Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free

December 31, 2013 by Harry Binswanger

President Obama’s Kansas speech is a remarkable document. In calling for more government controls, more taxation, more collectivism, he has two paragraphs that give the show away. Take a look at them.

there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The market will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes–especially for the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the winners do really well, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle down, well, that’s the price of liberty.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our rugged individualism and our healthy skepticism of too much government. That’s in America’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the decade before the Great Depression. It’s not what led to the incredible postwar booms of the ’50s and ’60s. And it didn’t work when we tried it during the last decade. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this theory.

Though not in Washington, I’m in that “certain crowd” that has been saying for decades that the market will take care of everything. It’s not really a crowd, it’s a tiny group of radicals–radicals for capitalism, in Ayn Rand’s well-turned phrase.

The only thing that the market doesn’t take care of is anti-market acts: acts that initiate physical force. That’s why we need government: to wield retaliatory force to defend individual rights.

Radicals for capitalism would, as the Declaration of Independence says, use government only “to secure these rights”–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. (Yes, I added “property” in there–property rights are inseparable from the other three.)

That’s the political philosophy on which Obama is trying to hang the blame for the recent financial crisis and every other social ill. But ask yourself, are we few radical capitalists in charge? Have radical capitalists been in charge at any time in the last, oh, say 100 years?

I pick 100 years deliberately, because it was exactly 100 years ago that a gigantic anti-capitalist measure was put into effect: the Federal Reserve System. For 100 years, government, not the free market, has controlled money and banking. How’s that worked out? How’s the value of the dollar held up since 1913? Is it worth one-fiftieth of its value then or only one-one-hundredth? You be the judge. How did the dollar hold up over the 100 years before this government take-over of money and banking? It actually gained slightly in value.

Laissez-faire hasn’t existed since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. That was the first of a plethora of government crimes against the free market.

Radical capitalists are just beginning to have a slight effect on the Right wing. The overwhelming majority on the Right are eclectic. Which is a nice way of saying inconsistent.

The typical Republican would never, ever say “the market will take care of everything.” He’d say, “the market will take care of most things, and for the other things, we need the regulatory-welfare state.”

They are for individualism–except when they are against it. They are against free markets and individualism not only when they agree with the Left that we must have antitrust laws and the Federal Reserve, but also when they demand immigration controls, government schools, regulatory agencies, Medicare, laws prohibiting abortion, Social Security, “public works” projects, the “social safety net,” laws against insider trading, banking regulation, and the whole system of fiat money.

Obama blames economic woes, some real some manufactured (“inequality”) on a philosophy and policy that was abandoned a century ago. What doesn’t exist is what he says didn’t work.

Obama absurdly suggests that timid, half-hearted, compromisers, like George W. Bush, installed laissez-faire capitalism–on the grounds that they tinkered with one or two regulations (Glass-Steagall) and marginal tax rates–while blanking out the fact that under the Bush administration, government spending ballooned, growing much faster than under Clinton, and 50,000 new regulations were added to the Federal Register.

The philosophy of individualism and the politics of laissez-faire would mean government spending of about one-tenth its present level. It would also mean an end to all regulatory agencies: no SEC, FDA, NLRB, FAA, OSHA, EPA, FTC, ATF, CFTC, FHA, FCC–to name just some of the better known of the 430 agencies listed in the federal register.

Even you, dear reader, are probably wondering how on earth anyone could challenge things like Social Security, government schools, and the FDA. But that’s not the point. The point is: these statist, anti-capitalist programs exist and have existed for about a century. The point is: Obama is pretending that the Progressive Era, the New Deal, and the Great Society were repealed, so that he can blame the financial crisis on capitalism. He’s pretending that George Bush was George Washington.

We radical capitalists say that it was the regulatory-welfare state that imploded in 2008. You may disagree, but let’s argue that out, rather than engaging in the Big Lie that what failed was laissez-faire and individualism.

