The United States of Censorship

Lefty “comedian” Bill Maher strikes again, with a largely sensible rant against cancel culture in his latest HBO show last Friday. With all of the usual warnings for his foul language, crude expressions, and attacks on the GOP (because “balance”), he does get off some great keepers, such as “Memo to social justice warriors: when what your doing sounds like an Onion headline—stop.”

On top of this are the intimidating letters several House Democrats have sent to cable TV networks essentially demanding that they stop carrying Fox News.

But let’s go into the Wayback Machine and take note that the urge to censor is not new at all, and why politicians are often the worst. I happened to stumble across an 1976 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that caught me up short. Here’s how it opens (with some emphasis added):

Three Texans and a hundred other congressmen would like to see restrictions placed on some consumer groups, environmentalists and others they believe “unfairly” rate member of Congress on the basis of their voting records.

Reps. Dale Milford (D-Grand Prairie), Ray Roberts (D-McKinney), and James Collins (R-Dallas), joined House Republican Leader John J. Rhodes in a letter asking the Fair Campaign Practices Committee, a private organization, to “monitor and expose” the growing use of ratings based on a small number of votes.

Rhodes also has asked the House Republican Research Committee and the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee to examine the possibility of placing legal restrictions on the groups that issue such ratings.

Yes, it is fact universal to all politicians that they hate to be held accountable for their votes (or even have then noticed), but it is a double disgrace in this long ago case that the House Republican Leader was down for this impulse to censor. Though there is an amusing flip side to this story at the very end:

Earlier this year, some freshman Democrats elected in the 1974 liberal sweep of congressional elections were enraged to find they had been given very high ratings by the Americans for Democratic Action—a very liberal group.

The freshman found that many of their constituents disliked the liberal-leaning Congress and, while they may have voted well for their district’s special interests, they aren’t e having trouble living down the “radical-lib” image.

A healthy reminder that Democrats have long ruled by deliberate deception concealing their agenda they know to be unpopular with many of their constituents.

Chaser—This just may stand up as Tweet of the year:

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