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More on What “Free Speech” Means [UPDATED]

[ 250 ] February 3, 2011 |

Since we seem to be getting some Althouse defenders in comments here, I suppose I should expand on a couple points:

  • There are, indeed, “free speech” principles that go beyond simple government censorship.  When people are fired for expressing political views or having political associations that aren’t relevant to their job performance, this is bad for “free speech” even if it’s not a violation of the First Amendment.
  • With that said, it’s ridiculous to say that principles of “free speech” mean that people are entitled to keep their job no matter what they say in the course of their job.   Fox News has the right to hire Glenn Beck to spout nutty, false, and pernicious conspiracy theories.   But saying that it’s irresponsible for Fox News to do so isn’t a violation of any plausible definition of “free speech.”
  • And, of course, there’s absolutely no reason to believe that Althouse actually believes in the ad hoc principles of “free speech” she criticizes nameless “liberals” for not adhering to.  She defended the firing of Shirley Sherrod even after the initial Breitbart video was exposed as a fraud. She didn’t object (and implicitly cheered) when Helen Thomas was fired for expressing anti-Semitic political views.  She was nearly giddy with excitement when Dave Weigel was fired for expressing political views on a private email list.   It’s not just liberals but Althouse herself who don’t believe in the standards of free speech she criticizes “liberals” for not practicing.

…To add to the comedy, Meade in comments:

That assertion [point #3] is belied by following each of your three links and actually reading what she said.

Needless to say, he doesn’t follow up with any argument explaining how Althouse wanting people fired for their political views is consistent with her more recent views about “free speech.” Since I’m sporting, allow me to get started by identifying two differences between Wright and Althouse, although I’m not sure that this is what he intended:

  • One the one hand, the liberal campaign to “silence” Glenn Beck exists largely in Althouse’s head, and to the extent that it exists has a long way to go to rise to the level of being “ineffectual.”   On the other hand, the much more systematic winger campaigns against Sherrod and Weigel were actually successful at getting them fired (or “silenced.”)  And, yet, Althouse strongly endorsed the WaPo’s utterly risible justifications for firing Weigel for his political views and also endorsed Breitbart’s reprehensible smear campaign against Sherrod.
  • It’s also worth noting that Wright’s questioning of whether it was responsible for Fox to give Beck a platform — whether one agrees with him or not — involved stuff Beck actually said on his show.   In the cases of Weigel, Sherrod, and Thomas they were fired for expressing views in private emails, a speech, and an interview respectively.   The threat to “free speech” seems even more severe in cases in which someone is punished for off-the-job speaking.
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  • I have the feeling that what bothers you about Beck is not that he “… [spouts] nutty, false, and pernicious conspiracy theories…”

    I suspect that what really bothers you about Beck is that he’s very effective in demolishing your political positions.

    Don’t watch Beck because I’m at work when he’s on. But, I’ve heard and read that he tears the left apart, quite effectively.

    Such as his outing of Piven for advocating violence.

    This post is, thus, most likely a red herring. Why don’t you talk about what really pisses you off about Beck, which is that he’s kicking your ass?

    • Why don’t you talk about what really pisses you off about Beck, which is that he’s kicking your ass?

      Whatever you do, don’t throw me in that briar patch!

    • Holden Pattern

      Oh, good, Wrongful Death is back.

      • Malaclypse

        He was only gone a couple of hours. It seems, against all odds, he spent that time procreating. I’m assuming parthenogenesis.

      • Uncle Kvetch

        Let’s not be hasty. I would imagine that there are dozens, maybe hundreds of Althouse fans out there who could match WD for that special blend of cretinous stupidity and all-around a-holeness.

      • DrDick

        And dumber and more incoherent than ever.

    • Scott Lemieux

      I suspect that what really bothers you about Beck is that he’s very effective in demolishing your political positions.

      Sure. You keep telling yourself that, and maybe one day you’ll believe it!

    • DocAmazing

      For all values of “effective” that include “barking mad”.

    • Hogan

      I have the feeling

      Well isn’t that cute. Do you also have a fact?

      • DrDick

        Not even a clue.

        • bobby b

          Well! Y’all certainly shut HIM down with your fact-based refutation of his assertions!

          • Yeah–crazy people deserve to have their delusions and hallucinations addressed in a very cogent, rational fashion!

    • c u n d gulag

      Shouting Thomas,
      ‘Thomas,’ dear boy, if you didn’t have to ‘shout’ all of the time, maybe the voices in your head would lower theirs and you could have a moment of peace to reflect on how ignorant and hateful a stupid SOB you really are.
      You do make me laugh, I’ll give you that, though. I hope God forgives me for laughing at mentally challenged people. I only do it to the Conservative ones. But that’s a lot of laughter!

      Let me ask you, “If everything to the left is wrong, then how come NASCAR doesn’t make its cars turn right all of the time?” *
      How could GOD do this if He/She/It weren’t a Liberal?

      *This confuses the stupid all of the time.

      • Malaclypse

        I think I’ve found why Mr Shouty needs to shout.

        Especially, I stare at the young Chinese and Filipino women. In my mind, I’m still the dashing young man Myrna loved. An incredibly beautiful woman loved me! I almost have to restrain myself from screaming at pretty Asian girls.

        Ick.

        • mark f

          Shouting Thomas Derbyshire?

