Tolerance

"Duck Dynasty" Pits Free Speech Against Shifting Cultural Taboos

The smartest thing A&E could do is wait out the controversy and then bring Robertson back once the show resumes filming.

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There are at least two lessons to be learned from the "Duck Dynasty" debacle, in which reality TV star Phil Robertson got indefinitely suspended from the A&E hit show after making anti-gay remarks in a GQ magazine interview. One: on freedom of speech, hypocrisy and double standards are rampant across the political spectrum (the title of 1992 book by the great civil libertarian Nat Hentoff, "Free Speech for Me But Not for Thee," remains ever-relevant). Two: while some speech will always be regarded as beyond the pale in even the freest society, the rapid shifting of those boundaries is sure to generate intense cultural anxiety and conflict.

The banishment of Robertson, the patriarch of a Louisiana family that grew rich selling duck whistles, has become the latest cause of outrage on the right. Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican and likely presidential candidate, wrote on Facebook, "If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over the treatment of Phil Robertson." Sarah Palin chimed in with a tweet about our endangered freedoms. Facebook pages and petitions in support of Robertson have sprung up, along with a #StandWithPhil Twitter movement. Fanning the flames from the left, CNN's Piers Morgan took to Twitter to assert that "the 1st Amendment shouldn't protect vile bigots."

It does, of course. But, as a number of commentators (including conservatives) have pointed out, the First Amendment is irrelevant to the Duck Dynasty imbroglio for a very different reason. While constitutional protections for speech certainly extend to bigots, they protect only against government actions, not sanctions by employers. There is no inalienable right to be on A&E. This isn't even a matter of government pressure on private institutions to punish objectionable ideas—as with the 1950s Hollywood blacklists of film industry figures with Communist ties, or modern-day college speech codes targeting broadly defined "harassment."

Still, just because A&E's actions do not violate First Amendment freedoms doesn't make them right. Free speech advocate Adam Kissel, former vice president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)—who has criticized Robertson's suspension on Twitter—told me, "A&E generally has the legal right to determine the border of its tolerance and intolerance, but this does not end the moral conversation." Kissel believes that if a private employer's action "serves to shut out a voice that otherwise would have been heard, this choice is morally suspect." Reason magazine senior editor Brian Doherty makes a similar argument: while censuring unpopular speech through social ostracism and economic boycott may not be un-libertarian, it's deeply illiberal and contrary to the spirit of tolerance that makes society flourish.

Libertarians who make this argument have ideological consistency on their side. (FIRE has staunchly opposed all curbs on "offensive" speech on college campuses, whether the offense was to feminist and multicultural sensitivities or Christian and patriotic ones.) Conservatives, on the other hand, have their own long record of trying to silence or punish expression they dislike—including pro-gay expression.

Take the American Family Association, which charges that A&E "believes in freedom of speech…only if it is the speech content with which they agree." But so does the AFA: boycotts directed against "immoral"—and, specifically, gay-friendly—content have been practically its bread and butter. In 1997, the group fought to stop ABC from having the lead on "Ellen" come out as a lesbian. L. Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center, another vocal critic of the alleged Duck Dynasty persecution, supported both the "Ellen" boycott (the MRC took out a full-page ad in Variety condemning the "blatant attempt by Disney, ABC and 'Ellen' to promote homosexuality to America's families") and that of "Nothing Sacred," a 1997-1998 ABC show that angered conservative Catholics by portraying a priest who struggled with his faith and questioned Church teachings on sexuality.

Backlash from the right has targeted other kinds of speech, too. Ten years ago, there was the Dixie Chicks boycott, which more or less destroyed the country music band after lead singer Natalie Maine opened a London concert by saying that they opposed the war in Iraq and were "ashamed" to be from the same state as President Bush. (Even sympathetic programmers had to take Dixie Chicks songs off the air, and some boycott-defying DJs lost their jobs.) Back then, conservatives—including President Bush—were the ones pointing out that while the Dixie Chicks were free to take a stand, so were their detractors.

And, just last year, Miami Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen got in trouble by gushing to Time magazine that he loved and respected Cuba's retired dictator Fidel Castro for his longevity in the face of so many enemies. Anti-Communist Cuban-American groups threatened a boycott, demanding Guillen's resignation. He was suspended for five games and made groveling apologies; a few months later he was fired, almost certainly due in part to the Castro flap.

To some extent, ostracism, no less than speech, is the exercise of a constitutional right: freedom of association. And some opinions are ostracized by near-universal agreement. If an entertainer had praised Hitler or Osama Bin Laden, defended pedophilia, or endorsed wife-beating, his career would be over faster than you can say "First Amendment" (and no one would be clamoring for his freedom of speech). Holocaust denial, 9/11 "trutherism," and claims about the genetic inferiority of some racial and ethnic groups have all been effectively driven to the fringes of the marketplace of ideas—where most of us would prefer them to stay.

The tough question is where to draw the lines when social standards shift. In two generations, near-universal harsh disapproval of homosexuality has given way to harsh disapproval of homophobia. Interestingly, while traditional views of male and female roles are widely regarded as outmoded, they are generally not equated with outright bigotry; traditional views of homosexuality, however, seem headed in that direction.

Granted, Phil Robertson did more than express the biblical view of homosexual conduct as sin: his ramblings seemed to lump together homosexuality and bestiality (though he put heterosexual promiscuity on the same list) and included bizarre anatomically correct remarks about the superior joys of heterosexual sex. But, these particulars aside, there is an unmistakable trend toward marginalizing all opinion that treats same-sex relationships less favorably than male-female unions—whether on religious grounds or because of the latter's reproductive potential and sexual complementarity—as we have marginalized bias against interracial marriage. Will that really benefit public discourse, or worsen cultural tensions because of apparently well-founded fears that gay equality leads to intolerance toward traditionalists?

Those fears are likely to be exacerbated by the fact that societal standards are still in flux. In recent months, for instance, there has been a noticeable increase in commentary suggesting that acceptance of non-monogamous relationships should be the next social frontier. It may not be entirely paranoid for conservatives to wonder if, eventually, "enlightened" society will seek to banish anyone voicing an unflattering opinion of polyamory.

In a decentralized economy with unprecedented media diversity, ostracism by the mainstream is unlikely to silence dissenters or strip them of their livelihood. ("Duck Dynasty" has already received offers for a show if its relationship with A&E is terminated.) Increased fragmentation and polarization in the marketplace of ideas is a far likelier consequence—and not a good one. In that sense, Doherty is right to say that the power of exclusion should be used very sparingly.

What does this mean for A&E and "Duck Dynasty"? Frankly, I don't think Phil Robertson—whose interview also featured cartoonish reminiscences about "godly" blacks singing happy songs in the Jim Crow-era South—is someone conservatives should "stand with." But, like other commentators left and right, I agree that A&E's response was ludicrously excessive, particularly since Robertson's remarks fit perfectly with his reality TV image on which the network has capitalized. The smartest thing A&E could do is wait out the controversy and then bring Robertson back once the show resumes filming; of course, that may have been the plan all along.

