Saturday, April 14, 2007

This Is Exactly What Is Wrong With Modern "Conservatism"

I caught some of Sean Hannity's radio show late last night, when it's replayed by my local news station. I don't have a transcript or the audio play back of a specific phone call that I heard Sean Hannity take, but it stuck in my mind and I wanted to take the time to repeat it here in my blog.

A caller called in and thanked Hannity for raising his conservative awareness or something all warm and fuzzy along those lines. The caller then went on to tell the story of how he had seen some hippie anti-war protester outside the post office and how incensed he was that no one had done anything about it. First the caller complained that the workers in the post office had just snickered at him when he mentioned the anti-war protester. The caller was also upset that neither the workers or the people on the street said anything to this anti-war protester. And finally, the caller wondered why the government couldn't do something about this protester, seeing as he was protesting government policy on government property. (Now again, this is not verbatim, but I remember the "government property" language- it stood out in my mind.)

Hannity, after making sure this caller did care about the basic concept of free speech, sort of left the audience hanging as to this other point about "government property."

Allow me to explain what's wrong with this picture. The very essence of free speech is the right to protest government policy and that right would mean very little if it couldn't be exercised on public property. And that's right, I said public property, not government property. What the hell is this government property nonsense? Is the area outside the post office some sort of special area were not allowed to go? Or should the mere fact that it's owned by the government cut off any and all rights to free speech?

I think it's frightening that so many modern conservatives have raised "the state" (or the government if you will) to such an exalted level. The whole war on terror and war in Iraq thing has seemed to make many of them just plain crazy. I find it hard to believe they'd be upset about people protesting Bill Clinton's policies on "government property."

Updated 4/14/2007 @ 11:24 AM: For those of you who may wonder why I'm making such a big deal about language, it's because the words we use really mean something. "Public property" has a democratic connotation, while "government property" has a very authoritarian connotation.


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