Banned by the man

National Review
by Jonah Goldberg

01/10/07

The rule of thumb for a free society should be that it infringes liberties rarely, but when it does so it is for important reasons. Today, that thumb has been cast down, Caesar-like, pointing in the opposite direction. We have democratized the small assaults on freedom so that everyone must endure them, while we caterwaul about the tyranny of any real inconvenience that might fall 'disproportionately' on the few. We ban using trans fats for millions but flinch at the idea that some kid might have to endure the Pledge of Allegiance or a moment of silence in school if it conflicts with his conscience. Everyone must surrender his shoes, his regular-sized toothpaste and shampoo at the airport, but we man the barricades to protect a few young Muslim men from being inconvenienced for an extra five minutes at the airport. Free speech is most restricted where it is most important -- in political contests near Election Day -- while it is maximized to an absurd level at the fringes of culture and decency... [editor's note: Actually, the rule of thumb for -- actually, the definition of -- a free society is that it infringes liberties (if by liberties we mean rights) NOT AT ALL - TLK]

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Informant: Thomas L. Knapp



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