There is one thing I value more than just about anything in this purported free society: freedom of expression.
I cherish the fact that theoretically, barring outlandish calls to commit crime or crying “fire in a theater,” we enjoy the ability to speak what is on our mind, regardless of how unpopular or defiant to the common sensibilities of our day. I value this but I am a pragmatist, and furthermore, realize that a demoralizing streak of pragmatism runs through the soul of civilized man and nothing is ever as simple as it’s touted in theory or in highfalutin government scripts.
We “enjoy” freedom of expression, but if we desire to coexist in this capitalist society and thus value money and belongings and balance sheets, both as individuals and as commercial firms, pragmatic concerns continually trump all freedom because ultimately we never put our money where are mouth is. Our mouth will get us in trouble every time if we speak our private truths aloud. If your prosperity and profit relies on the goodwill of the numbed public masses, you must skim the surface of opinion and never air yours out, for if you piss enough people off, this will ultimately take a big chunk out of your sales of (name your item). It’s a fool’s game, this whole freedom of expression thing. A farce.
In today’s climate it has become prohibitive to speak your mind, however foolish and unpopular your thoughts may appear, because society has slowly dwindled into the inoffensive stagnation of Groupthink and ultimately, those who voice contrary viewpoints will be surely expunged from the halls of respectability.
Freedom of expression is a treasure that too many ideologues, on the Left and Right, distort into a self-serving tool of propaganda, and the price we pay is a reduced ability to express. Political ideology becomes more important than freedom. I thought of this today when I read what The Most Right Honourable Mr Mark J. Goluskin wrote on his blog today. He lauded Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC for some impolite things he said about Sarah Palin. To be fair, RVFTLC attempted to draw a distinction between Bashir’s politically-enabled departure versus Alec Baldwin’s curt expulsion from the same network last week for his frothing. Nevertheless, the fact a Conservative would praise the fact that someone lost a position because of what they said despite the fact it spells a death knell of free expression in this country tells me everything I need to know about the future of speech in today’s Modernist Social Puritan world where manners are revered and reticence has become the guiding law of public discourse. Ideals are dead in America. This is why people in this country accept egregious misbehavior from politicians and oligarchs alike but will not tolerate egregious speech from their peers. Ideals are dead but avarice reigns. Give me more, I’m rooting for my team, everything else can just go to hell, including the principled American dream.
Besides, the freedom of expression has become a special interest-minded narrow expectation of acceptable behavior. The only people who pay the price for speaking outlandish self-truths are those who talk shit about women or minorities. Especially women. Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir are similar in this respect. They both bagged on women in very unrefined manners of discourse. If dyke-hag Rachel Maddow were to demean Newt Gingrich’s manhood in a flagrantly classless manner, she would not lose her job. Not because she’s liberal, but because Newt Gingrich is male. In fact, she would probably gain respectability in today’s mass social culture. The Modernist Social Puritans are selective about their victims.
And of course, the other sacred cow of public discourse are Race&Religion.
Just ask Bob Dylan, once the counterculture darling of that great conflagration of Continental hypocrisy named France. He was quoted with some “questionable” comments made in a Rolling Stone interview:
Ironically, Dylan’s comments were made about America, not France. In a Rolling Stone interview published in 2012, the singer was quoted as saying: “If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
And now France, like assorted other Euro Legislated Groupthink countries, wants to try Dylan in court for his comments.
The United States is headed there.
Acceptable verbal expression will fall into the purview of courts to decide.
But it’s all for the best! No one’s feelings will ever be hurt again. It will be a brave new world of contrived acceptance.