Conservatives labelling dissenters as "Unamerican"

It really annoys me every time I turn on the tube and in some debate, a conservative is labelling those that disagree with them as “unamerican” and “unpatriotic.” This really disgusts me. It shows that the conservative crazies are the true un-americans.

Whatever happened to “I disagree with what you say, but I will fight for, to the death, your right to say it” (Voltaire)

Why is it wrong to challenge the war on terrorism? Why dont we question the immense power we have given our president with our immense public support? Why are we so confident in him?

I really think that when those in power dont allow the opposition to participate in the legitimate discussion, we have excluded a portion of our public. We are, in effect, becoming a divided state around social divisions. When those out of power can not legitimately vie for change, there will be disastrous consequences. I thought, through years of european religious wars, that westerners learned to tolerate the opposition and avoid conflict through inclusion to the challengers as opposed to shutting them out as “unamerican.”

Why? why? why?

Since they often cannot use logic and reasoning to defend their views, they resort to that tactic. It’s almost another “Godwin’s Law”.

Ahh, so you have the right to say what you want about Evil King-Priest Bush, but conservatives do not have the right to say what they want about you?

So much for freedom of speech, eh?


All Im saying is nobody has the right to try and shut somebody out of our system by labeling them “Unamerican.”

Nobody said conservatives don’t have the right to say what they want. The OP asked whether calling dissenters “un-American” is a wise use of that speech, and whether it serves to effectively exclude any opposition from political discourse.

Can people please read the posts before they respond? It would make GD flow so much more nicely, don’t you think? Not only that, it avoids people breaking their knees or their chins when the two collide.

How are they shutting you out of the system? Seriously…I can call your actions un-American, but I have yet to be given the authority to revoke citizenship, so you don’t have to worry too much.

You (I dub you Spokesman of All Liberals) criticize conservatives. Conservatives then criticize you. You then call conservatives the true un-Americans for daring to speak against you.

Freedom of speech goes both ways. Your speech is no more or less protected then mine.

Cite, Pythag?

How the fuck is this a Freedom of Speech issue? No one is saying they don’t have the right to call anybody unamerican. They can call anybody anything they want, but not without criticism. Are saying we cannot criticize what they say without abridging their right to free speech?

Nice strawman, Brutus.

Well, if the Vice-President of the United States appears on “Meet the Press” and says that criticizing the administration’s policy is “unpatriotic,” how likely do you think he and the President are to give a serious listen to those critics? Do you think that people who are considered “unpatriotic” by the Executive branch are likely to have that branch’s ear? I sure don’t.

Geez, I had no idea that there were so many “unamerican” types running around these days :eek:. Obviously, this situation must be investigated in depth. Maybe we could assign some our congressmen to interview some of these “Unamericans” and determine whether criminal charges are warranted. Call it the “House Unamerican Activities Committee” or something…

Why should the President give a serious listen to ‘those critics’? We elect a President, not a panel of critics. My vote for leader of America went to G.W.Bush, not an editorial at NYT or T.Daschle.

The President must do what he feels is right, necessary, and constitutional. If the critics don’t like it, they can always not vote for him next time.

Uh, because some of “those critics” are members of the United States Congress, the elected body empowered to – you might remember this from Little Conservatives Class – make laws in this country. The President doesn’t get to make laws, he gets to enforce the laws that the Congress makes. As such, not only should he listen to them, he is required to.

Perhaps you want to live in a dictatorship. If that is the case, I suggest you remove yourself to one you find fulfilling and not try to change my country into one.

Sure they do.
Of course we should all laugh at them and call them idiots.

Yup… what Knight said.

Calling someone “un-American” or “unpatriotic” is just the latest method for trying to win an argument when you don’t have the reasonable discourse to back your opinion up. It’s more of a semantic distraction than a real argument. It’s an ad hominem attack, and thus makes the person who uses it look ridiculous to anyone who has half a brain.

By the way, both liberals and conservatives have been guilty of this sort of tactic in the last year. Nobody’s immune from using the politician’s sense of patriotism and “moral outrage” (laughs) when they don’t have a reasonable argument to back their sound bytes with.


So, following that logic, does that mean that people who criticized President Clinton were also Un-American? I’ve noticed that people who criticize Republican presidents in the US are called Un-American. People who criticize Democratic presidents are considered to be defending the constitution and the integrity of the country, according to some of the more vocal conservatives. Liberals seem to have been unwilling or unable to wrap themselves in the flag.

As for criticizing the president, I believe George Washington said something about being the most abused man in the country by the press. In other words, it sounds like a fine old American tradition to me.


It’s not an illegal or unconstitutional tactic, it’s simply a dishonest one.

Hey, gang! You know what we need? We need a standing Congressional Committee to investigate stuff like this. The VP or whoever else can come to this committee and explain what is unpatriotic. The committee can subpoena whoever they might want and threaten them with contempt of Congress prosecution if they don’t admit being unpatriotic. It will be great fun and it will do the country a world of good. We can have it be a committee of the House of Representatives.

What should we call it? I’ve got it! The House Un-American Activities Committee. What fun!

Haven’t we been here before?

And so it’s a two-fer, with both El_Kabong and Spavined Gelding drawing the obvious conclusion.

By the way, sirs, you are both right on the money. I’m waiting for some doctored photos to show up.

Phythagoras, I think you’re right to be disgusted by what you’re seeing on the box. Though I’d add that I long ago stopped expecting geniune debate or deliberation from TV pundits. It’s just a circus and, given the current state of media ownership, a circus that, by and large, favors right-leaning politics in very lowbrow form. Pundits slinging terms like “un-American” is to public debate what the WWF is to athletics. My advice to you is to watch it in the same spirit as you would wrestling, or, perhaps, not to watch it all. You can get much better political viewpoints listening to NPR or reading various media than watching television.

In any case, welcome to the SDMB.

(BTW: History and CS sounds like a great combination)