Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marketplace of Ideas

When it comes to hypocrisy and muddled reasoning it's often hard to top the progressive left. Consider John Micek, op-ed editor of the Pennsylvania newspaper the Harrisburg Patriot-News, who immediately after the Supreme Court handed down its Obergefell ruling on Friday, declared that no op-eds or letters to the editor critical of same-sex marriage would henceforth be permitted.

Mr. Micek's reasoning, if such it could be called, was stunning.
As a result of Friday's ruling, PennLive/The Patriot-News will very strictly limit op-Eds [sic] and letters to the editor in opposition to same-sex marriage. These unions are now the law of the land. And we will not publish such letters and op-Eds [sic] any more than we would publish those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic.
The comparison is bogus, of course. Mr. Micek assumes that opposition to same-sex marriage is a form of bigotry, like racism, but this is like saying that people who oppose, say, the establishment of a tavern in their neighborhood are motivated by hatred against the people, perhaps including their own family members, who'd patronize it. Just as there may be very good reasons to oppose the tavern, there may be very good reasons to oppose gay marriage, but a plurality of one lawyer on the Court has said that gay marriage is now legal, and for folks like Mr. Micek its new-found legality has closed the debate over whether it should be legal.

To see the hypocrisy of the Patriot-News' policy, though, simply note that the Court also made abortion on demand the "law of the land" in 1973. Does the Patriot-News censor op-eds and letters which dissent from the current abortion regime? Moreover, the Court has made it the "law of the land" that it's legal to view pornography, to own firearms, and for corporations to make large contributions to political figures. Does the Patriot-News prohibit objections to these activities from appearing in its pages? If not, why carve out an exception for gay marriage? Where, exactly, does Mr. Micek draw the line between what's suitable for discussion and what's not?

Liberal/progressive/leftists consider freedom to express one's opinions a very dangerous thing. Dissent, disagreement, and freedom are intolerable because they impede social progress, as the liberal defines progress, and their knee-jerk reaction to it is to suppress it everywhere they can. Mr. Micek affords us a fine example of the mind-set.

Update: Micek has since tried to backtrack from his initial comments, which have apparently created a national firestorm, but he hasn't rescinded the policy.