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  • Dissing Free Speech

    Posted by David Foster on November 6th, 2009 (All posts by )

    Here’s Obama’s “media diversity czar,” Mark Lloyd:

    It should be clear by now that my focus here is not freedom of speech or the press. This freedom is all too often an exaggeration. At the very least, blind references to freedom of speech or the press serve as a distraction from the critical examination of other communications policies.

    [T]he purpose of free speech is warped to protect global corporations and block rules that would promote democratic governance.

    (from his 2006 book)

    Mr Lloyd has had some very positive things to say about Venezuelan thug Hugo Chavez and his approach to the media:

    In Venezuela, with Chavez, is really an incredible revolution – a democratic revolution. To begin to put in place things that are going to have an impact on the people of Venezuela.

    The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media in Venezuela rebelled – worked, frankly, with folks here in the U.S. government – worked to oust him. But he came back with another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously the media in his country.

    More here about what this “taking very seriously” is doing to destroy media independence in Venezuela.

    (link via Ms Ellison)

    Back here in the U.S…in defending the strident White House verbal assault on Fox News, Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett asserted that the administration was “speaking truth to power.” As PowerLine points out:

    Can we be far from “newspeak”when the most powerful office in the world holds itself out as speaking truth to power when it criticizes a cable news network?

    Either Jarrett is an air-head or the Obama administration is a serious threat to freedom. The answer is, some of both, I think.

    JOHN adds: I agree that Jarrett’s claim is ridiculous, but I think it has a history. Isn’t it a time-honored tradition for socialist governments, both national and Marxist, to continue to campaign against the “powerful” on behalf of the dispossessed, long after they have assumed control and have shot, imprisoned or cowed the supposedly “powerful?” It seems to me that Jarrett, knowingly or not, was placing the administration in a Peronist or Castroite tradition.

    In American academia, free speech has been under serious assault for a couple of decades–both from administration-sponsored “speech codes” and from the thuggish behavior of various student groups. It is unsurprising that this hostility toward free expression would eventually move out into the larger society, especially with the election of an administration heavily committed to “progressivism” of the type popular among leftist academics.

    Speaking of thuggishness, CNN commentator Lou Dobbs says he has received weeks and weeks of threatening phone calls (because of his opposition to illegal immigration) and that a shot has actually been fired at his house. I’m afraid we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this kind of thing.

     

    16 Responses to “Dissing Free Speech”

    1. Shannon Love Says:

      Sounds like Lloyd is a fan of the “oppressive tolerance” argument.

    2. Retardo Says:

      John’s right about what Jarrett means. Peron, Castro, and don’t forget Chavez. Mugabe does it, too. All populist strongmen do it. It’s a big item in this administration’s repertoire: They’re always identifying demons and defending the American people against them, whether it’s doctors who treat diabetes, or insurance companies, or Chrysler’s creditors, or Fox, or whoever. In the administration’s narrative, all problems are caused by the conscious and deliberate malevolence of one enemy of the people or another. Boil it down a bit, and it turns out that everything that’s wrong with this country is caused by somebody other than Obama having power.

      Any threat to the Leader’s personal power has to be dealt with ruthlessly. You sell that to the people by saying it’s a threat to them. The Leader poses as Horatius at the bridge, guarding the People from their enemies. He’s holding Glenn Beck at bay! If it weren’t for Dear Leader, Beck would be beating down your very door!

      It’s a powerful narrative. But it works best when the people feel helpless and hopeless (see FDR). If they’re accustomed to building and controlling their own institutions, if they can get ahead by honesty and hard work, if they can solve their own problems, they see it for the cheap narcissistic melodrama that it is.

    3. renminbi Says:

      Our rulers are as corrupt and nasty as those in Europe,but here people still fight back.
      We have have always had people to say no to the shit sandwiches being offered them.

