Dana_Loesch_(16482767107)

The Rules of Debate No Longer Work

4 ¼ min

Gun rights activist Dana Loesch recently complained that she had been denied the right to respond to her critics on Twitter, according to a story reported in the New York Post. Unlike her adversaries, who are free to swing away at her, Loesch is not allowed to use Twitter’s fact-checking platform to correct their misstatements.

Loesch has also observed that her censors are failing to grasp that a true discussion requires that both sides be heard. Even if we don’t like what another person is saying, she explains, it’s best to allow that person to speak and then respond.

This was hardly the first time I heard such a recommendation being communicated to the cancel culture and to those who scorn open discussion. Indeed, some critics seem to think that a true dialogue can take place if we make the nature of debate clear.

Unfortunately, those to whom this reminder is addressed really don’t care about their critics’ arguments. They are shutting down those whose speech clashes with their ideology and political goals. It may therefore be futile to defend open debate by engaging those who have no interest in this activity, a waste of time and energy to bring up values and forms of discussion that the other side totally rejects.

It’s time to adopt a different course of action. Rather than trying to reason with those who maliciously refuse to listen, it’s time to get serious about developing alternative electronic media. Those driving leftist cancel culture would be seriously hurt financially if more and more Americans transferred their communications to friendlier providers. Fortunately, that process is already ongoing.

Yet even while the process is underway, it seems we must deal with the continued hypocrisy of the left, which waffles back and forth in its views depending upon whether it serves their purposes. Juan Williams’ Jan. 26 appearance on Fox News is a case in point. I was struck by the utterly cynical way in which he defended the electronic media’s cancel culture as a proper exercise of the right of private property, as Williams had been among the numerous progressives who wanted to criminalize the refusal of a Christian baker in Colorado to provide a cake for a gay wedding. During Williams’s defense of high-tech companies that chose to exclude dissenters from using their property, he maintained that it was just and proper to deny both the religious and property rights of the prosecuted Christian baker. Gay rights trump other rights for Williams, for he contemptuously dismissed concerns about both the property and religious rights of the baker.

The defenders of Big Tech’s sacred property rights were also conspicuous among those who wanted to mandate transgendered restroom facilities in stores and buildings a few years back. Such an action would have been an obvious, colossal violation of property rights, which would have been carried out in the name of LGBT activism.

Other egregious, state-promoted attempts to trample on property rights have also been embraced by defenders of electronic media giants. In 2005, some of these fair-weather friends of property rights were on board when the Supreme Court made a controversial—and for me, shocking—decision in Kelo v. City of New London. In this case, the court expanded the government’s right of eminent domain to allow the forced sale of private property from its owner to someone whom the state chose to favor. The victim in this instance was a person of very modest means whose home was being handed over to a mall developer to “further economic development.” This move was permitted because the government claimed that a “public use” was being served. In the name of increased economic benefit, the managerial state can now take away your property to accommodate its donors. Apparently your property is not to be protected with the same care as the right of the Big Tech monopoly to cancel your Twitter or Facebook account. By the way, both The New York Times and The Washington Post, which have been in the vanguard of the defense of high-tech interests, were ecstatic over the Kelo decision.

My stomach churns when I think about those leftists who have never shown the slightest regard for property rights but who now dishonestly defend Big Tech’s “property right” in order to ride roughshod over the rest of us. But we are not going to dissuade these malefactors of wealth and their minions by talking about the need for open debate. One can only address their duplicity and suppression of free speech by creating alternative media and then urging our friends to shun their tainted services. There is no other way forward.

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Dear Readers,

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Image Credit: 

Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried

Paul Gottfried is editor in chief of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is also the Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for 25 years, a Guggenheim recipient, and a Yale Ph.D. He is the author of 13 books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents.

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RubySwoon
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"One can only address their duplicity and suppression of free speech by creating alternative media and then urging our friends to shun their tainted services. There is no other way forward." ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Except the part about "no other way forward." There is one actually; our forefathers knew it well. If sociopaths and greedy leftists (sorry for redundancy) continue to create legislation out of thin air to steal our civil rights, such as property and the ability to defend oneself with a firearm, we will all re-learn an old and bl00dy lesson.
 
