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Wake-up call

Debate and tolerance


We'd play rough in the dirt, pick our noses, snack on Devil Dogs with unwashed hands, leave our prints on escalator railings and a hundred other grubby communal surfaces and hardly ever get sick. It gave our immune systems a workout and made us sturdy. 

Now it's masks, hand wipes and sanitizers if we're within commuting distance of someone who may have coughed last month.

The concept of strengthening bodily defensive capacities applies to collective minds also. We must be exposed to ideological pathogens in order to fight them off. No matter how vile and dangerous a political system or activist movement may be, they should be expressible in a free society. The exception is when they target children and involve moral turpitude, which reasonable people don't need to be defined.

Free speech should be prohibited from being forbidden. Banning the airing of repulsive bigotry shields it from repudiation and doesn't cure it. It may fan its flames and incentivize its escalation. 

It is better to interdict than to embargo. 

Fanaticism gets a renewed lease on life when driven into the underground of coded and ambiguous language. It enables the venom and zealotry to mutate and impersonate a socially acceptable bias. 

Ignorant and inflammatory as they may be, falsehoods should never be doctored by gatekeepers to comport with subjectively determined norms. Neither should they be presented as the truth. Let words and actions speak for themselves so they may pronounce the death sentence of the malevolent ideas they harbor.

The current eruption of demonic Jew-hatred that we are witnessing is a global and ancient phenomenon. Its "useful idiots" are of a new incarnation and their blood libels slightly finessed to fit in with the cultural scenery. 

Educational systems, curriculum developers and textbook publishers are all afraid of stepping on the toes of protected factions, donors and voting blocs and so they spread their sensitivities thinly, being careful not to offend. They have broken into the house of credibility by making revisionism of history almost mainstream.

The duty to confront antisemitism and other bigotry requires more than a generalized syllabus about tolerance held aloft during Congressional hearings in a vague "peace for our time" moment. 

Rationality is the remedy to outrage. It requires education in the facts of history. Passion can be rebuked but not refuted. Many revolutionaries and nonrevolutionaries alike couldn't pass a 7th-grade general knowledge test of two generations ago, though they may be infatuated with their own prescriptions for self-determination.

Some "abusers" of free speech are driven by a mistaken sense of decency and "mission.” Aspiring saints and accidental suckers both tend to have overactive "trust" glands and an underlying purpose that may be camouflaged even to themselves.

Censoring speech and suppressing civil unrest appeases the abuser in that it spares imposter truth from collapsing from their own weight. The solution to rabid mindlessness is education that helps people to help themselves think. That should lead them to wisdom and self-control. 


But if, in pursuit of furthering what they see as a noble cause, they menace and violate the human rights of others, then the protections of free speech they braved and on which they relied, must be, as a rite of justice, rendered immaterial. 

Short of that, no arrests.

A New York Post columnist reported that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau favors life imprisonment for anyone advocating genocide. In our country, whose job would it be to interpret intent when it's not stated outright, but possibly in the heat of a moment or for satiric effect? Critical thinking is hardly taught to our students. Even less to our supreme courts, academicians,  corporate  honchos, publishers and public faces of the not-so-deep state. 

In the increasingly partisan and slapstick solemnity of our judicial system, many get called to the bench as payback for logging pro-bono time for a politician in the judicial post appointment business.

If the nation can survive the vaudevillian gravitas of Congress Members Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Jasmine Crockett and our constitutional scholars, it has nothing to fear from fossil fuel emissions.

According to former President Ronald Reagan, the most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government and I'm here to help.” Wait. It gets worse: "We're the enforcers of the nation's conscience and we're here to make you happy and keep you in line". 

It's easier these days to become a person non grata than it is to cancel a gym membership. All it takes is suspected deviation from the counterculture's catechism.

People are cowed into self-censorship in order to not run afoul of the dictatorships of ideology and political correctness. They are driven into the underground of social disadvantage. The kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs is a laughingstock for his unapproved non-conformity. He shouldn't be. He should be heard by those who care to hear him. This applies also to historical figures far more odious than him, some of whom seem to have campus fan clubs.

Suppression of outrageous behavior should be exerted most gingerly. The best way to run it aground is often to let it run its course. Stifling the defiance of freedom's natural restraints can suffocate liberty itself.

Tales of "near misses,” like asteroids almost crashing to earth, planes almost colliding on runways and fantasies of simulated catastrophes are among the guilty pleasure fantasies that viewing audiences most like to indulge. 

No matter who we are or where we stand or fall on the issues, each of us is directly and in actuality caught up in the take-no-prisoner strife that is reality, not cinematic art or an amusement park ride for daredevils with strong stomachs.

As warring camps find it harder and harder to keep their distance, Americans may not luck out with near misses much longer. 

Civil unrest is a form of heretical behavior. Former heretics like Galileo, Marie Curie and James Joyce are among history's greatest conquerors of ignorance. They span every area of human inquiry and experience.

Whether deemed flamethrowers or freedom fighters, they should be given free rein, but the reins must still be attached and a harness also, because public safety and the rights of individuals to defend themselves come first. 

Should that boundary be breached, all bets are off.


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