By then, the rest of us will have moved on to new paroxysms of outrage at offensive speech. Maybe next time, a reality-show gay dad can offend by mocking evangelical Christians as deluded idiots. Then, conservatives can call for his head and denounce anti-Christian bigotry, and liberals can stand up for his right to free speech.

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  1. “Then, conservatives can call for his head and denounce anti-Christian bigotry, and liberals can stand up for his right to free speech.”

    Please, liberals would not be merely defending but applauding that sort of bigotry.

    The problem here is we have a cultural divide here between people on the side of the Robertsons, who have traditional religious views and a more rough and tumble view of life, and the people who are represented by A&E. Those people have an increasingly prissy worldview where all forms of harm must be mitigated and disguised by false equivalencies. They are the culture which creates the Nanny State, the driving force behind gun and soda bans. They are intolerant and meddlesome and they think they are in the ascendancy. The presumption here is the idea that what Robertson actually said is offensive (rather than somewhat crudely put in spots) to the general public or just that segment of the public that A&E wants to appeal to.

    1. I am a liberal and in no way represented by the prissy types. Most of us liberals are in-your-face non-PC types who call a Christfag a Christfag. See George Carlin, Chris Hitchens, Bill Maher, Larry Flynt, Southpark, and practically any of the other freedom fighters.

      What Phil Robertson said is naive and childish but I want him to keep on saying it and I want some media outlet to carry his show.

      The problem is that it is my side that is censored most. The Phils of the world have AM radio and a multitude of televangelists who spout their collective shit.

      1. you cannot be a liberal AND a libertarian. They are incongruent. And when exactly has your side been censored? Bill Maher calls Palin a “cunt” and crickets abound, and that is hardly the only example.

        Liberals were the inventors of PC, of speech codes, of the term ‘hate speech’, and of a thousand other insidious invasions of the culture.

        1. you cannot be a liberal AND a libertarian. They are incongruent.

          Liberals value control. Everyone must be controlled. No one should be allowed to do anything without asking permission and obeying orders. Otherwise, how can anyone know that they’re doing it right and correctly without some sort of authority looking over their shoulder?

          Libertarians value liberty. As long as someone does not violate the life, liberty or property of others, there is no reason they should have to ask permission or obey orders.

          I’ll go beyond incongruent and call them opposites.

          1. Sarcasmic

            Libertarians are nothing more than conservative control freaks with a different uniform. They (libertarians) are as dangerous on the right now as they were on the left then. It’s the same breed of cat and the same brand of b s but in the end they smell the same. In any event, the AmericanRevolutionaries who fought against the British Conservatives in 1776 were Liberals. So Liberals must mean something else today?!

            1. Does anybody else think Mandalay might be the sock puppet shreeeek uses to say the shit that is even too stupid for him to say on his regular handle?

              1. No hes very young, shreeeeeek at least can form a congruent sentence, sometimes even a paragraph if were lucky, albeit still an idiot just not this bad.

                1. Vic Rattlesnake

                  All you do is regurgitate what PM said with regard to my comment. As usual, those of your ilk have no answer because you are too damn stupid to formulate one. You fool.

              2. PM

                Your “reply” is typical of those many many undereducated slobs in our society who are unable to articulate a rebuttal to anyone’s statement. So, you just dismiss it with the usual insults. If you were not retarded you would see exactly what I am saying and refute it an an intelligent manner. You fool.

        2. You cannot be a conservative and a libertarian. Conservatives demand orthodoxy and will use the state to censor you, prohibit free expression that is outside their GAWDLY domain, prohibit nude dancers, prostitution, abortion, and any other type of behavior they dissaprove of.

          Conservatives are the worst kind of statists.

          I am a classic liberal fwiw.

          1. Conservatives, in their rhetoric anyway, are much more supportive of economic liberty than liberals who are actively hostile towards the concept.

            In my libertarian world, if given a choice between someone who supports economic liberty and someone who is hostile towards it, I’ll grudgingly support the conservative.

            As far as you being a classical liberal goes, that’s a joke. You’re a classical buffoon, and that is all.

            1. I keep hearing the conservatives support economic liberty but the evidence says otherwise.

              Speaking of buffoons, you are like Charlie Brown kicking the football Lucy keeps snatching away when you vote GOP.

              NEXT TIME THE GOP WON’T LET ME DOWN!

              1. My governor here in Maine, a Republican who I did vote for, has led an effort to repeal regulations that restrict business activity. The liberal outcry has been delicious. Sometimes the GOP gets it right on the state level, but rarely on the national level.

                1. As a right-libertarian (who is personally conservative) I do not think using government to push socially conservative laws.

                  I happen to think trough freedom of association or free social interaction we will be naturally more Conservative.

                  For instance since law “gives” some defacto “rights”(soooo much wrong with that statement, but i’ll roll with it) to the state of marriage is why we have the issue with same sex unions. If there were no legal document churches would decide whom they would marry, and there are churches who do same sex unions.

                  I think Phil here and the greater pro-same sex union is about official acceptance. Phil is correct in one way, most mainstream religions say(in fact Christian, Jewish, and Muslims AGREE) that homosexuality is a sin.

                  This were we are:
                  1. use government to enforce the sin.
                  2. make government indifferent and leave it to the individuals.
                  3. use government to enforce acceptance by all.

                  I choose #2

                  1. I choose 2 also.

                    The start was where we had government incorporate a Religious concept into law, if marriage stayed in the church it couldn’t now be rewritten far from its initial.

                    Society needs to be able to discuss what we feel freely without name calling. Only then can we actually find the solutions.

                    1. Marriage was originally a secular concept, that religion only officially horned in on on 11 November 1563. Before then there was no “sacrament of marriage”.

                      Marriages in the US have never required any religious involvement.

                      “Some countries ? such as Belgium, Bulgaria, France, the Netherlands, Romania and Turkey ? require that a civil ceremony take place before any religious one. In some countries ? notably the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Norway and Spain ? both ceremonies can be held together; the officiant at the religious and civil ceremony also serving as agent of the state to perform the civil ceremony. To avoid any implication that the state is “recognizing” a religious marriage (which is prohibited in some countries) ? the “civil” ceremony is said to be taking place at the same time as the religious ceremony. Often this involves simply signing a register during the religious ceremony. If the civil element of the religious ceremony is omitted, the marriage ceremony is not recognized as a marriage by government under the law.”

                2. Sarcasmic

                  Your State of Maine is beautiful, Regrettably the type of Republics you have there now are the type who will do anything to protect big business so it/they can do what they want without any restraints whatsoever.

                  On that note this is a very different Republicanism than was represented by Senator Margaret Chase Smith back in the day when she took the scoundrel Senator Joe McCarthy to task.

                  Anyway, Maine is still a beautiful state with a great history.