The question is: in the messy mixture of government controls and remnants of capitalism, which element caused the Great Depression and the recent financial crisis?

By raising that question, we uncover the fundamental: the meaning of capitalism and the meaning of government controls. Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.

Suddenly, the whole issue comes into focus: Obama is saying that freedom leads to poverty and force leads to wealth. He’s saying: “Look, we tried leaving you free to live your own life, and that didn’t work. You have to be forced, you have to have your earnings seized by the state, you have to work under our directions–under penalty of fines or imprisonment. You don’t deserve to be free.”

As a bit of ugly irony, this is precisely what former white slave-owners said after the Civil War: “The black man can’t handle freedom; we have to force him for his own good.” The innovation of the Left is to extend that viewpoint to all races.

Putting the issue as force vs. freedom shows how the shoe is on the other foot regarding what Obama said. Let me re-write it:

there is a certain crowd in Washington who, for the last few decades, have said, let’s respond to this economic challenge with the same old tune. “The government will take care of everything,” they tell us. If we just pile on even more regulations and raise taxes–especially on the wealthy–our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say, there will be winners and losers. But if the losers are protected by more social programs and a higher minimum wage, if there is more Quantitative Easing by the Fed, then jobs and prosperity will eventually trickle up to everybody else. And, they argue, even if prosperity doesn’t trickle up, well, that’s the price of the social safety net.

Now, it’s a simple theory. And we have to admit, it’s one that speaks to our intellectuals’ collectivism and Paul Krugman’s skepticism about freedom. That’s in Harvard’s DNA. And that theory fits well on a bumper sticker. (Laughter.) But here’s the problem: It doesn’t work. It has never worked. (Applause.) It didn’t work when it was tried in the Soviet Union. It’s not what led to the incredible booms in India and China. And it didn’t work when Europe tried it during over the last decades. (Applause.) I mean, understand, it’s not as if we haven’t tried this statist theory.

How does that sound? That’s blaming an actual, existing condition–government controls and wealth-expropriation–not a condition that ended in the late 19th century.

So which is the path to prosperity and happiness–freedom or force? Remember that force is aimed at preventing you from acting on your rational judgment.

Obama’s real antagonist is Ayn Rand, who made the case that reason is man’s basic means of survival and coercion is anti-reason. Force initiated against free, innocent men is directed at stopping them from acting on their own thinking. It makes them, under threat of fines and imprisonment, act as the government demands rather than as they think their self-interest requires. That’s the whole point of threatening force: to make people act against their own judgment.

The radical, uncompromised, laissez-faire capitalism that Obama pretends was in place in 2008 is exactly what morality demands. Because, as Ayn Rand wrote in 1961: “No man has the right to initiate the use of physical force against others. . . . To claim the right to initiate the use of physical force against another man–the right to compel his agreement by the threat of physical destruction–is to evict oneself automatically from the realm of rights, of morality and of the intellect.”

Obama and his fellow statists have indeed evicted themselves from that realm.

original article: Obama To Americans: You Don’t Deserve To Be Free

bullies, capitalism, economics, economy, elitism, government, ideology, indoctrination, left wing, liberalism, lies, marxism, nanny state, oppression, pandering, political correctness, politics, progressive, propaganda, public policy, relativism, socialism

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Is electability really a myth?

Steve Deace has some very good points to make about The Electability Myth. He asks some sensible questions such as what is electability, and who gets to decide what this is?

It’s true that no matter how good a candidate’s philosophies or plans are, if that person doesn’t win an election they don’t get to do any of the good we’d like them to. However, there is very good reason to wonder whether the GOP understands what electability is or is even interested in understanding it. The GOP establishment has their own way of doing things, which hasn’t worked out so well. For example, the 2014 mid term elections handed the GOP a landslide victory, as far as mid term elections go. And they’ve virtually thrown it away. This doesn’t build my confidence in the current crop of leaders.

