Category: "Free Speech"

They're not Snowflakes; They're Blockheads

They're not Snowflakes; They're Blockheads

unsplash-logoNina Strehl

It's time to stop calling them snowflakes. It's time to call them what they really are, a bunch of blockheads.

How do I define blockhead? Anyone past the age of three who still thinks the appropriate way to make his point is to rant and scream and call names and then stops up his ears until he finds people who will tell him what he wants to hear. As they grow up, this turns into safe rooms, and teaching and university faculties that all spout a particular narrative and teach it as the truth.

And as it spills over into politics, it is the shameful movement by various Democrats to boycott the State of the Union Address of President Donald J. Trump.

These are the people who have learned that the world is a certain way, and will not be budged, or even bothered to think about it. These are likewise the haters on the right and the left.

It doesn't matter if the hate is because of skin color, wealth, religion, or particularly in our times, political affiliation. These are the people who automatically impute ill-will to anyone who thinks otherwise, and seek in other people's actions evidence of oppression. And when they find they are being oppressed, they are justified in reacting violently.

This is a recipe for disaster, perhaps even civil war. The more we talk into our own echo chambers, the less tolerance we have for anyone else. The more the other looks like the enemy.

But here's the thing. Do You really think the person who voted for Trump, or Hillary, cares less about his children, than you do? Do you really think he wants to see the US go down the drain? I don't believe it.

The problem is that these narcissistic blockheads vote. And unfortunately they mostly vote for the person who can spend the most money, and who spits back more or less what they want to hear. And as things get worse, each echo chamber knows what to preach to its base to activate it to come out and vote.

And then most politicians end up listening to the money, which has a different interest altogether.

And this is where our preaching and our shouting and our sticking our head in the sand has taken us. It doesn't matter if they are antifa or the KKK; both are more interested in their own victimhood than they are in advancing their society and advancing themselves within it.

It is much easier to hate than to hone your thinking, learn how to listen, and influence, and learn how to take the other's perspective.

And perhaps it's this we must teach. Maybe it's time to stop trying to push certain agendas, and leave instead the conditions in which family and community and personal connection can form and grow.

Maybe it's this that made America great. At our best, we are a community of communities that all respect - more or less - each other. And I know we don't all see President Trump as the standard bearer of this vision, but I think also of what President Bush (43) said, that “the office is always bigger than the person.”

And maybe, just maybe, if we reach across the aisle, we can stop being blockheads and come up with a vision of a great America we can all celebrate.

I Discriminate, and So Should You!

I Discriminate, and So Should You!

We all discriminate. If you claim that you don't, you are a liar. We couldn't function if we didn't. I know that when I am talking to a lawyer, I can talk in a way I can't to a lay person. I categorize, I make assumptions based on the person's license. I use that shorthand to know approximately how I can relate to the person in front of me.

The same when I talk to a two year old. I know he thinks a certain way, and is not yet capable of thinking in other ways.

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American Trigger Warning

American Trigger Warning

I shared with my mom this conversation regarding Canada's Bill C-116. A conversation on the nature of free speech opened with a trigger warning. If I weren't already sensitized to the issue, I would have been appalled. I thank our G-d that we aren't here yet in the United States, but we're moving in this direction:

Harassment motivated by gender is a form of discrimination.…
For example, refusal to use a transgender employee’s preferred name, pronoun, or title may constitute unlawful gender-based harassment.

New York City Gender Identity/Gender Expression: Legal Enforcement Guidance Leaving aside the obvious problems—like a man deciding he's a woman to walk into a woman's shelter or locker room—I think this runs up against our First Amendment rights to free speech:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This amendment is based on the premise that the free expression of our ideas, and the give and take that follow therefrom, will give us an opportunity to challenge ourselves, to examine our thoughts and those of others, and come to a better question, maybe even approach a truth, although yours and mine might be completely different.

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Memorial Day 2017

I'm almost done reading Mr. Tuvia Tenenbom's rather depressing book The Lies They Tell. (Welcome to the real America,
a place you call home but don't yet know!
) One of his themes is that Americans are afraid.

And it's not that we are afraid of the rest of the world. We are afraid of ourselves. In the land that celebrates free speech, people are afraid to speak their mind, we don't want to tell you who we voted for, or what we really think for fear of how it will look.

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Angry Losers

This week, I am inspired to write by Pat Condell, and his video Hello Angry Losers. His point is that the left seems quite ready to celebrate the democratic process when it wins, and equally ready to angrily dismiss it when it loses, to wit branding those who supported the Brexit as racist little Englanders, as idiots who voted against their own interests.

In the US, this phenomenon shows up with those seeking to Impeach Donald Trump Now, a website registered within days of President Trump's election. This movement is sponsored by such organizations as Free Speech for People.org.

I find it incredible that those who seemingly celebrate free speech seem so against it when the speech goes against their own beliefs, in this case challenged by the beliefs of Trump supporters, and their speech in selecting him.

And it may be that many of Trump people are low-information voters, who voted more on emotion than knowledge. This didn't seem to bother anyone when President Obama was elected. So why should it now?

President Trump speaks for a segment of our country that simply does not believe America is living into its potential. Rather than examining and seeking to ameliorate the concerns of the people Mr. Trump speaks for, certain elements paint their concerns as trivial. For these elements, the people of Impeach Trump Now, this is flyover country. These are the people who cling to their guns and religion, to borrow a phrase.

Maybe it is that Trump's people had not been heard. Now it's their turn to speak. And rather than show themselves as true liberals, people who understand that others may think differently, that others may have valid concerns that do not echo their own, the people at Free Speech for People enter new echo chambers to convince themselves that they are right as they try to bring down the man who just happens to speak in a different voice.

They don't need to celebrate Trump, but if, instead of being Angry Losers, they chose to celebrate our process, and use our vast resources to make a difference for all Americans - and not by reeducating them in “correct thinking” - we'd all be in a better place.