Jeffrey Lord's post, "Gay Totalitarianism," over at The American Spectator is hampered by confusion. Lord's main case is that liberals can't stand dissent, and want to shut down any opposing voice. This has, in his view, been in bright highlight with the Chick-fil-a issue. Here's his case in point:
Down in Southwest Florida liberal reporter Mark Krzos of the News Press was furious at seeing free speech exercised in his midst, whining on his Facebook page that "The level of hatred, unfounded fear and misinformed people was astoundingly sad. I can't even print some of the things people said."
So this means Mr. Krzos wants to shut down Occupy Wall Street? It gets better. Krzos went on: "I have never felt so alien in my own country as I did today while covering the restaurant's supporters…. It was like broken records of Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and a recitation of half-truths and outright lies…. Such a brave stand… eating a go**amn sandwich. "
So this guy feels "so alien" in his own country because he comes face to face with free speech? What country is Mr. Krzos living in? Cuba? North Korea?
I can't speak for Krzos, but on my interpretation, his alienation was at seeing speech he disagreed with, and that he felt he was powerless to address or argue against because of the way the beliefs of the speakers were formed. It's not the freedom his lines were objecting to, but to (a) how the views stated were misinformed and hateful, and (b) that those speaking seemed to be only interested in those who speak for them, not the views of anyone else. Krzos wasn't, by my lights, calling for the supporters of the chicken chain to be jailed or muzzled or anything like that. He was criticizing them. That's how you respond to speech when you recognize the freedoms — you use more speech to criticize it. Ah, but Lord's on a roll, and can't resist the conservative argument-by-comparision-money-shot on speech issues:
As we have mentioned before, leftist intolerance for dissent and opposition is as old as the blood soaked guillotines of the French Revolution. Not to mention the Revolution's 20th century descendants from Communists to the Nazis (aka the National Socialists) to their more modern American cousins like all those progressives who hid for decades behind the hoods of the Ku Klux Klan or a few decades later appeared as Bill Ayers and his bomb-setting brethren in the Weathermen.
Whew! When Lord makes historical comparisons, he doesn't hold back. (Oh, love the "aka the National Socialists"… what's that even doing? Making a point about socialism?) I said at the end of my previous post that there's a weird thing about many Burkean conservatives, that they see Robespierre behind every progressive. This seems overkill, but maybe with the Robespierre line so abundant, you've really got to pile on to be sure that folks know you're using hot rhetoric.
Again, the point is that responding to dissent with criticism and responding to dissent with violence are different things, and Lord's case conflates them. Responding to speech with more speech is a form of tolerance, actually — you face something you think is wrong, but you don't destroy it, only criticize it. But for the analogy to go through, you have to be responding with violence.