The expanding power of opaque notions

David Harsanyi worries that censorship is gaining popularity:

Why would a feminist — or anyone, for that matter — celebrate the idea of empowering bureaucrats to decide how we talk about gender stereotypes? Because these days, foundational values mean less and less to those who believe hearing something disagreeable is the worst thing that could happen to them.

Sometimes you need a censor, this Jezebel writer points out, because nefarious conglomerates like “Big Yogurt” have been “targeting women for decades.” She — and the British, apparently — don’t believe that women have the capacity to make consumer choices or the inner strength to ignore ads peddling probiotic yogurts.

This is why the U.K. Committee of Advertising Practice (and, boy, it takes a lot of willpower not to use the cliché “Orwellian” to describe a group that hits it on the nose with this kind of ferocity) is such a smart idea. It will ban, among others, commercials in which family members “create a mess, while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up,” ones that suggest that “an activity is inappropriate for a girl because it is stereotypically associated with boys, or vice versa,” and ones in which “a man tries and fails to perform simple parental or household tasks.”

If you believe this kind of thing is the bailiwick of the state, it’s unlikely you have much use for the Constitution. I’m not trying to pick on this one writer. Acceptance of speech restrictions is a growing problem among millennials and Democrats. For them, opaque notions of “fairness” and “tolerance” have risen to overpower freedom of expression in importance…

This position and its justifications all run on the very same ideological fuel. Believe it or not, though, allowing the state to ban documentaries is a bigger threat to the First Amendment than President Donald Trump’s tweets mocking CNN…

Nearly every censor in the history of mankind has argued that speech should be curbed to balance out some harmful consequence. And nearly every censor in history, sooner or later, kept expanding the definition of harm until the rights of his political opponents were shut down

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One Response to The expanding power of opaque notions

  1. Paul Marks says:

    “Why would a feminist…. ” support crushing Freedom of Speech? Because “Third Wave” feminism is a front for Frankfurt School of Marxism (Political Correctness or “Critical Theory”) ideas – and Marxists have massive influence in schools and universities and are committed to destroying Freedom of Speech and all other basic freedoms. Bureaucrats (such as the “Advertising Authority”) are taught Frankfurt School of Marxism ideas in both school and university – without even knowing that these ideas are from the Frankfurt School of Marxism.

    I have listened to Conservative Party ministers come out with Frankfurt School of Marxism concepts in their speeches – again without them knowing where these ideas are from. Freedom of Speech? Like all other basic freedoms it is vain to expect the “educated” to support Freedom of Speech.

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