We should be aware of the difference between propaganda and reality here. We are told political candidates need to have political experience or leadership experience to be qualified for the office of President of the United States. The current occupant didn’t have much of either and he got elected. And a case can easily be made that Obama was elected mainly because of his race, not because of any real qualifications.

But let’s look at what these qualifications really are, shall we? I’m not talking about the qualification of experience or scholarly credentials. I’m not talking about the art of compromise or reaching out to the other side of the isle. Let’s talk about the real business of politics: peddling influence and spending other people’s money. That’s the basic activity of politics, isn’t it? And to cover up the business of political shenanigans a political hopeful needs to be able to tell people what they want to hear in a way that they won’t ask too many questions (or if they do, they don’t mind being lied to). This ability to lie well covers more than the work of politics it also serves well in running for office in the first place.

So is this really the kind of person we want as president? Someone who knows how to lie, peddle influence, and has an affinity for spending other people’s money really is the ideal politician. I don’t know about you, but that’s not the kind of person I want to vote for. I’m not impressed with a sophisticated speaker whose efforts have been invested mainly in public speaking, as opposed to actually understanding how the world works. That’s Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, etc. That’s not my ideal leader.

I want a leader who understands how systems work, how funding for those systems works, how the act of helping others needs to be handled carefully, and how liberty is essential for any of this to survive. My litmus test automatically rules out anyone in the Democrat party and most Republican candidates or potential candidates. But does my litmus test leave any winning candidates, candidates with electability?

Of course! Let me remind you of one episode in the 2012 election season: the first presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Do you recall what happened? Romney destroyed Obama in that first debate. What did Democrats do in response? Did they give up on Obama? Did they pack everything up and go home? NO! They got better coaching for the next debate. Don’t kid yourself into thinking the brains of the candidates had anything to do with this. It was all about preparation, which is done with many political coaches. Obama did much better in the second debate with Romney simply because he had better coaching than he had for the first debate. That is what electability comes down to – preparation.

Now, if my ideal candidate has good political coaching for the 2016 political season (not the kind where he has to tie one arm behind his back and pretend to be something he’s not – that’s the kind of coaching the 2008 and 2012 GOP candidates had and it didn’t work) what are the possibilities? This person must hold individual liberty as a prime imperative. This person must understand that government does not know what is best and is not better qualified than you to make decisions for your own life. This candidate must be a person of honor and integrity. And yes, this person must be intelligent as well, in addition to compassionate, and he (or she) must understand the issues.

Am I asking too much? Does such a person exist? As a matter of fact he does. The political establishment (both Democrat and Republican) don’t want this person to be the Republican nominee in 2016. But my ideal candidate is not merely adequate this time around, he is the face of conservatism itself. He is a man of integrity, compassion, intellect, one who has faith in the American people rather than its government, and one of his greatest qualifications is that he is NOT a political professional.

So who is this ideal candidate? Find out here in Dear GOP, I’m not sure you actually want to win in 2016.

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Government overreach still tormenting home-school movement

January 28, 2015 by Izzy Lyman

Whether it’s winning a Heisman Trophy, being a Hollywood A-lister, serving in Congress, winning the Miss America crown, or outscoring their conventionally-schooled peers on standardized tests, home-schoolers continue to shine in big ways.

The National Home Education Research Institute reports that this educational choice is becoming increasingly popular with minorities as 15 percent of home-schooling families are now non-white/non-Hispanic.

Despite the fact that the over two million students who eschew the brick-and-mortar educational model also save taxpayers billions of their dollars, shocking episodes of government overreach still haunt the movement.

Consider three examples which range from the ridiculous to the horrifying.

The Goochland County School Board of Virginia enacted a policy, in 2013, to require teenage homeschoolers (ages 14 and up), asking for a religious exemption from compulsory attendance laws, to provide a statement about their faith. Due to the public outcry regarding the mandate, the Board recently repealed the policy.

