90% of Bill Maher’s HBO every week is dedicated to chronicling the awfulness of the Trump administration, mocking the president, and bemoaning the decline of Western Civilization as long as Republicans rule the roost in Washington. This commentary does little to set Maher apart from Trevor Noah, Stephen Colbert, Samantha Bee, or any of the other 10 million liberal comedians who have a talk show on cable or network television.
What DOES set Maher apart is that he is unafraid to take shots at his own side when the situation calls for it. Maher is what we might now nervously refer to as a “classic” liberal; he actually believes in the ideals that the Democratic Party used to claim to stand for. And that makes him a rare breed on today’s left, where there is more than a shade of authoritarianism creeping into all that feel-good hippery of the 1960s.
This week, Maher unleashed a round of friendly fire after he grew uncomfortable with the number of liberals who were celebrating social media’s ban on InfoWars. While his panelists agreed with Facebook’s decision to ban Alex Jones and his content, Maher said there was no way to defend the principles of the First Amendment AND cheer Jones’s removal from the public square.
“I’m going to talk about free speech for a minute because Alex Jones, who is not my friend, who tells crazy lies about me, is thrown off Twitter, I think, and Facebook and a few other platforms,” Maher said.
His audience, it should be noted, cheered this news.
“Well, if you’re a liberal, you’re supposed to be for free speech,” Maher continued. “That’s free speech for the speech you hate. That’s what free speech means. We’re losing the thread of the concepts that are important to this country. Either you care about the real American shit or you don’t. And if you do, it goes for every side. I don’t like Alex Jones, but Alex Jones gets to speak. Everybody gets to speak.”
This is the kind of speech we can get behind, even if it comes from a card-carrying member of the Resistance like Maher. It just goes to show you HOW FAR off the lunatic fringe the left has gone that people like Maher suddenly sound reasonable every now and again. Makes you cringe for the future, but man, we’re glad there is still at least SOME sanity left over there. Maybe not much, and it may be dying quickly, but it’s still there.