Conservative Writer David French: We Should Be More Tolerant of Speech That Offends Us

Do you believe the First Amendment protects speech that offends you?

If you can say yes, then you truly believe in free speech. But as National Review’s David French pointed out in a recent piece, too many people will “zealously defend” the speech they like and bend over backward finding reasons to shut down speech from their “ideological enemies.”

French joined Wednesday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program” to talk about his piece on the NFL protests and why we need to listen to one another – even when we don’t like what we hear.

He gave a theoretical example to show the other “side”: What if President Barack Obama had threatened former football pro Tim Tebow’s religious expression and called for the quarterback to be fired?

“You can’t tell me that the entire conservative world wouldn’t absolutely meltdown at that,” French said. “We need to stop being so outraged about speech we disagree with.”

In the article headlined “I Understand Why They Knelt,” French asked some important questions:

*Who is a bigger threat, a few football players or the most powerful man in the world?

*How many leftists saying kneeling during the anthem is “free speech” think a Christian baker’s religious freedom doesn’t matter?

*How many conservatives who decried Google for firing an engineer with the “wrong” opinions think it’s OK for the president to threaten the free speech of private citizens?

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

STU: So David French wrote an article. He's a senior writer at the National Review. And when I saw the headline, I had to find out how he got there. The headline was I Understand Why They Knelt. It's an amazing read. And he joins us now to talk about that. And also, Judge Moore's win last night.

GLENN: Okay. So, David, welcome to the program. Let's start first with Judge Moore, if you have any thoughts on that at all. What does that tell you? What happened last night?

DAVID: You know, it tells me that the populist wave that swept Trump in and the populist wave that is really dominant in the South is still dominant. I mean, we -- a lot of people forget that Trump really capitulated -- really began to lock down the nomination and Super Tuesday, which is a Southern-dominated primary. And if there's one thing -- if you follow the politics of the South, if you studied the politics of the South, populism has sold here for generations.

GLENN: Yeah.

DAVID: So it doesn't surprise me at all.

GLENN: Populism in the South -- this is why this is so controversial. And please, if you're listening in the South, instead of getting mad, let's have a discussion and talk about actual history. But populism in the South, really with reconstruction and even the Civil War, populists created this illusion that the Civil War was not about slavery, it was about state's rights. Which is so clearly debunked, if you just read the Confederate constitution. I mean, it's -- you don't have to have any conversation on it at all.

But populism has swept the South up into this glory days of, this was about something different than slavery. And it is -- it continues through today.

So I'm reading a few people, David, that say that Judge Moore is actually a great constitutionalist and a great conservative.

DAVID: He's not a great constitutionalist. I mean, this is a guy who -- you know, he's a populist folk hero is what he is, because of the stand he took because of the Ten Commandments. He is a person who capitulated to fame by defying court orders, that were lawful court orders that he disagreed with. And so he decided to defy them. Now, look, that's all well and go when you love his cause and you hate the order that he's defying -- you know, I'm somebody that's been arguing on behalf of the constitutional rights of students and faculty members and college campuses, and we pretty much bank on colleges not defying those court orders. I mean, if we have a world where you just defy the court orders you don't like, it's a lawless world.

But it made him a folk hero, for a lot of folks, especially for the folks who dominate a primary electorate in the state of Alabama.

And so it's nothing about this, is surprising. This is exactly what you would expect.

And I think the populist sort of wave has not abated at all down here. And I live in Tennessee. I live just about 40 miles north of Alabama. And you can feel it. The populist wave has not abated at all. They still support Donald Trump, but to the extent that they're disappointed with Donald Trump, it's mainly, we need departs from the populism of the campaign.

GLENN: Why is this dangerous? To the average person, David, they don't understand why the wrapping yourself in the flag and populism is a bad thing.

DAVID: Well, you know, often it's not based so much on ideas. It's based on an attitude. It's based on an anger, and it's based on a rage. And it's based frankly on a misunderstanding that this is the only way to win. This is the only way to defeat the left.