      • DrDick

        If he stopped listening to the voices in his head, he would not know what he is supposed to think.

    • Uncle Kvetch

      Such as his outing of Piven for advocating violence.

      Prove it. Provide the cite in which Piven advocated violence. Otherwise, you’re expecting us to believe that she did so because somebody told you that Glenn Beck said she did. Which is really fucking pathetic.

      • Uncle Kvetch

        Still waiting…

        • Malaclypse

          I suspect Mr Shouty went back to trolling Asian dating sites.

      • Sofa King

        Well what do you deny in particular:
        (A) That she stated: “An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union”
        (B) That the riots in Greece actually resulted in death and destruction
        (C) She does not want an effective movement of the unemployed at all, and is happy with the status quo.

        • Sofa King

          My mistake, (C) should be phrased in the positive, so that you can deny it.

          (C) She is not happy with the status quo and wants an effective movement of the unemployed.

        • Hogan

          “Look something like”? Is that really all you’ve got?

        • kth

          I deny that the statement in (a) remotely contains an affirmation of (b). (A) taken by itself certainly does no such thing, nor does the essay in which the quote appears furnish any support for such an interpretation.

          • Sofa King

            That is a matter of opinion. She certainly does not disclaim (B), and since it is an entirely reasonable inference from (A), I think it is a reasonable (but not conclusive) opinion that she tacitly condones it. Particularly so when the speaker has ALSO said: “I have considerable respect for non-violence, but I don’t treat it as inevitably a necessary rule.”

            • kth

              That second quote is a regular “Up against the wall, motherfuckers!” (not)

            • DrDick

              Gosh a recognition that violence may be unavoidable in some circumstances. That certainly ranks right up there with calling for “second amendment remedies” (Angle) if you do not get your way at the ballot box, calls to shoot liberals in the head (Beck), or calling on your supporters to be “armed and dangerous (Bachmann).” Those liberals are clearly a violent and intolerant bunch.

            • 400metres

              Soooo, if somebody notes that worker strikes and riots were necessary to the development to government and corporate respect for labor rights, that person is nothing but an advocate for violence because people died in that effort?

              If that’s the level of logic you’re operating on, it’s no wonder you clowns find Beck so compelling.

      • Anonymous

        I’m new here but what a nice blog and comment section. Very revealing.

        Anyway, to answer, in her December 2010 Nation column, Piven wrote: “Local protests have to accumulate and spread — and become more disruptive — to create pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece. . . .”

        “Like” the Greek strikes and riots? Whatever could she mean?

        • Hogan

          Maybe you’d like to share the rest of that sentence with the class?

          • Malaclypse

            “in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.”

            Scary stuff. Thank God we have brave men like Mr Wrong and Mr Shouty, who bravely piss themselves in fear over this demonic woman.

            • Hogan

              Don’t you know how many Americans lightning kills every year?!

          • Anonymous

            Sure, ok, the entire sentence is:

            “Local protests have to accumulate and spread—and become more disruptive—to create serious pressures on national politicians. An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees.”

            Does that make ya feel better? It does me, as it’s a, like, totally, totally, clear, like, incitement to, like, riot and throw like, totally, flammable liquids on like, bank clerks.

            All the ‘like’ and ‘totally’ thingy word like thingys are to like, totally, give, you, like, totally, time, to like, think.

            • Malaclypse

              as it’s a, like, totally, totally, clear, like, incitement to, like, riot and throw like, totally, flammable liquids on like, bank clerks.

              Very clear, as the words “flammable liquids” and “bank clerks” are nowhere to be found, outside your, like, totally fevered imagination.

              All the ‘like’ and ‘totally’ thingy word like thingys are to like, totally, give, you, like, totally, time, to like, think.

              See, I assumed they were designed to obfuscate the fact that you were bullshitting, Brave Sir Anonymous. For that, they would have been almost useful.

        • kth

          Actually the “revealing” thing is that most of Althouse’s readers seem also to be Glenn Beck viewers. I confess to being a little surprised that they are such rubes, given her own cultural pretensions.

          Not to pity that people as smart as her and Jeff Godlstein have readers better suited to Jim Hoft or Bob Owens is to be somewhat cold-hearted, methinks.

          • Ed Marshall

            When I used to watch bloggingheads, she would always try and brag up her commentariat. It’s the kind of thing no other blogger ever does, and I thought it was rather nice of her.

            Now I’m pretty sure, it was a defensive move. She is embarrassed by the fact that her readership consists of a bunch of low-rent, ignorant, dipshits and needs to preemptively praise the little retards to avoid someone else pointing out their incriminating existence.

          • Anonymous

            I read Althouse and enjoy her writing which never contains ad hominem arguments. I have never watched Beck.

            And?

            • hv

              Funny, Anonymous, you were just in here the other day saying the opposite.

        • mark f

          An effective movement of the unemployed will have to look something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece in response to the austerity measures forced on the Greek government by the European Union, or like the student protests that recently spread with lightning speed across England in response to the prospect of greatly increased school fees. . . . Who indeed predicted the strike movement that began in the United States in 1934, or the civil rights demonstrations that spread across the South in the early 1960s? We should hope for another American social movement from the bottom—and then join it.

          So when she names at least four discrete social movements whose combined activist-caused deaths total up to, like, ten (far less than those caused by the respective authority figures), what she’s really saying is “eat the rich.” Got it. Good thing righties are so much better at penetrating the code than we lefties are, or else your heads would already be on pikes.

          • rea

            Her death toll, at least, is considerably less than Beck’s.

            • Anonymous

              Please enumerate Beck’s ‘death toll’.

              • Xboxershorts

                3 cops in Pittsburgh, 2 church goers in Kentucky. And tragedy narrowly averted in Oakland.

                Asshole.

          • Anonymous

            “up to, like, ten (far less than those caused by the respective authority figures)”

            What ten? Enumerate and list please.

            What authority figures? What deaths did they cause? How?

            Like? Like? Surely valley girl talk, unless for fun, is code for “I am stupid”. Are you a conservative troll making fun of these poor retards? If so, very mean of you, but I can see how temptation might overcome you.

            • hv

              You misunderstand where the burden of proof lies.

        • hv

          Um, disruptive?

    • el_donaldo

      Beck doesn’t even seem capable of finding and expressing an actual position taken by the left – he’s too busy swatting away the imaginary ones he thinks he sees.

    • John F

      Don’t watch Beck because I’m at work when he’s on. But, I’ve heard and read that he tears the left apart, quite effectively.

      Only in the already addle minded, Beck is pretty incoherent, there is no way he could pace an entry level course in deductive logic or any type of logic, he has no understanding of causality in any sense of the word

      • timb

        I enjoyed the idea that Beck destroys the left expressed by someone who never watches him.

        I’ve decided that if that makes Beck awesome, then I’ve heard and imagined that sex with Angelina Jolie is awesome, so that means I really enjoyed it.

        • Anonymous

          What is your comment supposed to mean other than that you are in your Mommy’s basement masturbating over the idea of beating up Beck to impress Jolie, whilst masturbating like a frenzied chimpanzee?

          Not that I entirely disapprove of any of that, but my God man, masturbating like a chimp does not require you to fling feces as well.

          • hv

            I see what you did there… well crafted!

            masturbation –> chimp –> feces

  • This is turning into one of her better meltdowns.

    • timb

      Will there be box wine?

  • c u n d gulag

    The right:
    It’s ‘free speech for me, NOT for thee, silly…”

  • mark f

    Althouse’s moronic armies have descended because she pointed out that you, Mr. Lemieux, have revealed yourself, by criticizing Prof. Althouse, to be another hater of free speech.

    • mark f

      Although one has to get surprisingly deep into the comments before someone accuses you of using Alinkyite tactics to try to silence her.

      • Scott Lemieux

        If there’s anything that defines Althouse’s worldview, it’s that bad thing “x” (opposing free speech, being sexist, etc.) is exclusively defined by “criticizing Ann Althouse’s views on the merits.”

  • Sure. You keep telling yourself that, and maybe one day you’ll believe it!

    You’ve just confirmed what I said.

    Remember? I don’t watch Beck because I’m always at work when his show airs.

    So, I’m not a fan or supporter. Absolutely no investment there.

    And, you’ve instantly transformed me into a Beck supporter.

    So, you’ve convinced me that I’m right. You fear Beck as an effective opponent. I do know that he got that commie in the White House fired. Apparently, he got the goods on Piven, too.

    And, I further suspect that he will continue to kick your ass. Your fear of confronting him head on about what he has to say is obvious.

    You might as well stick your ass up in the air and get used to Beck kicking it.

    • Nate

      Yeah, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” kicks everybody’s ass.

    • Holden Pattern

      And he even has Wrongful Death’s apparent cognitive disability, wich renders him unable to use the “reply” button. Fascinating.

      • John F

        WD is a paragon of rationality and critical thinkng compared to this troll.

    • DocAmazing

      If you are rooting for Beck to kick ass, you are a Beck supporteer. That’s kind of definitional. So we’ve at least established that you fail basic logic.

    • Cackalacka

      So you are not a supporter of Beck, but you are someone who supports him?

      Got it.

    • c u n d gulag

      Shouting Imbecile,
      “And, you’ve instantly transformed me into a Beck supporter.”

      You are a typical Conservative.
      Just like Beck.
      You have no ideas, nothing…
      And the only things you’re ‘for’ is whatever Liberals are ‘against,’ and you’re ‘against’ EVERYTHING Liberals are for.
      That is your sole reason for existence.
      Your raison d’etre (Hint: It ain’t a French breadfast cereal!).
      And such a shallow one.

      You are called “Conservatives” because you ‘conserve’ energy this way by not having to think for yourselves.
      You are lemmings who blindly follow your leaders – like Beck.
      And as long as that asshole is ahead of you, you’ll follow that asshole wherever it leads. Even off a cliff.
      That’s conservative speak for “keep your eye on the prize…”

      Conservatives, enjoy your last moments – you are doomed in the long term by demographics and human evolution.
      Let’s just hope there are some of use left standing after your death throes.

    • nate

      Shorter Shouting Thomas: Don’t tease the panther.

    • DrDick

      The only thing that bothers me about Beck is his consistent dehumanizing of his enemies and violent eliminationist rhetoric which is likely to inspire the mentally impaired such as your self to commit profoundly stupid and violent acts. That and the fact that his unfounded and fact free lunatic rants are presented as truth and not the surreal fiction that they are. The fact that you and others actually buy that load of rotting excrescence is actually rather amusing.

      • hv

        Palin/Beck in 2012… it’s what liberals are afraid of!

        • DrDick

          Personally I pray for that. Democratic electoral landslide guaranteed!

    • hv

      Absolutely no investment there.

      …you’ve instantly transformed me into a Beck supporter.

      How dramatic!

    • timb

      yep, getting the scalp of a minor functionary in the Obama administration and a 78 year old retired professor to fear for her life are major changing points in American politics. When Beck actually gets someone elected to township assessor, it will be a step up.

      The only thing Beck is good at is wearing Vick’s vapor rub to induce tears and trick enough rubes into buying gold that he could build himself a castle far, far away from them

    • Anonymous

      Hallo Tom, nice reading you, why do you come here to laugh at these poor retards and mongoloids, it’s quite cruel of you, we conservatives really should not do that. Much.

      • hv

        we conservatives really should not do that

        Despite your cloak of Anonymous, I am very willing to accept at face value the idea that your argumentation skills and ability to mock liberals is of the exact same caliber as Shouting Thomas.

  • Remember? I don’t watch Beck because I’m always at work when his show airs.

    So, I’m not a fan or supporter. Absolutely no investment there.

    And, you’ve instantly transformed me into a Beck supporter.

    Next, you’re going to tell me that you’re a lifelong Democrat.

    • mark f

      I used to be liberal Democrat but when LGM tried to shut down Glenn Beck I threw out my arugula.

      • Dogsbody

        Do you remember where you were when everything changed on 3/3?

  • Holden Pattern

    I think that “Free Speech” for American conservatives, just like any kind of “freedom” or “liberty” for them, means “the freedom for conservatives to do whatever they like free of any consequences or criticism”.

    And that kind of freedom of course operates in a zero-sum world — any boundaries placed on their freedom to exercise their rightful privileges, even criticism of their actions, is in their view illegitimate and should be illegal / unconstitutional / prohibited. No amount of reasoning and no number of counterexamples will convince them otherwise, because their fundamental premise is that limitation of their special privileges is victimizing them, the natural owners and rulers of the world.

    [Cue wingnut whining about affirmative action]

    • Scott Lemieux

      I think that “Free Speech” for American conservatives, just like any kind of “freedom” or “liberty” for them, means “the freedom for conservatives to do whatever they like free of any consequences or criticism”.

      FTW.

    • kth

      That’s quite obviously how Sarah Palin and Laura Schlessinger view the First Amendment: both cited the threat, not just to their “free speech rights” (i.e., the way Althouse broadly but selectively bestows them), but specifically cited the 1A:

      Dr.Laura:don’t retreat…reload! (Steps aside bc her 1st Amend.rights ceased 2exist thx 2activists trying 2silence”isn’t American,not fair”

    • hv

      Also, the “free” market.

      • Anonymous

        “”free””? Why the quotes? Surely even you commies agree that a truly “”””””free*”””””” market is a good thing?

        *Free= free of the control of monopolists, who are not capitalists, and who seek to distort the market in their favor, and commies, who are also not capitalists and who also seek to distort the market in their favor.

        Whoa, I seem to have discovered an new truth.

        Has anyone ever seen a market distortion which actually aids the poor? Not me.

        • hv

          The quotes was because conservatives do the same thing with the free market that Holden Pattern was describing in other areas. The quotes represent the lack of commitment on behalf of the passionate conservatives.

          Since you have clearly misunderstood, we will just pretend your embarrassing little commie rant never happened.

          I’ve said it before, following the conservative talking points will lead you to very embarrassing results outside of the bubble. The talking points are crafted for inflammation, not validity. Use at your own risk.

        • The Wrath of Oliver Khan

          Has anyone ever seen a market distortion which actually aids the poor? Not me.

          Minimum wage laws?

          And please, before you try to convince me that minimum wage laws actually act as a drag on wages at the low end of the income scale, please bring at least a handful of legitimate citations to back you up.

        • Malaclypse

          Has anyone ever seen a market distortion which actually aids the poor? Not me.

          Beyond the minimum wage laws above, we also have:

          Earned Income Tax Credit (bonus shout-out to Mr Wrong – it was enacted by that commie Richard Nixon)

          COBRA subsidies included in ARRA

          Head Start

          Medicaid

          LIHEAP

          And that was off the top of my head.

          Whoa, I seem to have discovered an new truth.

          Sadly, as they say, No!

  • Next, you’re going to tell me that you’re a lifelong Democrat.

    Just as Althouse says, you don’t have any effective arguments.

    That was a limp dick response.

    No wonder Beck kick your ass. He doesn’t have to be very smart to be smarter than you.

    • jdkbrown

      Clearly you’re not aware of all internet traditions. Where Althouse and LGM are involved, that should be “tiny penis response.”

      • davenoon

        Someone remembers local internet traditions!

    • So you’ve rocked up at a post about person x, commented with “person y is so much better than you therefore I win” and rebutted all counter-argument with “See this is why person y is so much better than you.”

      There should be a category of Nobel for that level of commitment to developing rational discussion.

      By the by, for someone who never watches Beck, you seem to know a lot about his show.

    • dave

      I didn’t realise one needed an erection to have an argument. I always thought they called that “Thinking with your little head” for a reason.

    • hv

      The turgidity setting of our dicks was a deliberate attempt to match your level of discourse.