          2. You may have noticed that not a single poster here suggested that Phil Robertson be imprisoned, drawn and quartered, or otherwise impacted by govt.

            That’s a pretty good indication that no one is claiming to be conservative here, particularly not the social kind. I’ll admit to the fiscal variety which is in keeping with the libertarian notion of limited govt.

          3. I am a classic liberal fwiw

            Yes, “classical liberals” always suck off the current Dem in charge no matter what he does.

          4. If libertarians have allies, it’s within the conservative ranks dumbass. There’s no place for a libertarian candidate on the left side of the spectrum in North America.

            1. Currently you are correct Rufus and that is because liberals are no longer liberals for the most part, they have been mostly taken by the left. I’d love to see libertarian thought take over from both the left and right. Indeed it is one strength of reason.com.

          5. Conservatives do indeed have an unhealthy interest in controlling other people’s bedrooms.
            Liberals, on the other hand have an unhealthy interest in controlling their kitchens, bathrooms, garages, breezeways, backyards, basements, rec rooms, broom closets, attics, dining rooms, parlors….
            Which is why I am neither. Though conservatives bug me way less…

            1. But they’ll still demand you pay for their bedroom activities.

          6. I am a classic liberal fwiw.

            Yes, that very special kind of classic liberal that’s perfectly willing to make an exception for every progressive infringement on rights and liberties that comes down the pike. In other words, a garden variety progressive.

          7. I am a classic liberal fwiw.

            Pretty sure you mean “classical liberal”. If you’re going to molest the language at least leave all the syllables intact.

        3. And when exactly has your side been censored?

          I named people who have been censored to prove that point.

          1. you named people who are un-PC. Not a one of them has been censored.

            1. In point of fact, none of them is really un-PC either, and not only were they not censored, but they faced no social, political, or economic consequences from their speech (with the sole exception of Larry Flynt).

        4. “you cannot be a liberal AND a libertarian.” Dude, you couldn’t be more wrong, and not just because you’re trying to debate with Palin’s Troll. The very essence of libertarianism is classical liberalism, no matter how much lefty progressives try to ruin the word.

          1. Straight up. I’d say anything on the spectrum of a classical liberal to an an-cap would fall under the “libertarian” label.

          2. Well, true enough on a technical point. But, what in God’s creation does classical liberalism have to do with modern progressivism? And when people reference liberalism, nine times out of ten, they’re talking about the latter.

          3. Well, true enough on a technical point. But, what in God’s creation does classical liberalism have to do with modern progressivism? And when people reference liberalism, nine times out of ten, they’re talking about the latter.

          4. Well, true enough on a technical point. But, what in God’s creation does classical liberalism have to do with modern progressivism? And when people reference liberalism, nine times out of ten, they’re talking about the latter.

          5. Audrey the Liberal

            Exactly HOW do “lefty progressives: “ruin the world? You make a statement denouncing a political philosophy and then fail to tell us what it is that “lefty progressives” do to ruin YOUR world.

            Which of course is the key to every comment on this site, which is that someone else’ opinion is ruining someone else’s world, real and imagined.

            1. To take but one timely example, the theft of my data from computer networks would be a good place to start.

              That you thoroughly enjoy the full rectal probe from daddy gubmint doesn’t validate your… wait for it… opinion.

              1. PM

                Your first sentence makes some sense. Your second and last sentence is the mark of a retarded person.

        5. Read the loathesome essay “Repressive Tolerance” by Herbert Marcuse, considered one of the most important documents of the left in the 60s to understand the “western” concept of PC, and where it comes from. Considering the esteem this guy is held by “progressives”, it’s easily the most vile document written by someone not a mass murderer.

      2. “Most of us liberals are in-your-face non-PC types who call a Christfag a Christfag.”

        And scream like stuck pigs when their oxen are gored. Carlin and Maher are bitter ex-Catholics, and Maher is pretty deep in nanny-statism and gun-control. Larry Flynt is a twisted human being who may have been, sort of, on the right side of a free speech issue once upon a time. Hitchens, for all his personal friendliness with Reason staff was a Trotskyite.

        “Your side” is censored? That is laughable.

        1. ABC cancelled Bill Maher’s show for a statement non-PC he made. Carlin was routinely censored or bleeped, Southpark is censored, Flynt was targeted, banned, and outright intimidated by trial and imprisoned, and I could name many more like them although not as famous.

          1. Southpark was censored for showing an image of Mohammed, and as I recall several left-leaning groups attacked them for it.

            You also conveniently leave out the fact that the ones who censored Southpark was the left leaning comedy central network.

          2. Carlin worked very blue, Southpark has been censored by the same sort of Nanny State prisses that censored Robertson. Flynt’s issue was also a libel case. Maher’s the only one who is close to what happened to Robertson and he’s being currently heavily promoted by HBO, and not considered beyond the pale.

            1. Maher is so vapid it’s not even funny.

            2. Maher’s the only one who is close to what happened to Robertson

              Not at all, really. Maher got backlash from advertisers (which was admittedly pretty stupid) over his and Dinesh D’Souza’s remarks about the 9/11 bombers, but he wasn’t suspended from the network and his show wasn’t cancelled until the following year.

          3. Do you remember a senator Al Gore? from what i remember he is supposedly a fervent liberal, who wanted to ban music, video games, and basically anything that his wife didn’t like
            this is a liberal hero and he is as much of a statist swine as the wretched she-beast clinton who also wants to ban violent video games, outlaw pornography and strip clubs, and crack down on prohibition
            we’re boned if more of you dont start waking up to this

            1. Vic,

              So I guess this means that you spend a lot of time watching porn, going to strip clubs, drinking, and playing violent video games. I understand your concerns, and the concerns of your neighbors down at the Redneck Trailer Trash Court. Have a nice day fool.

              1. What a bonehead.

                When someone champions the right of another to engage in activities that that person may or may not enjoy, you accuse them of seeking the same activities.

                You claim to be a “liberal” yet display the most illiberal views. A true liberal is tolerant of other views, but American liberals are intolerant.

        2. Hitchens recanted his socialist leanings after realizing that “capitalism had become the most revolutionary economic system”

      3. Yeah, you’re so tough and “in your face” that you’ve constructed a phony sockpuppet biography in a sad attempt to try and conceal who you really are.

      4. Uh, George Carlin, Larry Flynt, and Southpark *aren’t* liberal.

        HInt – just because someone makes fun of conservatives doesn’t make them a liberal.

      5. You’re full of crap. Most media is liberal, not conservative. BTW, get in my face with your liberal crap and I’ll knock you on your butt.

        Freedom fighters ? What a joke.

      6. I thought you were ‘classical libeal,’ Palin.

        You do know there’s a difference between the modern liberal and classical liberals, right?

        Right.