And so what you have are politicians who are capitalizing on emotion, they're capitalizing on feeling. And they're not advocating particular ideas. And what begins to happen when that happens is you start to define yourself by your opposition to the other side, as opposed to what you're for. And, I mean, you see this all the time. You see people who define whether or not something is good by the number -- you know, the gallons of liberal tears being shed. And it becomes inherently divisive. It becomes devoid of ideas. And the odd thing is, as populism increases, you'll actually have greater rage, even with less ideological separation.

GLENN: Yes. Yes.

DAVID: I mean, think of the 2016 election. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were two of the least ideological candidates in modern times. Hillary sat on every side of every issue, except abortion. Trump had been on every side of every issue, including abortion. And yet, it was the most vicious race of our adult lifetimes. That's what happens.

GLENN: So I was talking to Brad Meltzer who is a great historian and writer, and we had a conversation yesterday. And I said, "We have abandoned the Judeo-Christian heroes. We have abandoned Moses, who was not a warrior. And we've abandoned Jesus, who was not a warrior. And what -- I can't say this is true for the entire West because, you know, Europe still has enough of the fascist/communist love in them, that they like a strong man. But it's not the same as it is in the Middle East. And then when you went to Europe, it lessened. And we had Jesus and Moses. And when he came over here to America, we really believed for a long time, blessed is the peacemaker. Look for the humble person. Look for the quiet person. And, you know, walk softly."

We've abandoned all of that now. Haven't we lost the essence of who we are, if we can't get back to a point to say, "You know, the reasonable person, the quiet person, the peacemaker is the hero, not the one that punches people in the face?"

DAVID: Look, I think we're really on the knife's edge here, in the sense that if we don't turn back from this notion that character no longer matters in a president, for example, or turn back from the notion that the ends justify the means. Or to use a popular phrase from the left, by any means necessary.

GLENN: Uh-huh.

DAVID: You know, the polarization we experience now is only the beginning. And one of the more discouraging things that I've seen -- again, you know, I live in rural Tennessee in the South -- it's a very evangelical area. And the number of my fellow evangelicals who profess to believe that character matters in a politician has plummeted, plummeted. They don't even seek it anymore. They don't seek character. And character is destiny, in so many ways, as my colleague Jonah Goldberg is fond of saying.

And when you have low character, you're going to -- the results that are achieved, the long-term cultural damage, all of those things are going -- it's going to come back to bite you, to the extent to which you wrap yourself around people of low character. And that is a problem we're confronting in this country. And, look, it's on both sides. As the 2016 election demonstrates.

So I think you're right. I mean, we need to embrace people of high character.

GLENN: So you wrote an article for National Review. I understand why they knelt. And I can't believe your day was pleasant after posting this.

But you -- you brought out something really, really good. You said, "Look, you know, everybody on the NFL, that is cheering for free speech, they're all too happy to stick the government on a tiny few bakers or florists who don't want to use their artistic talents to celebrate events they find offensive. How many progressives who celebrated First Amendment on Sunday sympathize with the college students who chant, "Speech is violence," and try to seek to block conservatives from college campuses. But then you went on to say: But as a conservative, I see many conservatives decry Google's termination of a young dissenting software engineer working overtime yesterday to argue that Trump is somehow in the right.

Yet Google is a private corporation, and Trump is the most powerful government official in the land. The First Amendment applies to Trump -- the First Amendment applies to Trump, not Google. And his demands for reprisals are ultimately far more ominous.

DAVID: Right.

GLENN: Would you care to explain yourself Mr. French?

DAVID: Well, let's back up a minute.

I mean, what we're talking about is a protest that was petering out. I mean, Colin Kapernick was out of the league. There are a few people here or there that are kneeling. Then Donald Trump went and he didn't say, "I disagree with it." He said, "They should be fired." He called them names. He said they should be fired. Then in tweets, he didn't just go after, for example, these football players. He went after Steph Curry because of Steph Curry's reluctance to go to the White House. And then he even said, if people don't do what I say, there should be economic boycotts and reprisals against the NFL.

Now, this is the most powerful man in the world. And I want you to put on your thinking cap for the audience and say, "What happened if Barack Obama said, if Tim Tebow injects religion into the football field anymore and he kneels after a touch down anymore, he should be fired, that expletive. He should be fired, and then we should boycott the NFL." You can't tell me that the entire conservative world would absolutely melt down on that. And so what happened, you had the most powerful man in the world trying to dictate to these individuals how they should express themselves.

