Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Tale of Censorship from the Los Angeles Book Festival

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For a Bibliophile like me, the Los Angeles Times Book festival saves this town from intellectual shallowness. As a writer, I was able to get some advice on the writing and submitting of the non-fiction and fiction material. As a Political Junkie (and hopefully, future staffer), I go to the panels to learn something new.

That also requires listening to people I do not like.

Here were the four panelists:

Robert Scheer, former LA Times writer, demagogue and lover of Dictators;
Garrett M. Graff, former Governor Dean staffer and Georgetown Professor;
David Frum, former Speechwriter to President George W. Bush; and,
Hugh Hewitt, Blogger, Talk Radio Host and former staffer to President Nixon.

Now, a majority of this crowd were Democrats, and a majority of those were Senator Obama supporters. The week started with Arianna Huffington in the LA Times calling for censorship of Republican staffers moving into mainstream media.

So, this audience, of Liberals (I saw no one from the Valley, everyone within a three row radius were from the Westside), saw fit to shout down those who opinions that they did not agree with. A lady in front of me always rolled her eyes and refused to listen when Frum or Hewitt spoke.

I didn't know Graff; I despised Scheer, but I wanted to hear what they would have to say. Graff was civil and had some good insights. Scheer waved the red flag of "Bush Bad," to the crowd of Liberals -- someone should remind both Scheer and crowd that President Bush is not on the ballot this year. Again, if this is a "Guilt by Association," issue, than Ayers and Reverend Wright is then fair game.

Here is what offends me:

When I was a Liberal Democrat, one of the most important philosophical statements was Democrats stands for free speech. Looking at the crowds reaction to Hewitt and Frum, and Huffington's article, modern Democrats (and Liberals) have forgotten Voltaire's words.

I've done a post describing how I defended President Clinton overseas because he was the President of the United States at the time. How can Liberals and Democrats expect to get Conservative and Republican support by shouting us down and continually being derogatory to Our Presidents?

My question is this: Have Liberals and Democrats abandoned Free Speech? Why?

socialize it


  1. JSF, this is just more of your partisan cherry picking. There's plenty of the same coming from your side. While I agree with you that people on both sides need to be more civil toward each other and hear what they have to say, you lose so much credibility when you try to claim that it's only happening on the left. I think that the left might be more in-your-face vocal about it while the right would rather bide their time and quietly take over school boards or frame the way that ideas can be debated. Either way, both sides are doing a great disservice to the free flow of ideas and any sort of real discourse. For once I would like to see you stand up for what is right without cheapening it with partisan silliness.

  2. Jason,

    I was in the freaking auditorium when this happened. It is hard to cherry pick something you actually experience.

    And, hey, if Liberals and Democrats win positions and define the debate that is fine. There is always another election.

    Where the Liberals lose me is when they try to silence me. I believe in Volitaire's statement when I was a Dem, why don't modern democrats belive in Free Speech?

  3. JSF, Perhaps "cherry picking" is the wrong term, but as usual, you act as if this behavior is the sole domain of the left and that's simply not the case. As with your recent post on bipartisanship, it is completely one-sided. When you use one sided arguments like this to illustrate how bad and evil the other guys are, you lose credibility.


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