Thursday, February 16, 2017

I Can't Hear You

NPR reported today on a gay journalist whose experience with trolls after he published an article on Milo Y turned him into a conservative. Our Trump-enabling Congressman is holding a series of Town Hall meetings (well outside of our liberal county) on Saturday, and amid the calls for polite discourse are plenty of people claiming that their intention is to shut him up and drown him out.

My father's favorite phrase, which he attributed (wrongly) to Voltaire, was "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." (Voltaire's biographer, a woman named Evelyn Beatrice Hall, was the real author of the quote.) This philosophy has been strangled to death by a society in which we value safe spaces and bubbles over a free exchange of ideas.

The danger is that if you drown out Milo Y and the congressman, you make them into heroic, wronged victims, whereas if you let them spout their claptrap, noxious though it may be, they eventually drown themselves out. If it's too painful for you to listen, don't go. But don't let your sensitivities allow people like Milo Y to portray himself as abused and bullied. That way, he wins.

No comments:

Post a Comment