[guest post by Dana]
Ben Shapiro raises some interesting points as he considers the racism of Donald Sterling and what he sees as the rise of thoughtcrime. In agreeing with the vast majority of Americans, Shapiro observes,
Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades.
However, he is also concerned about penalizing a person for their thoughts – thoughts expressed in private. He begins his examination by laying out the past public sins of Sterling and the responses – or lack thereof – to them,
In November 2009, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling settled a lawsuit in which the Department of Justice alleged that Sterling had discriminated against Hispanics, blacks and families without children in his rental properties. The lawsuit contained testimony that Sterling had suggested Hispanics were poor tenants because they “smoke, drink, and just hang around the building,” and that “black tenants smell and attract vermin.” The settlement cost him and his insurers $2.73 million.
The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing. That same year, the NAACP gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2005, Sterling signed a check for more than $5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that he had attempted to prevent non-Koreans from renting in his facilities in Koreatown.
The NBA and the national media said virtually nothing.
He then brings us to the present sins of Sterling, the subsequent firestorm and his eventual judgment,
But the big problem here isn’t hypocrisy. The big problem is that the market is turning on Sterling not over action, but over words. Sterling’s a pig, and that’s been no secret for decades. But what triggered America’s response? Sterling’s thoughts. American society now considers expression of thought to be significantly more important than action. Sterling got away with actual discrimination for years. But now he is caught on tape telling his gold-digging girlfriend he doesn’t like blacks, and that’s when the firestorm erupts?
This is the thought police at work. Feelings matter more than action. Words matter more than harming others. That sets a radically dangerous precedent for freedom of thought and speech, particularly for those whose thought and speech we hate. Freedom of speech and thought matters especially when it is speech and thought with which we disagree. The moment the majority decides to destroy people for engaging in thought it dislikes, thoughtcrime becomes a reality.
Sterling’s career should have been ended by public outrage based on his established patterns of discrimination years ago. To end it based not on such disreputable action but on private musings caught on tape demonstrates America’s newfound disregard for the rights of those whose thought we find despicable.
Read the whole thing.