Thoughts on Free Speech

“Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone else says anything back, that is an outrage.” So said Winston Churchill long before the silliness of the last couple of years. A thought that few can disagree with.

There is no single reason why it has ramped up in recent years, but rather several. Political swings over the last quarter century have frustrated many, driving more and more away from the center toward the left and right. Another big change has been the advent of cable television. Once, we all received a half hour of local and a half hour of national news. While not necessarily coordinated, they all seemed focused a narrow band of news that like-minded folks in New York thought was important. With cable station news programming now coming to us twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, competition has driven each source to find the most galvanizing stories that interest their followers. This in turn leads to outlandish activities by those who want their moment in front of the cameras. These activists care little about the wedge they drive in our society, only that they be noticed. Their activities have done more to damage every facade of our society, from race relations to class envy and hate. Each step leads to more and more resentment among us.

Another factor that this has produced with its course language is to silence those who do not want to be the target of these vile and uncivilized actions; in fear that voices of reason will appear to be siding with or against each and every extreme. If one mentions the ridiculousness of “Occupy Wall Street”, “Antifa”, “Black Lives Matter” or “Neo-Nazi”, you would be considered the enemy and become the target of their venom. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, smart young ladies at Girls State were afraid to express their conservative viewpoints because they expected to be ostracized by their peers who might look down on them for having opinions differing from theirs.

We can all do better, and we must. We need to keep the focus on issues, not on ridiculing others on a personal level.

We love to hear from you! You can reach us at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, 434-384-5129, or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.

To read the entire column pick up the July 25, 2018 edition of the Brunswick Times-Gazette.