When the shoe is on the other foot

In the Bailey Hall dorm on the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota, I was the floor radical. Second Floor North was single-gender, no smoking, no alcohol. I am a lifelong non-smoker, but I occasionally enjoyed tipping back a Miller beer with a basket of popcorn down in the basement of The Valli in Dinkytown or over at The Cabooze during a Johnny Holm Band show. As the city kid on Saint Paul Campus, I wandered down to the dining hall for breakfast each morning to meet my floormates coming back from their campus jobs milking the cows. The farm kids laughed when I put skim milk on my cereal. At least I was a good Jimmy Carter Democrat like most of my dormmates.

Back then I had a collection of political buttons for my green Army jacket. My favorite was one that said "QUESTION AUTHORITY." No, I was not identifying myself as an expert on questions, it was an imperative statement to ask questions of those in the establishment. Back in my salad days of reading Jack Ohman, Elmo, and James r Lileks in the Minnesota Daily, I enjoyed Doonesbury and was rather anti-military. Today, liberals dominate the mainstream media, K-12 and higher education, the judiciary, Hollywood, the United Nations. And I am a Reagan Republican.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, how do liberals react when they are the authority in question? "They're out to destroy us."

According to liberal commentators, conservatives who question authority with proposals for vouchers and school choice are supposedly out to "destroy public schools." Those who would shield conservative students from punitive measures by their liberal professors are accused of wanting to eliminate freedom of speech. Now they say that conservatives who criticize the mainstream media are out to destroy it:

"...the target of the conservative blogosphere is the free and independent press itself, just as it has been for conservative activists since the '60s."

...Republicans' ultimate aim is the destruction of all objective reporting, so that they can say whatever they want, true or not, and get away with it: "Their explicit goal is to get us to the point where there are blue [state] facts and red [state] facts."

In other words, Republicans for decades have wanted to control the press much as Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler did, by attacking and attempting to discredit independent journalism, and for them blogs are just the latest tool in their war.

The liberal establishment, like any establishment I suppose, is extraordinarily threatened by any questioning of its authority.