      7. Ooo – you are so edgy and cool because you can put “Christ” in the same sentence as a swear word. I’m an agnostic, but my grandma believes in Jesus. So on her behalf, screw you, you narcissistic prick. You aren’t a rebel, an “in-your-face, non-PC type” and certainly not a “freedom fighter”. You are an adolescent potty-mouth, drawing penises in the grammar school bathroom.
        Oh, and the South Park guys have said they only thing they hate more than “fucking conservatives” are “fucking liberals”.

      8. Ooo – you are so edgy and cool because you can put “Christ” in the same sentence as a swear word. I’m an agnostic, but my grandma believes in Jesus. So on her behalf, screw you, you narcissistic prick. You aren’t a rebel, an “in-your-face, non-PC type” and certainly not a “freedom fighter”. You are an adolescent potty-mouth, drawing penises in the grammar school bathroom.
        Oh, and the South Park guys have said they only thing they hate more than “fucking conservatives” are “fucking liberals”.

      9. Ooo – you are so edgy and cool because you can put “Christ” in the same sentence as a swear word. I’m an agnostic, but my grandma believes in Jesus. So on her behalf, screw you, you narcissistic prick. You aren’t a rebel, an “in-your-face, non-PC type” and certainly not a “freedom fighter”. You are an adolescent potty-mouth, drawing penises in the grammar school bathroom.
        Oh, and the South Park guys have said they only thing they hate more than “fucking conservatives” are “fucking liberals”.

        1. I fourth that.

        2. You’re new here, aren’t you…

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  2. “This isn’t even a matter of government pressure on private institutions to punish objectionable ideas”

    Are you sure about that? Are you sure that A&E was acting out its own ethical, moral or business concerns, and not a desire to avoid the wrath of some government regulator? Or to avoid civil liability under the insidious legal theory that it was creating a “hostile work environment” for its employees by “allowing” this form of “anti-gay” expression?

    When shock jock Don Imus got into trouble for referring to the members of the Rutgers Unv. Women’s basketball team as “nappy headed ho’s,” the Executive Director of G.W. Bush’s EEOC posted an “open letter” on the agency website in which she expressed (mock) outrage at Imus’ comment. What does the EEOC have to do with radio broadcasting, you ask? The real message was contained at the beginning of the second or third paragraph: “Employers know that they cannot allow that type of talk in their workplaces.” No employer would miss that point.

    When private individuals and companies squelch speech our of fear that they will face government sanction if they do not, even if in the apparent form of private lawsuits, then it is very much a liberty issue.

    1. That’s an excellent point. the government is involved with everything to one degree or another, and any business that forgets that will receive a harsh lesson.

  3. As an atheist who doesn’t think that homosexuality is immoral and has a very negative view of religion, my sticking point in this particular Kulturkampf is not so much what Robertson said, but what those who are perpetually aggrieved and supposedly mortally offended ignore.

    This image that I’ve seen going around sums it up pretty well. See also: the people who were banging the drum nonstop that Romney’s War on Women was going to force everyone without a penis to be chained to the kitchen barefoot and pregnant, who then eagerly babble excuses about how “it’s their culture!” when presented with the facts of how women are actually treated in Muslim countries. Or indulge in fresh and topical “Sarah Palin is a dumb cunt” jokes after talking about how Clarence Thomas is a moronic Republican Uncle Tom house nigger, etc.

    Again, not to defend a woman I never supported or voted for, or the “tallest midget/most libertarian” Supreme Court justice who thought that searching a 13-year-old girl’s underwear for ibuprofen was hunky-dory, but the way this narrative cookie crumbles seems pretty unidirectional.

    1. “… the “tallest midget/most libertarian” Supreme Court justice who thought that searching a 13-year-old girl’s underwear for ibuprofen was hunky-dory,…”

      He did not think that it was “hunky dory”, he did not think that what happened was a constitutional matter due to the school’s in loco parentis authority.

      1. I had a wall of text written and then I realized that it didn’t really address your point, so I’ll just be brief and say that I suppose my objection is not the in loco parentis issue but against compulsory public schooling in general and how I don’t believe that it’s a legitimate function of government. Also considering that you can run afoul of CPS for homeschooling, things of this nature might not always be what the parents want, either.

        Was that the issue brought up in that Supreme Court case, though? Nope. You got me.

    2. but the way this narrative cookie crumbles seems pretty unidirectional.

      See “bitter cling”.

    3. As usual rightwingnutjobs lie. Your link says Obama calls Farrrakhan a “hero”.

      “Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Farrakhan’s past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister’s support,” said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.[29] Obama “rejected and denounced” Farrakhan’s support during an NBC presidential candidate debate.

      Wikipedia (with footnotes).

      1. Yeah! That us told!

        I mean its not like Obama didn’t support Wright before he was against Wright, right?

        1. Obama did what he usually does – he is being himself until doing so becomes politically inconvenient. Then he pretends to be the only person in the congregation to have missed Wright’s words and guilty white liberals accept it.

        2. Who mentioned Wright?

          Wright was actually correct in his non-PC diatribe. “GODDAMN AMERICA for killing innocent people in a series of foreign wars” is a very libertarian position to take. The chickens are coming home to roost.

          That is why Obama disowned him.

          1. bullshit. Obama “disowned” him only after Wright became a political liability. For 20 years, Barry sat and listened to Wright speak his piece. At some point, a sane person has to conclude that BO must have agreed far more than he disagreed.

            1. One of Obama’s top bagmen even tried to directly bright Wright into going away and keeping his mouth shut. You only do that when you know someone is going to be a massive political liability.

              1. Bribe, rather.

            2. Wright became a political liability when wingnut media played “Goddamn America” out of context every five minutes. They had to dig deep to find something.

              Besides, who listens to the fucking preacher? Obviously us secular liberals don’t.

              1. Besides, who listens to the fucking preacher?

                Barack Obama did, for years. And, he provided significant financial support. You don’t get to be a member of those churches without tithing.

              2. Obviously the guy who sat in his pews for a couple decades, got married by him, had his kids baptized by him and donated tens of thousands of dollars to him may have possibly listened to such gems as , “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”

                1. “The government lied about inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color. The government lied.”

                  It’s worth bringing this up, since shreeek tries to pretend that “Goddamn America” was the only thing Wright said that was controversial. US of KKK A, etc etc. All wingnut lies! Totally out of context! Because there’s totally a right context for moonbat conspiracy theories about racial genocide by the Carter and Reagan administrations…

          2. Who mentioned Wright?

            *I* fucking mentioned Wright you moron – as an example of how Obama saying he doesn’t approve of someone *now* doesn’t mean that he wasn’t cozy with them a few years prior.

            I should also mention Bill Ayers – the mad bomber.

      2. So Wikipedia is your source for facts? What a tool.

        1. If you look up my wiki page it says how my penis tastes like gummy bears and cures the blues… i know i put it there myself now i’m just waiting for someone to fact check it

  4. Here’s the difference between Phil Robertson and his critics:

    Phil – “this is what I believe and if you agree with me, thanks. If you disagree, that’s fine, too, but it’s not going to change my mind.”

