Posted by: johnhourihan | May 7, 2014

We are no longer allowed to believe

Those of you who say you champion freedom of speech…read this.

If the Thought Police slipped subliminal rules onto today’s telescreens, I’m sure they would say:

l Thou shalt not discriminate against anything.

l Thou must tolerate everything.

l Everyone except you has rights.

l If your brain works, keep your mouth shut.

l Unless you can logically justify your feelings, don’t have feelings.

l If others have feelings that aren’t yours, be outraged.

A few years ago, former Vatican diplomat John-Peter Pham lamented, “Today, much of our dialogue is fruitless because we feel constrained from saying what we really think.”

Nothing I have read since is more true.

Of course, I spend a lot of time listening to politicians and pretty much none of what they say is true.

I thank God I live in this country, because, from 1986 to 2011 I made my living giving my opinion to tens of thousands of people in the hopes of sparking meaningful dialogue, and I can tell you it has never been as difficult as it is right now.

We no longer have the right to say anything controversial without someone calling for our jobs, our heads, our possessions or worse.

Americans should be within our rights to say we have no problem with abortion. We should also be allowed to say we think it is murder. We should not be allowed to blow up abortion clinics or fire people who get pregnant and won’t have an abortion, but we should have a right to our feelings.

And in this society, we don’t.

Today, people get fired, jailed or attacked for their feelings. Take the Dixie Chicks, the country music group that was attacked by the Thought Police because one said she didn’t like being from the same state as the president (George Bush). Have you heard any of their songs lately? So much for free speech.

We have a right to say what we think is true, even if others believe it to be wrong, stupid or unfeeling.

But to pick a side, to give an opinion, to have a feeling today, will probably cost you your livelihood tomorrow.

The pope’s man was right. We no longer have a right to say what we think, therefore the polarization of our world continues exponentially with equal and opposite outrage taking the place of “fruitful dialogue.”

For instance, I should be within my rights to say I don’t like Jews. It shouldn’t elicit letters to the publisher calling for my immediate dismissal.

Or I should be able to say I like Jews but don’t like Arabs.

Or that Arabs are OK, but I don’t like Muslims.

I didn’t say such a belief would make me a good person. I am saying I should have the right to like or dislike who I want to like or dislike.

I should not have to explain myself if I say, “Look, I’m not too happy with Muslims right now.”

I don’t have a right to persecute them, or fire them or kill them, but I should be able to say, “Something you are doing makes me dislike you.”

But I can’t, and neither can they, so we never talk about it.

Every time one side speaks up, the other is “outraged” and attacks his or her job, family, possessions or worse.

Voicing a personal preference has ceased to be a civil right, and dialogue no longer exists. There are just simultaneous monologues of outrage.

Years ago, I was attacked online, called a homophobe.

The guy who wrote to my boss thought I shouldn’t be writing about the issue because I said some of my friends are gay. I know that is supposed to be some kind of disqualifying cliché, but is it better if I have no friends who are gay?

The world has gotten so stilted that I was attacked as someone who thinks gay is bad because I said I had friends, acquaintances and relatives who are homosexual.

And I believe our world can no longer see how truly insane that is?

OK, I’m going to say something really far-fetched.

I think the outrage is all make believe.

I don’t think we feel it at all. We are just trying to sell to others how wonderful we are for following all the rules on the telescreen.

Think of this:

A major league ballplayer refuses to stand up for a patriotic song at a ballgame and fans are outraged. No, the country is outraged.

But when they are at home sitting in their living rooms, and the game comes on, and the national anthem is played, they don’t stand up. They would feel foolish standing up in the living room all alone, so the standing up at the ballpark thing is just for other people.

It’s all an act.

And if others don’t put on the same act, we don’t ask why. Without thinking, we become the Thought Police and get outraged.

And if we aren’t allowed to express what we truly think because of this pseudo-outrage, how can we ever have a meaningful dialogue about anything?

What do you think?



  1. Well I for one am outraged. End of conversation. @#$%^&* I am curious If any body will respond to your question. “What do you think” I don’t think more then one or two people would even attempt to take on this question. If I were to tell you what I think I would just copy your words. An hour ago not so. I really would like to see at least a few people attempt though.

    • me too. So far there has been well, you and I

      • Too much to digest? Too self revealing? It was for me at first. The more you think about it the harder it becomes to reply to. The first time I read it I got a bit of that “fearing not I’d become my enemy in the instant that I preach” thing going on. When I first replied I realized there was a bit of that in all of us. More in some then others, but your right if we can’t talk about it and say what we feel it will fester and grow and not in a good way. Hope if people don’t reply here at least they reply to themselves.

      • You are one of the most intelligent people I have known.

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