Fwd: Heston Speech

From: Max More (more@extropy.org)
Date: Wed Feb 21 2001 - 01:58:36 MST

Although I have one or two minor reservations, for a public speech this is
damned fine. Practically John Galt-like.

Mr. Heston, you ARE the Omega Man!


>For 50 years, the Harvard Law School Forum has been sponsoring speeches by
> luminaries ranging from Fidel Castro to Gerald Ford to Dr. Ruth. Sometimes
> the speeches have generated a bit of media coverage, sometimes not. But
> given last month by Charlton Heston has taken on a life of its own.
> the actor and conservative activist, delivered a stem-winder to about 200
> listeners about "a cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to
> think and say what resides in your heart." "He knew he was coming to a
> liberal environment, and clearly a group of his listeners was conservative
> and another was more liberal," said David Christopherson, president of the
> forum. "About half respectfully challenged him during the questions. It
> generated a lot of debate around the campus. But what's happened caught us
> off-guard." What happened was Rush Limbaugh's radio talk show. On March
> Limbaugh read the entire speech on the air, only to find himself bombarded
> with thousands of requests for a copy of it. The same thing happened at
> Harvard Law. "We couldn't keep up with all the requests," said Mike Chmura
> at Harvard. "It really didn't have legs and might have been forgotten if
> Mr.Limbaugh hadn't decided to deliver it."
> Winning the Cultural War' Charlton Heston's Speech to the Harvard Law
> Forum February 16, 1999
> I remember my son when he was five, explaining to his kindergarten class
> his father did for a living. "My Daddy," he said, "pretends to be people."
> And there have been quite a few of them: Prophets from the Old and New
> Testaments, a couple of Christian saints, generals of various nationalities
> and different centuries, several kings, three American presidents, a French
> cardinal and two geniuses, including Michelangelo. If you want the ceiling
> re-painted I'll do my best. There always seem to be a lot of different
> fellows up here. I'm never sure which one of them gets to talk. Right
> I guess I'm the guy.
> As I pondered our visit tonight it struck me: If my Creator gave me the
> to connect you with the hearts and minds of those great men, then I want to
> use that same gift now to re-connect you with your own sense of liberty of
> your own freedom of thought ... your own compass for what is right.
> Dedicating the memorial at Gettysburg, Abraham Lincoln said of America, "We
> are now engaged in a great Civil War, testing whether this nation or any
> nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. " Those words are
> true again. I believe that we are again engaged in a great civil war, a
> cultural war that's about to hijack your birthright to think and say what
> resides in your heart. I fear you no longer trust the pulsing lifeblood of
> liberty inside you ... the stuff that made this country rise from
> into the miracle that it is.
> Let me back up. About a year ago I became president of the National Rifle
> Association, which protects the right to keep and bear arms. I ran for
> office, I was elected, and now I serve ... I serve as a moving target for
> media who've called me everything from "ridiculous" and "duped" to a
> "brain-injured, senile, crazy old man." I know ... I'm pretty old... but I
> sure am not senile. As I have stood in the crosshairs of those who target
> Second Amendment freedoms, I've realized that firearms are not the only
> issue. No, it's much, much bigger than that. I've come to understand that
> cultural war is raging across our land, in which, with Orwellian fervor,
> certain acceptable thoughts and speech are mandated. For example, I
> for civil rights with Dr. King in 1963 - long before Hollywood found it
> fashionable. But when I told an audience last year that white pride is
> as valid as black pride or red pride or anyone else's pride, they called me
> racist. I've worked with brilliantly talented homosexuals all my life.
> when I told an audience that gay rights should extend no further than your
> rights or my rights, I was called a homophobe. I served in World War II
> against the Axis powers. But during a speech, when I drew an analogy
> singling out innocent Jews and singling out innocent gun owners, I was
> an anti-Semite. Everyone I know knows I would never raise a closed fist
> against my country. But when I asked an audience to oppose this cultural
> persecution, I was compared to Timothy McVeigh. From Time magazine to
> friends and colleagues, they're essentially saying, "Chuck, how dare you
> speak your mind. You are using language not authorized for public
> consumption!" But I am not afraid. If Americans believed in political
