Down With Seuss!
Ted Geisel/Dr. Seuss is finding what he would have wrongly supposed to be unlikely "conservative" allies, who defend him either on the grounds that the enemy of my enemies is my friend--what we might call the Stalin Complex--or that his mockery of the Japanese was not really racist or was an aberration, or, worst of all, on the sacrosanct grounds of free speech--the Voltaire Ruse that, while I may disagree with everything you say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it.
Even Voltaire was not that silly. Imagine some practical examples: "As a Jew, I disagree with everything the Nazis are saying, but I'll defend to the death their right to say it." You bet you will! But not perhaps in the manner you'll imagine. Or, "I'm a Catholic father of two girls, one of whom is engaged to be married and the other is going into a convent, but I'll defend to the death the right of the Porn industry to portray women as meat products to be seduced, raped, murdered--in a word, consumed.
Dr Seuss aka Ted Geisel would have been taken out and shot in a decent society, long ago, but I have never lived in a decent society except in the afterglow of Charleston in the 1960's. What do I mean by "decent society"? One that does not cultivate ugliness and stupidity, one that does not permit all questions of right and wrong, good and evil, competent and incompetent to be reduced to commercial standards.
Freedom of expression is one of those pernicious delusions even good people cannot rid themselves of--along with freedom of religion, respect for the opinions of people who have not earned the right to open their mouths, and those ugly chimeras "tolerance" and "diversity." Bees know how to treat dissenting bees who put an extra wiggle into the bee dance: They sting them to death. Of course, everyone who finds himself out of power, ignored, and oppressed, will clamor loudly for toleration, freedom of expression, and equal rights, but that is so tired a wheeze I am amazed that anyone falls for it. Seuss was foisted off on American children by the Schlock merchants of the publishing industry. As president, I promise to put all the big conglomerates out of business.
Any civilized community--ancient Athens or Medieval Siena--has standards, rules it does no permit to be abridged. In Saint Catherine's day, a young man visiting Siena had a few drinks too many and shot his mouth off about that small but intensely beautiful and even more intensely proud city. He was arrested and sentenced to death. Naturally, a punk with such limited discretion complained loudly of the unfairness until Catherine visited him in his cell and showed him that if he sincerely repented and died before he could go from bad to bad to worse, he could count his blessings, which he did.
Even societies like labor unions and universities have the duty to enforce their rules. Sam Francis and I used to agree in upholding the right of leftist universities to impose speech codes. It is up to university authorities to decide what behavior will be tolerated in their institutions, and insulting one's fellow students for their race or religion is in principle incompatible with the civilized behavior once demanded of young gentlemen. Times have changed, of course, and no one even knows what a gentleman used to be--though even in the early 1960's my college's student affairs director told us the only real rule for the men students was to act as gentlemen and, if we did not know what that meant, we were in the wrong college. (He may have suggested Clemson or Texas A&M as alternatives,)
Some years ago I found my self at an incredibly boring conference full of Straussians. I did find an ally in the philosopher John Gray and we banded together with Ernest van den Haag--a very unlikely friend for me to make, but it happened. I don't know which of us proposed the notion, perhaps it was Ernest, but we decided to establish an official Society for the Preservation of Trees. Naturally, it would be our responsibility to decide what writings were worth the sacrifice of a tree.
Ernest is dead; John went to work for the Labour Party, and that leaves me as the Supreme Protector of Trees and Guardian of Literacy.
Let be be finale of seem
The only emperor is the emperor of ice cream.