CultureWatch

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

Shutting Down Debate and Silencing the Opposition

Jun 25, 2015

By now it should be perfectly clear how the secular left operates: they have very little intelligent arguments of their own, so they resort to other means to win the public debate on hot potato issues. And the main means they use is bullying, intimidation, shouting, name-calling, mud-slinging, and simply preventing the other side from getting a hearing.

Since our mainstream media is predominated by secular lefties, this is exactly how the media works as well. It is almost impossible nowadays for a contrary opinion to be heard in the MSM, whether on the issue of homosexuality, or abortion, or climate change. There is the party line, and that is adhered to and defended at all costs. No countervailing points of view will be heard.

And of course there is only the slightest pretence of balance offered when another side is allowed in. As the Q&A program the other night once again demonstrated so clearly, one token conservative and/or Christian will be invited to take on 4, 5, 6 or more secular lefties.

Thus Fred Nile single-handedly had to take on the entire hostile panel, the hostile “moderator,” and the hostile audience as well. This is what “our” ABC considers to be a fair and even-handed debate. So petrified are they of actually allowing another point of view on, that they simply don’t for the most part. I discuss this appalling show here: billmuehlenberg.com/2015/06/18/we-pay-for-this-abc-bias-and-bigotry/

It is exactly as conservative pundit William F. Buckley said years ago: “Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.” Such is the frightening world of the modern West: there is no longer difference of opinion, just one point of view that cannot be challenged.

I have learned all this the hard way in three decades of debating secular lefties and dealing with the MSM. It gets worse each passing year. In the early days I could actually get entire articles published in the MSM on homosexuality and other issues. It is now almost impossible to do that, and even mere letters are almost never published anymore.

Simply block out the opposing point of view and keep ramming the PC line down the throats of everyone – that is now how the battle for ideas takes place in the West. Let me offer just one recent example of this. Over a month ago the publisher of a debate book on homosexual marriage I co-authored with Rodney Croome (Pantera Press, 2010), emailed me to say they are contacting heaps of media outlets to offer interviews and debates with us.

OK, and the results? Up until now I have not done one media interview on this. I have seen Croome often on TV and elsewhere, so he is getting a dream run by the media, but I am being completely shut out of the debate. One ABC radio station for example did contact me and had a debate all planned for a certain day and time.

When the appointed time came and nothing happened, I emailed them with my phone number again, in case they had misplaced it. They emailed me back, saying that there was a reschedule, that they would call me after the show, and do it tomorrow. Um, they never called me back, and the debate never happened.

At best, this was an utter lack of professionalism and common courtesy on their part – at worst, they deliberately lied to me and simply gave me the ol’ heave ho. How do we account for this? I think what I just said above explains it pretty well. And chances are the other side told the ABC that I am a hate-filled bigot, and I should not be allowed on.

This is now the normal course of events: censor the other side, or demonise the other side. Shout them down and seek to shut them up. This is debate, secular left style. Happens all the time, where there is any public debate. Just look at the Internet, or Facebook, or Twitter, and so on.

What we are seeing occurring right before our very eyes is the death of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion. And we are also witnessing the end of democracy. Each new day our liberties are being curtailed, our ability to freely express our opinions are being whittled away, and the jackboot of political correctness is laying heavier over the land.

And of course it is not just me who has experienced all this with monotonous regularity. Any person from a Christian or conservative stance who seeks to engage in the public arena knows full well that this is the way the game is being played.

Indeed, two new books have just been written on this which make this case with plenty of documentation and examples – as if we need any more proof of this. But these volumes are well worth consulting nonetheless. The first volume is End of Discussion: How the Left’s Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun) by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson (Crown Forum, 2015).

The book is described this way, in part:

The political correctness born on college campuses has mutated into a new hypersensitivity. It’s weaponized in Washington, D.C. by a network of well-trained operatives, media, and politicians, and proliferated throughout the country. The new Puritans of the Left are quick to ban comedians and commencement speakers alike for the sin of disagreeing with them. They demand “safe spaces” while making dissent increasingly dangerous for Americans.
Ham and Benson demonstrate just how dangerous the outrage industry – a coalition of mostly liberal blowhards and busybodies—is to America. The media frenzy they create is designed to disqualify opposing viewpoints on everything from health care to education by labeling them racist, sexist, and evil. They punish speech that makes them uncomfortable, demanding boycotts, censures, and people’s jobs. They seek to win political and cultural debates by preventing them from happening.

