Lefty Hypocrisy on Free Expression

Oh, I know: what could possibly be interesting about lefty hypocrisy on free expression? Isn't that kind of dog-bites-man?

Well, maybe. This is entertaining mainly because it involves Cathy Siepp, who probably can make anything interesting, turn the world on with her smile, etc.

Start with her LA Times op-ed here (free registration required, I think). It recounts a trip with a friend to the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, famed for stocking controversial books that no one else will touch.

But then the friend thinks …

… perhaps the long-delayed English translation of Oriana Fallaci's new book, "The Force of Reason," might finally be available, and that because Fallaci's militant stance against Islamic militants offends so many people, a store committed to selling banned books would be the perfect place to buy it. So he asked a clerk if the new Fallaci book was in yet.

"No," snapped the clerk. "We don't carry books by fascists."


Cathy points out that it's "particularly repugnant that someone who fought against actual fascism in World War II should be deemed a fascist by a snotty San Francisco clerk." And she demonstrates that, at least in some quarters, free speech is only worth protecting if it's in service to correct causes (To requote a British Muslim: "peace or social justice", for example.)

Continue on, if you wish, to Prof Volokh's blog entry pointing to Cathy's article, which I will quote in its entirety:

A very good piece (as usual).
This one-liner has gathered, as I type, nearly 100 comments with an unusually low light/heat ratio for the Volokh site. Feel free to check them out for yourself, but I'll do my own summary of the anti-Cathy ones: in a conflict between free expression and certain "progressive" goals, we'll be happy to jettison free expression in a scant second, and how dare you criticize us for doing so.

Finally, check Cathy's own brief article on the hurly burly, both funny and smart.