If a young man finds his job personally distasteful and morally objectionable, it seems to me the psychologically healthy and ethically correct thing to do would be to resign. Continuing to do the work and accept a paycheck after publicly declaring one's abhorrence for the task seems a bit unscrupulous.

I was therefore surprised that when Alec Kerr lamented having to facilitate the publication of what he considers hate speech, he did not conclude with the announcement that he was leaving the position. If that obvious solution has occurred to him since the appearance of his attenuated argument for greater censorship, I'm not aware of it. 

His complaint arose from having to lay out the editorial page, and he cringed particularly at having to handle "blatantly bigoted language."

I will admit that I've seen some conspicuously unfair cultural stereotyping in this newspaper, but it doesn't always come from conservative correspondents. Contributors as punctiliously progressive as Alec occasionally seem willing to dismiss whole classes of people by belief, age or even color — so long as that color is white. 

Twenty-one months ago, in fact, Alec himself stigmatized white men collectively in a column of his own. He was apologizing then, too — for being a straight, white male. Then he made a sweeping generalization about all "older white men in positions of power," basing it entirely on the response he assumed such men would make to his declaration. 

Never having held a position of any real power, I considered myself exempt, so I didn't take that personally. Besides, it's perfectly human to overlook the evidence of your own prejudices when you're so busy declaiming self-righteously about everyone else's. 

This time, he was out to define the extraordinarily narrow limits he would impose on public speech. He betrayed a particular aversion to opinions with which he disagrees — which, like a good progressive, he demonizes by deploying the familiar arsenal of nuclear accusations.

He specifically asserted that questioning the precept of systemic racism actually reveals racism, and I suppose his witch-dunking logic applies even to Black scholars such as Shelby Steele and Walter Williams. Should you adhere to the antediluvian folly that there is actually a difference between men and women, Alec would label you "sexist," and if you persist far enough into the dialogue, he would write you off as "transphobic." 

Doubt the dogma, and you're dog meat. Perhaps one doesn't even need to say anything to meet Alec's definition of hate speech. After all, the latest cardboard-slogan wisdom from the front lines insists that "silence is violence." 

Given his own way, Alec would not publish divergent opinions. He would instead "inform the public" and "shape the debate." What possible debate could there be, with a narrow-minded editor prohibiting anything approaching dissent?

Alec's preference for the ominous combination of propaganda and censorship precisely replicates the principal media practices of all the worst totalitarian regimes of the past century. That he should be so oblivious to glaring trademarks of authoritarian control does not speak well for the academic standards of our common alma mater, where the curriculum was already fragmenting into trivia by the time I graduated. 

Equally illiberal apostles of progressive doctrine have been trying for weeks now to persuade this newspaper to "cancel" its more skeptical columnists, including me. Most of them lack the excuses of inexperience and educational decadence that may help explain Alec's myopic partiality for fascistic ideological control. They're old enough to know better, but mendacity or mental deterioration still leads them to call themselves liberal. 

The coercive suppression of unpopular ideas is as old as the history of philosophy. Two and a half millennia ago, Socrates was condemned to death for refusing to recognize the official gods of Athens and for corrupting the minds of his students with such impiety. 

Galileo fared only slightly better. The Roman Inquisition convicted him of heresy for espousing the Copernican theory that Earth revolves around the sun. After debasing himself in a public apology like those demanded by today's wokerati, he was silenced through permanent house arrest. 

In each case, popular faith in a dominant philosophy was preserved against challenges by squelching the challengers. That has always been the favorite method of defending theories that even believers recognize as intellectually vulnerable. 

William Marvel lives in South Conway.

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(6) comments

RetVet

Randel,

You said, "My politics have nothing to do with my response to the article." And yet your response was completely political.

You see that always seems to be the problem with your writings. You are completely politically motivated.

And just to clarify, "hate" speech has been already litigated by the SCOTUS and is considered protected speech.

So it's not the same as yelling "fire" in a theater.

Declaring something to be, "offensive" as a benchmark is just a backhanded way of censoring speech and thought. There are ideas that you express that I find completely offensive. Should I have you censored?

And finally, I never said anything about, "hating" the job. So stop putting words in my mouth that I never used.

Instead, why not address the specific points I was making.

Where you work is not the place to let your political leanings interfere with doing your job. If that is too much to ask, you need to find another way to make a living.

Scott Shallcross

We don't have to guess what Socrates and Galileo would say about the "conservative" commentators at the DailySun. The Trump Administration's daily assault on truth and science is mind blowing. And don't be distracted by these opinion writers. We are in the middle of a tragically mismanaged pandemic, Roger Stone's commutation is just the latest example of Trump's lawlessness , we have no coherent foreign policy other than pleasing Putin (Russian military intelligence is interfering in our elections as I write this as well as placing bounties on American soldiers in Afghanistan), we have no federal guidance on reopening schools just threats to cut funding and we lurch from one self-created crisis to another.

Thaddeus

A little pretentious to compare yourself to Socrates and Galileo, Bill.

Randel

Good try to distort and twist Alec's point but an astute reader will see that you are using a smokescreen to cover your bigoted tracks. As for suggesting that Alec should resign, if you apply your wormwood "logic" on a larger scale, more than half of Congress would have to resign and every whistle blower.

RetVet

Randel,

Why is it that every time someone who apparently leans politically left and doesn’t agree with you, they resort to invective (calling the writer a bigot) and misdirection (accuse the writer of creating a smokescreen)?

And then you end with a strawman argument (invoking whistleblower).

But the biggest irony is accusing the writer of the very thing that you do (using wormwood logic).

The fact of the matter is quite simple. If the employee at the Conway Sun doesn’t like doing his job he has two options:

1) Suck it up and keep doing the thing that pays the bills.

2) Quit and find something else to do to pay the bills.

The worse thing to do is have a poor work attitude, be miserable, make those around you miserable, and then expect everyone to feel sorry for you.

If he thinks he is destined for “greater things” or has a burning desire to change the world, he should do it on his own time.

He is certainly not a whistleblower. He is someone who needs to grow up and act like an adult.

Randel

Telling someone to quit their job because they find aspects of it distasteful, instead of dealing with the substance of his complaint is like telling an anti-war or BLM demonstrator to "love it or leave it". Alec never said that he hates his job and you have no basis to even raise the possibility that he may have a poor attitude. My politics have nothing to do with my response to the article. I simply agree with Alec that publishing offensive material needs to be regulated just like guns need to be. You can't yell fire in the theater and you are not allowed to own a bazooka. No liberty is unbridled. Most newspaper editorial departments would not publish such opinion pieces. If the Sun is going to continue to publish such rhetoric, then it should follow Twitter's policy and flag it like it does when Trump tweets hate, racism and lies.

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