The second volume is The Silencing: How the Left is Killing Free Speech by Kirsten Powers (Regnery, 2015). The interesting thing about this volume is the fact that the author happens to be a liberal. But even as a non-conservative, she sees the very real threats to freedom coming from the liberals.

Eric Metaxas recently wrote about her and the book and is worth quoting here:

The illiberal left wants journalists fired for not holding the “correct” positions on hot-button social issues. They complain of feeling unsafe and uncomfortable in class if their professors teach the wrong authors or use the wrong phrases. They charge all same-sex marriage opponents with bigotry and try to shut down their businesses. They claim that pro-life women aren’t really “women” at all, and can’t be trusted to vote the right way on “women’s issues” or anything else.
In short, the illiberal left’s answer to everything that doesn’t fit their narrow worldview is “Shut up.” Demonization and dehumanization are their tools, and they wield them every chance they get.
As Kirsten herself told me when I interviewed her on “The Eric Metaxas Show,” she started to notice this pattern while doing research for her columns at USA Today. She’s come under attack herself, just for working at Fox News, even though she continues to represent a liberal point of view there. (“Guilt by association” is another favorite technique with the illiberal left.)
But as Kirsten told me, this isn’t about her. She’s more concerned about what’s happening on a national level, to all the people who don’t have access to the outlets that she has and are easy to silence before they ever even get a chance to speak. It’s on their behalf that she’s speaking out.
As Kirsten writes, “Debate and persuasion should be the default response when someone encounters a person who does not share their view, not demands that the other person change their position or be pushed to the margins of polite society.”
Amen. I’m deeply grateful for her honesty and integrity in standing up to those on her own side and insisting on fair treatment of those they disagree with.

Both books are well worth getting if you are not yet convinced about the totalitarian nature of the secular left. They are not about freedom, democracy, tolerance, diversity and open debate. They are about only one thing: forcing their worldview onto everyone else, and seeking to silence anyone who dares to speak or think differently.

www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/27638
www.amazon.com/gp/product/1621573702/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1621573702&linkCode=as2&tag=breakpoint-20&linkId=VPVLOJUIJISBS7XD
www.amazon.com/End-Discussion-Outrage-Industry-Manipulates/dp/0553447750/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

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13 Responses to Shutting Down Debate and Silencing the Opposition

  • The time has come for all Christians to seek out and vote exclusively for Christian candidates and make known that is our intention to bring back Christian values and Christian principles. Discussions are over – now we get to work and take back our parliament and minority groups will remain exactly that.

  • For Americans (I’m not sure if non-Americans can sign this one):

    citizengo.org/en/21900-dont-impose-same-sex-marriage-usa

    For Australians, a number of public inquiries:

    http://www.saltshakers.org.au/107-fp-articles/fp-2015/1470-inquiries-submissions-citizenship-terrorism-vic-election-halal-certification-vic-end-of-life

  • Good post, Bill…forewarned is forearmed!

  • The so-called progressives sure know how to target and feed humanity’s sinful nature and desires – their whole ideology is built upon doing exactly this.

    These days, children grow up on a steady diet of secular humanism through education and the heavily worshipped idol of entertainment. They already have their views formed by the time they are teenagers even though they have never done an ounce of research and likely never will.

    The left await more and more of these kinds of generations to grow up and heavily shift opinion towards supporting their extreme ideas. We are in the midst of it already but they know that coming decades will give them a society made up of people who cannot think because they were specifically taught not to.

    It’s nice to see that the ABC can still overstep though, as they have done with this most recent episode. Hopefully heads will roll, as Abbott has called for:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-25/heads-should-roll-at-abc-says-tony-abbott/6572688

  • Thanks Bill, you for giving voice to our thoughts. Worth repeating:

    “This is now the normal course of events: censor the other side, or demonise the other side. Shout them down and seek to shut them up. This is debate, secular left style. Happens all the time, where there is any public debate.”

    “What we are seeing occurring right before our very eyes is the death of freedom of speech, freedom of thought, and freedom of religion. And we are also witnessing the end of democracy.”

    These bullies “are not about freedom, democracy, tolerance, diversity and open debate. They are about only one thing: forcing their worldview onto everyone else, and seeking to silence anyone who dares to speak or think differently”.

    Facts have no meaning to these bullies. Their “proof” is called “proof by intimidation”

    The solution: Seek out especially your own Parliamentary representatives TODAY and tell them the ISSUES important to you and HOW you will be voting and WHY… and keep reminding them how you will be voting.

  • Dear Bill

    Interesting you should talk about this just now.