> correctness, we'd still be King George's boys - subjects bound to the
> crown. In his book, "The End of Sanity," Martin Gross writes that
> "blatantly irrational behavior is rapidly being established as the norm in
> almost every area of human endeavor. There seem to be new customs, new
> rules, and newanti-intellectual theories regularly foisted on us from every
> direction. Underneath, the nation is roiling. Americans know something
> without a name is undermining the nation, turning the mind mushy when it
> comes to separating truth from falsehood and right from wrong. And they
> don't like it.
> " Let me read a few examples. At Antioch college in Ohio, young men
> seeking intimacy with a coed must get verbal permission at each step of
> process from kissing to petting to final copulation ... all clearly
> spelled out in a printed college directive. In New Jersey, despite the
> death of several patients nationwide who had been infected by dentists
> had concealed their AIDS --- the state commissioner announced that health
> providers who are HIV-positive need not..... need not ..... tell their
> patients that they are infected. At William and Mary, students tried to
> change the name of the school team "The Tribe" because it was supposedly
> insulting to local Indians, only to learn that authentic Virginia chiefs
> truly like the name. In San Francisco, city fathers passed an ordinance
> protecting the rights of transvestites to cross-dress on the job, and for
> transsexuals to have separate toilet facilities while undergoing sex change
> surgery. In New York City, kids who don't speak a word of Spanish have
> placed in bilingual classes to learn their three R's in Spanish solely
> because their last names sound Hispanic. At the University of
> in a state where thousands died at Gettysburg opposing slavery, the
> president of that college officially set up segregated dormitory space for
> black students.
> Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said "Negroes."
> Baldwin and most of us on the March said "black." But it's a no-no now.
> For me, hyphenated identities are awkward ... particularly
> "Native-American." I'm a Native American, for God's sake. I also happen
> be a blood-initiated brother of the Miniconjou Sioux. On my wife's side,
> my grandson is a thirteenth generation native American... with a capital
> letter on "American." Finally, just last month ... David Howard, head of
> the Washington D.C. Office of Public Advocate, used the word "niggardly"
> while talking to colleagues about budgetary matters. Of course,
> means stingy or scanty.
> But within days Howard was forced to publicly apologize and resign. As
> columnist Tony Snow wrote: "David Howard got fired because some people in
> public employ were morons who, (a) didn't know the meaning of niggardly,
> (b) didn't know how to use a dictionary to discover the meaning, and, (c)
> actually demanded that he apologize for their ignorance." What does all
> this mean? It means that telling us what to think has evolved into
> us what to say , so telling us what to do can't be far behind. Before
> claim to be a champion of free thought, tell me: Why did political
> correctness originate on America's campuses? And why do you continue to
> tolerate it? Why do you, who're supposed to debate ideas, surrender to
> their suppression? Let's be honest. Who here thinks your professors can
> say what they really believe? It scares me to death, and should scare you
> too, that the superstition of political correctness rules the halls of
> reason. You are the best and the brightest. You, here in the fertile
> cradle of American academia, here in the castle of learning on the Charles
> River, you are the cream. But I submit that you, and your counterparts
> across the land, are the most socially conformed and politically silenced
> generation since Concord Bridge. And as long as you validate that ...
> abide it ...you are - by your grandfathers' standards - cowards.
> Here's another example. Right now at more than one major university,
> Second Amendment scholars and researchers are being told to shut up about
> their findings or they'll lose their jobs. Why? Because their research
> findings would undermine big-city mayor's pending lawsuits that seek to
> extort hundreds of millions of dollars from firearm manufacturers. I
> care what you think about guns. But if you are not shocked at that, I am
> shocked at you. Who will guard the raw material of unfettered ideas, if
> not you? Who will defend the core value of academia, if you supposed
> soldiers of free thought and expression lay down your arms and plead,
> "Don't shoot me." If you talk about race, it does not make you a racist.
> If you see distinctions between the genders, it does not make you a
> If you think critically about a denomination, it does not make you
