Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Triumph of Tailgunner Joe.

Bill Bernstein
by Bill Bernstein - Back in 1976 my father took me to see Woody Allen's new movie, The Front. He had to explain to me what a "blacklist" was and the context of The Front, how Hollywood and the Screen Actors Guild between 1946 and 1957 created a list of actors, writers, directors and producers who could not be employed because of their associations with the Communist Party.  All of this took place in the context of McCarthy's witch hunts during this period.

Eventually people asserted themselves against the idea of boycotting someone for his political beliefs or associations. A blacklisted radio host sued a trade organization for damage and was supported by the liberal stars of that era: Louis Nizer, Edward R Murrow and others. The principle established was: people are entitled to their own beliefs. Even if we find them objectionable. Boycotting and outing are not the American way.

Senator Joe McCarthy died in 1957, a disgraced alcoholic reviled by liberals of the day. But somewhere in Heaven ole Tailgunner Joe must be smiling. His principle of waging economic war on those holding objectionable beliefs has become the new normal. Hardly a day passes without Leftists "outing" people opposing their agenda and having them fired, or Conservatives declaring a boycott of some business or actor due to their objectionable statements. The quaint liberal notions of free speech and free association have been thrown aside. And the range of "objectionable" has grown far beyond McCarthy's era, when yearning for Communist revolution was the standard for shunning. Now supporting views expressed by Candidate Obama in 2007 is enough to get one blacklisted and fired.

Needless to say this stifling of speech and thought will not end well. It never does. People croaking about "diversity" would be well to ask how many Conservatives are in their organization, how many Socialists they rub shoulders with daily. At one time the idea was America was a "marketplace of ideas" where ideas competed for adherents. We had a confidence that American liberal values (that is, Classical Liberalism) would win out eventually. That idea is gone, replaced with rigid lines enforced with sanctions. The resulting groupthink will not make the country stronger. The very opposite.

Bill Bernstein first came to Nashville in 1980 as a freshman at Vanderbilt. After finishing he spent time in graduate schools in Classics. He returned to Nashville in 1992 and has been a firearms dealer and Second Amendment advocate for over a decade

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