You know, leave it to Charlie to start a newsletter with a few sentences about how the GOP is leading efforts to have government literally ban books and ideas from classrooms and libraries and turn it into an attack on Democrats because some privately owned independent bookstores are refusing to sell Harry Potter books or stock books that attack trans people.

Well done Charlie, way to keep your eye on the prize. :slowclap:

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

People seem to just want to be mad these days. Honestly, more of them to ought to get outside and do something physical and sweaty for an hour and get that adrenaline out of their systems. When climate change disasters threatens more of us, I guess that pent up adrenaline will finally go to good use.

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Where are you getting that mask mandates are unpopular, especially in regards to air travel?

Forbes has a story from earlier this month that reports multiple polls showing majority support for keeping or even extending mask mandates.


"But major surveys suggest that the majority of Americans are not there yet. Six out of 10 Americans (60%) support extending the mask mandate, according to a demographically weighted survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults fielded last weekend by The Harris Poll Covid-19 tracking survey."

"A recent Pew Research Center survey shows that a majority of Americans not only support the mask mandate, they go further by also supporting a vaccine mandate for air travel. In a tracking survey fielded in late January, nearly six in 10 Americans (58%) said proof of vaccination should be required to fly."

"Last month, a Morning Consult survey found that 60% of US adults believe travel and hospitality companies should require customers to wear masks—though that was down from 71% in January, at the peak of the omicron surge. Notably, however, those who plan to travel in the next three months are more likely to support keeping face mask mandates."

I get that a lot of writers at The Bulwark are tired of masks. But trying to paint a picture that a majority of Americans are tired of masks and mask mandates and how they are hurting Biden is just plain wrong and isn't supported by any data.

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I personally am entirely in agreement that the state should have no part in banning books. Private enterprises may or may not carry them such as their consumer research takes them, and if ideas are resonant enough they'll break through that particular barrier.

However, "words are not violence" I think doesn't hold up well at the same time that we're making the argument that Trump's entire post-election operation was the buildup to an attempted insurrection.

The leader of a faction of the public told his followers they were going to have to fight like hell. Some of them then went and fought.

By and large I tend to agree with Charlie's take here, but taking the absolutist view of "words are not violence" gives us "will no one rid me of this turbulent priest" as a viable defense.

If we acknowledge the power of words, we then have to permit them to have consequences, be it legal, professional, or financial.

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Words may not technically be violence but a lot times they sure can lead to real world violence.

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I thought Stephen King had the best take - and the best advice - on book banning. He said this as both an author who's had books of his banned and as a former teacher:

“Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control, about who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family."

Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.”

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Speech has consequences...

Repeat it after me and remember it: Speech has consequences.

The role of the private sphere is to provide those consequences... whether through counter-speech or shunning or economic sanctions. This is part of the battle of the "marketplace of ideas." It has always been how these battles are decided. Not on the merits of the ideas, not on actual argumentation, but on how popular the idea is and the actions (of various types) used to advance the idea.

And we have turned this into a bad thing, in search of political advantage.

Any private entity (corporate or personal) has the right (within the limits of existing law) of attaching consequences to speech and ideas they do not like. It is only right and proper (within the "marketplace" concept) that they should be free to do so and that they actually do so.

The First Amendment does not apply, except to protect the right of these private entities to do what they are doing (and the right of their foes to act in relation to that, again within the limit of the law).

There is a difference between a bookstore and a library. Between a public school and a private school, between actual public speech on a public forum and speech on a private forum (which is what Twitter and Facebook, et al actually are). They are NOT "town squares" as much as they might want to appear to be one.

Using your economic choices and your own speech to combat what you find offensive or wrong is one thing. Using government power to do so is QUITE another thing, regardless of what you feel your justification is.

Too many people want consequence free speech. That's not how it works. It has NEVER worked that way.

It is in the consequences of the speech--and how they play out, the decides the battle.

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I like 2016 JD Vance a lot. He is a very keen observer of the nature of Trump and the Republican Party.

Two things left wing activists are wont to say:

1) Speech is violence

2) Silence is violence (much catchier, by the way)

This is why they lose people in the middle.

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On the whole speech is violence thing:

Speech IS often a form of violence or aggression. Them are fightin' words. We often use speech as a form of violence and oppression/suppression because we are not free to use actual violence.

Words are used with the intention to harm. While you may not bleed on the outside and no bones were broken, you were harmed--and that harm can be far more reaching and difficult to overcome than bruises or cuts or broken bones. I see the harm that words do every day and this has become ever more prevalent in the age of social media.

And that harm can become pervasive if others take up the idea and act upon the words in various ways... especially if they get government support.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me is a foolish children's rhyme, without actual foundation in reality.

Words are often the harbinger and signal for physical violence.

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“Don't join the book burners. Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book...”

― Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Thank you for bringing attention to this issue, which is soooo much more concerning than the anti-democracy of the Right. Alternative titles: Illiberal Liberals - How the Center-Right gave up and let the right-wing kick their asses.

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Charlie, I am mostly with you on the book burning nonsense. I think that most, if not all, books should be available to the widest audience possible. I do however wonder about the ability of technology (social media) to exacerbate an issue to a place where thinking heads no longer prevail.

Information used to be "gate kept" by people who supposedly were educated and had a greater good in mind. I am not saying that is or was always true, but in order to have an opinion on something, a person needed to know about the issue, think about the issue, learn about the issue and then talk with others about the issue. The way that media has been weaponized across the planet, hardly any of that is true any longer. People without ANY understanding of Trans, CRT, Vaccination, Epidemiology and on and on are now freakin' experts because they were told by some YouTube idiot or they saw it on FB, IG, TikTok or Twitter.......As JD Vance said in his SMS to his buddy, "lower education white people" are filling up the tent on the R side, and they outnumber the far-left nut jobs by an order of magnitude that is difficult to quantify.

We are in for a very rough road. A road we paved ourselves.

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Apr 19, 2022·edited Apr 19, 2022

What bothers me about the trandsgender dispute is that both takes could be true: that inter-sex and gender disphoria are real as a heart attack AND that there is a bit of a fad regarding them. I hope we can trust the doctors to sort things out.

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Charlie, a little bummed to see that you didn’t give a shout out to courage of your fellow MSNBC contributor, Malcolm Nance. That dude has serious fucking balls.

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Why are we celebrating the substitution of adjudication for legislation? Is this a conservative ideal? Unqualified lame duck Trump lifetime appointment overrides CDC. Yay?

Why is it so hard for adults to wear a surgical mask on an airplane to protect an infant or toddler too young to wear one? It is too much to ask of people to protect youngest children on an airplane just in case?

I am trying to understand why a people and party who care so much about families and children and commerce are so obsessed with comfort that they would risk a child’s well being.

Still trying to understand the conservative viewpoint. Failing.

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‘The author of the offending book, Abigail Shrier, writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a graduate of Columbia College, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. Her book is obviously controversial, but it was named one of the best books of the year by The Economist and one of the best of 2021 by The Times of London.”

Sorry, but Ivy League schooling no longer gives credence to someone’s intellectual esteem. Not when we’ve watched and felt the effects of Ivy League morons like Hawley, Cruz, Vance, Cotton and the like strangling our country. And WSJ is also not the great newspaper it once was.

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