In Garland County, Ark., seven of the homeschooled Stanley children, ages 4 to 16, were removed from their home, earlier this month, by a phalanx of law enforcement officials brandishing a search warrant on a mission to locate a “miracle” mineralsupplement that purifies water. The Garland County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO) decided that the supplement, mostly used in the Stanley garden, posed a threat to the children’s wellbeing.

Family friend Todd Deloach told Watchdog Arena, “This is a good family. Maybe the best people I have ever met.”The GCSO, however, won’t comment as to why the children were actually taken from parents Hal and Michelle Stanley. A press release vaguely stated “that there were a number of different factors and investigators felt they had no choice but to intervene in the best interest of the minor children.”

In November, the Home School Legal Defense Association filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Laura and Jason Hagan, former residents of Nodaway County, Mo.. The Hagans say that sheriff department’s officers entered their house, in 2011, without a search warrant and tasered and pepper sprayed them.

The complaint also alleges that Mrs. Hagan was slapped by one of the officers, while Mr. Hagan was kicked. Although the initial child endangerment charges against the couple were dropped, it took the Hagans several months to regain full legal custody of their three children. The aggressive investigation came about due to a complaint by a social worker that the Hagan home was “messy.”

Perhaps the lesson to be gleaned from the Alice in Wonderland realm of child welfare is best expressed by Tim Lambert of the Texas Home School Coalition: “The home-school community must be involved in the political process, educating elected officials who will oppose any effort by the legislature to regulate homeschooling.”

original article: Government overreach still tormenting home-school movement

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From Ebola to Measles, Hysteria about Medical Isolation

During the brief 2014 Ebola scare the United States government took the clear position that isolation was not necessary. Ebola outbreak: US advises against quarantine. At the time there was no vaccine against Ebola, and the vaccines in the experimental stage were still very new and had little testing. When vaccines are available for a particular disease we are often told of the importance of inoculations. So what should we do if a disease, such as Ebola, which is many times more deadly than the Flu, arises in the U.S. but there is no vaccine? Isn’t isolation the next best thing?

Now, government enforced isolation is an entirely different situation from self-imposed isolation. I agree with some critics of certain state government actions on the Ebola scare (suggesting the allegedly infected should be detained for a matter of weeks.) An alternative approach I approve is a very short term isolation with immediate testing. If the patient is shown to be free from Ebola that person should be immediately released – no need for government mandated quarantine for several weeks.

But in California a high school is taking a different disease very seriously. Nearly 70 students from this high school were not permitted to return to school for a time because they were not vaccinated against measles. Whether you approve of the action taken by the school, one aspect of the situation just makes sense: if a vaccine is not available (or not utilized) the next best thing is isolation. I mean, we’re talking about spreading diseases here, even if they are not nearly as deadly as Ebola.

But in Washington, D.C. isolation during a disease scare doesn’t make sense. The Obama administration thinks putting illegal immigrant children (who need medical attention) into public schools without the need for an isolation period or vaccination is just fine. Feds Force Public Schools To Enroll Illegal Immigrant Children With No Medical Screening

And as a result, as common sense would suggest, we have a scare about diseases.

Illegal Alien Minors Spreading TB, Dengue, Swine Flu

Disease plagues illegal immigrants; lack of medications, basic hygiene blamed

Polio-like illness claims fifth life in U.S.

CDC Warning: Immigrant Children Could Be Spreading This New Mystery Virus In Public Schools

Some are denying illegal immigrants have anything to do with spreading diseases (which makes no sense at all, especially considering the spread of disease is one of several concerns for the immigration policies of any country). But the situation, like most things in life, is complex. It’s worth looking into it to find out for sure. Since we don’t know for certain, isn’t it wise to at least take some precautions and isolate the immigrants who’ve entered the country illegally and without medical screenings?

What is the Obama administration trying to do by pretending the spread of disease is of no legitimate concern when they can’t possibly know that?