And, look, what happened last Sunday wasn't them -- it wasn't the Colin Kaepernick/Black Lives Matter protest. That wasn't what happened on Saturday. What happened on Saturday was people saying to the president, you don't dictate how we speak.

So I absolutely understand that impulse, just as I would understand it if a whole bunch of players knelt with Tim Tebow to protest if Barack Obama did something like this.

And it's always very helpful to put on our thinking caps and say, what if the other side had done something similar towards somebody we perhaps like? Then it begins to clarify these issues.

My position though is, we need to stop being so outraged about speech we disagree with.

Our position should be rebut to bad speech with better speech. I didn't like Colin Kaepernick's protests. And I wrote that. And I tried to persuade people that his protest was not right.

STU: They will say though that you can't persuade these people, and somebody's got to strike back. That's what I hear all the time.

DAVID: Well, I know. I hear that all the time too, Glenn. The fight fire with fire. Got to punch them back. Let's see how well that works, okay? So we had, what? Ten, 12 NFL players the Sunday before kneeling.

So he punched back really hard. And what did we have? 200-plus kneeling. You know, this fight fire with fire, often what it ends up doing is it makes you feel good because you're really, really mad, but it doesn't accomplish what you want.

What it actually accomplishes is more division. What it actually accomplishes is more rage. And what it actually accomplished was mainstreaming kneeling for the national anthem and for the flag. That's what he actually accomplished.

And I'm saying, let's turn down the temperature. And let's respect free speech. And let's not freak out when somebody disagrees with us. Let's have a consistent view that says the United States of America is a place where people have the right to be wrong, and I'm going to try to persuade them when they're wrong.

But even if they stay wrong, I'm going to tolerate that. And I'm going to be okay with the fact that there are going to be people who are wrong in this society. We'll never create a utopia because we've got to learn how to live with each other when we don't agree with each other. And it's not by saying, I want to fire people who disagree with me, and I want to fire people who offend me. That's the wrong way to do it.

GLENN: David, thank you for making members of the audience uncomfortable today with your speech. Thank you very much.

STU: So one of the things I really like about David French and his writing is, there are times I will go into an article, not know what to expect, and it will challenge what I'm thinking. And I don't know, I like that. I think that's what we're supposed to --

GLENN: It's healthy. It's really healthy.

STU: Yeah. He's the senior writer at National Review. He wrote the book Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can't Ignore. He's an Iraq veteran. And the article is, I understand why they knelt. We'll tweet it from @GlennBeck and @worldofStu.

We've heard a lot about critical race theory lately, and for good reason: It's a racist ideology designed to corrupt our children and undermine our American values. But most of what we see are the results of a process that has been underway for decades. And that's not something the mainstream media, the Democrat Party, and even teachers unions want you to know. They're doing everything in their power to try and convince you that it's no big deal. They want to sweep everything under the rug and keep you in the dark. To fight it, we need to understand what fuels it.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck exposes the deep-seated Marxist origins of CRT and debunks the claims that it's just a harmless term for a school of legal scholarship. Newsweek opinion editor Josh Hammer joins to argue why we must ban critical race theory from our schools if we want to save a very divided nation.

Watch the full "Glenn TV" episode below:

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On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck blasted the Democrats — and anyone else on the left — who have been so eager to open our southern U.S. border for the past several months, but also willing to turn a blind eye to the Cuban people in need of help today.

"While we are welcoming people from any country, all over the world, without any kind of information, and setting them into our country, putting them on American planes paid for by American taxpayers," Glenn began. "And our Coast Guard Cutters are turning these [Cuban] people away. Shame on you! Shame on you!"

Glenn said that he's "sick and tired" of hearing about "brave" leftist activists like Colin Kaepernick, who protest the America flag while wearing Che Guevara and Fidel Castro t-shirts. Meanwhile, the Cuban people are risking their lives by taking to the sea to escape their oppressive regime and come to America.

"Anybody who glorifies Che doesn't know their ass from their elbow. You can't call them a human rights activist. You're protesting the American flag, because you so deeply believe in the right to be free? And yet, you wear a Che T-shirt?" Glenn said.

