The presence of edgy players who cannot be denied access to the market by establishment gatekeepers is a rare and beautiful thing, the product not only of a Constitution that guarantees free speech to its citizenry but also of a strikingly healthy culture of open expression within which a significant number of Americans refuse to acquiesce to an establishmentarian center-point that the powers that be have set in aspic. It is thus that casual drivers flicking easily through publicly available radio stations can listen to sentiments that the majority of the world’s governments would almost certainly classify as existential threats. Equally beautiful is the bevy of religious radio stations, which are especially plentiful in the South. Many cosmopolitan types presumably find much of the content of this programming difficult. As a heathen myself, I have little need for them. But, again, so what? This is religious freedom. Diversity is good, right?
Britain has serious problems with its punishment of speech, and the government abuses of free men that I have documented in National Review remain a disgrace to the land of Orwell, Mill, and Locke. Yet I suspect that it is not solely the lack of a First Amendment that explains the lack of a Rush Limbaugh or an Alex Jones but instead a cultural conformity that is partly political, partly cultural, and partly geographical. (America’s size and America’s liberty are linked.) The British do not enjoy as wide a variety of political views as do Americans, and the country does not enjoy as many religions or as many philosophies as do Americans. Nor are the Brits as happy to cut out the middleman and share their opinions as are Americans; for a neat example of this, count the number of bumper stickers in the two countries.