Glenn Greenwald is a smart and honest liberal. His criticisms of the Iraq War and the Bush Administration were as spot on as anybody’s if you could disregard the obvious leftism on other issues that sometimes crept through. Here he is in honest liberal mood decrying the silencing of Ann Coulter. But catch this. He says:
“Personally, I think threatening someone with criminal prosecution for the political views they might express is quite “hateful.” So, too, is anointing oneself the arbiter of what is and is not sufficiently “civilized discussion” to the point of using the force of criminal law to enforce it.”
But yet he opened his column this way:
The far-right hatemonger Ann Coulter was invited…
So no one in Canada is allowed to be an “arbiter,” but he gets to call Coulter a “hatemonger?” Hmmm… Curious. Now I get that he is not threatening her with jail, but the threat of legal prosecution is not the only way that people are intimidated into silence. That is the entire point of political correctness. In fact, political correctness and the fear of being called a hater of one sort or another is a much more ubiquitous mechanism of silencing dissent in the modern West than is hate speech laws.
I believe that the use of the term fearmonger is legitimate, and I use it frequently. A lot of the pro-interventionist “bomb ‘em all” crowd can very accurately be described as fearmongers. But hatemonger is a meaningless slur that can almost never be accurately applied to anyone. It is a thought stooper. That is its very intent. It rings pretty hollow to decry hate speech laws that can’t tolerate dissent when you use PC language precisely intended to silence dissent.