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New Opponents to Opinion Suppression

Slowly the liberal left — that is, the ones who are not committed to illiberal suppression of opposing viewpoints — is finding its voice. Now it even comes from The Nation.

Of course, Liberals Against Viewpoint Suppression have to cover themselves by warning that when things change, and the left in Washington, DC, finds itself no longer in charge, liberalism will rue its present willingness to suppress politically incorrect speech.

In fact, that won’t happen. There is no way the right could completely take charge in America anytime soon. Even a clean, Reagan-like conservative sweep in the federal elections this year and 2016 would still leave in place a judiciary branch leaning to the left (outside the narrowly divided Supreme Court), a uniformly left-wing and intolerant higher education system and the almost equally “progressive” media.

However, one still feels some satisfaction and relief that at least some liberals have not yet lost their minds. Maybe some doors to intellectual diversity will open now.

One thinks, however, of the trouble with censorship endured by opponents of Darwinism for a dozen years now — after people like Chris Mooney went around the country to persuade media outlets not to permit viewpoints on science that are deemed (by the left, of course) manifestly wrong. This is Herbert Marcuse’s approach, which once was rejected. But the passage of time and the rise of an ignorant new generation has given it new life.

A standard of dishonest intolerance applied to “science” has nowadays been applied to many topics. Once you start down the path of viewpoint restriction there is little reason to stop.

Oddly, most conservatives (not all) would gladly permit any political, scientific or economic views to be expressed in private or public, as long as their own were included. There are some liberals, as well, who still adhere to this once consensus liberal stance. It would be nice to see more come forth.

Bruce Chapman

Cofounder and Chairman of the Board of Discovery Institute
Bruce Chapman has had a long career in American politics and public policy at the city, state, national, and international levels. Elected to the Seattle City Council and as Washington State's Secretary of State, he also served in several leadership posts in the Reagan administration, including ambassador. In 1991, he founded the public policy think tank Discovery Institute, where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board and director of the Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership.