What Voltaire said: 'I will defend to the death your right to say it' - Must Read Alaska
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Saturday, September 25, 2021
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What Voltaire said: ‘I will defend to the death your right to say it’

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“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” – Voltaire

The French writer and devoted defender of free speech had not heard about “3REICH” and “FUHRER” vehicle license plates in Alaska. He would not recognize the Democrats of 2021 as a party that once, if only for a few short years, championed constitutional rights.

Over the weekend, Democrat activists in the state accused this writer of being a Nazi, a Nazi sympathizer, and a fascist. This is their playbook — Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, in the Saul Alinsky tactics they use. MRAK is that target.

Until you’re called a Nazi, you really haven’t lived on the wild side. After all, that is about the lowest form of life, down with rapists, and murderers. In some circles, it is the fashionable way to dehumanize people who have a different viewpoint in life. “They’re Nazis” is all the rage now, on the Left.

In fact, the Left has now reached “Godwin’s Law,” or the Godwin rule of Nazi analogies. It goes like this: the longer an online discussion goes, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” And that is exactly where Democrats have found themselves on Twitter — they can be counted on to spew the “N” word on any given day. The word just slips out automatically.

This writer has no specific position on the 3REICH license plate that two Alaska attorneys are complaining about on Twitter and that Rep. Sara Hannan is asking the Division of Motor Vehicles to revoke. Perhaps a 4REICH would be more concerning to this writer — after all the Third Reich is so far in the past that hardly anyone living remembers the actual Nazi Regime; they just remember the stories and the lessons. One commenter says he knows the family who owns the plate, and they are not Nazis or Nazi sympathizers. But who knows?

As for “Fuhrer,” there is a former well-known National Education Association president from Alaska named Ron Fuhrer who might object to being called a Nazi, just because he inherited a German name from his father.

None of that can soothe the rage of the extremists and hate-mongers of the Left, including the MidnightSunAK blog, which has decided to try to deplatform Must Read Alaska.

Having a reasonable dialogue about why that license plate was ever issued doesn’t fit the narrative of the Left. The destruction of conservatives, however, is blood sport.

It’s sad that the Democratic Party and its surrogates have now become the party of hate speech (calling someone a Nazi is hate speech) and anti-free speech.

Their drift toward totalitarianism since those heady days of the 1960s is stunning.

For this writer, I won’t die on a hill for Nazis or race-baiters. Racial superiority is not a concept to defend. I won’t debate hateful people on social media, either.

I will, however, die on the hill for the First Amendment, and the right of people everywhere to express themselves without the government curbing their rights of free speech. (Unless, of course, government is paying for the University of Alaska artwork depicting the decapitated head of President Trump. That, I’ll continue to argue, is a misappropriation of public funds. And no yelling fire in a theater, please.)

In the case of license plates, who can say what the panel from the Division of Motor Vehicles will do with “3REICH” or ‘FUHRER.” They will have to discuss them, now that a legislator has made a request that the plates be revoked. And because of the viciousness from the Left, it’s doubtful the panel will be able to take the pressure of being called Nazi sympathizers.

How would you judge these plates if you were on the the panel?

What if you discovered that the first was on an auto owned by the son of President Clinton’s Labor Secretary Robert Reich? That would be a Robert Reich III, since Robert Reich is the son of Robert Reich, a Jewish immigrant. Would that color your perception?

What if the other was owned by Filthy Fuhrer, the Alaska man (and convicted killer) who got a judge (an African American judge, at that) to allow him to legally change his name from Timothy Lobdell in 2017?

If someone’s name is Adolf, would that be allowed on his license plate? How about the alternate spelling, Adolph?

A story in Vice magazine describes a documentary, “Meet the Hitlers,” about the unusual and diverse people with a very distinctive and unfortunate last name, and how some of them changed their names, while others did not.

Could the “H” name go on a license plate in this day and age of political correctness or would it be subject to savage social media attacks?

How about Pol Pot, of the Khmer Rouge, who was responsible for the deaths of 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians, who perished from starvation, execution, disease or overwork under that regime?

Or Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader responsible for the deaths of as many as 70 million Chinese, as a name on a license plate? Can Mao go on a plate? Fidel? Che?

These questions are not meant to provoke rage from the Left, (although they will) but thoughtfulness from all who truly are interested in dialogue.