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Coming to a school near you? 10-year-olds required to use birth control.

While organizations such as the United Nations promote sexual options for children in Europe and the U.K., many Third World countries oppose having those values forced on them.

In the United Kingdom, girls as young as ten years old are being injected with long-term contraceptive implants at the expense of taxpayers. Brian Clowes of Human Life International tells OneNewsNow while the health impact on little girls isn’t known, manufacturers do list side effects for adults.

“You can see a list of more than 50 major side effects,” he says. “Everything from deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, death, growing hair all over the body, and so on. I just find it ridiculous. We’re against steroid use in sports but we’re willing to pump our little ten-year-old girls full of steroids like this.

The United Nations and groups associated with it are pushing the agenda even further.

“They’re [essentially] saying Kids have the right to sex education, and if we’re going to educate them about sex, of course then we have to give them condoms, we have to give them birth control without their parents knowing about it,’” he remarks. “And then they turn around and say But this won’t increase sexual behavior. And that is as stupid as saying we will give kids the keys to the car, but it won’t increase driving behavior.”

The program has been spread throughout much of Europe and also into Third World countries, where moral values are much more in line with the Bible than in Europe and the United States. Clowes says many of those countries are tired of having conflicting sexual and moral values pushed on them.

original article: U.K. equips 10-year-olds with long-term birth control
January 29, 2015 by Charlie Butts

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To collectivists, free college doesn’t mean free college

An organization of young Americans thinks President Obama’s  plan to tax families’ college savings – which has now been scrubbed – was more about control than anything else.

The president made headlines for calling for the taxation of 529 college savings plans as a means of paying for what has largely been referred to as “free community college.” Speaking about the college plan in this year’s State of the Union address, he said: “This plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt.”

Following an outcry from Republicans and Democrats, he has since announced he would rescind his proposal to tax those college savings plans.

Corie Whalen Stephens with Generation Opportunity says it speaks to the fact that people are realizing this is not “middle-class economics” at all, a reference to more of Obama’s comments from the State of the Union.

“This is really just a control mechanism that targets the middle class,” she tells OneNewsNow. “That’s why it was dropped: the rhetoric didn’t match reality.”

The GO spokeswoman acknowledges that taxation is first and foremost a revenue generator for the government – but quickly adds it is also a means of control through government intrusion.

“That’s what’s funny about this proposal,” she explains. “It’s really fascinating when you look at what’s really going on here because you have the president saying We want free community college – yet at the same time you have the government raiding the savings of middle-class taxpayers so they can have more control over what middle-class people are doing in higher education.”

Taking such a broad view, Stephens says, allows individuals to see the problem that comes with government control in higher education – and often in all facets of their lives.

original article: Intrusion, control was behind Obama’s call for ‘free college’
January 29, 2015 by Chris Woodward

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If we can’t get local weather right, how reliable are global climate models?

In February of 2014 we find the New York Times offering this suggesting global warming will eliminate snowfall:
The End of Snow? by Porter Fox.

Almost a year later we find predictions of an “historic” storm before it even hits.

‘Historic’ storm set to slam Northeast; airlines cancel flights

Storm threatens northeast with ‘historic’ snow

There are two definitions of climate change. One is the natural fluctuations of the climate that have been occurring for as long as the planet has existed. The second is anthropogenic climate change – the change caused by us. These two types of climate change are very different, but we use the same term for both. It would be one thing if both sides of the controversy each used their own definitions to talk past one another. But that’s not what’s happening. In the case of climate change, the alarmist side of the argument uses both of these definitions and cleverly switches between the two whenever convenient. It’s dishonest, but common place in the climate change controversy.

Another dishonest tactic of the alarmist side of the argument is the attempt to shame into silence anyone willing to think for themselves and ask questions of the “we’re destroying the planet” narrative. You probably didn’t know that blindly accepting the claims of scientists or news article of journalists reporting on the opinions of scientists qualified as thinking for yourself. But that’s the world we live in today.

