Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Left's Dogma: Holy Inquisition Against Conservatives

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The New Left appears to be protecting its dogmas with a Holy Inquisition against Conservatives, in an ironic reversal of McCarthyism.
Conservative Dr Sanity wrote (click title), in her excellent three part series on critical thinking and the Left's denial that other views than theirs might be accurate:
"The last thing a person in denial wants is the free flow of information about a topic that threatens the perfection and contentment of his denial."
The context was that the (Noam Chomsky-led New-) Left is dogmatically attacking Conservatives in an attempt to prevent any dissemination of right-wing views. Notable examples can be seen in the preventing of Conservatives getting tenure at Ivy-League Schools, a Palestinian mob preventing Bibi Netanyahu speaking at a Montreal university, or in Doc Sanity's example, Amazon reviewers panning Conservative books.

It reminds me
of what I recently learnt about in my course on the Renaissance. Galileo Galilei was interrogated and ruined by the Catholic Church's Holy Inquisition for challenging its view that the world is round. They were in denial, and wanted to prevent his theory getting out, because if it did, people might question the Church in other areas too. It seems like the New Left is afraid of right-wingers disseminating their views. Personally, I think it's a ridiculous attempt at censorship. Prove your point with logical arguments, don't censor the other side (unless, their arguments go beyond the limits of freedom of speech, such as advocating murder)

Now, I don't entirely agree with Sanity, or with the right, but they're spot on with this one.

Related articles:
In favour of Critical Thinking in the Muslim World
The limit of free speech
China, MSN and Google partner to censor
Moderate Political Roundup

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At 1:07 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Stephen said:

This post strains belief.

First, what is the Chomsky-led New Left? As far as I know, Chomsky doesn't lead anything and is, moreover, as close to an absolutist on free speech as you're likely to find. I doubt you'll find any evidence that he's supported preventing the dissemination of any views, including those of Netanyahu, who obviously deserves the same rights as everyone else to freedom of speech. I'm not saying there aren't people who want to silence Netanyahu, but they aren't drawing their inspiration from Chomsky's writings on free speech.

Furthermore, even though Netanyahu was denied the opportunity to speak on the occasion you mention, no objective observer would argue that a pro-official-Israeli message is having any trouble being disseminated in this country. Daniel Pipes, for example, to whom you link, is a regular columnist for the National Post, where numerous other columnists and even news stories regularly slant towards the official Israeli position. Examples from other media outlets could be multiplied.

Second, it's ludicrous to say that this 'New Left' (whatever it is) is launching a McCarthyist-style witch-hunt against 'Conservative' views, based on the other evidence you cite. Posting a negative comment on a 'Conservative' book on Amazon, for instance, doesn't come close to 'preventing' the dissemination of anything, because the poster's power, relative to that of the huge publishing machine lying behind the 'Conservative' author, is practically nil.

If you want a real example of something approach a 'witch-hunt'/McCarthyist mentality, have a gaze at the recent parliamentary debate on Afghanistan: it's pretty clear which side is demanding near-absolute conformity of opinion, complete with innuendos and questions about loyalty, etc. aimed at those who even dare to ask a question or two. Fortunately, they're not able to enforce it as much as they'd appear to like to do so.

(Hint: it's not the 'New Left,' or even the 'Old Left.')

You'll need a lot more evidence before you can establish the case that a 'Chomsky-led New Left' is within shouting distance of even slightly curtailing the 'Conservatives' ability to get out their message.

At 10:53 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger lecentre said:

Click through and read Dr Sanity's post. She didn't refer to Chomsky or the New Left herself, but you'll find that it makes a strong case.

It doesn't matter if others are able to make the case; that just shows that, luckily, the New Left hasn't been able to shut everyone up.

As to Chomsky, I meant to refer to him as a leader of the New Left, not specifically for any writings of his on free speech.

With respect to the Amazon comments, as I understood Sanity's example, this was a systematic panning of Conservative literature in an attempt to stifle their expression and reduce sales numbers (which may, ironically, increase people buying it in a reactionary way).

The New Left is the generation of students and youth of 1968 who became academics and dominate academic speech and debate, nowadays. They're composed of members of that generation who grew up trying to apologize to Edward Said, author of Orientalists, a book supposedly showing the colonialism and evil of the West. A bunch of goofs in plaid who feel culpable for imaginary wrongs and agitate accordingly. I thank you for pointing out my lack of definition of the New Left.

The only ludicrous thing is the extent to which the Left's Congregation for the Doctrine of Leftist Dogma has spread. It's particularly vicious on post-secondary campuses, where being anything less than far left is a sin, and being centrist or even -gasp- right-wing is damnable and worthy of excommunication, or black-listing from Op-Ed columns, as its modern equivalent would be.

With respect to Conservatives trying to reinsitute McCarthyism in that area, I'm unaware of any excesses, but I intend to look into the issue. I'm opposed to having the debate, and think that it does a disservice to our troops, but I oppose censoring those who call for the debate, unless it might verifiably lead to physically hurting our troops.

At 10:54 p.m., Canadian Politico Blogger lecentre said:

At any rate, read Sanity's post, and you'll see that evidence is quite abundant.


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