    Critics – “we disagree with you and are willing to go well beyond societal sanctions, to include the use of govt force, in order to make you think like we do.”

    People on the left refuse to see the gap between someone holding an opinion, and someone who holds an opinion and wants to force everyone else to have the same opinion.

    1. A sheriff who is a fan of Robertson seems happy to wield government power against A&E.

      1. I missed that – what did he do?

        1. A sheriff in Douglas County went further, saying that he’d actively block A&E (the network that hosts Duck Dynasty) from filming in county facilities. This is a much more questionable move, that probably actually conflicts with the First Amendment, but that’s between the sheriff and A&E’s lawyers.

    2. Do you seriously believe we would be having this discussion at all if his statement to GQ was “I don’t agree with it or condone it”?

      1. Yes. To the critics, that in itself is homophobic.

      2. And what exactly is it that he said that is the reason we’re having this discussion? What he said is that he considers homosexuality a sin. Along with bestiality and good-old-fashioned, man-on-top, heterosexual sleeping-around. And that he doesn’t believe unrepentant sinners go to heaven. Hate to break it to you, but none of that is really outside the mainstream of Christian belief. As long as the Christian in question doesn’t confuse the sin and the sinner, and Robertson’s comments made that clear, it’s pretty standard stuff.

  5. Tolerant people do not tolerate intolerance. The more intolerant a tolerant person is of intolerance, the more tolerant they are. Since Robinson’s remarks were intolerant, A&E’s intolerance is their way of showing that they are tolerant.

    1. South Park- “Welcome to tolerance camp where intolerance will not be tolerated!”

    2. This is more confusing than paradoxical time travel

  6. OK, Loder – get with making the ’47 Ronin’ review.

    I’ve got one guy who says its decent and one guy who says its a muddled mess.

    1. I’ll bet on muddled mess. It was hard enough to follow without the current trend to have a sugar high seven year old cut films.

    2. I didn’t realize they re-re-made 47 Ronin. (Note: I haven’t seen any of the versions; samurai movies aren’t my favorite genre.)

      1. I wouldn’t say its been ‘re-re-made’, pretty much every version has been its own film with its own take on (and discrepancies) and played fast and loose with the historical fact.

        This one throws in some shit about magic and Keanu Reeves.

        True fact – all the shit that’s on the poster is stuff from secondary plot threads. Neo isn’t even the protagonist in the movie, though you wouldn’t know that from watching the trailers.

        I fear that, at best, it’ll be another ‘300’ – a movie that is visually stunning but absolute torture if you listen to the actors ‘act’ or try to follow the clich? filled plot.

  7. Granted, Phil Robertson did more than express the biblical view of homosexual conduct as sin: his ramblings seemed to lump together homosexuality and bestiality (though he put heterosexual promiscuity on the same list)

    Why even make this argument when you seem to acknowledge that it is an incorrect interpretation of what he actually said? This is what gets me the most: if you’re going to argue against someone’s words and call for a boycott, at least argue honestly and don’t intentionally misrepresent what they said.

    1. And the parenthetical statement is, to my mind, not a minor addition to the thought.

      1. Phil put a long of things into the general bucket of behaviors he dislikes. The talking point re: comparisons of bestiality and homosexuality are joined by the one where he is apparently racist for not portraying the blacks he worked with as an angry mob.

        1. I didn’t like the part about being cheerful because they were singing. Singing doesn’t automatically equal cheerfulness, it could be a healthy way to distract from one’s unhappiness (not saying this was the case with Robertson’s black coworkers, because I don’lt know, but his point isn’t as conclusive as he thinks.

    2. Well, we know the left’s boycotts work so well. I am reminded of the gay boycott of Chik-fil-A. That day was the companies best ever.

      As for A&E. I no longer care what they do. Duck guys will do well regardless, but I am permanently boycotting A&E. They may not notice my boycott, but I cannot in good conscience support any company that is so far in the tank for gays.

  8. I’m still waiting for a robust theological debate between reality tv stars. I want to hear Chummly’s views concerning transubstantiation and the trinitarian doctrine.

    1. “Trans… sub… uh… Hey! Nice shoes!”

  9. I might actually make an effort to overcome my pathological aversion to going to movie theaters and see 47 Ronin. I’m certain it will bear no resemblance whatsoever to the original (awesome) version.

  10. I didn’t realize they re-re-made 47 Ronin. (Note: I haven’t seen any of the versions; samurai movies aren’t my favorite genre.)

    I really miss SAMURAI SATURDAY on IFC. Especially the complete Zatoichi library.

    1. I just watched the trailers – both the US release and the Japanese one. I guess I’ll have to get the disc for this at some point. Not sure which version to go with – since it is US produced the English language version won’t wash out any of the intended context. But I expect the Japanese version track to be not contemporary Japanese but Chambara – that version used for period movies which isn’t at all historically accurate but tries to give the impression of archaic Japanese. Bleah. The lesser of two weevils…

  11. I want to hear Chummly’s views concerning transubstantiation and the trinitarian doctrine.

    I think Bezos should hire that guy (I’ve never even watched the show) to write a weekly “economics” column. I’m sure he could give Krugabe a run for his money.

    1. I think the only column he’ll be writing in the future will be a marijuana review.

  12. First of all, Robertson and clan design duck calls not whistles. Second, if Cathy knew anything about baseball, she might know that Ozzie Guillen was “certainly” fired because the Marlins had lost nearly five times as many games as they’d won. Thirdly, Young piles on and repeats the same pathetic main stream media accusation that Robertson uttered an anti-gay slur. So if one does not praise same sex coupling, it’s anti-gay? Such a lengthy article for Young to come to the conclusion that there really is no moral center anymore and, somehow, that is good and progressive.

    1. So if one does not praise same sex coupling, it’s anti-gay?

      Yes, in the same way that having women pay for their own birth control infringes upon their privacy rights.

    2. I no longer comment on things Cathy says. She is the personification of ignorance.

    3. Robertson from three years ago: “Women with women. Men with men,” he said at one point. “They committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.

      “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God-haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are truthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

      1. Howsabout a link, for context?

      2. “They committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.

        “They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant God-haters. They are heartless. They are faithless. They are senseless. They are truthless. They invent ways of doing evil.”

        That’s a paraphrase, nearly a direct quote, from Romans.

  13. How does A&E suspending Roberston for declaring his beliefs in GQ magazine, a media outlet that has no connection I am aware of with A&E, constitute censorship? As far as I know Robertson never espoused these opinions while appearing on A&E, and his suspension by A&E in no way inhibits his freedom to express his beliefs in any media outlet willing to print or broadcast them.

    That said, if liberals were smart they wouldn’t look for (ineffective) ways to silence Robertson, they would let him speak. If you make decisions about which entertainers you are willing to be entertained by based on their opinions how will you know what their opinions are unless they speak? More importantly, how can you publicly respond to such idiotic opinions if they are never publicly expressed?

