Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Censorship and the Secular Left

Feb 17, 2009

Liberal or leftist secularism is the reigning ideology amongst our Western intelligentsia and elites. It certainly has a stranglehold on our educational system. It can be very difficult to get in alternative points of view. Most attempts to penetrate this ideological hegemony are usually met with stiff opposition, animosity, and censorship.

In 2007 Jonah Goldberg penned an important volume entitled Liberal Fascism. In it he sought to document – in nearly 500 pages – the totalitarian tendencies of the left. I here offer just one paragraph from the book. It sets the tone for the rest of the work:

“Fascism is a religion of the state. It assumes the organic unity of the body politic and longs for a national leader attuned to the will of the people. It is totalitarian in that it views everything as political and holds that any action by the state is justified to achieve the common good. It takes responsibility for all aspects of life, including our health and well-being, and seeks to impose uniformity of thought and action, whether by force or through regulation and social pressure. Everything, including the economy and religion, must be aligned with its objectives. Any rival identity is part of the ‘problem’ and therefore defined as the enemy. I will argue that contemporary American liberalism embodies all of these aspects of fascism.”

Readers are encouraged to get a copy of this book and read for themselves the case which Goldberg makes. Here however I simply wish to highlight two recent examples of this liberal fascism. Both took place in North America and both illustrate how censorship and hostility tend to be the ways in which the secular left responds to opposing points of view.

The first example concerns a student at Los Angeles Community College. Late last year the student attempted to give a speech about marriage in a speech class. He sought to defend heterosexual marriage, and he mentioned briefly his own Christian faith. This was simply too much for his liberal, secular professor.

When the student, Jonathan Lopez was in the middle of his speech, reading the dictionary definition of marriage and reciting several Bible verses, his enraged professor, John Matteson, interrupted his speech, calling Lopez a “fascist”. He was not allowed to finish his presentation.

The professor told the other students they could leave if they were offended. When no one left, he dismissed the class. Matteson refused to grade the student’s assigned speech, and he wrote on Lopez’s evaluation, “Ask God what your grade is.”

Fortunately this outrageous case of liberal intolerance and fascism did not go unchallenged. The Alliance Defense Fund has just sued the Los Angeles Community College District. I will keep readers posted on how this case develops.

The second example has to do with a 12-year-old Toronto school girl. This case also involves a student speech and liberal intolerance. Her five minute speech was on abortion, presenting the pro-life case. It was part of a school competition. LifeSiteNews picks up the story here:

“At the schoolwide competition, the mom said one pro-choice teacher on the judge’s panel ‘didn’t even want to hear’ the speech, and stepped down from the panel before Lia began. After the speech, which Lia’s family said was well-received by both students and teachers, the judges initially told Lia she had indeed been disqualified. But controversy among the judges eventually led to a reversal, and Lia’s family learned the next day that the panel agreed the girl deserved to win the competition.”

The parents volunteered to step down, given the big stink that ensued, but her teacher insisted that she remain in the competition. Thus the story has ended with a happy outcome. But there is more to the story. The speech was such a powerful and moving affair, that it has been posted on Youtube and seen 120,000 times.

But more secular left ugliness has marred this presentation as well. Comments to the speech – numbering over 400 – have had to be stopped, because of ugly, hate-filled comments and threats to Lia. Youtube has had to apologise but it insists that no new comments can be posted, given the negative reaction.

Some commentators snidely suggested that Lia’s mother forced her to give the speech. Not so. She wanted Lia to pick another topic. “But she was just really passionate about it, and she has her research on it,” said the mother. “I really believe it’s just something that God put in her heart.”

The good news is, people can still see the inspiring speech on Youtube. The site is here:

These are just two examples of how illiberal many Western liberals really are. Thousands more such examples have been documented over recent years. Every day new examples come to light. This is the nature of liberal fascism which Goldberg warns about. And the problem is, it will only get worse, unless concerned citizens start to stand up and be counted.

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24 Responses to Censorship and the Secular Left

  • Short and sweet and very relevant. Keep this sort of information pouring in Bill. As always, you are doing a great job!
    Teresa Binder

  • Well done Lia keep it up that was a great speech. You have the same compassion as I have. Thank you for your courage to speak up on this issue.
    Anthea Loton

  • Having completed a degree last year in social welfare I agree that Goldberg’s definition of fascism is the sort of thing being taught in our universities. Ironically after deconstructing and dismissing any notion of social or personal objective moralilty, the lecturers then argue for the secular liberal mindset as the only correct way of thinking.

