Julie Burchill, my old boss at The Modern Review many years ago, has a bracing column in this week's Speccie on the difference between the left she grew up with and the left today:
While working-class left-wing political activism was always about fighting the powerful, treating people how you would wish to be treated and believing that we're all basically the same, modern, non-working-class left-wing politics is aboutâ€¦ other stuff. Class guilt, sexual kinks, personal prejudice and repressed lust for power.
That's why, as Kathy Shaidle observes here, the concept of free speech is no longer widely accepted. If you believe in "treating people how you would wish to be treated", then it's natural to accord them the same rights of freedom of expression that you yourself wish to exercise. But, if you believe (as I discussed with Steve Madely on the radio yesterday) that what matters is what identity group you belong to (the New Tribalism), then it's natural to demand that members of non-approved groups should not be permitted to make their case.
Consider, for example, Brad Johnson - "Climate Brad", who's something to do with that group that wanted you to send Valentine cards and "carbon-offset roses" to Michael Mann. Yesterday, Climate Brad Tweeted:
I'm so bored by people whose only reaction to a difference of opinion is to demand you be banned. Do please click over to Brad Johnson's accompanying photograph. It shows a fetching young pajama boy* clutching what appears to be a giant eco-condom made for First Grade Show-&-Tell using only eight cereal boxes, some Scotch tape and a bright red marker. Look, it's even got a hashtag! Even though it's not a Tweet but a prop he made to stand outside his office and be photographed with!
Washington Post: #Don'tPublishLies
Because everyone knows The Washington Post is just another right-wing Koch-funded denialist operation.
Wouldn't it be easier just to sit down and demolish Krauthammer's "lies"? An ideology that can only scream "Shut up!" sounds a wee bit insecure, don't you think? That's true for firebreathing mullahs whose reaction to a cartoon is to demand your beheading as it is for firebreathing climate mullahs whose reaction to a column is to demand your lifetime publication ban.
~Not that any such ban will be needed, not in an America where Washington orders government monitors into TV and radio newsrooms to monitor your compliance with the public's "Critical Information Needs" - or the eight government-mandated news topics the experts have determined are all you need to know. On the radio yesterday, Rush spotted the lapdogs that didn't bark:
Limbaugh's staff, he told listeners, all were scoffing at the notion that their fellow broadcasters would go along with such an intrusive, Orwellian scheme.
But Limbaugh explained that the government is promoting the monitoring program as an effort to "figure out how to get more minorities owning broadcast outlets."
By painting the endeavor as a "civil rights" issue, Limbaugh said, it's a "way to get everybody to lay down."
"Who's gonna oppose that?"
Limbaugh also pointed out that the proposal dates back over 10 years, but it is only being discussed now because the Wall Street Journal and AdWeek quoted an FCC commissioner's candid description of the plan.
"I've got nothing against Adweek," Limbaugh continued, "but I mean, of all the news outlets, there wasn't one that covered it? Here's my point: Not one major media newsroom, news division stood up and said a thing about this."
So if the establishment media couldn't even be bothered to investigate and report the disturbing story, one that would impact their very own businesses, Limbaugh said, why should anyone believe that they would ultimately oppose its implementation?
Indeed. Where are the station owners and news directors lining up on their office steps with Show-&-Tell props telling the feds to screw off out of their First Amendment? Well, why would they? If you're already covering "the environment" more than the IRS, Benghazi, Eric Holder's corrupt Justice Department, etc, what difference does it make if the regulatory bureaucracy makes it official?
~That said, a faint flicker of the media's sense of self-interest can be discerned at the Virginia Supreme Court, where, in one of his many other cases, serial litigant Michael E Mann is fighting the release of emails from his time at the University of Virginia. The mainstream press has noticed where all this is heading if Mann wins:
The key issue in the pending case over the quest for Mann's e-mails involves the extent of Virginia's state freedom of information laws, which ATI is using to request Mann's documents. That issue has galvanized a coalition of 18 heavyweight press groups â€” including the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, the Associated Press, Reuters, NPR, Dow Jones, Politico, The Washington Post and others â€” who somewhat quietly penned a friend-of-the-court or "amicus" brief favoring disclosure of this type of e-mail...
The press groups worry, according to their brief, that an "overly broad" ruling would remove "almost all public documents from the ambit of the records law," and they say they want the meaning of "proprietary" restricted to things such as research ideas that can be patented.
In other words, if Mann wins, Virginia's Freedom of Information law would be gutted - just as, in his preliminary victory over me and my co-defendants at the DC Superior Court, he essentially rendered DC's Anti-SLAPP law meaningless. Peter Fontaine, one of Mann's attorneys in Virginia and one of (at last count) five in his suit against me, says hey, relax, that's not the way to look at it:
Peter J. Fontaine, Mann's attorney, told The Yale Forum in an e-mail that he believes the press groups are "flat wrong" in taking the side of what he called an "industry shill" in this case.
Which, again, brings us back to Julie Burchill's point: What matters is not whether we're all equal before the law and entitled to the same rights, but that Mann's opponents in Virginia are "industry shills" and that, therefore, elite media are guilty of an appalling social faux pas and class betrayal in agreeing to sup with them.
~The Big Climate one-party state is an enemy of liberty. Since he sued me, I have been shocked to discover how many other people - many very eminent, many very obscure - have been subjected to Michael Mann's threats. He is an abusive litigant for whom legal actions he has no intention of bringing to trial are a means of denying those who disagree with him their rights to free speech and public participation. I've had enough of it, which is why yesterday, in my Answer to his Amended Complaint, I have countersued for $20 million in damages. As I told Hugh Hewitt yesterday, what with all my royalties from the disco version of "Marshmallow World", I don't need another 20-mil. So, when Mann writes the check, I'm going to donate it to defending and advancing the cause of free speech in America and around the world.
So now you know why I haven't set up a formal "legal defense fund". Because I've decided to go on legal offense. Thanks to everyone who's swung by the SteynOnline bookstore in recent days to support the cause both through purchases of our many fine products and through our brand new SteynOnline gift certificates, a fine free-speech-supporting gift either for you or your loved one.
[*Not Mr Johnson, he asks me to clarify.]