      • DrDick

        We would have to cut them off to do that.

    • Dogsbody

      It’s with great humour that I’ve been reading the drool you’ve flinging around here, yet there is one thing that has me baffled; I have been scouring the internets for evidence of these Beckian arse kickings, but there doesn’t seem to be any. Would you do us the favour of providing these gems so that we may be enlightened?

  • Shouting Thomas,
    ‘Thomas,’ dear boy, if you didn’t have to ’shout’ all of the time, maybe the voices in your head would lower theirs and you could have a moment of peace to reflect on how ignorant and hateful a stupid SOB you really are.
    You do make me laugh, I’ll give you that, though. I hope God forgives me for laughing at mentally challenged people. I only do it to the Conservative ones. But that’s a lot of laughter!

    Let me ask you, “If everything to the left is wrong, then how come NASCAR doesn’t make its cars turn right all of the time?” *
    How could GOD do this if He/She/It weren’t a Liberal?

    *This confuses the stupid all of the time.

    This is just the sort of childish, pointless stuff that Althouse points to constantly as the downfall of the left.

    Thanks for the demonstration.

    • c u n d gulag

      Ah, the old conservative, “I’m teflon, you’re glue…”
      How very original.

      I’d love to argue facts and reason with you, but you obviously only believe whatever facts have been implanted between your ears, so reasoning with you would be like discussing “The Uncertainty Principle” with a rock, only less entertaining.

    • c u n d gulag

      Also, I might be able to take you a bit more seriously if you even had one clue about what Liberalism was really about, had ever even bothered to find out what he’s railing on about.
      But it’s hard to even begin disussing anything with someone who hasn’t even watched Beck for himself, but just believes something based on hearsay.
      Just believing things based on hearsay is one of the very definitions of being a Conservative.
      So, congratulations, you’ve proved MY point.

      Now go away.
      I have better things to do.
      Like wait for the snow to thaw so I can discuss Heisenberg with a piece of shale in my back yard.

      • Lincolntf

        Understanding Liberalism is simple. A contempt for the individual manifested by a an irrational worship of the State.

        • Malaclypse

          Thank you! Now that you have made your point so eloquently, I have seen the light and repent of my wicked, wicked ways.

          • Lincolntf

            Oh, but you’d never really repent would you?
            I’ve seen the spittle-flecked dolts and braindead “activists” like the ones who support Van Jones, Code Pink, etc. and I know you people never quit. You wouldn’t know what to do with yourselves if you couldn’t get your frothy hate on every day.

            • Malaclypse

              You found me out, using your wily ways! I have been found out by your powerful intellect, and I stand guilty as accused. You are correct, I use my spittle-flecked, frothy hatred to subvert all that is sacred and holy about these United Snakes. I mock motherhood and apple pie. I hate my child, because, well, because Glenn Beck says we radicals hate children, so hate I must.

              Now that I have confirmed your paranoid pipe dreams, will you go away?

            • c u n d gulag

              I think you’re missing a letter there.
              Shouldn’t it be ‘Lincoln-WTF?’

              Anywhoooooo, project much?
              PS, you might need to look that up under Freud. I suggest “Google” if you know how to use it there Gump.

        • hv

          …manifested by a an irrational worship of the State. (sic)

          Conservatives hold a monopoly on the rational ways to worship the state.

        • brad

          The State was great, but I save my irrational worship for Mr. Show.

        • Dogsbody

          So, you don’t know what liberlism is either.

      • timb

        Has the shale heard about these “ass-kickings?” I was hoping someone had….

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    If I didn’t know that Glenn Beck has probably millions of more remunerative ways of spending his time, I’d almost be tempted to suggest that

    Shouting Thomas:Beck :: Sprezzatura:Lee Siegel

    But one of the advantages that Beck has over Siegel is that he has tens of thousands of folks willing to do this work for him.

    Sock puppetry is for little people.

  • Henry

    Fox News has the right to hire Glenn Beck to spout nutty, false, and pernicious conspiracy theories. But saying that it’s irresponsible for Fox News to do so isn’t a violation of any plausible definition of “free speech.”

    That’s a rather odd inversion of what Bob Wright actually said in the BloggingHeads episode that started this whole thing.

  • Walt

    Can you guys switch to a policy where obvious bullshit trolling by either a) someone we’ve never seen before, or b) recidivists gets instantly deleted? It’s one thing if a conservative shows up and wants to argue. It’s another thing if the only thing they have to say is the most transparent attempt to just be annoying.

    • Lincolntf

      “Can you guys switch to a policy where obvious bullshit trolling by either a) someone we’ve never seen before, or b) recidivists gets instantly deleted?”

      Please tell me the irony is intended.

      • Holden Pattern

        Conservative dedication to private property rights seems to go right out the window when they want to troll a liberal blog. Never mind that there are exactly zero barriers to entry for anyone who wants to set up their own blog and rant at length.

    • c u n d gulag

      WAlt,
      Pissing off Liberals is all that Conservatives stand for anymore, if they ever stood for anything else before.

      They live to annoy.
      It is their O2.
      Without the ability to annoy, they would be like those poor, dying, oil-stained fish along the shores of the Gulf. Mouths opening and closing, as their lives recede.

      • Lincolntf

        At least it’s not our CO2, right? Have to tax it if it was.