Matt Walsh has another challenging piece well worth a few minutes of your time. Give it a read:
Climate Change Deniers Are Completely Insane

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Study: Siberian permafrost has been warming for 7000 years

Watts Up With That?

Winters in Siberian permafrost regions have warmed since millenia

For the first time, researchers have reconstructed the development of winter temperatures in Russia’s Lena River Delta based on old ground ice data

From the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Exposed ice wedges at the coast of the Siberian island Muostakh. With this picture in mind, one can understand, why early researchers thought ice wedges could be nothing else than buried glaciers. Credit Photo: Thomas Opel, Alfred-Wegener-Institut Exposed ice wedges at the coast of the Siberian island Muostakh. With this picture in mind, one can understand, why early researchers thought ice wedges could be nothing else than buried glaciers. Credit Photo: Thomas Opel, Alfred-Wegener-Institut

For the first time, researchers at the Alfred Wegener Institute have successfully decoded climate data from old permafrost ground ice and reconstructed the development of winter temperatures in Russia’s Lena River Delta. Their conclusions: over the past 7,000 years, winter temperatures in the Siberian permafrost regions have gradually risen. The study was published yesterday on Nature Geoscience‘s website.

You won’t find any glaciers in Russia’s Lena River Delta…

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It took Paris attack for AP to remove anti-Christian photo after 26 yrs

January 10, 2015 by Michael F. Haverluck

After leaving the highly offensive photo titled “Piss Christ” posted for 26 years — despite decades of public Christian outcry over the image panned as art — The Associated Press finally removed the controversial and denigrating image, but only after a journalist called out its double standard brought to light when it touted its policy of not publishing potentially offensive Charlie Hebdo satirical cartoons of Muhammad, such as the ones that incited the deadly Paris attack.

A Closer Look

AP’s hypocrisy screamed out shortly afterThe Daily Beast interviewed one of the news giant’s spokesmen on Wednesday about its policy of not showing images of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad — such as the one that incited Muslim terrorists to rampage theCharlie Hebdo magazine headquarters in Paris, France, where 12 were brutally murdered, including four senior editors.

“None of the images distributed by AP showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad,” insisted AP Spokesman Paul Colford.

Colford then explained that a number of photos satirically depicting Muhammad were automatically sent by Sipa Press (an independent French agency representing 2,000 photographers worldwide) to AP’s commercial photo unit, but he assured that they were quickly removed once received.

The spokesman of the largest news collective on the planet then mentioned how its protocol for handling problematic images was streamlined and unbiased.

“It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images,” Colford added, giving this as an indication as to why AP has cropped or refrained from publishing images of Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

Other news outlets, such as The London Telegraph and The New York Daily News, also censor magazine covers and images depicting Muhammad on a routine basis.

Double-standard?

Shortly after the interview, The Washington Examiner Senior Political Columnist Timothy P. Carney accused AP of its hypocrisy — demonstrated by selling the photo for years or decades on its website — while steadfastly holding to its practice of banning or cropping any satirical or remotely offensive cartoons of Muhammad.

In his brief post titled, “Associated Press censored Muhammad cartoons while selling ‘P—Christ,'” Carney quoted Colford’s aforementioned statements that proudly reflected how AP refrains from publishing Muhammad cartoons and other “deliberately provocative images.”

He then had this to say:

“But in case you want to admire the ‘work of art’ from three decades ago that consisted of a photograph of a crucifix in a vat of the photographer’s urine, the AP will sell it to you,” Carney expressed sarcastically, providing a screenshot of the AP page from where viewers could purchase the photo from AP.

Not long after publishing, Carney had to update his post with this line:

“UPDATE: It appears AP pulled their copy of P— Christ this afternoon, around the time I published,” Carney added.

