Why Liberals Are Misguided, Part MMDLXX

I don't doubt the sincerity of people's beliefs. At least not often. But that, in no way, validates wrong or misguided thinking. One can be fully sincere in the belief that the Second Law of Thermodynamics holds no water. That person holds no marbles. The sincerity doesn't outweigh the reality.

Moreover, I don't doubt liberal's sincerity in their beliefs. I doubt their beliefs. One such belief I am taking issue with is that of censorship. While I am sure that prior to President Bush's inauguration, liberals accused conservatives of censorship (I'm quite sure that was tossed around during Pres. Clinton's trists), this unsubstantiated and erroneous fallacy has picked up tremendous steam in the last 5 years.

Here are some very recent examples. It has recently come to light that California's beloved Attorney General, Bill Lockyer, has a prominent anti-American piece of artwork (word used loosely) above his desk in his Sacramento office. The picture depicts the United States, painted in a flag design, being flushed down the toilet, and the caption reads, "Tanks to Mr. Bush." Once discovered, many conservatives, including the California Republican Party took issue with Mr. Lockyer's taste in art and his decision to display an anti-American representation in his government office. Naturally, Lockyer's office has not answered the challenges posed by conservatives, but rather they decry, "Censorship!!"

In another recent event, an art director (term loosely used) was fired after an appearance on The Daily Show that highlighted a sexually explicit picture involving President Bush, and Arab sheik and a barrel of oil selected for an art gallery. Again, with catlike reflexes, the director cries, "Censorship!"

Not once did either of the accused owners of bad art ever think that their poor taste and wretched judgment could be the cause of the uproar. Why take personal responsibility for being socially insensitive, anti-American and inappropriate? Their definition of censorship seems to include any situation in which one party would approach another party regarding inappropriate, or ill mannered speech. In that case, my parents have quite a history of censorship.

In a way, yes, perhaps they are being censored--in the same way my parents and teachers have censored me--but not to the extent they'd like to believe, nor in the manner that history has known it. Censorship, as it is generally defined, is a systematic maneuver performed by an official group, such as the government or a religious group. It is generally done toward members within that group. Therefore, with that widely accepted, but little known definition, their tantrum is quite unfounded.

Savanorola was censored. Dante was censored. Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin has been censored from public schools, as has the Bible and the theory of Intelligent Design. (And might I mention that none of the last three has come from anyone near affiliated with the right.) If censorship is attention called to bad behavior, then we are censored every day. What liberals would call censorship, most other people would call exercising wisdom, restraint and sensitivity to a surrounding environment.  It's another popular misbelief--conservatives want to censor everything oppositional. Not only is this untrue, it is actually the converse that is true.

It's not the Right taking the word "Christmas" out of the workplace and schools. It's not the Right that disallows prayer in school, or fights tooth and nail to keep abstinence teaching and alternative theories of creation out of school. Oddly enough, it is the Left that sees it their civic duty to remove crosses, the Ten Commandments and other "offensive" phrases such as "under God," from the public eye.

It is not censorship to pressure collectors of bad art to remove offensive pieces. It is a company's or individual's right to free speech.

But who am I to confuse people with the facts?

Posted by Portia at July 25, 2005 02:39 AM

I am trying to write something here that doesn't sound like I'm just parroting what you are saying, but you've done that so well, that I should just stop talking now.

Or now.

Maybe now.

You should just censor this out.

Posted by: MacStansbury at July 25, 2005 08:40 AM

I think you are a little confused about censorship. It's not censorship to omit something from a school curriculum because it's believed to be false. For instance, it's not censorship to leave out the argument that the earth is flat from a geology class, or that the sun revolves around the earth.

On the other hand it is censorship to exclude scientific teaching from schools because it contradicts religion. It's interesting that you left out of your list of things that had been censored Galileo and Darwin--perhaps because the former was censored by the Church and the latter because you are still in favor of censoring him.

Posted by: ziggy at July 25, 2005 06:24 PM

Gosh darn. I forgot to post the addendum: "Why Liberals are so Presumptuous."

Ziggy, I didn't post about Galileo because I already mentioned two Florentines. And if you knew the history of Dante, you'd know he was exiled by the papal army under Pope Boniface.

I'm not in favor of censoring Darwin. I am in favor of teaching it as a theory. It is censorship to ban the Bible and Uncle Tom's Cabin. That falls comfortably within the definition.

It's not censorship, or the type they'd like us to believe it is, to ask someone to reconsider their choice of artwork.

Posted by: Portia at July 25, 2005 08:15 PM

On the other hand it is censorship to exclude scientific teaching from schools because it contradicts religion.

Once again, Ziggy, you fail to address the issue. It's a non sequitor. No one is threatening to censor Darwin from school, but I will tell you what has been censored: Creation science, or Intelligent Design. It is censorship to exclude scientific theories because they "support" religious thought.

Posted by: Jon at July 25, 2005 08:24 PM

you know, I've been in music, pretty much all my life. in school I was big into all the music programs (band, choir, orchestra). know what I majored in after I found out I hated music education? public relations. 17 years of music lessons, and the last time I did anything remotely band-like was in the 90s.

had they cut out the music program...I'd still be a writer today. I have absolutely no need for orchestra at all. lots of people, however, do. they love it. it's not my bag, baby.

why the long story? because I'm just pointing out how little something in school will affect you.

Posted by: MacStansbury at July 25, 2005 09:46 PM