Tag: Phil Robertson

On Hate Speech

Ann Althouse riffs off of Kathy Griffin’s tweet on the Robertson issue with some thoughts about hate speech. I’ll pull a long quote here:

Hate speech similarly affects the minds of the members of the group against whom hate has been expressed, and it can produce the same kind of fear of violence that is caused by a report of a hate crime. Now, there is hate speech and there is hate speech. Think of the most virulent hate speech, and you should see how powerful it is, how justified and painful the fear is. In extreme cases, members of the targeted group should take alarm and even flee in terror. A purveyor of hate speech need not commit an act of violence to create a fear of violence. He might inspire others to commit those acts of violence, and even if he doesn’t, the threat of violence alone has an effect. False reports of hate speech work the same harm.

In the set of statements that could be characterized as hate speech, what Phil Robertson said was not that bad. Many would argue for a narrow definition of hate speech such that what Phil Robertson said would not be in the set at all. Defining the category very broadly is a political and rhetorical move, and it isn’t always effective. At some point — and perhaps with Robertson, we’ve hit that point — you’re being too repressive about what can be said on issues about which decent people are still debating, and it would be better to hear each other out and remain on speaking terms.

There is more good to be achieved by talking to each other and not shunning than by treating another human being as toxic. In fact, to treat another person as toxic is to become hateful yourself. It’s better to let the conversation flow, and if you really think your ideas are good, why switch to other tactics? What’s the emergency? Especially when your cause — like gay rights — is for greater human freedom, you ought to resist becoming a force of repression.

Since making his controversial remark, Phil Robertson has put out the message that as a Christian he loves everyone. Love speech is the opposite of hate speech, and it has so much more to do with Christianity than the reviling of sin in the earlier remark. He wants to speak against sin, but it’s a problem when you aim a remark at a kind of person who has, over the years — over the millennia — felt a threat of violence and the burden of ostracism. I think Robertson knows that.

Hate speech is an actual thing. I don’t think anyone would doubt that a KKK rally is meant to threaten, intimidate and frighten others. But I think, in the discussion of what does and does not constitute hate speech, a respect for open dialogue, mutual understanding and a robust debate requires us to draw the line as narrowly as possible.

If Robertson had said he thought gays should get the Matthew Shepherd treatment that would be hate speech (putting aside that the Shepherd killing may have had more to do with drugs than gayness). But he didn’t. He expressed a moral view that homosexuality is wrong (a view about half of Americans hold) and that he wishes that gays, like all sinners, would turn away from their sin. It’s simply not comparable to what, to pick an example almost at random, Alec Baldwin said about Henry Hyde. Or the insults he hurled at a gay man. In both cases, Baldwin was shouting violent threats at someone he didn’t like. That’s not even in the same ballpark.

Unfortunately, there is an effort in this country, especially from the Left, to define the bounds of “hate speech” as broadly as possible. I have even heard radio talk show hosts accused of hate speech because they have the temerity to vigorously criticize Democrats. Of course, the Left are never guilty of hate speech. No, sir. When they call Phil Robertson a bigot and a homophobe, that’s not hate. When they insult his looks, his family, his faith and his show, that’s not hate. When they compared Bush to Hitler, that wasn’t hate. When they mocked Romney for his temple garments, that wasn’t hate.

Needless to say, I oppose all attempts to outlaw hate speech. And I think speech codes on campuses and elsewhere are shameful. Your right to free speech does not mean your employer can’t fire you for saying something that embarrasses them. Or that you can’t be prosecuted if you provoke other people to violence. But I find the idea of any kind or prior restraint repulsive, especially when we’re talking about a moral debate we’re still having. That’s not “creating respect” or “stopping hate”. That’s trying to make the other side shut up.

There are tens of millions of people in this country who have changed their opinions about gays and gay rights. They didn’t change their minds because they were told to shut up. They did it because people debated them, talked to them, persuaded them. They did it because they got to know gay people as friends, family members and co-workers. They did it because, at bottom, they were decent reasonable human beings. They opposed gay rights not because of “hate” but because of their love of our traditional culture and values. When they are convinced that something is not a threat to that, they tend to come around. I know this because it’s a journey I myself went on 20 years ago when I was in college. That didn’t happen because of speech codes.

What The Duck!!!!

I did the unthinkable the other day. Doing some last minute Christmas shopping on line, an item that I wanted was only available in store. So yesterday I drove to my local Kohls, grabbed what I wanted and was going to be outa there in less than 5 minutes. While standing in the check out line, I noticed Duck Dynasty crap everywhere, toys in the center isle and books (both on the family and cooking) near the cash registers. Clearly, I was tickled, not so much because I was a fan (at the time I never saw the show but have lately been watching the first season on Amazon Prime, the show is terrific) but anytime those whinny cry baby gay advocate groups get their nose tweaked and their thuggish brown shirt tactics don’t garner the intended results (not everyone will be bullied) it restores my faith in humanity.

No need to go over what happened, everyone should know by now and the sides have pretty much been drawn, except for the sponsors. Some initially bowed to the pressure and reversed course, while others got on the right side right away, knowing which side their bread is buttered.

Initial impression could indicate that Phil Robertson is a red neck hick, too stupid to know what he has wrought, that impression could not be more wrong. He can read his bio. here, the guy is a walking cliche for the American dream. I did not know he was such a football stud, a Masters in education, a self made millionaire. I was also taken by his Come To Jesus moment, as the song says, was lost but now am found.

Re: the GQ interview, as much I thought he was in command of the whole process, clearly he was trying to pander somewhat to his audience, hence the talk about vagina’s, but he knew what the central theme would be, sin, in all it’s manifestations.

I always wonder why famous people talk to these magazines in the first place, anything positive rarely results, except catching the interviewee in a controversial comment, which is then used to sell more magazines (Stanley McCrystal comes to mind).

I’m not surprised that GLAAD had a hissy fit, nor am I surprised that out of all those things he described as sinful ,” Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right”, that part got them the most upset.

I got an education on how the gay activists work during the Prop. 8 kerfuffle a few years back, they give new meaning to “might makes right” and “There is no prize for second place”, while businesses were vandalized, people were attacked, and real laws were broken. Clearly A&E did not want to tangle with them, and we have seen this play out before, both at Target and Chick fil A.

The Robertson family does not need A&E, my guess is that they will cave and restore Phil pronto, it is all about the samolians.

In watching a few of the episodes, I get the popularity. The concept is about as foreign to me as you can get, never ever killing a critter for food, but the simplicity of living off the land (“I don’t trust store bought meat, never have”), and camaraderie of family (the biggest insult imaginable is calling someone a “bird watcher”) makes it very entertaining. The episode where Phil goes to “career day” at his grand daughters school, then shows the 8th grade class how to field dress a duck, with the resultant nausea in the audience, solid gold.