On the right, we’ve grown to pride ourselves on our greater openness to debate and ideas, on having no need to toe a Politically Correct line or crawl into a “safe space” like pampered college kids who just can’t handle hearing from anyone who disagrees with them.
For myself, I am so personally dedicated to this ideal that I even perform the great personal sacrifice of reading the comments field beneath my articles.
Yet somehow I wasn’t surprised to see Donald Trump supporters, those swaggering tough guys, turn one of their favorite Internet forums into a safe space where they no longer need to encounter criticism or opposition. Earlier today, Free Republic proprietor Jim Robinson announced that the discussion board would no longer tolerate opposition to Trump’s candidacy.
FR is going all in to defeat Hillary/Bernie, et al, by supporting our America-first nominee Donald Trump to the hilt.
Very sorry if your favorite candidate did not win the nomination and sorry if you cannot understand or agree with our mission, but those who can’t live with our immediate goal need to either keep it to themselves or sit it out (from FR) for the duration. Anti-Trump activities and NeverTrump trolling and recruiting efforts are not appreciated and are unwelcome on FR….
Our intent is to do whatever it takes to defeat the commies in November and if you do not wish to be part of this effort, please sign off now.
His rationale? Because Hillary Clinton is a communist, which gives you an idea of the degree of hyperbole that is normal on the site.
Incidentally, this comes a day after Robinson launched a fund-raising drive in which he declared that “We are beholden to no political party,” and that Freepers, as they call themselves, are “fiercely independent and enjoy our freedom to speak plainly.” Unless you’re skeptical about the Coiffed Avenger.
This is not the first time Robinson and Free Republic have done this. He similarly required Freepers to fall in line behind George W. Bush in 2000—oh, the irony—and booted out Rudy Giuliani supporters in 2007.
This is still a free society, at least for a little while longer. If Facebook has a right to turn itself into a clone of Huffington Post, then Free Republic has a right to turn itself into a volunteer propaganda organ for the Trump campaign.
But those of us on the right should take a deep breath and wonder whether adopting a policy of political uniformity—in this case, not loyalty to an ideology or even a party, but loyalty to a single man—is importing the same illiberal habits of thought that we denounce when we encounter them on the left. And the same hypocritical preening about how independent and free-thinking we still are.