I had the misfortune of being involved in a conversation recently involving a particularly politically liberal professor and some students who are probably too young to have a real political persuasion beyond “yeah, what she said”. The basic topic of this conversation was how bad Fox News was, as proven by the documentary OutFoxed, because it is a “Republican propaganda machine” that “needs to have something done about it”.
I–wisely I believe–kept my mouth shut in this conversation, both for the sake of my grade and because that particular argument was a lost cause. The experience, however, left me with the enduring question of why it is that politically liberal people are so presumptuous. The presumption that bothered me the most was that something needed to be done about Fox News simply because, in their view, it presented a view and approach that differed from their own.
I wonder if this professor and these students realize that, in spite of their relative majority in that particular class, their opinion represents but a percentage of the totality of political thought in the United States. I suspect they do not care, which is what troubles me so much.
Arguably, most Americans do not think anything like they do, yet the liberal presumption is that it is their obligation and prerogative to work toward silencing voices that disagree with their own. This collected group and others like them on college campuses and weblogs around the country presume that their view is the view of “the people” and that their actions champion “the peoples’s” cause.
Often, when challenged on this idea, their response is simply to get louder rather than explain why they think they way they do and why other should think that way too. The result is a failure to achieve any meaningful dialog, the only way by which a libertarian democracy can hope to function.
Because we, as a nation, can no longer have a rational conversation because one side is shouting everyone else down, liberty suffers. The preservation of liberty demands the dialog between opposing viewpoints because the resulting compromise prevents anyone from taking control. One side is determined to silence opposition instead of trying to work with everyone to find a way that works for everyone.
The sad part, to me, is that I think this group has some valid to make, but I cannot agree with them because of their presumptuousness. I think there are problems that need to be fixed, but would never presume to fix them by silencing those who disagree with me. It is really too bad they are too busy shouting to listen to alternatives. Maybe we could get something done if they would.