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.

The House approved a new aid package for Ukraine of nearly $40 billion, which will increase the total U.S. funding for Ukraine's war efforts to a whopping $58 BILLION since March, if the package passes in the Senate. Meanwhile, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before Congress that the Biden administration is considering diverting resources away from an already-struggling VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) to deal with the border crisis.

"I am not making this up -- this will [make] your head explode," Glenn Beck said in the radio program Thursday. "They are going to divert costs; the Biden administration is taking money from the VA. Now already, our veterans get seconds, and we are [considering] diverting VA funding, and doctors, and nurses, away from our vets and to the migrants at the border, so we can take money that we don't have, $58 billion, and send it to Ukraine. What the hell is wrong with us?"

"Now, some Republican lawmakers are attempting to fight this," he added. "But, most people haven't even heard of this. This is how the atrocities at the border go unchecked. Biden sweeps it all under a rug. The mainstream media covers it up. And, meanwhile, people suffer and die. And in this case, it's not only the people on the border, but it is also our veterans in VA hospitals."

Glenn went on to detail the unreported deadly consequences of Biden’s border policies which have led to enough fentanyl to kill millions of Americans pouring across the border and terrorists having found easy paths into our country.

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

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Corruption, greed, and death. This is what the Left’s border policy is REALLY about, not the humanitarian effort they claim it is.

On tonight's episode of "Glenn TV," Glenn Beck exposes the groups benefitting from the border chaos under the Biden administration. A leftist money supply flows to NGOs on the border that are now taking the roles that the government should be filling with immigration and helping immigrants to flood into the U.S. Glenn asks: Why is the U.N. funding the flow of migrants to our border and subverting Congress? Why are former Biden staffers working for “non-profits” that are now getting exclusive, HIGHLY irregular multimillion-dollar border contracts? Worse than that, the consequences of Biden’s border policy have now turned deadly. National Guard members at the border are dying, fentanyl from China pours across the border, and terrorists have found an easy path to enter our country.

Finally, Glenn asks Texas Rep. Chip Roy if it’s time to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas for his negligence that is costing American lives.

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I can no longer relate to the modern pro-choice woman. I don’t want to shout my abortion. I want to pretend it never happened. Up until the SCOTUS leak, I had done a pretty good job of burying my 20-year secret. But the Roe v. Wade information earthquake triggered an eruption. I can no longer pretend to be ambivalent or leave it to blue-check pro-lifers to speak for me. My days of repeating the “safe, legal, and rare” mantra like a good, GenX libertarian feminist are over.

Some pro-abortion activists call their life-ending procedure “self-care,” like they just booked a hot stone massage or a facial at a spa. This is a polite euphemism many women tell themselves – not because we are cold-blooded killers, but because it’s how we survive. We HAVE to lie in order to justify what is actually taking place. Denial is a protective coating, a barrier from the truth. Remember, any woman born after Roe v. Wade has been programmed to believe that abortion is a natural-born right. “It’s legal; therefore it must not be evil. This is a medical procedure. Women do it every day.” Planned Parenthood has a nice way of describing abortion on its website: “A doctor uses a combination of medical tools and a suction device to gently take the pregnancy tissue out of your uterus.” “Gently take the tissue out.” Benign euphemisms that wrap our hearts and minds in a suffocating cocoon. Benign euphemisms to keep us in line.

I was raised in the Bible Belt and to believe that sex before marriage was the gravest of sins. You’d be better off robbing a store by pistol than to be caught fornicating with a boy. And yet I did fornicate with a boy. No boy I’d ever be proud to bring around to my parents. I never gave him the option to talk me out of it. I just demanded he pay half for the procedure and never speak of it again. I told myself it would be easier to survive the hidden shame of the abortion than wear the shame of my sin on my belly for the next nine months.

...the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job.

I took the so-called “easy” way out at six weeks along and swallowed a pill I got from some abortionist who gave me the creeps. He was no medical saint like the one portrayed in “The Cider House Rules,” nobly saving women from coat-hanger abortions. The doctor in my story made a quick buck at the expense of terrified “good girls.” Years later I would learn he kept aborted fetuses in buckets and was under investigation for shady medical practices. I couldn’t leave his clinic fast enough, but at least I wouldn’t have to miss work or skip my college classes. I could finish my degree and still make my parents proud. How convenient. But the pill I took made an ugly, painful mess, and it didn’t finish the job. Now I had to see a real obstetrician, get an ultrasound, and deal with the aftermath.