> anti-religion. If you accept but don't celebrate homosexuality, it does
> make you a homophobe. Don't let America's universities continue to serve
> incubators for this rampant epidemic of new McCarthyism. But what can you
> do? How can anyone prevail against such pervasive social subjugation?
> answer's been here all along. I learned it 36 years ago, on the steps of
> the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., standing with Dr. Martin Luther
> King and two hundred thousand people. You simply ... disobey.
> Peaceably, yes. Respectfully, of course. Nonviolently, absolutely. But
> when told how to think or what to say or how to behave, we don't. We
> disobey social protocol that stifles and stigmatizes personal freedom. I
> learned the awesome power of disobedience from Dr. King ... who learned it
> from Gandhi, and Thoreau, and Jesus, and every other great man who led
> those in the right against those with the might. Disobedience is in our
> DNA. We feel innate kinship with that disobedient spirit that tossed tea
> into Boston Harbor, that sent Thoreau to jail, that refused to sit in the
> back of the bus, that protested a war in Viet Nam. In that same spirit, I
> am asking you to disavow cultural correctness with massive disobedience of
> rogue authority, social directives, and onerous laws that weaken personal
> freedom. But be careful ... it hurts. Disobedience demands that you put
> yourself at risk. Dr. King stood on lots of balconies. You must be
> willing to be humiliated ... to endure the modern-day equivalent of the
> police dogs at Montgomery and the water cannons at Selma. You must be
> willing to experience discomfort. I'm not complaining, but my own
> of social activism have taken their toll on me.
> Let me tell you a story. A few years back I heard about a rapper named
> Ice-T who was selling a CD called "Cop Killer" celebrating ambushing and
> murdering police officers. It was being marketed by none other than
> Time/Warner, the biggest entertainment conglomerate in the world. Police
> across the country were outraged. Rightfully so-at least one had been
> murdered. But Time/Warner was stonewalling because the CD was a cash cow
> for them, and the media were tiptoeing around it because the rapper was
> black. I heard Time/Warner had a stockholders meeting scheduled in Beverly
> Hills. I owned some shares at the time, so I decided to attend. What I
> there was against the advice of my family and colleagues. I asked for the
> floor. To a hushed room of a thousand average American stockholders, I
> simply read the full lyrics of "Cop Killer"- every vicious, vulgar,
> instructional word.
> It got worse, a lot worse. I won't read the rest of it to you. But trust
> me, the room was a sea of shocked, frozen, blanched faces. The
> executives squirmed in their chairs and stared at their shoes. They hated
> me for that. Then I delivered another volley of sick lyric brimming with
> racist filth, where Ice-T fantasizes about sodomizing two 12-year old
> of Al and Tipper Gore. "SHE PUSHED HER BUTT AGAINST MY ...."
> Well, I won't do to you here what I did to them. Let's just say I left
> room in echoing silence. When I read the lyrics to the waiting press
> corps, one of them said "We can't print that." "I know," I replied, "but
> Time/Warner's selling it." Two months later, Time/Warner terminated
> Ice-T's contract. I'll never be offered another film by Warner's, or get
> good review from Time magazine. But disobedience means you must be
> to act, not just talk. When a mugger sues his elderly victim for defending
> herself ... jam the switchboard of the district attorney's office. When
> your university is pressured to lower standards until 80% of the students
> graduate with honors ... choke the halls of the board of regents. When an
> 8-year-old boy pecks a girl's cheek on the playground and gets hauled into
> court for sexual harassment ... march on that school and block its
> doorways. When someone you elected is seduced by political power and
> betrays you...petition them, oust them, banish them. When Time magazine's
> cover portrays millennium nuts as deranged, crazy Christians holding a
> as it did last month ... boycott their magazine and the products it
> advertises.
> So that this nation may long endure, I urge you to follow in the hallowed
> footsteps of the great disobediences of history that freed exiles,
> religions, defeated tyrants, and yes, in the hands fan aroused rabble in
> arms and a few great men, by God's grace, built this country. If Dr.
> were here, I think he would agree.


Max More, Ph.D.
max@maxmore.com or more@extropy.org
President, Extropy Institute. www.extropy.org
Senior Content Architect, ManyWorlds Inc.: www.manyworlds.com

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