    We were handed round an article written by Victorian State MP Sophie Mirabella. From memory, Ms Mirabella pointed out that an Aboriginal lead commission in Victoria had found no evidence of any ‘Stolen Generation’ event happening in our State. The questions that came to my mind were what was this commission, when was it held, where can we read it? But the lecturers were simply handing it around as an example of typical racist thinking in our white leaders. They completely ignored the content of the article and attacked Ms Mirabella.

    One lecturer did tell me one day that my views deeply offended her. When I pressed the issue at hand, she could offer no logical reason for her ideas other than they were just right! However I must admit that most of my lecturers allowed me my point of view. But then all I had to do was reference all my points and arguments and they had no logical ground to fail me (not that logic has a big part to play either).

    In the journal “Kategoria” Phil Miles argued that the modern concept of tolerance leads to tyranny. What we see is that if I was to make a comment at work (or Uni) that was considered by some as to lack understanding of correct thinking, for example suggesting the gay lifestyle is unhealthy and wrong, I am sent off to ‘sensitivity training’. Thus my mistaken attitudes will be corrected. This, argues Miles, is just what we see in totalitarian regimes. Again, back to fascism.

    Greg Randles

  • From the mouth of a babe!
    So inspiring!
    Hope Jenny Mikakos liked it!
    Thanks Bill!
    Jane Byrne

  • Just a reminder that time is slipping away. There are just 10 days left for you to lodge your submissions with the Australian Human Rights Commission re “Freedom of Religion and Belief in the 21st Century”.
    Dunstan Hartley

  • Greg, Sophie is the member for Indi which is the neighbouring federal electorate to the North of where I live, so I hear about her from time to time. I can report that she is a great conservative who as well as questioning the ‘stolen generation’ myth is also a man made global warming skeptic. She copped quite a bit of ridicule and abuse from the local media (especially the left-leaning Shepparton News) for her statements about the so-called ‘stolen generation’. Consequently I made it a point to ring her electorate office in Wangaratta to express my support for her views.

    If the Liberal Party was made up of people like Sophie Mirabella it would be a party worth supporting. Unfortunately she is only one of a handful of MPs who could genuinely be described as conservatives.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Thanks guys

    The story of Lia continues to gain international interest, and at least one person has decided not to have an abortion because of her moving speech. She the write-up there:

    And Lia’s Youtube speech has now been viewed over 220,000 times.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill
    What I am finding even more disturbing than the examples you have given – tragic as they are – is the extent of this type of illiberal thinking in Christian circles.

    In recent weeks on this site, we have seen a Christian attacking young-earth creationists as an “embarrassment.” After asking for proof of a young universe, she dismissed the book I suggested, without even reading it, based purely on its publishing house. She added that she knew nothing about the topic but would defer to the ‘experts’ (i.e. those from the system described in your article). Yet another comment from another Christian female (who supported the views of the first one) suggested that her faith had been strengthened by abandoning belief in what the Bible says about creation and global floods. Once again, she dismissed reading a book I suggested on genetics by citing a secular, anti-creationist site which attacked the author of the suggested book, a PhD, on the grounds he made “elementary schoolboy errors” and he would have failed him had he been in his course – a comment that also mirrors the fascist approach in the article above, i.e. no other view is permissible.

    Then there have been comments on Rick Warren removing anti-homosexual and pro-creation comments from his web site after apparently falling to one of the 3 G’s (gold, girls/guys, or glory) that bring down many Christians. If any further proof were needed of his compromised position, then the extremely disturbing content of his inauguration speech should suffice, as people on this site have observed. It is one thing to listen to the secular-influenced opinions of church attendees, but when the leaders of the evangelical movement are also prepared to compromise, we have an even greater problem!

    When I heard Patrick Sookhdeo last week, he was talking about how those ignoring the rise of Islam do not understand theology. It is tragic when the secular system has been taken over by these liberal fascists and it imposes its views on our youth. However, what is increasingly apparent – and of even more concern – is that what little theology people in the church know has also, in many areas, been substantially influenced by the same liberal fascist thinking which does not tolerate any view other than their own and derides and abuses as an embarrassment those who stand for biblical truth.

    Roger Birch

  • Yet another comment from another Christian female…

    Roger, can I ask why you feel it pertinent to highlight the gender of those who disagree with you? If my name was Hank would you see a need to put ‘male’ after Christian? Just asking.

