“Freedom of thought and expression is the bedrock principle on which all university activity is based.” (From the rather disingenuous mission statement of the University of Oregon)
This is the third in a series of columns about the moral values of the political Left. Part I addressed the left wing idea that corporate profits are a sin. Part II is about the leftist belief that “the ends justify the means.” Today’s column will look at another central tenet of liberal ethics: that conservative ideas and arguments are so inherently evil that they should be silenced by force.
Conservatives and liberals believe in different moral codes, and one ethical area where the differences are especially striking is the ethics of free speech. According to the traditional Judeo-Christian ethics espoused by most conservatives, freedom of speech, for everyone, is a first principle. According to the ethical views of the left wing, on the other hand, only those who have the “right” views have a right to speak. Censoring conservative speech, according to this view, is the morally right thing to do.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” CS Lewis
In American politics, liberals often accuse conservatives of being not just wrong, but downright evil; and the accusation is true. It’s true, that is, if you accept the moral code that liberals use when they judge other people’s behavior.
There is no universally accepted code of Right and Wrong. An action can only be described as morally right or wrong when it is judged according to a set of moral standards, and we do not all use the same standards.
“Thou shalt not covet…anything that is thy neighbor’s.” God (As quoted in Exodus 20:17)
In American politics, conservatives often accuse liberals of taking positions that are morally wrong. Liberals throw the same accusation at conservatives. The argument is insoluble, because liberals and conservatives don’t believe in the same moral code.
“Right” and “wrong” are words that mean different things to different people. Muslims, for example, get their moral code from the Koran, which teaches that it is virtuous to kill or enslave all non-Muslim “infidels” anywhere they can be found. Politically conservative Americans (even those who are not Jews or Christians) tend to accept a Judeo-Christian moral code based more or less on Biblical principles.
For American liberals it is politics, rather than religion, that defines all the important moral issues.
“Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Winston Churchill
Over the last few months many of the Americans who voted for President Obama in 2008 are expressing disillusionment and even anger at some of the things the man they elected is doing. These people have only themselves to blame. They would have known exactly what to expect from then-Senator Barack Obama if they had exercised due diligence before casting their votes.
Voting is the only dangerous activity that the uninformed, irresponsible, and careless are encouraged to engage in. We don’t see public service announcements urging the untrained to handle guns, or to drive on the public streets. Yet every autumn public service announcements urge all of us to exercise our right to vote.