Perhaps the hallmark of historic liberalism, at least the 19th century variety of Thomas Jefferson or John Stuart Mill as well as mid-20th century liberals, was toleration and free expression. But does anyone doubt for a nanosecond that if those who today call themselves “liberals” had the power to do so, they’d censor or shut down Fox News and Rush Limbaugh immediately? That’s what the attempted revival of the “Fairness Doctrine” is all about, since for liberals “fairness” means stopping any fight where they’re losing.
So check out good ol’ John Kerry (who fought in Vietnam, I have heard) on Friday lecturing the media on its “responsibility” not to give equal time to the Tea Party, because, obviously, the Tea Party is wrong, and as such liberals shouldn’t have to defend themselves or even argue to matter to a public too stupid to be convinced of who their betters really are.
“And I have to tell you, I say this to you politely. The media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.”
“It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?”
I especially like the way Kerry says he’s saying this “to you politely,” since we can guess how he’d put it if he were a Commissar instead of an elected official who the people might turf out. I could also say this is another case of the leftist mask slipping, but from the look of Kerry’s perpetually long face he doesn’t have a mask to let slip.
I’ve thought for a long time that it was a positive development that “liberals” started calling themselves “Progressive” instead, although it merely masked the reality that they are unable to come to grips with the defects of the modern liberal creed that acquired such a negative taint with the American public in the 1970s and 1980s. But it might allow an older liberalism—both the classical liberalism of free markets and the Mill-style liberalism of true openness to divergent views—to reassert itself. In other words, it may now be possible to rescue liberalism from modern liberals. So by all means let’s debate “progress,” too, and show how reactionary and ill-liberal today’s so-called “Progressives” really are.