FPI / September 9, 2019
The hard-Left is a much greater threat to civil liberties in the United States than the hard-right, Harvard professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz wrote.
“People on the ‘woke’ hard-Left seem so self-righteous about their monopoly over Truth (with a capital T) that many of them apparently see no reason to allow dissenting, politically incorrect, views to be expressed,” Dershowitz wrote in an Aug. 31 analysis for Gatestone Institute.
“Such incorrect views, they claim, make them feel ‘unsafe.’ They can feel safe only if views they share are allowed to be expressed. Feeling unsafe is the new trigger word for demanding censorship.”
Dershowitz said there is a “dangerous similarity” between America’s hard-Left “wokers” and Stalinists.
The similarity, Dershowitz wrote, “is that both disdain due process for those they deem guilty of political incorrectness or other crimes and sins. They reject any presumption of innocence or requirement that the accuser bear the burden of proof.”
Dershowitz continued: “For Stalinist and ‘wokers,’ there is no uncertainty or fallibility. If they believe someone is guilty, he must be. Why do we need a cumbersome process for determining guilt? The identities of the accuser and accused are enough. Privileged white men are guilty perpetrators. Intersectional minorities are innocent victims. Who needs to know more? Any process, regardless of its fairness, favors the privileged over the unprivileged.”
Hard- right extremists would and have used violence “to silence those with whom they disagree. They are indeed dangerous,” Dershowitz wrote. “But they have far less influence on our future leaders than their counterparts on the hard-Left.”
Those on the hard-right, Dershowitz noted, “are not teaching our college age children and grandchildren. They are marginalized academically, politically and in the media. The opposite is true of hard-Left Stalinists. Many have no idea who Stalin even was, but they are emulating his disdain for free speech and due process in the interests of achieving the unrealizable utopia they both sought. They also have in common the attitude that noble ends justify ignoble means.”
Dershowitz continued: “No university student has the right to be safe from uncomfortable ideas, only from physical threats, and any student who claims to be in physical fear of politically incorrect ideas does not belong at a university. The most extreme example of this distortion of the role of higher education took place at my own university when a distinguished dean of a Harvard residential college was fired from his deanship because some "woke" students claimed to feel unsafe in his presence because he was representing, as a defense lawyer, a man accused of rape.”
The concept of political correctness, Dershowitz pointed out, “originated in the Stalinist Soviet Union, where Truth — political, artistic, religious — was determined by the central committee of the Communist Party and any deviation was regarded as unacceptable. To be sure, there is a vast difference between how Stalin treated political incorrectness and how the ‘woke’ generation treats it. Stalin murdered those who deviated from his Truth, while ‘wokers’ generally shun and discredit, though there has been occasional violence from elements of the hard-Left toward those who deviate from their Truth. But both produce a similar result: less dissent, less reliance on the marketplace of ideas and more self-censorship.”
For many of the “wokers” on the hard-Left, Dershowitz wrote, “freedom of speech is nothing more than a weapon of the privileged used to subjugate the unprivileged. It is a bourgeois concept that emanates from an anachronistic white, male constitution that is irrelevant to the contemporary world. Free speech for me — the underprivileged — but not for thee — the privileged. That is what the ‘wokers’ want. Affirmative action for speech!”
“That is why I make the controversial claim that today the ‘woke’ hard-Left is more dangerous to civil liberties than the right,” Dershowitz wrote.
Free Press International