But beware, that is not where hard-left political operators are coming from these days.

Taking their cues from Antifa, and led in Alaska by the most hardened, cynical, and calloused lawyer of them all, Scott Kendall, (Recall Dunleavy and Alaskans for Better Elections) they are going full scorched earth. They’re coming for Must Read Alaska today, but keep in mind, conservatives, they’ll come for you tomorrow — to deplatform you, strip you from your revenues, cancel you from your job, and as Juneau’s Chris Dimond has stated, run you out of the state altogether.

The straightforward story that offended Scott Kendall’s & Co:

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Keep fighting the good fight!

  • We, your readers stand with you Suzanne in your efforts to support anconstitutionally based form of justice and reporting the news with “ old time” integrity!!

  • ENOUGH! Make these jokers get a real job and keep out of our business!

    • Yes. We have much bigger fish in Alaska and Juneau

  • They’re just shallow-minded people Suzanne. They want it their way or the highway. They don’t understand the Constitution at it’s purest form is what gives them the right to call you a Nazi or any other name assigned to people on your blog. They like to throw names around trying to draw first blood and make you for pay for sends from the beginning of time as they define them. In fact they want to play God. They know absolutely nothing of what they speak of. The fortunate thing is, their gene pool is quite shallow.

    • It is illuminating and illustrative how vicious and vile the “Nazi” slur is intended to be, but for some odd reason those same people who use that word as a curse do not equally (or at all) use the word “Communist” as a slur, despite the vastly greater historical impact, and death count, that communism has inflicted on the world.

  • I have learned, that when people call you a Nazi, it is always a reflection of themselves, and their ideas and policies and perceptions. The have use this word so many times it has lost its meaning or understanding of what a Nazi is. The but as they repeatedly use this word they bring more hated to themselves and to their liberal agenda and make themselves targets of hate… This is what happens when dogma is the center of your life.

  • As with many hackneyed phrases, it appears this one has been kicked around a bit. Perhaps Voltaire is unjustly accused of having said it. https://quoteinvestigator.com/2015/06/01/defend-say/
    Also, he used a nom de plume, so can we be certain who the real Voltaire is?
    Apparently we can, but in this age of alternate facts, can we really be sure of anything?
    Well, yes. I can be sure that I appreciate the response he apparently really made, “What a fuss about an omelette!”, than the one for which he is usually credited.
    Is there, perhaps, a lesson we all could learn from this? Freedom is a word tossed around lightly, or, at least without much thought, by many, but an omelette is a meal.
    And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes a license plate is just…well, you get my drift.

    • Greg R, as I read your comment it occurs to me that whether Voltaire said it or not, Truth is like the proverbial cigar, it resonates within the minds of those who hear it. Speaking of Voltaire, I am reminded of a story where friends of Frederick the Great approached the enlightened Prussian ruler to warn him about some nefarious financial dealings in which Voltaire was involved. Frederick reportedly answered, I am aware of this matter, my intentions are to gain knowledge from him, like an orange I will squeeze him and when finished toss the dry rind away. Frederick understood the value of knowledge, from whatever source, the fascist cancel culture in our midst is afraid of knowledge and certainly of the truth.
      Oh, isn’t Greg R, a nom de plume also?

      • Ahhh, finally…. an informed and uplifting comment that spurs its readers into serious thought. And its transmitted under your true name as well. Positive progress is a wonderful thing to behold.

      • So, are you saying that truth, which resonates within the minds of those who hear it, is relative, i.e. subject to the unique environments in the minds of those who hear it? And, if truth is relative, is there such a thing as absolute truth, because it can’t be relative and absolute at the same time?
        Perhaps it’s all relative. This is provocative, because it begs the question, “Is anything absolute?” Do I perceive the color red the same way you do? And if all is relative, we find ourselves wrestling a can of worms.
        On the other hand, some things are pretty reliable. I believe I will perceive the sudden halt at the end of a 200 foot fall onto a hard surface the same as you, although the thoughts going through my mind as I fell might be profoundly different from yours.
        Nom de plume? Perhaps. Who really knows for sure who he is?

  • Great post! I was thinking the same thing about the plates being the persons last name before you mentioned it. I’m sure you are right about the DMV cancelling the plates, very sad. Love your newsletters.