    4. Seerov Says:

      What the Obama administration is saying is that you can’t have free speech in a Multicultural/multi-ethnic nation. When a nation is based on “wordism” (meaning a concept and not an ethnic group) a problem occurs when people disagree with the words and/or narratives. For the last 40 years or so, the elite have been trying to push Americans into accepting the new narrative (the Diversity is Strength, MLK is our hero, before 1965 was the time of evil narrative). Free speech allows people to oppose wordism and the new narrative, therefore, free speech must be eliminated.

      And don’t think for a second that big corporate America doesn’t stand behind this as well. Corporate America wants stability at any cost. Corporate America doesn’t need free speech and will oppose it in the future. If the elite can’t get “hate speech” (read: hatespeech as anything that opposes the narrative I described) outlawed by the law, they’ll rely on their friends in industry to do it.

    5. Marty Says:

      Watch out for the key word in the Lloyd quote: “critical.”

      People who don’t know the post-modern academic jargon assume “critical” means “skeptical” or “analytical,” but in the post-modern usage it means “criticizing capitalism, America, tradition… whatever is the leftist, po-mo target.” Which is a step toward tearing it down.

      So, if when you read that quote you thought “critical” meant “analytical,” go back and re-read it with this in mind.

    6. Seerov Says:

      Would everyone agree that losses of free speech are the line that the government can’t cross? Is this the official end of order? Will the day come in America that people would be scared of law enforcement/policy makers becuase of respectable speech violations?

    7. Ginny Says:

      I’m not sure I want any adjectives – no offense Seerov, but “respectable” isn’t a word I want applied to the speech I can use and the speech I can’t.

      I don’t mean to sound like an old fuddy-duddy but when I was very young, in the fifties, there was a great deal of speech that was tacitly tabooed. Perhaps some of it was a sign of our repressive times, but the sense that 4-letter words, that dirty jokes in the presence of a woman, that surliness or “backtalk” or even “cockiness” toward our elders, our customers, and about any person of authority were inappropriate led to a more respectful community. A community that needs rules rather than a generally agreed upon propriety and respect for others has lost the battle before it even begins.

      I am not surprised that those on the left see a need for such rules – they don’t recognize the respect for others that underlies those old proprieties and so, besides constantly being rude, are incapable of internalizing a mode of behavior that should be part of who we are and not achieved through obedience gained by the threat of punishment. If it is internalized and we remain aware of our own values (respect for others and respect for the truth), then generally we know when respect for the other has a lower priority than the truth. We don’t always – of course. Sometimes we are too polite and sometimes we are too rude. But you have to have some idea that there is a truth and sufficient humility to realize you should show respect to others.

    8. MarkJ Says:

      I’m sure Lloyd thinks “democratic centralism” is groovy, keen, peachy, neat-o too:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_centralism

    9. Higgins1990 Says:

      Easier for Obama to become “President for Life” when he controls all the media. In 2011, I expect rapid clamp down of the internet, fines for any “right wing extremism”, Fox being shut down, ditto for Rush, and Obama not facing another election.

    10. jb Says:

      The left, and unfortunately, many on the right, view “rights” as something “given” to us by gummint, rather than rights inherently belonging to each individual, and thus, limiting gummint.

      Hence–the outcome–which we have been watching for decades, is almost pre-ordained.

      And the internet is in their sights now.

    11. juandos Says:

      unfortunately, many on the right, view “rights” as something “given” to us by gummint“…

      Hmmm, can YOU name a few on the right (conservatives?) who believe this?

    12. HatlessHessian Says:

      Having sat with a CEO of a Venezuelan food company on a recent flight, I was intrigued to learn of all the great advances that are taking place in Venezuela (that are once again, unreported by our irresponsible media). Commensurate with a redistributionist agenda, Chavez’s government has improved the lot of the nation so that rolling electrical blackouts are mandatory (which are quite beneficial to destroying food being processed on a production line), “scheduled” water outages are in process given the lack of functioning water sanitation facilities, and an increasing level of staples are in short supply.

