Punishing Bad Thoughts

So now liberals, led by GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, are seeking again to punish someone for their speech and impure thoughts (as defined, of course, by the would-be punishers themselves in all their intellectual and moral brilliance).

This time, the target for punishment is Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson who, during an interview with a writer from GQ, apparently made certain comments about gays (see here), calling homosexuality a sin and even comparing it to bestiality. And predictably, Robertson’s network, A&E, responded to criticism from GLAAD by suspending Robertson indefinitely from filming.

There are a couple of points one might make in this controversy that have not already been made by others. First, liberals seem especially offended by the comparison of homosexuality to bestiality. But doesn’t their indignation imply that liberals may have a moral problem with bestiality? Evidently the idea of the open-minded, tolerant, and non-judgmental liberal is a myth.

Rather, liberals appear to have a judgmental streak in them after all, and with respect to bestiality, have even drawn, dare I say, a “red line.” Of course, who knows about liberals and their red lines, but this one must be considered an insult to everyone in a committed, loving relationship with his or her animal. At this rate, liberals will next be insulting polyamory.

Second, punishing the speaker for comments made during an interview is misguided. The justification for punishment is that the bad words constitute an actual assault on the targeted group. In some way, as the argument goes, the offensive words and the bad thoughts behind the words place individuals within the targeted group in fear of bodily harm, or at least subject to psychological harm.

According to this theory then, it makes no sense to go after Person A who utters an unapproved statement to Person B in the course of an interview. Such a statement can never be a threat to the targeted group because it’s one made in private.  The statement can only be harmful if it is published to the world at large.

So according to liberal logic, the people more deserving of punishment for bad words and thoughts would be Person B and his editors – that is, the people who actually make the decisions to publish the bad words and in so doing, inflict the harm (along with those who republish the statement).

And don’t forget those who create and maintain the infrastructure by which the words are disseminated in the first place. A woman named Justine Sacco recently lost her job after posting an ill-advised AIDS joke on Twitter (see here).  She published the comment on her own, but obviously had help from everyone at Twitter who provided the means for her harmful conduct.

So it seems that if we want to prevent harm to the targeted group, the state must control the media. This sounds like something we would expect from a police state, and indeed, we are talking about a police state. Camille Paglia, the openly gay social critic, points out (see here) that Robertson’s suspension from the network is “utterly fascist” and “utterly Stalinist.”

And because no self-respecting police state can allow the media to run free, let us place the media, and those who aid and abet it, under government control and in so doing move onward and upward. We will at last take our place beside the likes of Russia, China, Cuba, Venezuela, and all other similar states, for this is the brave new world to which liberal logic leads us.

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