  • If Kendall Motor Group isn’t associated with Scott Kendall, I would think it in their interest to publish a disclaimer. If they are associated, then I wouldn’t ever buy a vehicle from them.
    Cancel Culture is a two way street.

  • Lawyers bitch. Thats why nobody likes them.

    Hard to get excited about their license plate complaints.

  • I actually predicted this would happen. The writing was on the wall for me when before the election my resort made me take down my trump campaign banner. It was a small little garden flag that I had there along with my blue lives matter and my Kansas City Chiefs support flag. This is what bullies do. I don’t blame the resort because they are a business and they just don’t want the trouble. Some guests voiced dissatisfaction and that’s why it all started to go downhill. I asked the resort if they wanted me to take the blue lives matter garden flag down because I wouldn’t want to piss off any Texas police ambushers. I also asked them about the Kansas City Chiefs flag and explained that I’m from originally the Kansas City area but I wouldn’t want to piss off any Tampa Bay buccaneers or Miami dolphins fan. They said that I could leave the police and the football flags up. I guess they totally didn’t cave in. Mind you Florida is Trump country. Trump won Florida in the latest election. You can drive out in the countryside and see Trump campaign flag still up many flying Confederate battle flags as well. But like I said this was on private property and they have the right to make rules and if we don’t like it we have the option to leave. But the cancel culture that’s currently infesting the United States there’s nothing more than a battle with the Constitution and the first amendment. They hate Republicans more accurately they hate conservatives. They have come out of the woodwork like cockroaches and vermin because they think now is their time to strike while the iron is hot. They are sorely mistaken. They remind me of the little yipper dog it comes out from underneath the front porch yelling and screaming at anybody who walks by and then you cuss at him or throw a stone at him and he runs back to the dark place where he was hiding. Keep up the fight fellow conservatives and don’t let them silence you. I know some people that have taken bumper stickers off their trucks because they don’t want to be a Target to a drive by. That is one decision that you’ll have to make yourself.

  • The leftists, are, and always have been, the fascists (Nazis).

    • Oh my! This is revisionist history. The fascists have always been on the extreme right and the communists on the extreme left in the historical, political scheme of things. That, of course, doesn’t take into account the fact that they might be using the same tactics to achieve their internecine ends.

      • What’s German for “National Socialist German Worker’s Party?” Sounds VERY far right to me. #sarcasm

        • The Nazis are a special form of fascists and fascism is far right. It matters not whether you think your term for Nazi sounds leftist. And your sarcasm sucks IMO.

          • An excerpt from Websters on fascism: “a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition”

            You can say “far right” all you want, but the reality is that what we are seeing from the left is fascism. IMO, your world view sucks.

          • The term is authoritative leader and there has never been an authoritative leader from the left. Trump is from the right, clearly, and he is an authorititativ leader that you most likely followed. Tough noogies there AKVET!

  • Basic arguments made in this column are correct.
    The move by an elected official to cancel some dim bulbs desire to have a vaguely provocative hunk of aluminum attached to their bumper indicating they have complied with the State of Alaska’s motor vehicle licensing and registration requirements is a waste of time and indicative of how wide-spread the culture of cancellation has become.
    Vanity plates, in almost all circumstances can be viewed as an intelligence test. Paying the State of Alaska is the first dumb move. Selecting a plate like “3Reich” is the second stupid move.
    Stupid is as stupid does.
    Let it go and concentrate on fixing the horrendous fiscal problem our state is faced with, including figuring out to grown the Permanent Fund, protect the Permanent Fund from inflation and figuring out how to pay the citizens of Alaska a PFD.

    • Joe, I agree with you, however the people pushing this sort of non-sense described in the story above are incapable of doing the important business at hand and rely upon distractions like removing vanity plates to appear relevant.

    • Boy Joe, your “stupid is as stupid does” describes your post entirely. Your opinion is certainly noted but State will make it’s decision here and it’s also certainly not a “freedom of speech” issue. What does this have to do with our Permanent Fund?

  • If the left is enraged, you must be doing something right on both planes.

  • Caused me to go to the DONATE button…

  • We have your back Suzanne. Calling”Nazi” is as much a display of ignorance as racial pejoratives.

