Defense of free speech no longer a slam dunk in America
WASHINGTON. Increasingly, free speech in America is equal to violence. Andrew Marantz of the New York Times wrote:
“Noxious speech is causing tangible harm. Yet this fact implies a question so uncomfortable that many of us go to great lengths to avoid asking it. Namely, what should we — the government, private companies or individual citizens — be doing about it?”
In defense of censorship
The answer to toxic speech isn’t authoritarian regulation but robust, verbal and written rebuttals. Marantz, however, disagrees:
“Using free speech as a cop-out is just as intellectually dishonest and just as morally bankrupt.”
Our Chinese “friends” and free speech:
This idea has begun to metastasize in modern America. Nevermore so than among members of the National Basketball Association.
When Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey issued a tweet in support of Hong Kong’s freedom protestors, it caused outrage among China’s totalitarian oligarchs. (Hong Kong protesters slam LeBron James’ criticism of Daryl Morey tweet: ‘People are angry’)
A contract signed last June between the NBA and China’s Tencent streaming television service, worth a cool $500 million, is in jeopardy.
In total, the NBA garners more than $4 billion in revenue from China.
But all business between China and the Houston Rockets is on hold for now. The Chinese Basketball Association, headed by former Rockets center Yao Ming, issued a statement, saying:
“Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets Club, publicly made irrelevant remarks about Hong Kong. The Chinese Basketball Association expressed strong opposition to this and will suspend exchanges and cooperation with the club.”
Meanwhile, the Chinese Counsel General in Houston, Texas, Hua Jinzhou, issued a statement criticizing Morey, adding…
“The fight against violence and the restoration of order are the broadest consensuses and the strongest appeal of all sectors of society in Hong Kong. Anyone with a conscience should support the efforts of the Hong Kong SAR Government to maintain social stability in Hong Kong.”
Jinzhou echoes Marantz of the New York Times by equating freedom of expression with violence. A point amplified by Los Angeles Lakers’ point guard LeBron James.
“Yes, we all do have freedom of speech. But at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others and you’re only thinking about yourself.
“I don’t want to get into a feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand and he spoke. So Many people could have been harmed – not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. Just be careful about what we tweet, what we say and what we do. Yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that, too.” (Emphasis added).
America’s toxic popular culture at war with freedom
The New York Times, LeBron James, and the NBA’s disgusting examples of moral cowardice represent new lows for shallow popular culture’s corrosive disease, political correctness. And these examples come with a decided Mandarin flavor. All this is antithetical to our nation’s proud declarations on behalf of freedom.
As George Washington noted on Free Speech:
“If men are to be precluded from offering their sentiments on a matter, which may involve the most serious and alarming consequences that can invite the consideration of mankind, reason is of no use to us; the freedom of speech may be taken away, and dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”
President Ronald Reagan on Freedom:
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. I must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
With that in mind, what does it say about the icons of America’s popular culture that when presented a chance to speak on behalf of freedom they, instead, speak in defense of censorship and communist China’s totalitarianism.
Top Images: (left) LeBron James, ESPN screen capture. (right) Daryl Morey, TMZ screen capture.