    This is very similar to the problem with the Civil Rights Act that liberals never seem to understand. By denying a business owner’s right to refuse service to people based on race their customers are denied the right to boycott them for doing so.

    1. GQ magazine, a media outlet that has no connection I am aware of with A&E

      They’re technically both under the Hearst Corporation umbrella, although they don’t share any management as far as I know.

      Also, if you read past the headline, half the point of this article was that what happened in this case doesn’t constitute “censorship” in the traditional understanding of the term.

  14. What happened to Robertson is a prime example of PC/proggy “chilling” of free speech via non-governmental punishment. Not “censorship”, strictly defined, but not exactly pro-free speech, either, as it goes beyond contesting his ideas with more speech and into the realm of silencing him.

    Now, if you think that this will be a better country to live in if PC/proggy chilling of free speech is allowed to continue unopposed, that’s fine.

    But some of us despise their soft Stalinism, and while we can, we would like to express our displeasure.

  15. Two points. First, I’m not sure that using FIRE as an example is a good one as the college environment is supposed to provide for the exchange of ideas/speech, not entertainment and colleges do not profit directly by providing this forum.

    Second, Duck dude has a past history of saying even more vile things (which AE should have known) so this is not a case of the overuse of rights of association. Had his answer to GQ been “I don’t agree with it or condone it” I doubt there would be a suspension or anything near the uproar.

    Public facing employees have to realize that statements and actions in a public setting can have adverse consequences.

    1. And employers with public facing employees shouldn’t expect to both (a) profit from their public-facing employees’ well-known cultural positions, and (b) punish them for it.

    2. Put it this way:

      If a network were to hire a well-known, say, fashionista who is outspokenly gay(-friendly) to host a show, and later suspended him for saying gay-friendly things, would your reaction be the same?

    3. ” the college environment is supposed to provide”

      Fuck you, no one cares what you think the college experience is supposed to provide, nor your twisted opinion on why that kind of environment is different somehow.

      You aren’t the arbiter of that, and your opinion on the subject bears no weight for anyone but you.

      1. So I take it that YOU are “the arbiter of that”?

  16. Please. This has nothing to do with free speech. He said something offensive and a private company (that pays him oodles of money) made a BUSINESS decision as a result of what he said because they believed they would lose business. (This may not be true…which is irrelevant.)

    Being free doesn’t mean doing or saying anything you want without consequences. If he wants his big paycheck from a mainstream family oriented network, then he should keep certain incendiary views to himself.

    1. That’s all true, as far as it goes.

      What it misses is the largest context, the crypto-Stalinist kulturkampf being waged by progs to cleanse the discourse/culture/nation of any they disagree with.

      A & E, naturally, by deciding to play the culture warrior here, deserves to reap the whirlwind, as those who oppose the kulturkampf exercise their rights of association and free speech to, what’s the phrase? Oh yeah, “hit back twice as hard.”

      That’s all we’re doing. Yet, I find it odd that those of use who exercise these rights to oppose the kulturkampf are somehow misguided, while those who exercise these rights to pursue the kulturkampf are jus’ exercisin’ their rights.

    2. That’s the short and sweet of it. Companies have been trained to minimize damage by appeasing those who control popular-media outrage, a group monopolized by lefties for at least a generation. Between the Chick-fil-A and DD backlash–both fed by Fox and emergent alt media–it looks like the right are learning the tricks of their enemies.

      Given the demographics of the show, Robertson is doing his family a favor by reframing them as martyrs for “family values.” Martyrs have a longer shelf life than reality-tv stars.

    3. If he wants his big paycheck from a mainstream family oriented network, then he should keep certain incendiary views to himself.

      Or, on the flip side, if A&E wants to collect a billion dollar paycheck from marketing and merchandising a family full of self-declared Christian southern rednecks whose views on the subject are well known, to an audience of sympathetic viewers and Wal Mart shoppers, they should tolerate the viewpoints that put the cash in the bank. Or else the show should have been cancelled years ago.

  17. If A&E sincerely believes that calling sodomy a sin is the moral equivalent of heiling Hitler, they have a moral responsibility to fire Robertson, assuming there’s no contract forbidding it. If (as I suspect) it’s public relations not principle, they’reprobably going to lose money.

    In quoting St. Paul, Robertson included drunkards alongside homosexual offenders. When will we hear the outrage from drunkard-Americans about this hate speech?

    1. Note that it’s the *practice* of sodomy or drunkenness which St. Paul and Robertson condemn, not the temptation to do these things. If you have a genetic/acquired desire to commit these aacts, Robertson would simply say to resist the temptation. So that begs the question about whether the acts (sodomy or drinking to excess) are bad, not whether the people who are tempted in those directions but don’t yield are bad.

      The difference is that alcoholics who abstain don’t get denounced as closet cases who deny their true selves and who ought to get over their repressive, unhealthy attitudes and yield to their desires.

      1. The difference is that alcoholics who abstain don’t get denounced as closet cases who deny their true selves and who ought to get over their repressive, unhealthy attitudes and yield to their desires.

        Unchecked, alcoholism ruins families, careers, lives and can kill you. Homosexuality only does that if you tell the wrong people you’re gay.

        1. Well, unless you choke on dicks.

          1. Hasn’t happened to me in 51 years.

            1. Holy shit, at least 51 and still giving blowjobs. If only everyone had such a life!

              I’m not trying to be insulting at all; I really am impressed. If I were a woman or gay man, I’d be hard pressed to blow someone after doing it for 51 years.

        2. Unchecked, alcoholism ruins families, careers, lives and can kill you. Homosexuality only does that if you tell the wrong people you’re gay.

          Gay men are statistically considered higher risk for a few fatal diseases, not the least of which being HIV/AIDS.

          Also, sexual orientation is a protected class, so you can scratch careers off the list.

          To the extent alcohol or drug use ruin careers its usually for the same reasons homosexuality might have in the past.

          It’s fun to demonize the icky people though. Whomever they may be.

        3. or don’t use a condom with the wrong butt.

      2. Well said, Ed.

      3. The other difference is that homosexuality is not in and of itself harmful to anyone; therefore the only reason to denounce it or consider it “sinful” is if you’re an asshole.

        1. Or if you’re a member of a religion that defines it as such.

        2. Drunkenness isn’t in and of itself harmful to anyone either.

  18. Haven’t been around much, but I just wanted to say A&E needs Phil Robertson way more than Phil Robertson needs A&E.

    Which, to me, says A&E is just doing this out of some weird liberal control freak move.

    I wouldn’t be surprised a bit if Duck Dynasty moved to a different network just as a big “Fuck you.”

