can’t pass.
Nobody Is More Gullible Than Alt-Center "Free Speech" Advocates
When Florida announced it was banning the AP African-American history course, 90% of Ron DeSantis' supporters know exactly what he's doing -- legally banning wrongthink on race to the greatest extent possible -- and support it on that basis. They know that's what he's doing because he's been crystal clear about his agenda from day one and entirely consistent in applying it.
But you still can easily find alt-center "free speech!" advocates who tie themselves in knots to plead that it's actually about "opposing indoctrination" or "ensuring that multiple perspectives are taught" or something that just has to be different from "rank censorship". Meanwhile, the Florida government just states outright that if the college board wants its class taught in the Sunshine State, "we expect the removal of content on Critical Race Theory, Black Queer Studies, Intersectionality and other topics that violate our laws." They're not even bothering to hide it, but the alt-center sorts are perfectly happy to pull the wool over their own eyes in order to maintain harmony on their Scales of Broder.
It is incredible, looking back, to remember that approximately 9 month period where conservatives went on a high horse about protecting "free speech" and "uncomfortable learning" in the educational space as against various real and imagined left-wing bugaboos. The rapidity to which they shifted without even breaking a sweat into "enact legal bans on left-wing ideas whenever and wherever we can", and the degree to which their "free speech" hangers-on just followed along without seeming to notice or care that they suddenly were becoming foot soldiers of legally-mandated censorship, is a development I still can't fully wrap my head around. At most, you get some "both sides" grousing about how while they aren't exactly fans of throwing librarians in jail if they stock books that deviate from state-imposed orthodoxy, they can't focus on that too extensively because it might distract them from finishing their 67-tweet thread on an overzealous student protest at Swarthmore, followed by a portentous statement expressing outrage that anyone would even think of withdrawing any honors or accolades from state-censor-in-chief Ron DeSantis.
But seriously -- has any movement more quickly demonstrated itself to be populated entirely by useful idiots than this one?