There is much debate over the health care reforms proposed by President Obama. But I’m actually using the word wrong. Debate happens when both sides discuss the reasons for and against some object or objective, but there is no debate if there is no dialog. If one side makes it impossible for the other to talk, then there is no debate. When former Representative Tom Tancredo tried to address some students and faculty of the University of North Carolina, he was prevented from doing so by the boisterous and destructive actions of some protestors.
“No dialog with hate!” some people chanted at Tancredo, but I don’t understand why. If someone is going to say something hateful, stupid, or incredibly offensive, I want that person to say it. I’m not going to shout him down or stop him from saying it, partially because I believe that others have a right to free speech as I do, and partially because I love to hear people clearly state their hateful, stupid, or incredibly offensive ideas. It makes it easier to reject them. And mock them.
But not everyone believes that people should be free to speak. The people who protested Tancredo obviously didn’t believe he had any right to speak at the university. And as Andrew Klavan explains, some of the debate tactics used by people is nothing more than a way of telling the other person to shut up.
When someone tells you to shut up, they are telling you that the debate is over. Their minds are made up, and no amount of talk or facts will change their minds. Does that sound like someone who is looking for truth, or someone with his eyes tightly closed, his fingers in his ears, and going “la, la, la! I can’t hear you!”? Pretty childish, no? They can’t handle the debate, so it’s much easier if you’d just shut up and go away. So what does that say about our Dear Leader when he says something like this:
“But I don’t want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess. I don’t mind cleaning up after them, but don’t do a lot of talking.”
This is not the voice of someone who wants to discuss and debate. This is the voice of someone who wants you to shut up, sit down, and take whatever he shovels out to you. And you had better be grateful for it, too.