    1. A&E did it for the same reason that Paula Deen’s publisher ditched her: tiny, disproportionately loud advocacy groups drew a lot of media attention to them. Unlike Deen, Robertson found a few conservative/fundy organizers who were able to mobilize the conservative media to come out swinging; apparently they’re more interested in defending “traditional values” that regard homosexual sex as deserving of eternal torture than they are defending a hapless tv personality who used a racial slur 25 years ago after having a gun held to her head.

      As usual, most libertarians are going to have trouble locating rooting interests in any of these culture skirmishes.

    2. I’m seeing small networks like the Hunting Channel and the Blaze trying to lure DD to their camps, but I think TLC has the best shot, since I’m sure the Duggars share the Robertsons’ views on teh gayz, and no one’s calling for THEIR show to be cancelled.

  19. Mark Steyn, with his experience in dealing with Canadian progs who have achieved they as yet unrealized ambitions of our progs by getting official government-issued jackboots to more fully express their displeasure, sums my attitude up nicely:

    http://nationalreview.com/corn…..ark-steyn#!

  20. A&E knew exactly who he was and what Phil thought about all this, even gay marriage/gays, etc etc etc. To hire him for being Phil was their decision. To continue to make money on him was their decision. To fire him for being Phil is just plain stupid. Thanks to GQ, everyone knows it. And I do mean everyone thanks to the press coverage of the obviously baiting journalism. A&E is upset that people know, then they deserve the “boycott.”

  21. When anybody can be fired for his religious beliefs then it is a form of oppression. Can companies now fire people because someone saw an employee go to a church that the employer disagrees with. I can’t fire you for your color but I can fire you for your religion now. That is a violation of a persons rights and that is what is happening here. I also find it very scary when the head of GLAAD goes on TV and tells “Everyone that thinks like Robertson to get in line” get in line with what and what is GLAAD going to do if I don’t and will the government back my rights or GLAAD’s view of the world.

    Other valid point if Roberston’s or anyones actions are a reflection of what they do on TV then the reverse is also true meaning anytime a TV show shows a murder or a rape or other forms of violence they must be in approval of such actions.

    1. Ron,

      Lots of blah blah here. What is your solution to the issue?

      1. the solution is you can’t fire someone for their religious beliefs and Robertson should sue for forcing him to give up his religious beliefs if he wishes to continue because if this continues everyone can be fired for their beliefs.

        1. In the final analysis, how important are Robertson’s views on Gays? Whether Robertson likes them are not, Gays and Lesbians all over the world are going to have relationships regardless of what Robertson or anyone else thinks of them. All this brouhaha is nothing more than political and media theater, so a bunch of overpaid a holes can have something total about. In the meantime, people starve to death and die in wars, but what some celebrity thinks about Gays is more important?

        2. Disregard Mandalay, because he’s a sock puppet for one of our regular trolls, but in an ideal world, employment should be at-will and an employer should be able to fire an employee for any reason or no reason at all.

          1. And your point is? Don’t like my comments? Dial 1 800 EAT CRAP. Have a nice day Anal Breath.

  22. Robertson’s views are appalling and should be ridiculed. In fact A&E should keep him on air so that he’s thoroughly pilloried.

    1. Clutch those pearls!

      1. Because criticizing bigotry is “gay” and “effeminate”. Bravo! Fortunately demography is taking care of the issue.

  23. Who gives a damn what these bearded weirdo a holes think about anything? Who gives a damn what some stupid a– hole politicians think about these bearded weirdo a holes?

    What an inane, juvenile society we live in that these Louisiana “swamp degenerates” believe or think about anything is considered important, much less what those silly dip s—s who oppose them think about them. F— all of them.

    1. you do realize that everyone in that family are college graduates. Maybe that the problem.

      1. They may be college graduates. So what!? They are still weird looking? In any event, I doubt whether Gays and Lesbians anywhere really give a big damn what the “Duck Dynasty” thinks about them or not. On that note, in a month or two (and probably far less time) the media will move on to something else so the great wad won’t get bored.

        1. Really? “Weird looking?”

          Why do you give half a shit what they look like? Are you considering fucking them?

          I’ve seen the show a few times. Kinda funny. I don’t really have time to watch TV though…

          I will say that at least Phil has integrity: He didn’t just back down and apologize for believing in his God; for better or worse, he probably actually believes it’s against God’s will to fuck someone of the same sex as yourself…

          At least, as the media portrays it.

          1. Anon,

            You must really give a big shit about all this. Read my comment again moron. What specifically did I say? Do you think this flap over what some rich eccentric said will last much longer in the media? Other than that, take your obvious religious bias and stick it up your Hershey Highway.

        2. I doubt whether Gays and Lesbians anywhere really give a big damn what the “Duck Dynasty” thinks about them or not.

          If that were the case A&E probably wouldn’t have fired the guy.

          Also, it’s kind of ironic coming from somebody with nothing better to do with their lives than grief a libertarian discussion forum in the few monosyllabic words you can actually spell to dismiss anybody else’s opinion.

          1. PM

            Thanks for another one of your literary bowel movements in print. Isn’t the anonymity of the internet wonderful? We get to insult people with impunity with no consequences whatsoever. Shove those words up your a–hole you f—ing low life retard.

  24. No Phil shouldn’t accept gay marriage

    And neither should Utah.

    The fact is gay marriage should never have ever come to the table. Bringing gay marriage to the table implies that homosexual lifestyle is normal like everyone else’s relationships. It is not normal. It is abnormal. it is deviant. Whether you are a Christian or not the fact remains that the natural order of nature is that a male couples with a female. And please don’t refer to the periodic homosexual green monkey. Animals engage in incest too–because they are animals. We are not.

    There are two types in this country who have allowed this absolute nonsense. You have the gay community itself which is the very small minority. Then you have its allies. College students. Media. Hollywood.

    The homosexual movement to marriage is just one piece of the puzzle for why this nation is collapsing. And it is collapsing. It is part of the “accept all” movement that has funneled our country into the breakdown. I don’t have to prove my point. Newtown proves it. Colorado proves it. You have taught children that their are no absolutes and no boundaries. And now they are walking into schools with guns and opening fire.

    Phil Robertson was right. We need to stop pretending that the gay lifestyle is also normal when it certainly is not. They should follow the pattern of other deviants and keep it to themselves.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. An offbeat story of Armageddon. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

    1. Your fallacy is related to the larger nonsense that the only purpose for sex is procreation — which confuses humans with dogs, rodents, jackrabbits and other lower animal species.

      On what authority do you reject our founding principle of Equal, Unalienable and/or God-Given Rights? And please, no more of your thoughtless gibberish

  25. Several fallacies here. Sins of both commission and omission.

    1) Palin lied by saying Robertson was reading from the Bible.

    2) Robertson lied by saying the Bible denies homesexuals cannot enter the Kingdom of God — which is refuted by the very next verse. Did anybody bother looking, or just repeat the politically correct false assumption?

    3) In addition to Robertson’s direct lie, one of the best-known Biblical verses says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Does that mean eternal life in HELL? (outside the Kingdom of God?) Good grief.

