Duck Dynasty and Free Speech: “I Am the Maggot”

I’m growing used to being the maggot. Because someone has to be the maggot. Maggots are ugly and unpleasant, but they serve an important function in the ecosystem. Whatever one’s belief system, be it intelligent design or spontaneous generation, everyone agrees that decomposers like maggots are a necessary part of life.

I was reminded of my status as a maggot several times over the past few weeks. For those of you who aren’t familiar with my story, I’ll provide a brief recap: for five years I ran a group called the Republican Party Animals. We hosted GOP bigshots and drank heavily, and my writing was carried by every major conservative website. And then I was “outed” as having been David Cole, the nefarious Jew who claimed, in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, that Auschwitz was not an extermination camp (a civilian internment and labor camp, absolutely. But not a camp for organized killing). And I was promptly drummed out of all conservative circles (literally, as in banned from a half-dozen GOP groups).

The point of this post is not to dwell on my own misfortune, nor to plug my upcoming book, “Republican Party Animal,” available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nope; no plugging here. Rather, I want to relate my circumstances to that Duck Dynasty guy whose name I refuse to learn because I hate reality shows.

There are two points I want to make. One relating to me, the other to Ducky McBeardo.

Me first. Politically, the “maggot” is the entity that is seen as so despicable, it unites the left and right. The Westboro Baptist Church is a maggot. Liberal or conservative, Hannity or Matthews, all agree that the WBC is the lowest of the low. And that assessment is correct; the WBC is indeed excremental. But, like the maggot, the WBC serves a purpose. By unifying left and right, if only briefly, the WBC does good in a way it never intended.

I was struck by my own role as a maggot when my friendly advances toward “anarchist libertarian historian” Robert Higgs were rebuffed because I am (in his words) a “Holocaust denier.” Higgs had written an interesting piece about FDR’s supposed foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor, and I wrote to him to ask his opinion of a similar article I’d read. The correspondence was genial enough until Higgs learned who I am. And then it ended.

A man like Higgs, who espouses controversial views, needs to have someone against whom he can measure himself. “Sure, I claim that FDR engineered Pearl Harbor. But c’mon, at least I’m not David Cole.”

That’s my unique role in the food chain. I make other controversial folks look good by comparison.

But now, let me try to raise this post out of the self-indulgent hole I’ve just dug. The controversy surrounding the Duck Dynasty beardo is representative of a larger battle being fought in what is sometimes called the “culture wars” (Pat Buchanan used to call it the “Kulturkampf,” until his aides suggested it wasn’t wise to use a Nazi-sounding term, to which Buchanan replied “but at least I’m not David Cole”).

Radio host Larry Elder climbed on his KABC high horse Thursday afternoon to declare that the treatment meted out to beardo was unfair. He bemoaned the fact that the man is being penalized for his personal views and convictions. Larry Elder, I should point out, is a former business partner of mine who (along with his publisher World Net Daily) stiffed me for a good amount of money solely because of views I expressed about Auschwitz twenty years ago.

Yes, that’s the same Larry Elder who claimed to have been the victim of censorship when leftist groups mounted an advertiser boycott against him simply because of his views. Even people like Elder need a maggot against whom they can favorably compare themselves. So of course he had to take a stand against my right to get paid for work done.

Did I just relate this back to me again? Dammit! But honestly, I really am trying to build to something here. I was banned, censured, and denied payment for services rendered because of views I hold, not views I was expressing at the time (I’d been publicly mum on Auschwitz since 1995). The Duck Dynasty beardo was banned from A&E because of views he expressed, but not views he tried to force upon others (he was merely answering questions in an interview).

So where’s the line? If you’re going to say that someone has crossed a line, you have to first define “the line.” It can be argued that Alec Baldwin crossed the line because he personally attacked individual people with anti-gay slurs (much like he verbally assaulted his own daughter, which, to me, is a far worse offense than insulting paparazzi).

I agree that there is behavior that crosses the line. Personally attacking someone by calling them “fag” or “nigger” is odious and inexcusable. But then there’s the matter of personal belief. Some people believe that homosexuality is unnatural or against what God intends. Some people believe that eating meat is unnatural and against what the hippie nature goddess of, like, the earth and the universe, man, intends. The luddites and puritans of the left and right should be opposed any time they try to legislate their views.

But should they be punished for merely holding or expressing those views?

As an illustration, when I ran the Republican Party Animals, I had members who were devout Christians, and members who were committed atheists. If pressed, most of the Christians would have said that the atheists were going to burn in hell. If pressed, the atheists would have said that the Christians were superstitious loons. But we got along, because no one attacked anyone else. Peace was maintained. It’s not about keeping quiet; it’s about getting along with people who have different beliefs.

Gay people are going to have to get used to this balance. Just as my atheist members and my Christian members agreed to disagree, just as I agree to disagree with my pretentious asshole vegan friends who think I’m a monster because of my insatiable love of red meat, so too should gay Americans understand that there are fellow Americans who don’t approve of their lifestyle. But if such disapproval is civil and not channeled as a personal attack, let folks express their opinions without getting banned, censored, and vilified.

My point is simply that there will always be people who claim to know the “correct” way to live. There will be those who say that men aren’t meant to have sex with men (and, according to this totally not right-wing Slate piece, butt-sex has consequences far beyond issues of morality). There will be those who say that humans were not meant to eat meat (and there’s no shortage of evidence that a red-meat diet isn’t the healthiest thing in the world). We need to let folks have their opinions. As long as they’re not being a Cuccinelli, trying to outlaw “sodomy,” or a Bloomberg, trying to outlaw salt and Big Gulps, let people have their damn opinions.

Hate ME, folks. I’m the maggot. I’m here for a reason, so that you guys can come together in shared contempt over me. That’s why I refused to use this post to hawk my book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or even Walmart. So stop fighting each other. Gay or straight, left or right, agree that I’m a prick, go have a beer together, and live and let live.


Pictured: Me not hawking my book.

Pictured: Me not hawking my book.

One Response to “Duck Dynasty and Free Speech: “I Am the Maggot””
  1. Finn says:

    Well said! I look forward to reading the book.

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