Jon Caldara

Jon Caldara

The late, great football coach Bum Philips said, “There's two kinds of coaches, them that's fired and them that's gonna be fired.”

Same is true for newspaper columnists.

It’s been an honor to write for Colorado Politics for nearly half a year now after being canned from the Denver Post, even though I was told I was their most read columnist there, for the sin of writing there are only two sexes.

Not to put words in their mouths but my Post editors found my writing style, and likely myself, insensitive. Fair enough.

What seemed to be the last straw for my Post column was my insistence that there are only two sexes and my frustration that to be inclusive of the transgendered (even that word is no longer allowed by AP style rules) we must lose our right to free speech.

To be clear I am strongly pro-gay marriage. I don’t care who uses whose bathroom, what you wear, or how you identify. People from this community have rights which we must protect.

But to force us to use inaccurate pronouns, to force us to teach our kids that there are more than two sexes, to call what is plainly a man in a dress, well, not a man in a dress violates our right of speech — what the left used to protect.

I find myself constantly wondering what happened to the principled liberals of my youth, the ACLU types who fought for the rights of even hideous people, like neo-Nazis, to speak freely.

What happened to those liberals who were appalled by book-burnings and McCarthy-era blacklisting?

They are now silent as the Cancel Culture feeds on an orgy of being perpetually offended and demanding destruction of all that is an affront to the new enlightened sensibilities.

There is a direct line from the years of our complacent acceptance of college speech codes, cancelling conservative speakers on campus, de-platforming conservative voices online, the PC police language enforcement in media, schools and entertainment to the wide-spread intolerance violently playing out on our streets today.

The progressives who run the institutions that form our culture (media, entertainment and education) have instilled the value that if you find something offensive or hurtful it is your duty to rip it down, stifle it, berate it until it is wiped away.

The golden, classical liberal value of tolerance has turned into the progressive mandate for re-education.

History has a well-worn path here. Book burnings weren’t just to destroy the access to ideas and written histories the group in power finds dangerous. Book burnings were to intimidate those who held those out-of-favor ideas and comfort those with the new ones.

After the communist revolution, hundreds of Russian cities and towns were renamed in order to fit the party’s purge of history. The Denver neighborhood of Stapleton has now been bullied into a similar fate.

That neighborhood was named after the area where it’s built, the old site of Denver’s Stapleton Airport. The airport was named after Denver Mayor Benjamin F. Stapleton, who, like many politicians of his day, had an association with the KKK.

In hostage-deadline style, activists threatened, “The neighbors of Stapleton have ONE WEEK to change their name ... if they do NOT we will march through their neighborhood to show them #BlackLivesMatter.”

To many residents this was taken as a threat to bring the pillaging and destruction seen in downtown Denver’s BLM marches to their homes in Stapleton. Even though a recent survey of their residents showed over 65% of them wanted to keep the name, the neighborhood’s board of directors caved immediately. Cancel Culture by veiled threat.

In March of 2001 the Taliban blew up the Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in Afghanistan. These 174 ft tall, 1,700-year-old works of art carved in sandstone cliffs were deemed offensive by the Taliban. Cancel Culture via dynamite.

Just how is the vandalizing and toppling of statues through the country today any different?

Like the statue of Ulysses S Grant in San Francisco, the Washington statue in Portland, the statue in front of Colorado’s Capitol building in Denver honoring union soldiers was toppled. This after it was allowed to be defaced during the riots. Cancel Culture via spray paint and rope.

We are merely seeing the manifestation of our own inaction by not standing up to the decades of the growing tyranny of political correctness.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.

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