        • Jay B.

          That’s a larf! You must kill em at the Bund Hall.

        • mark f

          I didn’t think this thread could get any stupider. Lincolntf has pantloadian talents, it seems.

          • mark f

            So I’m bored at work and I threw Mr. Lincoln’s name into the old Google machine. This is the best quote I found:

            You’re still pleased with passing a bill you never read, but that has already put our economy into worse shape than ever before? You, like so many of your corrupt and incompetent colleagues, don’t take anything about your job seriously except re-election.

            To whom was this directed? Mickey Kaus.

            • Lincolntf

              I have no idea how that got there. Weird.

              • mark f

                Welp, you might find it weird that someone used your name to post right-wing talking points and hilarious misapprehensions in a blog comments section, but me, I’ll infer to the best explanation.

              • Malaclypse

                You want weird? That same person is using lincolntf’s picture on a twitter feed.

                Weird.

              • Lincolntf

                I’m sure (relatively) that I posted it, but not on that thread or on that site. It’s a total non-sequitir. I have no other explanation for it, so I’ll blame me.

  • John Emerson

    My guess is that 10-20% of Americans are to the left of Maddow, Olbermann, and Krugman, who are all safely center-left, but we get no representation in the major media. (Maybe Schultz counts. Ratigan doesn’t).

    And Olbermann is gone.

    • John F

      Ron Kuby used to have a radio show in NY (linked with Curtis Sliwa- now that’s an odd pair…)

      Kuby claimed to be an actual “red,” but his actual philosophy seemed to be an odd mashup of socialism and libertarianism-

      or maybe not so odd, the teaPartiers conjoining of libertarianism with theocratic-authoritarianism is arguably and even greater incongruity

      • Lincolntf

        Theocratic-authoritarianism? What a howling douchebag.
        Lemme guess, you’ve attended zero actual Tea Party events.

        • John F

          nope haven’t attended one, work with some who have, one whop still goes, and yes “howling douchebag” is a very apt description of that particular individual

          with respect to Theocratic-Authoritarianism- ok I made that up on the spot- but how else do you describe people who believe that certain individual should be deprived of rights that everyone else has because that person’s “god” told him those people were unclean and deserving of the same rights as everyone else? How else would you describe people who want the government to teach their creation story from their Holy Book(AND NO ONE ELSE’s) in public schools, people who want THEIR prayers to THEIR deity (and no one else’s), read aloud in public schools.

          OK, not all teapers are like that, there are some actual libertarians in there, but mostly it seems to be the same old white male knuckle walkers

        • I have attended Tea Party events, mostly at churches with huge American flags flying outside the door. Their arguments that the State should enforce God’s laws–except perhaps for the “rendering unto Caesar” part–looks a lot like “theocratic authoritarianism” to me.

      • Jay B.

        I think socialism and libertarianism can work in a sense — I consider myself somewhere along those lines — so long as the “libertarianism” comes down on the civil side.

        The state protects the public interest as a check on corporations while individual rights remain protected from state control. Of course, to believe along those lines, money can’t be the only important organizing principle in life, taxation isn’t theft, you believe in a rational self-interest in social programs and corporations aren’t citizens.

        • Shell Goddamnit

          Excellent: succinct and alluring. Brah fucking Voh.

  • LR

    I’m a Libertarian.
    I know that my political views played a role in my being fired from one job because the president of the company once, when confronted with information contrary to his views of the industry marketplace, stipulated to me “I’m a Democrat and I can’t stand you right wing nuts. You think you know more than all of us.” When my information proved correct and he was to be embarrassed, he forced me to put together a report that I stated vocally “is not my work, but I have been asked to deliver” when I gave it to the executive board.
    I was then told I was “insubordinate”. This kind of behavior is very typical of the people I have worked for who I know are vocal left of center. I have had 3 of them, and all of them persecuted me for my views, even though my views never impeded my job performance (in fact, I operated at a very high level, providing good information and always received excellent job reviews).

    I did work at Fox News, too. You’d be astounded at the number of Democrats who work there. I know I was. Interestingly, it was the absolute BEST place I’ve ever worked. So, apparently, while spouting what is considered drivel is “bad”, you have to respect that they are at least fair and even handed.

    Unfortunately, very few people are aware of the nasty, underhanded behavior politically Left people engage in. I’m not saying people on the Right don’t do the same thing (I’m certain some do, it makes no sense to imply they are pure). But it’s absurd to think the left is somehow clean of any moral underhandedness.

    In my experience, I have ONLY been treated poorly by vocal, active Democrats. I have had several good managers who are Democrats. So don’t take this as a statement that all Democrats are bad. But there is no question that all – and I do mean ALL – of the Republicans I’ve worked for have been excellent managers. Truly fair to everyone, even if they disagree with them.

    I’m a small sample. I’m not statistically significant. But in my experience, I can only speak from what I know. Over time, I’ve learned that the most vocal Dems are the nastiest people I’ve worked for. (I’ll toss in that not only are they nasty – but they take the lion’s share of bonuses when offered. I’ve never seen greedier people in my life. Yet they are the first to want to cut the salaries of people who work for them.

    • mark f

      Some ancient Italian maxim fits our situation, whose particulars escape me.

      • hv

        This one time, in confirmation bias camp,…

        • davenoon

          +1

        • Holden Pattern

          hv wins the internets for today.