    …(who supported the views of the first one) suggested that her faith had been strengthened by abandoning belief in what the Bible says about creation and global floods.

    When it comes to nature, I believe the findings of science are infinitely more elegant and inspiring than the Biblical creation story. More importantly, the findings of science are supported by evidence. The creation story of Genesis is not. Many Christians see no conflict between scientific discovery and their faith (there is no ‘compromise’), why can’t you?

    Once again, she dismissed reading a book I suggested on genetics…

    Roger, telling someone to go read some book is a fairly languid approach to having a debate. I have no objections to someone mentioning a text, but it is absurd to expect me to put anything else I may be reading on hold, acquire the book in question, read it in its entirety, and then refute it (‘preferably in less than 100 words’) here in a blog post, and that until I do so I should assume that the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community is in fact, in error. I don’t think so.

    …by citing a secular, anti-creationist site which attacked the author of the suggested book, a PhD…

    I can only assume the PhD of the critic, in your eyes, is irrelevant?

    …on the grounds he made “elementary schoolboy errors” and he would have failed him had he been in his course…

    If one makes ‘elementary schoolboy errors’ concerning a topic then one should be expected to fail a course on said topic. No?

    Heather Bates

  • Heather
    Some time ago, there was a blog where the gender of the person was unclear and I recall someone writing he/she which I find impersonal (although mandatory in the secular tertiary environment). The reason I used the terms ‘she’ and ‘female’ is because I felt that was correct and more polite. If the person is male, I have no problem using the term ‘he.’

    As for the rest of your comments, you again completely miss the point of Bill’s article, the response from Greg above and the content of my comment. You make some incredibly sweeping statements such as the “findings of science are supported by evidence” (with the implication of origins which I would strongly refute) and “the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community.” However, as I and others having been trying to say, and you in fact have admitted, science is based on naturalism which excludes God. As such, the prism through which the community that you appear to so revere interprets ‘facts’ by specifically excluding God, a position I would have thought Christians would at least question.

    As for the methodology of debate, I must admit I struggle with your approach. You make sweeping assertions as to ‘truth,’ but your truth is apparently based on naturalism. You then refuse to look at alternatives, apparently on the grounds that such alternatives are not ‘peer reviewed’ by the very people who refuse to acknowledge God.

    So, it is not the PhD of the critic that is relevant but the worldview of that critic. I have personally experienced having a Masters paper in theology being marked at high distinction internally by both the academic dean of the college where I was studying (who had two PhD’s) and also by a visiting professor from the US, but as a pass by an external examiner (the degree was being done through an external organization). As such, I find your faith in the independence of the academic system somewhat naïve to put it mildly.

    The point of my response above was to highlight the dearth of theological knowledge in many Christian circles and how even those who have some basic knowledge have adopted a secular worldview to taint their position. You ask why I can’t see a conflict between ‘scientific discovery’ and the faith of many Christians. Again without laboring the fact that ‘scientific discovery’ is too broad a term and there are many aspects of ‘scientific discovery’ that I totally accept, I used to believe in evolution because that is what I had been taught. I accept that many Christians hold that position and most Bible Colleges teach this. So, I used to be in your camp! However, this does not make it right and such a belief led me to lose my faith for many years.

    It was only when I started to study theology in depth and also to study the way people think and the indoctrination that we receive when being taught that I finally started to think for myself and see the compromise necessary which you apparently still fail to see.

    Roger Birch

  • As for the rest of your comments, you again completely miss the point of Bill’s article, the response from Greg above and the content of my comment.

    Roger, I wasn’t responding to Bill or Greg. You made comments about me to which I object, and I am here to defend myself.

    You make some incredibly sweeping statements such as the “findings of science are supported by evidence” (with the implication of origins which I would strongly refute) and “the overwhelming consensus of the scientific community.” However, as I and others having been trying to say, and you in fact have admitted, science is based on naturalism which excludes God.

    Of course science is based on (methodological) naturalism – that’s its very nature. It cannot make any determination on God, as God is supernatural.

    As for the methodology of debate, I must admit I struggle with your approach. You make sweeping assertions as to ‘truth,’ but your truth is apparently based on naturalism. You then refuse to look at alternatives, apparently on the grounds that such alternatives are not ‘peer reviewed’ by the very people who refuse to acknowledge God.

