In the upcoming January 2014 issue of GQ, an article will be published written by Drew Magary on an interview he did with Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the Duck Dynasty program that has been airing on A&E over the last several seasons. As a quick backgrounder, the program is a show based on the lives of the Robertson Family who has built a small empire by developing a line of duck calls named Duck Commander. For those who are unaware of the article, you may view the original here.
Interestingly, just a few days after the initial dustup occurred with GLAAD coming out decrying the few minor comments made by Phil Robertson, it did not take long for the narcism that is in many of the so-called “writers” of today who think of themselves as “journalists” only because their article was published in something found under “Magazines” in the super market to show up. Drew went ahead and found it necessary to “explain himself” and the “purpose” of the article, in Deadspin no less. You can find that entry here
Yet, my comments in this post are not directly related to the article. Rather, I am commenting on a post made by a friend on Facebook that reads:
We can debate what he said till the cows come home and it won’t make a difference because I really don’t understand why uncomfortable speech or comments become a reason to banish people from their jobs.
It seems that the new American strategy is that – if we find someone who says anything that we are uncomfortable with, the best thing for them is to beat them, exploit them and then silence them.
In thinking about this commentary, I came to the realization that the strategy described is actually not “new”. Actually, I would argue this strategy has been in play for the past 90 or so years. During the early 1900’s through the late 60’s, there was clear repression of freedom of speech based on the existing and accepted “culture”. But, that was in local areas, not on a national scale. Even within the local areas that repression was not vindictive or targeted at individuals. Rather, to paraphrase the viewpoint, “those things just aren’t said here.” And that was the extent to which there was any chastisement.
However, into the 50’s and 60’s, people in certain areas of the US came to believe and accept that repression targeted at certain groups (blacks, Catholics, women, etc.) was acceptable because what was being expressed was “offensive” or “not in keeping with” accepted viewpoints. In fact, much of this thinking can be seen as growing out of the racism and sexism found in the Middle Midwest and Coastal Southern states.
A case in point would be a Catholic in an affluent area of the South encouraging donations to a private organization that would seek to help the poor (read, blacks). Another would be women publicly expressing the need for better pregnancy care in a rural area and asking for men to help in lobbying the legislature. Still another would be the avocation of equal education standards for men and women and whites and blacks.
With the greater tumult of the 60’s and 70’s, the local viewpoints went national and circled back into local communities through media. Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House in the 70’s and 80’s, was famous for saying “All politics is local” and I have to admit, he’s right. What happened during the 70’s through the 90’s was a sort of in-breeding where the repression and suppression that had taken place on the local level, and the targeting of certain groups now came to the fore on the national level under the guise of “political correctness” on college campuses and those “sensitivity training sessions”. In legitimate sociological research, they are known as “reeducation” or “indoctrination” classes akin to the mass training done by the Nazis, Soviets, and Communist Chinese. (Ve vill train you to think the vay ve vant you to think!)
In the same way, this tension and outright fighting between Conservative and Leftist ideologues and their devotees expanded into the larger “Kulture Wars” where the controlled, disciplined, respectful approach to humanity and the individual as a person of value, sometimes seen as a being made in the image and likeness of God, of the Right was battered by the licentious, almost objectification of a person’s body by the Left.
Today, we are now dealing with this reality: society and the individual person are under constant surveillance and evaluation by society itself and self-appointed watchdogs in the form of special interest groups. Thoughts, ideas, actions, comments, etc. are all constantly being judged – not just heard and evaluated – by other people. But unlike a Masters thesis review or a simple stated opinion based on facts, these judgements by others are now forcibly applied based upon prevailing “acceptable thought” within the group who claims to have society’s best interest at heart. Thus, irrespective of whether the opinion is based on research and confirmed through rigorous double-blind testing or it is just a thought a person has based on their own experience, today’s “people” only accept what is accepted by society and only if the special interest group accepts it first. As such, if a person expresses a thought contrary to what is accepted by a special interest group within society, there is something wrong with that person and they must be removed.
To do this, the media have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of “acceptable” and “unacceptable” thought. And to make sure it is done right, selected individuals have been specially trained to make those decisions. They will routinely evaluate those active in media or who are “vocal” for “unapproved” ideas that may be posited. That person who has stated them is then setup for a media assassination by being encouraged to “be open and honest” so “everyone” can hear what they are thinking. A sniper or hatchet man is then sent in to “get to know them better” and give them the chance to “express” themselves. Once the interview is done, the sniper will twist the interviewee’s words and present them in just a bad enough light that their employer can claim s/he needs to be released for “hurting” or “inflaming” a group of people who “have rights”.
To which I always ask, “When did groups ever have rights?” Only individual people have rights established in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which has led to the bankrupting of this Country, but that’s for another discussion).
And so it goes on like this. Of course the indoctrination centers – or government schools – do a fine job in preparing the masses to be uninterested in true learning. Rather, Common Core and the wholly complicit teachers’ unions do a fine job of teaching for the test instead of actually helping young people to think and express themselves. Rather, we’re told it is much more important that children should be “emotionally in-touch with themselves” and they need to have a good self-esteem so they can feel good about themselves.
And when someone calls them a name or makes them feel bad by making fun of them, don’t haul off and sock the snot out of other kid. No, run to the teacher who has more power and let the teacher take care of your problem. What a perfect way to present to the child the value of government control, because the child was “helped.” Thus the making of another drone goes on.
In all, this “seat of judgement” approach to what other people say speaks more to the insecurity and fear of the people judging the opinion than anything about the rightness or wrongness of the opinion expressed.