Liberals continue to attack anyone whose thinking doesn’t conform to their ideology, and their efforts seem to be picking up steam. Lately, liberals have sought to punish Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, for certain statements relating to homosexuality and race. And some liberals are even calling for the criminalization of speech that questions climate change.
The problem with criticism of Robertson and Sterling is that their statements were made to only one other person. The statements may be odious, but because they were made in private, they harmed no one. Yet in Sterling’s case, the absence of harm did not stop Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post (see here) from demanding that the NBA punish Sterling and take away his team. And it did not stop NBA Commissioner Adam Silver from insisting that Sterling’s comments were harmful (see here).*
Silver responded to critics by banning Sterling from the NBA for life and fining him $2.5 million. So Sterling’s critics, including the players, have pressured the NBA with the threat of lost revenues to do their bidding, and we are now witnessing the punishment of an individual solely for his thoughts. Let us give a hearty welcome to the expansion of the liberal police state (actually a “shadow” police state because it is privately operated, at least for now).
But liberals claim that bad thoughts and words directed to a particular group do harm members of the group by making them fearful of bodily injury or by causing psychological harm. But even accepting this, an individual cannot inflict this harm on his own. None of the harm can occur without the assistance of the media and those in the media are not objective bystanders. They actually make the decisions to disseminate such statements, which is to say it is they who inflict the harm in question.
If the person who originally utters the nonconforming statement deserves punishment because of the alleged harm, then so much more deserving are members of the media who either publish or broadcast the statement to millions. They must not only be punished, but should even be removed from their jobs if they fail to learn their lesson.
So far there is no word on whether the NBA intends to punish Sally Jenkins or TMZ Sports, the website that originally published Sterling’s statements. No doubt Jenkins and others think dissemination of the bad statements somehow teaches America about tolerance, but harm is harm, no matter how liberals might justify it. Punishment for Jenkins and others in the media should be as swift and firm as that for Sterling. No self-respecting police state can allow the media to go unchecked.
Liberals seemingly cannot get it right. They either punish people for their thoughts or they fail to punish the right people for their harmful conduct. We shouldn’t hold our breath, however, waiting for liberals to think and act consistently, and oh yeah, as the liberals’ police state continues to advance, anyone who questions the facts of global warming would be well advised to watch their back.
* Interestingly enough, the NAACP selected Sterling to receive a lifetime achievement award for his actions in donating to black causes, although it has since withdrawn the offer. For the NAACP, words evidently count more than actions.
NOTE: This post has been revised from its original form in response to a comment.