Remember the administration’s early attempts to crush Fox News? Remember the calls to get conservative talk show hosts off the air? All this is par for the course for those who grew up in the 1960s and recall the advice about freedom of speech given by the philosopher-king of the Marxist Left, the late Herbert Marcuse.
Back in those heady days, Marcuse developed the theory of “repressive tolerance.” As he explained, tolerance of the speech of those who are fascist or conservative is not acceptable for a democratic society. To liberate tolerance means “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.” This gobbledygook, remember, was viewed by serious intellectuals as brilliant. Marcuse explained his reasoning in these words:
Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and blocked if they are by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.
Get that last point? If you criticize Obama Care, by Marcuse’s logic, you are what the Soviets called “an enemy of the people,” and the full power of government should be put into place to stop you. And were he still with us, he would be penning an op-ed praising the IRS for its clever action in denying conservative groups non-profit status.
Who would make that judgment? Perhaps it would be the people’s courts, the revolutionary assemblies, or the left-wing professoriate, which is acting on behalf of the people before they realize their duty to develop revolutionary consciousness.
Let me end on a serious note. The IRS personnel are probably not smart enough to read or even know about Herbert Marcuse. But they have acted in a way he would have been proud of, having obtained an understanding of how to act against conservatives all on their own. And, it seems, they have an unknowing ally who lives in the executive mansion on Pennsylvania Avenue.