    4) Robertson KNEW that A&E had been deleting his bigoted comments from the show all along.

    Reason lately seems all too eager to pander to the extreme social conservatives. What better way to repel the growing majority of Americans who are fiscally conservative and socially liberal/tolerant?

    If Rick Santorum proposed a balanced budget within ten years, who we proclaim more “proof” of a libertarian era? Or would we reject his extreme social conservatism? And if we’d reject Santorum on that, why should we revere Ron and Rand Paul, both Rick Santorums with spending cuts?

    1. You managed to come up with a list of ostensible fallacies completely unrelated to the article or the discussion AND cap it off with a non-sequitur. If you could somehow have managed to squeeze in a reference to the unalienable rights of women and the unalienable rights of fetuses you could have had the trifecta!

      1. completely unrelated to the article or the discussion

        Every point mentioned Robertson.
        Every one is a fact regarding the issue.

        If you choose to be a bully and a thug, don’t look so silly doing it. And find somebody dumb enough to believe your semi-literate ad hominems.

        Here’s the definition of a non sequitor.
        http://www.thefreedictionary.com/non+sequitur

        (snicker)
        .

        1. Michael Hihn,

          Excellent reply to PM. However, most thugs never change. So expect to see more of this asshole’s rants and raves.

          1. Thanks. I’ve been on political forums since 1994, and moderated the libertarian forums on Compuserve in the VERY early days. The stories I could tell! It now just rolls off my back.

  26. The Dixie Chicks were not destroyed, check things about before you write about them.

  27. This is American journalism: What one media outlet thinks about another media outlet’s decision to cut ties with a homophobe from a reality TV show.
    Fuck you, Reason. I miss the days when you had something interesting to say about things that really matter.
    You’ve given up that ghost long ago.
    Again, fuck you.

    1. Good point. I mean, Reason has focused on this issue that is currently in the popular consciousness to the complete exclusion of any other.

  28. This issue is not about the 1st Amendment and not technically about free speech, but YES it is quite a bit about the general concept of free speech/free expression.

    Phil’s comments about homosexuals were politically incorrect and awkward, but just his opinion based on his religion. Too many people are trying to find something to be offended by. We could all be offended by all sorts of things every day, but most of us don’t invent faux outrage. We go on without taking offense to other people’s opinions, to which they are entitled. Phil’s comments might be anti-gay, but they were not in any way “hateful.” He spoke of loving everyone.

    A&E is trying to have its cake and eat it too. They don’t want to offend their gay employees who are working hard to produce the show, but it’s the very type of personality (redneck bible-thumper) that creates the revenue. As far as the morals clause in the contracts signed by Phil and A&E, we do not know the contents of this contract, nor should we know; it’s none of our business. But we will probably find out soon enough, as this media circus rolls on and A&E backpedals a bit to try to get Phil back on board. Phil’s mild apology probably won’t be much more than, “Sorry to offend any homosexuals, but c’mon dudes, men’s anuses, really?” A&E can simply do this: “The views and opinions expressed on this program are those of the persons appearing on the program and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of A&E.”

  29. Ah, the Ellen show, I always liked that show and thought it was common knowledge that she was gay.
    Sadly, the show lost me when it stopped being a show that starred a gay woman and became a show about a gay woman.

  30. As a former Libertarian, this article serves as a potent reminder why I bolted: the “movement” has become reactionary, partisan, and has, to an unsettling extent, lost sight of its core meaning.

    In her missive, Ms. Young never once mentions “discrimination” or “civil right/liberties”, which are the things that matter here and what should matter to any real “libertarian”.

    The problem with Robertson’s message is not that it’s “unpopular” or “politically incorrect”; it’s that Robertson is using his religious views to justify bigotry, which then gets translated into a political movement that results in laws discriminating against certain Americans and denying them equal rights under the law.

    If Libertarianism and its associated publications can’t see the core issue here, an issue which goes to the alleged heart of Libertarianism, and take a clear stance on what is right and what is wrong, the movement should just fold up the tent and join the RNC.

    1. Random,

      I faced the same dilemma. But I’m still libertarian, the movement has gone away. It’s been sucking up to the Christian Taliban for decades — like Ron/Rand Paul as Rick Santorum with spending cuts.

      Libertarians at the beginning — I was there (1960) — knew enough to rank the 9th Amendment (unenumerated RIGHTS) well above the 10th Amendment (unenumerated POWERS). Rights trump powers. (duh)

      No power to violate unalienable rights can devolve to the states. Who tells Amash, Cruze, the Pauls and rest of today’s faux libertarian wing of the GOP.

      Anyone who sees a libertarian era (or even moment) has the head up their ass. Generic libertarians (fiscally conservative and socially liberal) have been the majority for over 30 years (see WSPQ), but we’ve done NOTHING to capitalize on that. Instead, we now chase “independents” – at least 30% of which want BIGGER government. OMG

      Just as well. Libertarians walked away from the GOP and ain’t coming back to the same extreme social conservatism that drove them away. sheesh

      The movement now seems to exist for fundraising, repeating anti-gubmint soundbites (instead of pro-liberty policies) and preaching to the tribe.

      Both parties are collapsing. Next year COULD be what many of us have spent 30-40 years working toward. But we have no plan for governance, no strategy, no tactics … and no concept of what a Free Society even is.

      Libertarian Tribalism is an echo not a choice.

  31. Best analysis of this whole affair I’ve seen. Nice work Ms. Young.

  32. Not one of the comments posted on this article, including my own, will change anything. Rich weirdo beards such as Robertson will continue to piss Gays off, and Gays will continue to do what they do regardless of what Robertson says or does. He (Robertson) will be laughing all the way to the bank. All that will really come of this b s is that a lot of overpaid media gurus will have had something to talk about until the next bit of b s presents itself.

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  34. Ridiculous! A&E exercised a reasonable editorial judgment (and has since backed down from it). Ms Young acknowledges all the basic legal and ethical principles, but declines to draw the conclusions they imply. Apparently it is more important to denounce anything that sounds “politically correct” or “liberal” than to make sense. A good example of why I am now inclined, after many years, to abandon the libertarian movement and “Reason”.

    A&E first thought they should not support a vile, ignorant bigot, then they changed their mind, as is their right, but I think they were more right the first time. One good thing out of this is that it has caused quite a few “Christian” conservatives to show their colors(again)to anyone who is willing to see them.

  35. [A&E} says their strong sense of integrity caused them to react quickly to Phil’s GQ interview … and after consulting with numerous advocacy groups they made a decision to bring him back.

    The network adds, “As a global media content company, A+E Networks’ core values are centered around creativity, inclusion and mutual respect. We believe it is a privilege for our brands to be invited into people’s home and we operate with a strong sense of integrity and deep commitment to these principles.”

    Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2013/12/27/…..z2pNMvSRuj

    Aren’t you proud to share the airwaves with such strong, virtuous characters as A&E?

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