    • John F

      My personal experience has been, let’s say, different. The biggest #####s I’ve worked for were rightwingers.

      Not that I haven’t met ##### lefties, I have, but I’ve never worked for them.

      It’s also possible that while you may never have had a problem with a “republican” manager- some of your coworkers did (And didn’t confide in same to you for obvious reasons)

      • Slocum

        No, no! Ancedotes are data.

        • Warren Terra

          It follows from ‘anecdote’ == ‘datum’.

    • Modulo Myself

      Did the liberals say you sound like a robot, or just as if you were completely full of shit? This is important.

    • kth

      I actually believe that you aren’t making this up from whole cloth, which is to lend you more credence than you probably deserve. But the inference you draw is–despite your “I’m a small sample” attempt to disclaim it–so bogus that I have to wonder if your judgment isn’t equally faulty in other areas as well. Which may have been the root cause of your work issues.

      Here’s a hint: we libs have no doubt plenty of failings, but suspecting that other people secretly think they are smarter than we are generally isn’t one of them.

      • Holden Pattern

        Cuz why do you believe LR, exactly?

        • Ed Marshall

          Because I could imagine wanting to fire him.

        • kth

          Only because in my experience it’s harder to make things up from whole cloth than to stitch them together from scraps already at hand. But maybe that’s just my own laziness showing.

          • Ed Marshall

            Yeah, I don’t believe the “you think we are smarter than you” bullshit for obvious reasons (it’s interesting projection though). There probably is something there though. I know I’ve had work situations that went from good to bad when me and a superior figured out each others politics.

    • Jay B.

      Any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

      OR

      At-will employment: When the retard meets petard.

      • Tom M

        I didn’t know retard was Italian. Here I always stressed the first syllable.
        Learn me something darn near e’er day.

    • Malaclypse

      I have had 3 of them, and all of them persecuted me for my views, even though my views never impeded my job performance (in fact, I operated at a very high level, providing good information and always received excellent job reviews).

      They gave you excellent job reviews? Those tyrants! That sort of persecution would never happen if Reagan were still alive. I blame the fluoride in the water, myself.

    • Jay B.

      Shorter LR:

      Dear Reason, you’ll never believe this, but…

      • hv

        Do you think that if you prove liberals suck in general, that Ms. Althouse’s understanding of free speech will be affected?

        • hv

          (oops that was meant to be one nested reply higher, sorry Jay B., loved your comment)

    • The Wrath of Oliver Khan

      But there is no question that all – and I do mean ALL – of the Republicans I’ve worked for have been excellent managers. Truly fair to everyone, even if they disagree with them.

      This is about 180 degrees from my experience.

      So which one of us wins?

    • B^4

      Too bad you didn’t have a union to protect you from your Randian superman boss.

  • PeeJ

    Helen Thomas was fired for expressing anti-Semitic political views.

    I would hesitate to characterize her statementas that way. Anti-Zionist to be sure, but not necessarily anti-semitic unless you subscribe to the ridiculous “anything bad you say about Israel is anti-semitic” line of crap.

    • MPAVictoria

      Hmmm.. From what I recalled she called for Jews, some of whom are holocaust survivors, to go back to Germany. If it wasn’t anti-Semitic it was at least stupid.

    • Kate

      I think it went beyond saying “something bad” about Israel, PeeJ. Not only did she suggest that Israel has no right to exist (or at least, to exist in Palestine), but she suggested that the Israelis should “go home” to Poland and Germany. That’s either anti-Semitic or just breathtakingly stupid. Now, “off-the-job” anti-Semitism may not be sufficient to get someone fired, but spectacular stupidity might be, dontcha think?

      • Scott Lemieux

        Yeah, sorry, but Thomas’s comments weren’t merely “anti-Israel”; they were anti-Semitic.

  • When people are fired for expressing political views or having political associations that aren’t relevant to their job performance, this is bad for “free speech” even if it’s not a violation of the First Amendment.

    Van Jones.

    QED

  • Uncle Kvetch

    I did work at Fox News, too. You’d be astounded at the number of Democrats who work there. I know I was. Interestingly, it was the absolute BEST place I’ve ever worked. So, apparently, while spouting what is considered drivel is “bad”, you have to respect that they are at least fair and even handed.

    I “have” to? Because some anonymous commenter said so somewhere on the Internet? Sweet Jesus. You need to meet the guy upthread: “I’ve never watched Glenn Beck but somebody told me he kicks ass, so suck on it, libs.”

    This thread has been nothing short of magnificent.

    Hey LR, I’m an anonymous dude on the Internet too! If I told you that you have to run out into the middle of the street right now, wearing your underpants over your head…and nothing else…and sing “I Enjoy Being a Girl” at the top of your lungs for 15 minutes, or else the entire universe will collapse on itself…what would you do?

    • Jay B.

      Hoped for LR response: What key?

      • Uncle Kvetch

        And I want the original Broadway choreography too. No cutting corners.

    • Malaclypse

      This one goes out to Uncle Kvetch.

      • Uncle Kvetch

        Malaclypse, you shouldn’t have! What tipped you off that I was a Fegmaniac?

        Thank you, my friend! Or should I say…COMRADE!

        • Malaclypse

          I did not know, but let’s face it – only Robyn can do justice to this absurdity.

