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Monday, May 7, 2018

Illusion or Truth?

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Why are so many afraid of free speech?

Watching a magic trick can make us feel like a kid again. It might be as simple as the disappearance of a coin from our hand and having it appear again behind our ear, but it still delights us. It’s thrilling because we’re all attracted to things we cannot explain logically. How was it possible to cut the magician’s assistant in two and then see her safe and sound minutes later?

Interestingly, some people don’t want to know how a magic trick is performed. Maybe that describes you. "For those who believe, no explanation is necessary," said a famous magician with a grin, “and for those who do not, none will suffice."

The trouble is when we find out how the trick is performed, many aren’t amazed by it any longer because the attraction is now gone. That’s the main reason why magicians don’t reveal their tricks. And, if you ask me, this is why so many (who claim to protect the freedom of speech) are rushing to shut up Kanye West – they don’t want him to reveal their tricks … and for the very same reason the magician won’t because, when that happens, the attraction to whatever they’re selling is lost.

That’s why you have folks like British journalist Piers Morgan tweeting, “Shame on you, Kanye West, for betraying all black Americans with your disgustingly offensive garbage.” And you have Rep. Maxine Waters saying that Kanye “talks out of turn, and perhaps he needs some assistance in helping him to formulate some of his thoughts.” And then the band leader for “The Tonight Show” with Jimmy Fallon tweets out himself wearing a T-shirt reading, "Kanye doesn't care about black people." And this is just a sampling of the disapproval he’s received from so, so many.

And what, you ask, did Kanye do to receive such dishonor and disdain? He began tweeting that Americans ought to think for themselves. Yeah, how dare he? He even tweeted a picture of himself wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. He tweeted quotes from Thomas Sowell, such as, “It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” But why are these ideas so offensive to so many? Isn’t Kanye just like the millions of other Americans who are tired of being told what is politically correct? Isn’t Kanye’s recent cultural epiphany emblematic of anyone in our country who is simply tired of being told what to do?

And while I’m thinking about it, who does Maxine Waters think she is to tell Kanye (or anyone else, for that matter) when it’s their “turn” to talk? Because he’s black, and he shouldn’t be saying what he’s saying? Should Kanye have waited until Maxine Waters helped him to “formulate some of his thoughts” first, before voicing any alternate opinion to hers?

It’s an Orwellian irony that many modern “liberals” want to silence dissent when it goes against their preconceived opinions. How can one be liberal and yet not fully support the freedom of speech? This fundamental liberty is a cherished conservative value, and the founders knew exactly what they were doing when they put it at the top of the list.

The liberals’ fear of free speech is not irrational, however, because “their” voters may very well be abandoning them right now (and not coming back). In fact, we see that support for the president among black men has doubled since Kanye started tweeting about Trump, and these approval numbers are the highest Trump has enjoyed in the survey among black men all year.

Coincidence? Maybe. But just to be clear, what’s exciting here is not Kanye’s celebrity. No, these issues are so much larger than any one individual. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether his name is Kanye West or Kanye South. It’s about seeing someone excited about an idea, and who challenges the notion that we all prefer illusion to the truth or the stereotypes peddled by those who want to keep our nation divided.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac. com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.

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