      For instance, some food products produced within the nation are in short supply given the Chavez government’s price caps being well under the cost of production. Cattle ranchers, for instance, are more likely to hold their cattle, slaughter and sell on the black market because the price the government caps for cattle is below the cost of production accounting for the 35-45% annual inflation. Shortages have gotten so bad that the government has had to import food, yet the report is that at least half of this product is being improperly handled through import causing perishables to be destroyed. Once again, further inflation of the currency is required to sustain all the imports which, combined with the price caps, is destroying all legal local production.

      Appropriately, the very poor that facilitated Chavez’s rise has been hit the hardest. The working poor has seen wages frozen, but adjusting for inflation, now at a fraction of their original value. The unemployed poor are now in much greater numbers than before Chavez. Once again, the Marxist redistribution models have been shown to be an utter failure, yet President Obama seeks to replicate them here, leading with healthcare.

      Regarding the perception of Venezuelans on Obama, there appears to be great surprise that the American public is “so overwhelmingly stupid.” Embracing con-artist populists and thugs is something akin to the third world, not to America. There’s amusement but also disappointment that so many Americans are both stupid and lazy, seeking the ill-gotten gains from a populist who appropriates Bernie Madoff financial schemes. Also, Obama’s rejection of Honduras’ legitimate government has been seen as hegemonic and interventionist, as bad as the colonial strong-arming of previous decades administrations.

    13. Bill Says:

      “unfortunately, many on the right, view “rights” as something “given” to us by gummint”

      Cough Cough… BRRRHFFRRIIT!

      As close as you can get to the above is that is that a very very teeny tinyl block of “conservatives” say with real world practical conviction that the “inalienables” are “given” to us by a supernatural being (as opposed being a core requirement of secular or even deist “natural law”), and there, of course, the local witchdoctor then gets his say as to what is kosher and what is not.

      Obama himself accepts this having supported it in the UN. But we have known for a while that he only believes that the Free Speech is Free Speech when you agree with him.

      Most conservatives, and that certainly includes an landslidable majority of religious conservatives, know that the above is BS.

      The only exception I can see is pornography where the liberal (taking the feminst argument), moderates and conservatives, want it out of innocent and not-so-innocent sight.

    14. submandave Says:

      When I heard that Jaret “truth to power” quote, the first thing I though of was how I was always confused as a kid when Mao and his thugs would line folks up against the wall on charges of being “counter-revolutionaries.” Hell, if you’re against the government, doesn’t that make you revolutionary by definition?

      People always like to root for the underdog, which is why socialist/communist governments always try and present themselves as analogous to the poor, down trodden souls they habitually repress.

    15. punditius Says:

      Ginny, if I weren’t a happily married man, I’d track you down & ask you out, if only to listen to what you have to say. There’s nothing sexier than an intelligent woman.

    16. buddy larsen Says:

      I worked in Venezuela for years (oilpatch) and have kept up a few contacts –engineer types in the petro biz (not a particularly political much less partisan segment) and I can back up hatless hession, and how.

      Coming sooner or later, Red Guards (those cute li’l zealous youngsters did in the Kulaks, Mao’s troublesome middle class, all urban Cambodians, et cetera) loose on the producers, who will by then have been branded –via colorful poster art stuck all over every surface in the barrios depicting fat ugly ”greedy hoarders” as ”enemies of the state”. Doubt if it’ll get this bad but there’s no longer much of anything institutional in the way (as we can say in so many ways on so many terrible repressions of human rights, helping install Chavez –not to mention the Mullahs of Tehran –deserves a great big thank you Jimmy “Mr. Human Rights President” Carter.

      Re Mark Lloyd’s euphemisms (“critical” means ‘uncritical of Marxism alone’ and ‘democratic’ means ‘everybody in the politburo gets a vote’), a question we need to ask him is, why the euphemisms, Mr. Lloyd? Why do you feel it is necessary to ‘code’ your language?

      I mean, isn’t that the hallmark of a secret agenda, an underground organization, a political conspiracy? As everybody who can read –and is over age 12 –completely understands?