          • Uncle Kvetch
            • Malaclypse

              My 4-year-old loves to sing that song ;-)

  • rcocean

    He’s a professional political scientist/historian. One would think he’d want his deductive argument to be seen as being valid.

    Really? I find that hard to believe. Not the “PolySci” (haha, the ‘scientist’ in “political scientist” always makes me laugh) – but the “historian” part.

    What is Scott a historian of? “Mork and Mindy”?

    • Malaclypse

      What is Scott a historian of? “Mork and Mindy”?

      You really are too stupid to google, aren’t you?

      • rcocean

        Sorry Scott. I thought you were an actual Historian who wrote books and well, studied history. From “Googling” your bio it seems your just a “Professor” at some obscure College called “The College of Saint Rose” in the Department of “History and Political Science” which – I guess – is why you call yourself a “Historian”.

        No doubt working at “The College of Saint Rose” gives you little pay but lots of spare time.

        Maybe if you attack Althouse enough, some Lefty will give you a job at a real University.

        • Ed Marshall

          Any decent community college will probably teach you how to capitalize words correctly.

        • Jay B.

          Liberals are the real elitists.

          • Scott Lemieux

            is why you call yourself a “Historian”.

            Cites, please.

            • rcocean

              OK, so you’re not a Historian. Good for you.

              I guess.

              • Scott Lemieux

                Well, it’s pretty obvious — given your, ah, unique ideas about the workloads of professors at liberal arts and R1 colleges, how the academic job market works, etc. — that my academic credentials are superior to yours, so I’m not sure what any of this proves. Which is precisely why I don’t talk about credentials; I talk about ideas. And I can’t blame you for preferring the ad hominem — Christ knows I wouldn’t want to defend anything Althouse said on the merits either.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Ooooh, burn! I guess to show off my intellectual credentials to the Althouse lickspittle community I should blog less about the Supreme Court and more about sixth-rate reality shows…

      • rcocean

        Spoken Like a true intellectual. I mean, who wouldn’t pay mucho Dinero to have their 19- year-old taught by YOU. Judas Priest. Anyway, congrads on getting a soft Prof Job that allows you to blog 24/7.

        I’ve never heard of your College. Has anyone of note ever graduated? I think I’m going to threaten my daughter with it. “Better study harder, Miss RC, or you’ll end up at the College of St. Rose”.

        • map106

          It’s “congrats” buddy.

          And didn’t I read something about ad hominem?

          And your credentials are?

        • IM

          Anyway, congrads on getting a soft Prof Job that allows you to blog 24/7.

          You mean like Althouse?

          • rcocean

            Sorry IM, Althouse is an actual tenured law professor at the U Of W. It pays pretty well and seems to be one of the top law schools in the USA.

            Is Scott a law professor? Is he a lawyer? He’s not a “historian”. I guess he’s just a poly sci prof at something called the “College of Rose Mary”. Wonder why he had to leave Seattle to go to NYC. Maybe not good enough to teach at the U-dub?

            • Malaclypse

              I’ve never heard of your College.

              I’m guessing that is true of a lot of things, places, and events.

              Wonder why he had to leave Seattle to go to NYC.

              Wonder why you are too stupid to realize that Albany and NYC are two different places.

              • rcocean

                Judas Priest, you mean he’s not even in NYC! Damn, that’s pathetic. To leave Seattle for NYC is bad, to leave Seattle for Albany is just bad AND sad.

              • Malaclypse

                Judas Priest,

                1914 called. They would like their pejorative back.

              • Jim

                1984 Landover called, they want their band back.

            • Warren Terra

              Wonder why he had to leave Seattle

              Yeah, that concept is really hard to figure out.

              • The Wrath of Oliver Khan

                You’d be surprised at how many people imagine universities would naturally hire faculty directly from their own graduate programs.

            • IM

              A law professor who is not doing her job, blogging instead.

              And law is hardly science.

        • Jay B.

          And then she’ll respond, like they do, those scamps, “well dad, tell me again, how exactly did Oklahoma State best prepare you for the call center?”

          • Malaclypse

            I suspect the conversation will be more along the lines of “No daughter of mine will go to one of them elitist socialist schools!” followed by “Dad, you know I have that restraining order on you. Please don’t make me use it again.”

    • Ed Marshall

      Have you ever taken a poli sci class?

      • DrDick

        From the available evidence it would appear that (s)he never finished high school. Certainly seems profoundly ignorant of the nature of higher education.

  • Michael H Schneider

    Christ knows I wouldn’t want to defend anything Althouse said on the merits either

    Appeal to authority!! That is an Ad Hominem, lose five points.

    Besides, we want a cite. To a written statement by Him (‘Personal Communication 2011’ will not do) and it better be a sworn statement, under oath.

    On an earlier subject: I remember the 60s when we believed in individual freedom to contract. I remember hearing Dylan, Pete Seegar and Woody Guthrie sing Guthrie’s famous ode to this freedom, “I dreamed I Helped The Pinkertons Beat The Crap Outta Joe Hill Last Night”.

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  • wengler

    The 30 minutes it took to read this entire comment thread were profoundly entertaining.

    Please invite these Beck watchers over here more often. Their arguments are as incoherent as the Professor himself, but the sheer joy of dissecting them provides better entertainment than a Paul Campos BMI post or a Charli Carpenter Wikileaks concern post.

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