AshevilleThe Publisher's Desk

Publisher’s Note: Without words we cannot think

It is extremely disturbing to see the daily media speech police once again slamming Buncombe County School Board Member Lisa Baldwin for her remark asking if she needed to say, “Heil Hitler” when she came to the next school board meeting.

Anyone with a lick of sense knows that she was not speaking casually about what happened in Nazi Germany, which is what she was accused of. She was simply making her point that the school board was stifling dissent by its recent decision to make sure all questions have to be consensus questions that are then submitted to the superintendent. And it is. Her dissent has been beaten down in many ways, and she is frustrated.

John Boyle of The Asheville Citizen Times knows better, and so too do many of the letter writers to the daily paper. Attacking Lisa personally for using a phrase that he didn’t like and pretending that the phrase was intended to mean more than it did was extremely unprofessional.

Attempting to censure Baldwin in a highly derogative manner because her phrase was not liked is exactly the kind of action that Orwell wrote about in his book 1984. Don’t forget, the next step after speech control is ‘face control.’ ‘Face control’ is whereby you get arrested for looking like you are thinking something that you shouldn’t be thinking.

There is a book called The Speech Police written by Diane Ravitch. It is an excellent book, and in it she references literally hundreds of words and phrases that have been censured by school censorship boards. This is what Boyle, Tommy Koontz (who sent in a scathing letter) and the “Report Card” of the ACT should be concerned about.

This is serious stuff.

People and especially students should never be intimidated and brow-beaten into not using words and phrases simply because they are not politically correct or not liked. It is up to the media and the schools to protect word usage and thoughts. They are not doing a good job.

Without words we cannot think. Words and thoughts that stop thoughts are the only thoughts that need to be stopped. They are the ultimate evil against which we must defend.

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