Has the Left become what the Left historically and traditionally protested?
Has The Left Become What The Left Historically And Traditionally Protested?
If So, What Might This Mean For Saved Christians? by Rubin Rothler
It is asserted by several prominent social commentators both liberal (such as Jordan Peterson) and conservative (for instance Ben Shapiro) that recent years have witnessed an apparent severing of the left’s traditional embrace of the first amendment protected free speech in a range of forums. At its peak in the ’60s, freedom of expression was propelled by the Berkeley Free Speech Movement which was heavily influenced by the New Left. Free speech was considered inextricably bound together with the broader hippie counterculture that was challenging the establishment’s status quo. A bohemian, nonconformist freethinking approach of inquiry was adopted that defied some of America’s more noble institutions in academia, politics and the media. Vociferous campus protests employed civil disobedience effectively in exacting concessions from collegiate overseers. This had a direct impact on the war in Vietnam, by fostering a national discourse that ultimately raised the accountability of politicians for their dealings back in Washington. It also set the tone for the next generation of leaders who were exposed to outspoken, radical rhetoric during their time in college.
However, an interesting phenomenon soon transpired during this period in the landscape of political alignments. Democrats lost the South forever after the Civil Rights Act was passed during Johnson’s administration. As the ’70s proceeded, mainstream Democrats moderated the party’s more liberal wing that advocated near unqualified free speech, while shifting policy that expanded to fully support progressive positions such as affirmative action which appealed to newly gained demographics in the North. At the same time, quite remarkably the Republicans became anti-abortion and pro-gun rights in order to reach a larger proportion of the electorate, chiefly: working-class Irish Catholics and Evangelical Christians. Previously such affairs did not concern the party leadership as the manifesto was narrowly tailored towards serving corporate interests and the elite. But party strategists realized that they had to broaden their base of support given Democrat encroachments in Northern states that formerly would have uniformly, almost by default voted Republican. It was Lincoln’s party during the Civil War, and a popular mentality of “vote as you shot” was instilled in the former states that comprised the Union; which held root for over a hundred years until this era.
I mentioned in a preceding article regarding censorship and surveillance capitalism how political debate is directed in the U.S. Both the Democrats and Republicans play a crucial role in this performance. To quote myself: “the parameters of what is presented as the sensible gamut of political discussion is curbed by ‘mainstream’ corporate media outlets. Then an elaborate song and dance are paraded during periodic election cycles, pitting candidates (who are bought and controlled by business interests) in order to give the middle class a false sense of control over decision making and to keep them passively entertained”. Beginning in 1980 with the financialization of the economy, beyond surface level aesthetics, the Democrats and Republicans became no more than two aspects of the business party. Now certain corporate interests represented by CNN (which perhaps not so ironically was founded in 1980) and Bloomberg endorse the Democrats, while a different set of big business interests exemplified by Fox and The Wall Street Journal give backing to the Republicans. In this sense, it could be reasoned that our entire democracy is a charade and that substantive free speech, at least on the national level has become a farce. It is true that the proliferation of online media has had somewhat of a mitigating upshot which works to provide a platform for and amplify the latitude of deviating opinions. Nonetheless, correspondingly the same conduit has been exploited by Big tech’s algorithms to filter what we are exposed to through our newsfeeds on social media. Additionally, these same tech behemoths are curating content on their supposed neutral platforms by selectively silencing high profile figures that they disagree with (who tend to be conservative) by terminating their accounts. Overall, politically correct language prevails in the popular media and this is unofficially enforced by most broadcasters, senior editors and communications czars.
Notwithstanding our aforementioned subtle custodians and their cunningly imposed decorum, we change focus to some of the sociological features of this discussion in contemporary America. The 2010s have been checkered by agendas stirred from a fundamentally uniformed, and downright anti-intellectual reemergence of identity politics. Under this guise, causes associated predominantly with the more excessive left have resorted to restricting free speech. They unreasonably claim that language subjectively judged as falling into the nebulous trash can category of hate speech or simply reckoned offensive should be banned. It is submitted that the law already adequately recognizes the limits of free speech by carving out First Amendment exceptions that cross over into criminal conduct, which includes obscenity, defamation, fraud, and actual threats. How woefully pathetic and appalling it is that the same corridors of great Universities that were once a bastion of lively, unhindered debate, have warped into the tub-thumping infantile spectacle of “safe spaces”. Under this corrupt system of thinking (spearheaded by marginal left-wing victim identity groups) the prospect of sensitive students hearing differing ideas (as if that’s a bad thing) which may cause upset, is held to outweigh the right of free speech. This absurdity runs polar opposite to the very meaning of what a University education is supposed to involve. A crucial part of this learning experience is to be had by engaging with diverse perspectives. This is clearly unattainable while being sequestered in an echo chamber. Distasteful attitudes should be retorted with robust and persuasive logic. Censorship is just plain lazy.