This doctor’s office was nicer. It had bright lights and pink walls. Although my doctor was professional, I still felt the quiet judgment in her voice. I refused to look at the image of my tortured fetus on the screen. I knew what it would mean if I did – my feminist career ambitions would lose the battle to my soul if I looked at that baby. The doctor told me the fetus was still viable but likely mentally damaged. The “kinder” thing to do would be to finish the job at an in-clinic abortion. End the fetus’ suffering and end my own self-torture. I woke up from anesthesia to learn the abortion was complete. It’s over so quickly, but the internal conflict hangs. And hangs.

You find weird ways to cope. Not long after, I discovered an abandoned robin’s egg, still perfectly intact. I wrapped it in a sock and carried it with me for over a decade. If I couldn’t do right by my own child, maybe I could keep this unhatched egg safe. Eventually, I had to come to terms with the fact that the bird egg was dead, and I got therapy. He was a good New York psychologist. Secular, liberal, tolerant. He helped me to forgive myself, but I always knew who I really needed to ask for forgiveness …

It’s easy for a young woman with all those stockpiled eggs in her ovaries to be pro-choice. She can toss away the miracle of life like a rotten banana or a bruised apple because it is easily replaced. It wasn’t until I was forced to confront the mortality of my own fertility that I felt the full force of my regret.

But I do not write this letter to achieve redemption or to be the new face of the pro-life movement. You will not see me pleading with women outside an abortion clinic. You will not see me protesting with a cutesy, homemade sign at the March for Life. You will not see me sparring on Twitter, confronting baby-killers with cold, hard facts. For now, you will not even know my name. I suppose this is not very brave, but my story is not complete and God’s work in me is in an active state. Mine is a modest mission: Maybe if I’m honest about my own wounds, I can help other women like me to heal. Maybe I can love the terrified, knocked-up woman in the Bible Belt who believes the best worst lies our society has ever told, better than any conservative talk show host ever could.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound.

The SCOTUS leak ripped a band-aid off a festering 50-year-old wound. It’s naive to think we will fix this mess for the unborn overnight and deprogram men and women plugged into 50 years of slick, well-packaged lies. Slavery was legal in the U.S. for over 200 years before we fought a war to end it. And it was another 100 years before we ended state-sanctioned racism.

When it comes to the issue of defending innocent life, I know it’s hard to be patient. This is a clear battle of good vs. evil for many on the right, but you need allies like me – the former “safe, legal, and rare” pro-choicers who are afraid to come out of the shadows. Afraid to become a political prop in the culture wars, but willing to do the quiet missionary work in our back yards.

I hope for the day future progressives look back in horror at today’s progressives fighting to keep abortion on demand. I hope for the day the New York Times publishes the pro-life version of the 1619 Project. Maybe they’ll call it the “1973 Project,” “whose mission is to reframe the country's history by placing the consequences of abortion and the contribution of the pro-life movement at the very center of our national narrative.”

Until that day, I want to help these women to be braver than me. To see beyond their impossible tomorrow. If I had allowed someone the chance to help me be brave, I might not have had the same successful career, but I would have a 20-year-old son or daughter in whom to invest this unexplained overflow in my heart.

Dear EV drivers: Think you're safe from soaring gas prices? Think again.

Image source: (Left) Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images (Right) Video screenshot

Diesel fuel prices have surged to record levels, adding to already record-high inflation in the U.S. But most Americans don't drive cars that run on diesel, and many have turned to electric vehicles (EVs) to avoid the ever-increasing pain at the pump. So, how would diesel supply shortages — and the resulting sky-high prices — affect you or your budget?

On the radio program Monday, Glenn Beck explained why every American should be concerned about the rising cost of diesel.

"Diesel fuel is the fuel that powers the economy," Glenn began. "How does that work? Well, let's start over in China. You want something from China, you have to put it onto a big boat, a slow boat from China, and that's powered by diesel.

"Then, it gets to our docks," he continued. "You know all of those big cranes and everything else that take that crap off of the ship and then put it on the ground? Run by diesel. And then the forklifts that come and pick it up and then bring it over to the train, those run on diesel. And then the train, those engines, they run on diesel. And then the trucks that get it halfway across the country from the train where they're picked up again by the forklifts, run by diesel. Then they're put into another truck, also run by diesel."

"I sure hope all the people bragging about their electric cars as gas prices skyrocket have a backup plan for their food too. Because as diesel prices go crazy, so does the price of EVERYTHING," Glenn posted on Twitter.

Watch the video clip below to hear Glenn explain how diesel supply shortages will affect all of us:

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