  • If you say anything in the public square that doesn’t conform to the accepted leftist catechism you are going to be called a fascist, racist, homophobe, xenophobe, or the lefty “kill shot”, a Nazi. They have an active “other” campaign by which they are trying to make people who disagree with them into non-persons, a subhuman type not entitled to the rights and dignities of civil life, and they’re well along with the plan. The following is an excerpt from my book, “Red on Blue” in a chapter titled “You Are Judged by the Quality of Your Enemies.” “Red on Blue” was published in 2011, though much of it was written when I was still with the State, from which I retired in 2006 and this was written back then:

    “Democrats go to Democrat restaurants and bars, Democrat plays, Democrat movies, and Democrat social events – it never occurs to them that anyone goes anywhere else. If you do not go where they go, do what they do, watch and listen to what they do – think NPR and Michael Moore, and think like they do, you are not human; they deny your existence – terming most of America “fly-over country” comes straight from their heart. It is the same mindset that justified exterminating the Jews, but if you said they thought like the Nazis, you’d be the one from whom the media was demanding an apology.”

    It has only gotten worse in the ensuing decade and a half.

    • Unfortunately, the author of the quoted book apparently doesn’t know that the correct adjective is “Democratic” and not “Democrat.” Basic rookie mistake. Makes me wonder about the rest of what he writes.
      And yes, I do know that the misuse of the term is meant to be pejorative, but it mostly comes off as ignorant. Makes me wonder about the quality of his enemies.

      • I know the name the successor to the Communist Party of the US likes to be called. They don’t even need a Communist Party anymore, the Democrats have taken over the role. And frankly I don’t care what lefty useful idiots think.

    • Well said, Art. But in the restroom they still sound like you and I, ……or worse.

  • Is it permissible to have a plate say: “I am a jerk”? Because that’s all “3REICH” says and means.
    Hitler was a leftist anyway and that point needs to be made every time someone on the right is called a Nazi.

  • Anyone ever reach out to the people around you who are democrat supporters. I do. I try reaching out and being recieved by them engaging conversation with Democrats i recognize as Democrats. I meant with an aloof responce and someone who may be interested in what I am speaking but appears have simple understanding, and they never want to exchange numbers with anyone different than the simple minded folks. That referenced book reveals a perfect definition my experience around Democrats. I will keep trying to reach out to the Democrat neighbors living around me even if its as simple as waiting for them to reach my point, standing outside in front of their walking path to smile and wave saying hello, and make conversation so they see I am a human. I get tired of living around neighbors who dont talk with eachother.

    Social media tools contributed to increasing that detached mindset from everyone since Yahoo and Aol chat then following Myspace. Gosh! I so hope people will see it and delete themselves off All social media tools. I hear that there are thousands of Americans who had already left all the social media tools except one and they already seen a difference in their happiness level increased.

  • It wasn’t that many years ago the ADN (God forgive me for mentioning them) ran a piece about “offensive” license plates. I remember there was an uproar about the plate “BLOME” and people staggered around Anchorage clutching their pearls and fainting onto park benches.

    A small amount of research revealed its owner to be named “Blome” and the crisis was averted.

    Apparently it’s our perception of the offending plate that matters, not the plate itself. This will continue until the world runs out of pearls, or people learn to quit being so fragile.

  • We are all missing the root of the problem—The DOJ has become a “mafia” in the United States. Don’t forget they also run the FBI.

    Flynn and Stone get dragged through court for nothing meanwhile the TRUE LIARS—Comey, McCabe, Strocx, Page, Brennan are ignored. There is no argument that these people lied to Congress yet no indictments.

    The riots of Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Kenosha with killings, physical damage, looting, etc. are referred to as “peaceful protests” yet they were much worse that January 6th.

    The BLM is the most racist organization in America within the last 70 years (kinda like the KKK with media support.)

    I have little doubt that closing the DC DOJ offices for 2 months and examining their computers and phones would reveal sedition and conspiracy to overthrow the government.

    The election was a complete fraud. Looking through the affidavits reveal the Democrats just copied ballots and sent them in the day after the election. Yet the Judges are so far left they would not review these mail in ballots for authenticity.

    Alinsky wins: Controlling the media, the justice system, the education system has been completed and now they are just propagandizing to scare anyone in disagreement

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