On the racial front of identity politics, Black Lives Matter has drawn considerable attention. While rightfully bringing awareness to shocking incidents of police brutality which have disproportionately affected the African American community, they haven’t displayed even a fraction of the same zeal for addressing the endemic murder rate resulting from inter-communal violence that far eclipses these deplorable cases in numbers of those slain. Instead, at its meetings, the organization has stifled talk of this awful scourge traumatizing whole districts in major cities; castigating its bare reference as a racist tactic used by white people to shirk their responsibilities for the injustices inflicted upon African Americans. This gross disservice to our African American brothers and sisters stands in stark contrast to the noble dignity demonstrated throughout the Civil Rights Movement by true leadership. While defying the evil institutional racism of his day by passive resistance, Dr. Martin Luther King never turned a blind eye to pressing internal social concerns and had the grace and insight to win over even his oppressors through dialogue.
In terms of physical intimidation, a worrying assemblage of militant leftists under the banner of a group called Antifa has become notorious for involvement in public altercations stemming from its belligerent protests and flat out rioting. Some elements have essentially been guilty of inciting and instigating the same fascistic violence that they are ostensibly confronting, many times attacking anyone for merely daring to espouse dissimilar politics. On the extreme right, we have also observed a disturbing intensification of activism which has manifested itself in white supremacists organizing truculent marches that seek to cause distress and alarm to ethnic minorities and those who dispute their abhorrent ideology.
On a final note, it should be mentioned that there is a tangible nexus between free speech and affirmative action which is pushed by the hard left and continues to cause controversy. Historically before the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. The Board of Education in 1954 and subsequent Civil Rights legislation a decade later, African Americans were banned by segregation and discriminatory admissions policies to enter institutions of higher learning. Now, via affirmative action latest SAT policies favor students from lower income districts at the expense of not only Caucasians but especially Asians and also upwardly mobile African Americans and Hispanics who relocate to other districts for better schools. The Supreme Court has implied an ambiguous stance towards this policy with regards to interpreting it as a First Amendment issue. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), Justice Powell remarked that “Academic freedom, though not a specifically enumerated constitutional right, long has been viewed as a special concern of the First Amendment. The freedom of a university to make its own judgments as to education includes the selection of its student body.” However, on balance he went on to state that “in arguing that its universities must be accorded the right to select those students who will contribute the most to the ‘robust exchange of ideas,’ petitioner invokes a countervailing constitutional interest, that of the First Amendment.”
The attack by the Left on the 1st Amendment in the USA and on Free Speech has its natural partners in left-wing dominated Universities, and in mainstream and in Social Media. The new definition of ‘hate speech’ is disagreeing with them and not subscribing to the narrative. This moreover takes place in the era of Judicial activism and both a Democratic Party in the USA and a Labour Party in the UK that increasing gravitate away from a left – center position, to pandering to the radical left.
There can be no doubt that demonic engineering of this trend will seek to inhibit, and where possible, prohibit conservative Christian opinion on Pro-Life, heterosexual marriage and adoption, and Christian support for Israel. The censorship of the social media moguls (which they perpetrate for self-serving – and not ideological reasons), the anti-constitutional decrees of activist judges, and the silencing of dissent on campuses all combine for an Orwellian establishment gaining power not via the obvious forces of dictatorial government, but the followers of the Left being manipulated as “patsies”.
Hitler and Stalin were both socialists. From Hitler’s holocaust to Stalin’s expulsion of Jews from the party and the assassination of Trotsky and murder of Zinoviev – both were Jew haters. From Hitler’s murder of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to the Soviet persecution of the Underground Church, both hated Evangelical Christianity. China’s regime with its suppression of free speech and persecution of Christians are likewise rooted in socialist ideology. The question is – ‘how far will the western Left get’ and how long will it be until the church awakens to the fact that the Left with the compromise left center establishment is on the same road. As the liberal Luthern theologian turned conservative Karl Barth said, the church in Germany was too late in waking up to realities of what the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party (NAZI) were and would do. Is that any less true for Christians and Jews today?