Glenn went on to argue that, even though the left has "bastardized" the meaning of our country, he still believes America is the best nation on Earth. In fact, he'd give up his citizenship "in a heartbeat" if another country could prove to be better, more noble, and more free. But no other nation exists like ours, he said, which is why it's so imperative we fight for freedom here, in Cuba, and around the world.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain:

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There's a new "reality" spreading, and the mere act of questioning it has become incredibly dangerous, Wall Street Journal investigative journalist Abigail Shrier told Glenn on the most recent episode of "The Glenn Beck Podcast."

Shrier's book, "Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters," exposes the radical gender activism that — like critical race theory — has overtaken our children's schools and culture. But even worse, she warned, it could end your parental rights for good.

Shrier made it clear she is by no means "anti-trans," but simply speaking up against the extremes of this new "reality" has made her enemy No. 1 to many activists. Her book has been bashed so hard by the Left that Target has stopped selling it twice, Amazon once banned ads for it, and the American Booksellers Association even called sending it to others "a serious, violent incident."

In the clip below, Shrier explained why she believes "there may be no hope for the public school system."

"You have teachers behaving like activists across the country who have no interest in actually teaching. They believe their job is to remake your child," she asserted. "We're seeing so much evidence of that, I think it's fair to say that it may be too deeply rooted in the ideology being taught in public school. I'm not sure that the public school system is redeemable at this point."

Watch the video clip below for more or find the full podcast with Abigail Shrier here:

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What is actually in Texas' new GOP-led voting bill? Nearly every Texas House Democrat fled the state to block its passage, calling it racist and oppressive, and President Joe Biden backed them as well.

But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Friday to set the record straight and call out the lies: All of these claims are "completely false." He also explained his promise to "arrest" the Texas House Democrats when they return to the Lone Star State.

"What is in the bill is completely different than what they're saying, what Kamala Harris is saying, what President Biden is saying. What's in the bill actually increases the number of hours that people have to vote in the state of Texas. In the state of Texas, we have at least 12 days of early voting, and we are adding hours to those days. And on top of that, we are giving people time off from work to be able to vote. Bottom line, we're making it easier to vote in the state of Texas," Gov Abbott explained.

"In comparison, Delaware — the state that President Biden votes in — has exactly zero hours of early voting," he added. "That said, there is one thing that we're doing in the state of Texas, and that is we're making sure we tighten the reins on mail-in ballots that can lead to voter fraud. And it's not me saying that. It's a federal judge, appointed by Barack Obama, in Corpus Christi, Texas, who wrote in a legal opinion that voter fraud occurs, quote, in abundance as it concerns mail-in ballots. We know. Texans know. There is fraud in mail-in ballots in the state of Texas. It must be fixed. That's one thing we're trying to do. That being said, all these claims that we're denying people the right to vote and yada, yada, yada, are completely false."

Abbott went on to discuss the much-debated voter ID laws in Texas and to explain why Democrats insist on calling basic voter ID requirements "racist."

"When Democrats do not have truth on their side, they resort to one single word and that is 'racism' ... Texas implemented voter ID almost a decade ago, and when we went through that fight, what word did they use? Racism," he said. "Guess what? After Texas imposed voter ID requirements in the state of Texas, there have been more people voting and more people of color who went to vote. Voting didn't get harder. It got easier and more abundant in the state of Texas. And so, once again, Democrats have absolutely no legal standing, other than to say, 'racism.'"

Glenn asked Gov. Abbott to explain his pledge to "arrest" the Democratic lawmakers that fled once they return to Texas.

"Let me explain how this works. So, whenever there is a break of quorum, which is what is happening now — meaning there is not a sufficient number of people who are showing up to the Texas House of Representatives for the Texas House to engage in business. Whenever there's a quorum break like that, the House issues what's called a 'call on the House.' And when that happens, the sergeant-at-arms is authorized to work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, to — you can call it arrest, apprehend, whatever you want to call it — any of the members who are not in the Texas House of Representatives and bring them to the Texas House where they will be 'cabined' with no ability to leave the Texas House chamber, without a permission slip from the speaker."

Watch the video clip below for more details:

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