Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
OpEdNews Op Eds

Free Speech: Ted Wheeler is the Enemy He Invokes

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Thomas Knapp       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H4 5/31/17

Author 76576

From commons.wikimedia.org: Occupy Portland, first day {MID-116361}
Occupy Portland, first day
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
  Permission   Details   DMCA
- Advertisement -

Ted Wheeler, the mayor of Portland, Oregon, wants to control who can say -- and hear -- what. He's asked the federal government to cancel one permit and deny another, both for "alt-right" demonstrations at Portland's Shrunk Plaza.

His excuse: Portland is "in mourning" and its "anger is real" over an incident in which an anti-Muslim bigot, Jeremy Joseph Christian, allegedly harassed two women on a commuter train and then stabbed three men who came to their defense, two of them fatally.

Not a bad excuse as excuses go, I guess, but no excuse can be allowed to trump our rights of free speech and peaceable assembly. On this matter, Mayor Wheeler is objectively taking the same position as Christian: The position that it is acceptable to use force to suppress ideas one disagrees with.

There are two metaphorical ways to describe a world in which various ideas compete for our attention and allegiance. Each of those metaphors has consequences.

- Advertisement -

Metaphor 1: A "marketplace of ideas" in which the best product wins out because it is sold with good arguments and people like it better. In this marketplace, any idea can be offered at any time by anyone who supports it. Hopefully the better ones get enough "market share" to be implemented; if an idea doesn't work out, its supporters can move on to another.

Metaphor 2: A "war of ideas" in which things take a darker turn. The competing sides each conclude that their ideas cannot win out unless the alternatives are excluded not just from adoption, but from discussion and consideration. At some point, force inevitably becomes the instrument of that exclusion. The war ceases to be metaphorical. America is clearly at such a point now with the increasing frequency of riots and street fights over politics.

Even scarier than ad hoc riots and street fights, though, are calls by government officials for suppression of political speech through government permit schemes, police action to disperse demonstrators, etc.

- Advertisement -

The difference between Ted Wheeler and an "alt-right" agitator with a baseball bat is that Wheeler has a full-time police force, armed with lethal weaponry and effective legal immunity for its actions, at his beck and call.

We've seen societies in which the likes of Wheeler lay down a party line and the police break out their tear gas and truncheons to suppress all opposition to that line. For example, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Germany before, and eastern Europe after, World War Two.

I don't want to live in such a society. Hopefully you don't either. The events in question shouldn't even require a permit -- or the permission of Ted Wheeler. Freedom is our path away from the war and back to the marketplace.

 

- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.


Thomas Knapp Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Hypocrisy Alert: Republicans Agreed with Ocasio-Cortez Until About One Minute Ago

Finally, Evidence of Russian Election Meddling ... Oh, Wait

Chickenhawk Donald: A Complete and Total Disgrace

The Nunes Memo Only Partially "Vindicates" Trump, But it Fully Indicts the FBI and the FISA Court

Political Parties Should Say What They Mean. The Libertarian Party Does.

NATO: This Deal is a Turkey