• That same NYT, while still supporting free speech, sure took a VERY different tone back in 1989, when it was Republican Senator Jesse Helms objecting to federal funding of Mappelthorpe’s offensive “Piss Christ” artwork:

    He [Jesse Helms] wanted ostensibly to show his anger at a photographic show by the late Robert Mapplethorpe and another photographic work by Andres Serrano, both of which received support from the National Endowment for the Arts. These works offended Senator Know-Nothing, although it’s a good bet he has never seen them in the original.


    • There is a massive difference between saying offensive speech/expression should be banned (typical liberal response) to saying that offensive speech/expression shouldn’t be funded from taxpayer money (Jesse Helms).

  • >”saying offensive speech/expression should be banned (typical liberal response)”

    This is not actually the typical response of most people I know who call themselves liberals. Even among those who call themselves progressives or on the left, there is a wide range of views, ranging from some who favor regulating or suppressing offensive speech, to others who strongly oppose any such measures.

    • Liberals are often split on the issue, there are ACLU purists who defend all free speech, on the extremes even defending things like child pornography, and then on the other end there are liberals who hold “hate speech is not free speech” signs to shut down conservative speakers on college campuses.

      Certainly in “liberal” europe, where people can be prosecuted for offensive tweets, free speech is not exactly a priority.

  • “Liberal” as a label now means the opposite of “liberal” as a word; no wonder there’s confusion.

  • @ras–
    Only in the USA is “liberal” used as a synonym for “social democrat,” perhaps because anything with “social” in it was considered political poison here. Elsewhere in the world, “liberal” is in with its original meaning by both friends and foes.

  • […] to the Constitution. The YouGov numbers favoring such a ban have risen, perhaps influenced by confusion or worse in elite journalistic and academic circles [Edward Morrissey/Fiscal Times, Charles […]