For a disturbing number of Americans, free speech is a hallowed and protected right so long as everyone subscribes to the “correct” beliefs.
Otherwise, burn the heretic.
For example, here are two recent cases where offended people have reacted to things they don’t like – usually some form of so-called “hate speech” – by calling for the firing of the supposed offenders.
First, two senior managers at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida are under fire from a federal union for displaying decals that read: “Duck Dynasty: I Support Phil.”
Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family featured in the popular "Duck Dynasty" reality show, drew criticism last year for airing his views on adultery, idolatry and homosexuality as it relates to his Christian faith.
“We took offense,” Alan Cooper, the executive vice president of the local chapter of the American Federation of Government Employees, said of the decals in a Fox News interview.
One of the two managers in question reportedly displayed a similar decal in his office and offered to provide extra decals to fellow employees, the Washington Times reported.
“These two particular individuals have a great amount of influence over individuals who may be gay, who may be African-American, and we have a concern they should not be in a position to exert that influence when it comes to promotions,” Cooper said.
Cooper added that the decals could violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“Phil Robertson has made disparaging remarks against a vast array of people,” Cooper said in a written statement.
At the very least, he said, the two managers should be removed from their leadership positions.
“I don’t know how long these individuals harbored these views,” he said. “[Maybe they] could have impacted employment opportunities for folks that have been disparaged by the likes of a Phil Robertson. It’s definitely 100 percent inappropriate for an organization that espouses a zero-tolerance policy [for discrimination]. ... If it’s zero tolerance, it’s zero tolerance for everybody.”
The second example of calls for someone's firing comes from people who are fit to be tied over a recent Washington Post column by George Will. The conservative author set off a severe and heated backlash for writing last week that progressivism has created the so-called “rape culture” that exists on U.S. campuses.
“The past week has seen the Washington Post devolve to violent and shameful rhetoric that normalizes rape and violence against women,” an activist group called UltraViolet said a press release this week.
“In the face of a national epidemic of sexual violence, The Washington Post should take a stand against rape – starting by firing George Will,” the release added.
The group claims that is has collected 87,000 signatures of like-minded individuals who agree that George Will should be fired for saying something they find offensive.
“From mocking survivors to misleading the public on demands for college sexual assault reform and blaming women for violence against them - the Post has left the realm of honest debate and entered the realm of hate-speech and dog whistles,” the group, which was launched by Nita Chaudhary, former campaign director at MoveOn.org and wife to Jesse Lee, the White House's director of progressive media and online response, added in its statement.
So, yes, rather than work through these sensitive issues or, you know, learn to accept the fact that people sometimes hold opposing beliefs, Will and the two Air Force managers should be removed from their current positions.
Because we won’t be able to grow and mature as a society until we have silenced all opinions and worldviews that differ from our own.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled Phil Robertson's name. The Washington Examiner regrets the error.