Whatever happened to Voltaire?

© 2016 Jim Spence  Decades ago I listened to a history professor I admired. He was lecturing on the topic of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He was also extolling the virtues of freedom of speech by quoting the inspired words of Voltaire,
“‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Of course Voltaire is one of the great men of the period in history known as, “The Enlightenment." However, somewhere between the 1970’s and today, our “enlightened” values regarding freedom of expression have been eviscerated from the minds of most Democrats.
Why do I say this, and what proof do I have? The evidence is mind boggling and overwhelming. It is absolutely stupefying to watch progressive Democrats, particularly young people at colleges and universities around the nation crush the liberties implicit in our 1st Amendment. It is quite sad that nobody is quoting Voltaire anymore. The unenlightened era is well underway.
Consider students at Rutgers University who were so ardent in their opposition to former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice speaking at their commencement a couple of years ago, they forced her to withdraw. She did so to take pressure off of the Rutgers University President. Then there is the recent appearance of Ben Shapiro’s at UCLA, which had to be protected by police because aggressive students who disagreed with his views, blocked the entry ways and harassed people trying to get into the auditorium to hear his speech. There have been efforts on virtually every college campus to quash free speech.
The 1st Amendment crushers have gone even farther. There have been many proposals of as well as adoptions of “speech codes” at various colleges around the country. These codes are attempting to prevent the possibility that a student might “take offense” at something said. A new term has been coined to censor people. It is “micro-aggression.” Micro-aggression is code for the easily offended who can now claim micro-aggression as some sort of assault, by pointing to virtually anything vague and insinuating that it is based on racism.
Where does support for this kind of overt censorship movement come from? How could any self-respecting American support censoring what another person says, minus standard opposition to the shouting of “fire” in a crowded theater?
Look no farther than the actions of the White House yesterday as French premier Francois Hollande was addressing the War on Terror.
Hollande said this in French: “Europe has been hit more, given that it is also the target of the terrorists and ISIS. We’ve seen it in Paris last year, as well as in Brussels. And together with President Obama, we worked on coordinating further our commitments, our organizations, our services when it comes to fighting against these terrorists. We are also making sure that between Europe and the United States there can be a very high level coordination. But we’re also well aware that the roots of terrorism, Islamist terrorism, is in Syria and in Iraq. We therefore have to act both in Syria and in Iraq, and this is what we’re doing within the framework of the coalition. And we note that Daesh is losing ground thanks to the strikes we’ve been able to launch with the coalition. We are continuing to support Iraq. This is also a decision we have taken, supporting the Iraqi government and making sure that they can claim back their entire territory, including Mosul.”
Hollande’s remarks seem fair enough. Wrong.
Mr. Obama’s speech police were fast at work on part of Hollande's speech since Mr. Obama refuses to use the term, “Islamist terrorism.” In the White House video of Hollande’s comments, the entire audio of the video feed is muted right before Hollande says, “Islamist terrorism.” And after Hollande says the phrase “Islamist terrorism,” the audio returns, but without any English translation. In fact, the interpreter’s voice is not restored in the video until 12 seconds later.
Hollande’s use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism” was also censored from the White House’s official MP3 audio recording of the event.
A quick glance at the media reports this morning found that not a single mainstream media outlet even noted this outrageous censorship. Voltaire must be spinning in his grave as Mr. Obama arrogantly censored a French premier simply because Mr. Obama objects when anyone to uses the term, “Islamist terrorism” to describe Islamic terrorists. Obama got away with it. There was not a single mention, let alone a rebuke of his trashing of the 1st Amendment (minus Fox News, of course).
No, it is not difficult to see why young progressive Democrats think it is OK to shut people up, even with the use of force when they don’t agree with their views. Mr. Obama and the other fascists on his staff do it as naturally as they inhale and exhale.