    I suspect that when a scientist is discussing how electricity behaves, or how the planets maintain their orbits, you don’t expect them to ‘acknowledge God’. So why do you expect them to do this when discussing biological diversity? When we’re talking about science, worldviews don’t matter. What matters is the evidence. Whether a scientist is a Christian, Muslim, Jew or an atheist is irrelevant – their science stands of falls based on the evidence. I simply see no need to dismiss (or be suspicious of) the work of a scientist if they do not share my world view – what’s important is that they use the scientific method. I see the existence of a God as a philosophical project, not a scientific one.

    The point of my response above was to highlight the dearth of theological knowledge in many Christian circles and how even those who have some basic knowledge have adopted a secular worldview to taint their position.

    As I keep saying, accepting evolution and other obvious facts like an old earth has nothing to do with ‘secular worldviews’. It’s just reality. This reality is perfectly compatible with our faith in God – we needn’t jettison our faith when embracing reality.

    Heather Bates

  • Heather and whoever else.

    For anyone debating the ‘findings of Science are supported by Evidence’ I suggest you take a look at this paper:

    It is a summary on what has been discovered about DNA in the last so and so years, especially with the completion of the ENCODE project. A full reading will take about 15-20 mins.

    It seems that many of the popular “findings of Science” are simply impossible given our NEW findings of Science. Enjoy.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney

  • Without any fixed point of reference, like a ship without compass or captain, society is rapidly drifting in a sea of relativity where it changes its attitudes and values according to the political climate. The passengers and crew do not mind where the ship is going, just so long as everything is running smoothly and everyone has the feel-good factor. The only moral compass is the average consensus at any particular moment. What might be shocking and completely unacceptable behaviour has become overnight respectable and what was previously considered to be decent and responsible behaviour has become criminal. Without any fixed, absolute point of reference, human nature has a way of accommodating and becoming comfortable over a period of time with a state of hell. It can gradually sleep walk into becoming hardened, desensitised to cruelty, barbarism and evil, as happened in Nazi Germany, Russia, China, Cambodia and now – even Britain. No doubt Germans today still cannot believe that they as a nation descended to such barbarism, just over fifty years ago.

    Today our governments hail what they call “landmark” and “flag ship” legislation that liberates society from all boundaries, restraint and self-control. Just listen to the celebratory language of the British Government in 2006 when it introduced the Sexual Orientation Regulations that were written by the un-elected, Marxist, anarchist, lesbian, Angela Mason, who works quietly but ceaselessly in the corridors of power.

    “The Government’s vision is for a fair society founded on equal opportunities for all, respect for the dignity and worth of each person and mutual respect between communities. Significant progress has been made over the past forty years –since the first anti-discrimination legislation was introduced – towards achieving such a society in which everybody can achieve their full potential, unfettered by prejudice or discrimination.
    Anti-discrimination legislation has played a crucial role in driving this progress and setting the benchmark for acceptable behaviour in many areas of our everyday lives. We have just celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the Sex (Gender) Discrimination Act and will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the first Race Relations legislation later this year. It is unlikely that British society would be as diverse and successful as it is today without these landmark pieces of legislation. More recently, we have made significant strides towards achieving equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. Since 1997, we have equalised the age of consent, repealed section 28 and outlawed discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the workplace. And just three months ago, we witnessed the first civil partnerships taking place across the United Kingdom.”

    How soon will we hear that “significant progress,” and “significant strides” has been made not only in killing unborn babies, but the elderly, the disabled and all who offend us.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Hypothetical conversation Heather would like me (or us) to have when I face God when my life on earth is over:

    Jesus: Why didn’t you believe me when I said that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’?
    Me: Well, Heather Bates said I don’t need to jettison my faith when I accept that you were lying.

    Not gonna happen.

    Mark Rabich

  • Heather, what do you say to the comments of this scientist?

    “But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

    “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details. I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?”

    “The area of scientific knowledge has been enormously extended, and theoretical knowledge has become vastly more profound in every department of science. But the assimilative power of the human intellect is and remains strictly limited. Hence it was inevitable that the activity of the individual investigator should be confined to a smaller and smaller section of human knowledge. Worse still, this specialization makes it increasingly difficult to keep even our general understanding of science as a whole, without which the true spirit of research is inevitably handicapped, in step with scientific progress. Every serious scientific worker is painfully conscious of this involuntary relegation to an ever-narrowing sphere of knowledge, which threatens to deprive the investigator of his broad horizon and degrades him to the level of a mechanic …
    It is just as important to make knowledge live and to keep it alive as to solve specific problems.”