Currently, site visitors will see the following on their screen on the page where the controversial photo once existed, “Oops! This image is not part of your portfolio. Please contact customer support.”

The offensive photo Carney describes is of a crucifix of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross immersed in a jar of the photographer’s urine. The photo taken by American “artist” Andres Serrano in 1987 has caused an uproar in Christian circles for decades. The overtly offensive photo was vandalized by Catholic activists in Avignon, France, on April 17, 2011, when it was displayed as part of the Yvon Lambert Collection.

Unequal treatment

Evidently, the AP was found to not extend the same respect for the sacred nature of Christianity and its symbolism as it has for Islam over the years.

Following the removal of Serrano’s photo, Politico interviewed an AP spokesperson for an explanation as to why it has decided to pull Serrano’s controversial image from its website after appearing there for 26 years.

“It’s been our policy for years that we refrain from moving deliberately provocative images,” AP Spokesperson Erin Madigan explained to Politico. “It is fair to say we have revised and reviewed our policies since 1989.”

The year 1989 was the first year that AP posted Serrano’s photo.

No explanation was given as to why it took 26 years for AP to remove a photo that it clearly knew was a “deliberately provocative image” to 2 billion Christians across the globe.

original article: It took Paris attack for AP to remove anti-Christian photo after 26 yrs

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University of Chicago Student Explains Why Free Speech Is a ‘Virtue’ on Campus

January 23, 2015 by Sarah McLaughlin

Last week I wrote about The Chicago Maroon’s shameful response to the University of Chicago (UC) Committee on Freedom of Expression’s new, FIRE-endorsed free speech policy statement. The consensus opinion of the student newspaper’s editors, who demanded the school censor more speech, not less, was incredibly disappointing to see, especially from student journalists.

Today, UC student Nicholas Saffran published an impressive rebuttal to the Maroon’s editorial, arguing that free, open discourse is actually a benefit, not a detriment, to the campus community. Saffran writes:

Too often, we conceive of free speech as merely a negative limit on what institutions, whether governments or universities, may do to restrict what we say and believe. We fail to acknowledge that these negative limits, which ought to be absolute, are grounded in a long tradition of arguments about why open, rigorous discussion is actually good for us. Free speech is a positive quality, even a virtue, which we all ought to embrace by actively engaging with views we find abhorrent.

The Maroon’s editorial board claimed that UC had a responsibility to censor “hate speech” to improve discourse on campus. Saffran argues that the marketplace of ideas, not institutions like UC, should be in charge of sorting out good and bad speech.

Free speech as a positive quality likely admits many more limits than does free speech as a negative quality. One need not seek out the views of the KKK in order to refine one’s views on race relations in America. Yet it is neither the place of the University nor the government to ban those views from ever being uttered. Rather, it is civil society that can and should shun those who hold such extreme and bigoted views.

Saffran closes by arguing that college campuses, where open discourse is needed the most, are often where it is hard to find, and he implores his fellow students to challenge themselves to engage with ideas they find difficult or offensive.

Especially on college campuses, we pigeonhole ourselves into small groups of our ideological compatriots and rarely take the other side seriously. We prefer to get our news from satirical outlets like The Daily Show that mock and deride the most ignorant people, instead of identifying and grappling with the arguments of the smartest of those with whom we disagree. Free speech certainly means something about what the University cannot do. Indeed, ironically, it means the University cannot stop us from being so narrow-minded if we so choose. Yet those very same principles compel us to go beyond our ideological blinders and to fully embrace truly open discourse.

Read the rest of Saffran’s important and timely column in The Chicago Maroon.

original article: University of Chicago Student Explains Why Free Speech Is a ‘Virtue’ on Campus

bureaucracy, censorship, diversity, education, free speech, government, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, progressive, public policy, regulation, scandal

Filed under: bureaucracy, censorship, diversity, education, free speech, government, hypocrisy, ideology, intolerance, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, political correctness, progressive, public policy, regulation, scandal

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