Sam Harris: Blog: Can Liberalism Be Saved From Itself
I’ll try to be nice here, but talking about this issue especially when fascism is involved even from the Left, makes that difficult. But when lets say people further left me, Ben Affleck, even though he’s an actor, is a perfect example of that. When they stand up against religious extremism from the Right, like people who call themselves Christians, but spend so much time hating people who don’t share their exact world view and way of life, which is anti-Christian, they make a great case for why religious extremism is wrong and shouldn’t be tolerated.
But when religious extremism is practiced by people who come from lets say a non-Caucasian or non-Anglo or non-Western European background, who claim to be something other than Christian, like Middle Eastern Muslims, criticizing fanatics over here is somehow racist or discriminatory. That people who criticize Jihadist’s are racists and bigots, even though the same people on the, well further Left lets say have no problem putting down Anglo-Christians when they attack gays and blow up abortion clinics and other forms of bigotry and terrorism.
If you believe in free speech and the First Amendment, you believe in free speech and the First Amendment. I know that sounds simplistic, but free speech is for everybody, at least everybody in America. And that not only means being able to express your own opinions and philosophy, but also reading or hearing view and ideas that you may find disgusting. And one thing the far-right and far-left have in common in America is that they don’t believe in free speech for all. Just for the people who agree with them and the people they want protected.
The First Amendment is the First Amendment for a very important reason. It is the most important constitutional right that we as Americans have. Without it, the rest of our constitutional rights are almost worthless. Without the right to free speech and assembly, government could censor us at will if they chose to and decide who can associate with who and when. You take away the First Amendment with Freedom of Assembly and down goes the Fourth Amendment which protects our Right to Privacy. What good is the Right to Privacy without the Right to Assembly?
You can’t be a Liberal and not believe in free speech and again who is free speech for, but for all of us. Not just people you agree with and view as needing your protection and the government’s protection. You can be a Liberal or a fascist, but not both. And people on the further Left of Liberals (again just being nice) don’t share that view. I think Ben Affleck and others on the further Left don’t understand that. “Its okay and our duty to put down the Christian-Right and far-right in general. Because they are Anglo and Caucasian and come from Europe and run America. But if you put down people of other ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds, you are a bigot”. In their tiny world.
The only thing I disagree with Sam Harris on, is that Liberals aren’t the problem here. Liberals wrote the First Amendment and the Obama Administration will do whatever it can to eliminate ISIS in its last two years that it can, is an example of that. And they’ve already made progress there. The problem is leftist fascists that have a more socialist mindset that language that they view as offensive should not only be discouraged, but eliminated through law. Who are the problem on the Left who give real Liberals a bad name, because everyone on the Left tends to get lumped into one pool in American politics.