    “For the scientific method can teach us nothing else beyond how facts are related to, and conditioned by, each other. The aspiration toward such objective knowledge belongs to the highest of which man is capable, and you will certainly not suspect me of wishing to belittle the achievements and the heroic efforts of man in this sphere. Yet is equally clear that knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. One can have the clearest and most complete knowledge of what is , and yet not be able to deduct from that what should be the goal of our human aspirations. Objective knowledge provides us with powerful instruments for the achievements of certain ends, but the ultimate goal itself and the longing to reach it must come from another source. And it is hardly necessary to argue for the view that our existence and our activity acquire meaning only by the setting up of such a goal and of corresponding values.”

    “What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos.”

    -Albert Einstein

    David Skinner, UK

  • What a brave and intelligent little girl is Lia from Toronto. No subject in the public arena upsets me more than that of abortion. I will not vote for any politician, who is pro abortion. Voting is not compulsory- checking your name off the roll is. Also the term pro-choice is misleading and disingenuous. An abortionist is not pro choice. Has anyone ever heard of one of these types carrying any literature, in an effort to be fair and balanced with his customer (more accurate word than patient) to give her a chance to have a look at the mutitude of downsides of abortion, thereby jeopardizing his chance to grab that fee (whatever the going rate is) in his murky hands .Also, with an election pending in Queensland, we have Anna Blye floating around kissing babies, when she has admitted that she is in support of legilation to be introduced by her member in Aspley, to have abortion on demand (Victorian style) introduced in parliament. Electing the opposition would be preferable to continue with these bunch of misfits, who lunge from one crisis to another. The Labor party members here, most of whom have never had real jobs, are so incompetent, they couldn’t succesfully run a double decker toilet in a baked beans factory.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Hi Frank,

    I wholeheartedly agree that anyone who is prolife cannot possibly support Labor due to its overt support of abortion. I don’t know what the situation is in Queensland, but in Victoria prior to the last state election the state Labor party actually had it written into its policy platform to decriminalise abortion. During the last Victorian election campaign where I was an upperhouse candidate for the CDP, I distinctly remember attending a candidates forum where the concluding question put to us was what did we nominate as the most important issue in the campaign. Both I and the Family First candidate (to her credit) nominated the potential decriminalisation of abortion should Labor be returned. Obviously our worst fears were realised.

    So my comments above relating to the Liberal Party not being worth supporting because of the lack of genuine conservatives, was not meant to imply that it is just as bad as Labor, but that I would rather support a conservative minor party over the Liberal Party. Of course in Queensland you now have the Liberal National Party (LNP) but a search of its website for the term ‘abortion’ returns exactly zero results but I noticed much talk about ‘climate proofing the state’ whatever that means. A party too gutless to even mention the word ‘abortion’ in its policy document for fear of offending someone is hardly worthy of support.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • Heather Bates, like all liberal churchians who think Jesus was mistaken when He said “Scripture cannot be broken”, spruiks forth on science she knows little about. Her apparent ally Bishop Spong is just the same. In particular, she confuses real operational science with a materialistic philosophy about origins.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Nice try Mark, but no dice.

    Your comment amounts to what I like to call the ‘wait ‘till your father gets home’ argument. Rather than defend a position, you just assert that negative ramifications will ensue if your opponent doesn’t concede defeat. Not to mention the fact that you take the validity of your argument as a presupposition – “Heather, when you realise that I was right, what will you have to say for yourself?” I’m unimpressed by such tactics.

    Heather Bates

  • Thanks guys

    But we are getting pretty far afield of the original topic, so we might wind up the evolution debate here. Other opportunities will undoubtedly arise for this discussion.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Heather,

    If Bill will allow me this right of reply:
    Respectfully, I don’t care as much about hypotheticals in the future as much as I care about what I know about the past. It’s not about “negative ramifications” as much as it is about what Jesus actually did say and that He meant exactly what he said because He said it knowing that Heather Bates and Mark Rabich would one day read it. It is that which I am trying to point out to you.

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Mark

    I shouldn’t since everyone else will demand ‘equal time’, and this evolution thread will go on ad nauseam, ad infinitum. But I will allow this one last remark.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • An update. Make that 367,000 views of 12-year old’s speech on Youtube. Thanks Bill for excellent article. Luke McCormack

  • Another update. Now over a million views.
    May God keep using her to speak out on behalf of those who can’t.
    Annette Nestor

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