    Here in England we have had ‘homosexual marriage’ so called for 2 years now and believe me it changes EVERYTHING. I am now weary of speaking openly on the telephone, for example, about my view of the sin of homosexual act during the times when my, non believer, cleaner is in my home. I don’t think it would be much ‘safer’ with most worldly Christians either. You don’t know what they might tell their family or their associates about their employer, do you ? There is hate speech crime these days and the unrighteous law now SAYS homosexual marriage is as good and honourable as mine. What basis have I to say different, if those in authority above me say it is just peachy? What defence have I that the Holy Bible and therefore the LORD and creator of the Universe (and all its laws) says something ENTIRELY different ?

    Two interesting links you might like to look at Bill on keeping sane in the society of grand delusion

    Brainwashing—Mind Rape—Is for Real
    Meerloo published “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing” in 1956 after years immersed in the study of social psychology and countless interviews with victims of mental coercion, including Nazi officers and American prisoners of war in Korea. This treasure of insights was written for the layman. It is an absolute must-read for anyone who hopes to uphold the dignity of the individual. The book offers the psychic defenses so lacking among those who submit to logicide.

    LOGICIDE, nice word.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=The+Rape+of+the+Mind%3A+The+Psychology+of+Thought+Control%2C+Menticide+and+Brainwashing

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/06/08/how-to-escape-the-age-of-mass-delusion/

    Bless us all who want to remain sane in this evil world. Satan only has delusion left now.

  • It is as you say. But if the public square has become toxic to fair debate, we need to get a little creative and start thinking outside the box. The world is not going to start playing fair, no matter what we do. I welcome new ideas from any conservative, but my suggestion is: Why don’t we have more debate events in our churches? At least there we could make sure both sides have a fair hearing. I don’t know how it is in Australia, but in America, Talk Radio is also one venue where conservative ideas are very well represented because it is difficult for the left to skew the debate – especially if they don’t own the show. We have to stop playing by their rules on their turf.

  • From a Christian email alert today:

    “Over the last 12 months, no fewer than 18 US states have had same-sex marriage policies forced on them by lower federal courts.

    “This situation – where activist judges impose their will on the people of the states, who have used proper democratic means to define marriage, in law, as between one man and one woman – makes a mockery of democracy. And, it makes a farce of the “tolerance” which the gay lobby, and their fellow-travelers in the main-stream media, constantly use as their mantra.”

    So much for the alleged popular support for same sex ‘marriage’. That the Irish actually voted for this abomination says more about the degraded nature of that once Catholic country. Clearly their bravest and best have long ago emigrated.

  • Austria Votes Against Same-Sex Marriage
    6.23.2015
    “The European country suffers a major setback in the fight for marriage equality. Days before Vienna Pride, the Austrian Parliament voted against a bill calling for the extension of the “the human right of equal marriage” to same-sex couples. Of the 136 representatives in the Assembly, only 26 voted in favor of the marriage equality bill, while 110 voted against it. The Green Party, who proposed the bill, was the only party to fully support the measure. Even the Social Democratic Party of Austria, the SPÖ, who originally called for equality, voted against it….”

  • I tried writing to Malcolm Turnbull about the lack of response to my complaints to ABC and his instruction was to complain to the ABC ????? I guess more evidence of the lack of character you get when someone has no paternal input.

    In the twenty or so years the ABC has been pushing SS’M’ I would be lucky to have heard thirty seconds of the debate from the other side. It seems clear that the only time a scientist appears on Q&A is when they are actively anti-christian. When Lyle Shelton tried to raise one issue, that of surrogacy, on Triple M the other day one of the panel retorted “that’s news to me” and made out that Lyle was just making it up as he went. The problem is there is a huge amount of secular arguments against SS’M’ and the vast majority of them have not been heard, especially by ABC viewers yet the ABC keeps trying to make out that the arguments simply don’t exist. From their character assassination of Lindy Chamberlaine right through to their continued persecution of Jews and Catholics and other Christians the ABC has been relentless in its bigotry.

  • Michael, Malcolm Turnbull is the leftie you get when you don’t vote left. Quite frankly, he’s a traitor in the Liberal (confusing isn’t it. For those non-Aussies, the Liberal Party is the slightly more right party. Labor is left.) camp

  • Thanks again Bill. Your description of how the Left deal with truth is clearly demonstrated on Q&A.

    When Rev. Fred Nile brought out facts no one was wanting or willing to discuss them but rather shouted down and ridiculed Fred into silence. Facts do not come into the agenda because they cannot be debated honestly and that is frightening.

    One cannot reason with those who’s ability to reason has been damaged.

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