 

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Gregory Nemirofsky
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THE COMPARTMENTALIZATION OF THOUGHT The argument made in this article is correct as far as it goes; the problem is that it does not go far enough. What the author is describing is the compartmentalization of one's opinions -- putting them into air-tight (or rather, thought-tight) compartments in such a way that a particular principle is applied to some compartments but not others. The unfortunate fact is that conservatives do this just as much as liberals! I once overheard a liberal making an argument in favor of tariffs. I asked that person, "Would the same argument apply to & justify tarriffs between the different states within the USA? To different counties within each state? To different municipalities within each county?" Predictably, the answer was, "That's different!" "Why is it diffetent?" "It just is". Sometimes the reply to such a demand for consiatency is an uncomprehending stare. Sometimes is is some gibberish. Sometimes one is just labeled a Nazi, racist, etc. Just in case I am accused to being unfair to conservatives, let me give some examples of compartmentalization on the right. I would claim that a typical conservative believes that alcohol, tobacco, and nicotine should be legal, but cocaine & heroin -- illegal, or that selling one's car should be legal, but selling one's organs (before or after death) -- illegal. I could give more examples, but why waste my breath? I claim that the advantage of being a libertarian or a socialist (as opposed to a conservative or a liberal) is that at least the former are CONSISTENT. I would like to posit the following question to those who are reading my comments: Would you rather have in power an inconsistent socialist sympathizer (like Biden) or a consistent socislist (like Bernie?) Food for thought!
 
 

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rferris
Your assumptions about conservatives are off base and self serving. Reactionaries are for tarriffs, not conservatives. They are for free trade and free markets in general. Trump liked Tariffs and he is a populist, way more than he is a conservative! Conservative would allow selling of organs, it's the other side who prevents it. Biden is a corrupt plutocrat, but, still better than Bernie! Libertarians have more in common with constitutional & economic conservatives than the left!
Gregory Nemirofsky
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Gregory Nemirofsky's reply to rferris@sdrs.biz -- PART 1 Your reply to my comments is both puzzling and disheartening. First, it is puzzling & disheartening because you didn not bother to read my comments carefully enough to notice that I never claimed that conservatives support tariffs. The conversation about tarriffs that I described in my comments was with A LIBERAL, not with A CONSERVATIVE! Second, it is both puzzling & disheartening because you don't appear to have grasped the main point of my comments -- my claim that both the left & the right are inconsistent! The disheartening fact is that perhaps the fault lies with me -- maybe I was not sufficiently clear about the point that I was trying to make. I was certainly not trying to criticise specific policy positions of either conservatives or liberals -- you will not find even a single such criticism in my comments. For example, when I was describing my conversation with the liberal about the tarriffs, I made no comments whatsoever about whether tarriffs were good or bad. I only focused on the inconsistency of the liberal who was willing to implement the tarriffs on the federal, but not on state or county levels. We don't have to agree as to whether the majority of conservatives do or do not support the sale of organs. You might be right that they don't. The only reason that I made that claim is that I had many arguments with conservatives, & very few told me that they supported the sale of organs. (I ran out of space & will add another comment with the conclusion of my reply.)
 
 

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Gregory Nemirofsky
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Gregory Nemirofsky's reply to rferris@sdrs.biz PART 2 The point is that those who didn't support the sale of organs didn't find their position on that issue to be contrary to their avowed support for the doctrine of private property rights, and those who did support the sale of organs would simply manifest their inconsistency in applying the doctrine of property rights by opposing legalization of drugs, prostitution, gambling, and suicide (either direct or assisted), lifting the ban on purchasing regular drugs without a prescription, oppising restrictive covenants and legalization of commercial discrimination regardless of reasons for it, etc. Again, I can go on ad nauseum and ad infinitum. Third, I never stated that Bernie is better than Biden. My conundrum at the end of my comments was supposed to elucidate the proposition that if one is faced with a distasteful choice between Biden & Bernie, it might be better to prefer someone who is inconsistently wrong, thus being occasionally right (Biden), as opposed to someone who is consistently wrong (Bernie). Finally, I will leave you with this thought: when a conservative decides to become thoroughly consistent, he becomes a libertarian! The same reasoning also applies to liberals morphing into socialists.
 
 

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Bryandale
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Dana Loesch must be making money from her participation on Twitter or else why doesn’t she leave? She can speak freely on Gab. I’m tired of celebrities whining about big tech censorship, while continuing to use and profit from the platforms that censor them.
 
 

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