I saw Chris Hedges on C-SPAN the other night. Four years ago I heard him in the same venue and was much impressed by what he had to say about pornography. Oxymoronic as it may sound, I'd say Hedges is a decent leftist. Decent but delusional, as witness this opening paragraph of The Creeping Villainy of American Politics:
The threefold rise in hate crimes against Muslims since the Paris and San Bernardino attacks and the acceptance of hate speech as a legitimate form of political discourse signal the morbidity of our civil society. The body politic is coughing up blood. The daily amplification of this hate speech by a commercial media whose sole concern is ratings and advertising dollars rather than serving as a bulwark to protect society presages a descent into the protofascist nightmare of racism, indiscriminate violence against the marginalized, and a blind celebration of American chauvinism, militarism and bigotry.
Who accepts hate speech as a legitimate form of political discourse? And, more importantly, what do leftists mean by 'hate speech'? Suppose I call for a moratorium on immigration from Muslim lands, or, more precisely, a moratorium on the immigration of Muslims from any land. Is my call 'hate speech'? Not to any rational person. You may disagree with this proposal but it is reasonable and prudent given the state of the world, and numerous reasons can be given in support of it. It reflects no hatred of Muslims, but a sober recognition of the threat they pose to our culture and values, a culture that we of course have a right to defend.
This suggests that leftists use 'hate speech' in such a broad way that it includes any speech with which they disagree. Should we conclude that leftists are opposed to free speech and open debate and free inquiry? I am afraid so. In this respect they are just like the orthodox Muslims they quite strangely defend. They think they own dissent. And surely it is passing strange for so many of them to defend Islam given the pronounced 'libertine wobble' of so many leftists. Don't these people defend homosexual practices and alternative sexual lifestyles generally? They would be the first to lose their heads under Sharia. Do our lefty pals perhaps have a death wish?