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Testing My Commitment to Free Speech
Do you, like me, have certain commenters that get under your skin? After you have battled with them fruitlessly enough, do you just start to ignore them and not engage? Or do you wish that something proactive would occur so that their offensive speech would just not be in the posts you follow?
This is when it is important to stand back and ask yourself: Am I committed to free speech? If the First Amendment protects anything it is speech that offends and irritates you. That doesn’t mean you have to listen to it; you just don’t get to suppress it.
I dearly wish that thinking that I find “insane” would not be voiced, but I also acknowledge that my attitude on things change over time. Does this mean that I will be persuaded by these irritating and repetitive observations that I find so annoying now? No way! (heh, heh) But you never know.
That is the value and threat of free speech: You run the risk of not only persuading someone to your viewpoint, but to being persuaded to their viewpoint.
But what about the bad ideas in the world?! If they are truly bad, you will not be persuaded. And so long as there is free speech, the bad ideas will not have free reign.Published in General
Commitment to free speech is big in so many ways. I just might have to tell my story that has led to my being dubbed extremist by the socialist Democrats and our federal bureaucracy if I take what I see coming from there seriously.
So . . . “ignore” button?
Understand that one’s right to free speech does not include the right to be heard by everyone. Unfortunately, some otherwise smart people just don’t seem to understand that concept.
And having an ignore feature does not mean one is required to use it. But it would be nice to have that option.
The answer to bad speech is more speech, not restricting speech. Our government would prefer restrictions. What are they afraid of?
I just rely on the little scroll wheel on my mouse. There are some here whose posts and comments are so predictable that I simply scroll past them instead of wasting my time reading them.
But think of all the stress that places on your finger.
Better the finger than the whole body. Just saying…
Nothing about the concept of free speech requires that anyone respond.
This. Imagine if we didn’t have the right to respond.
But is there something about the concept that requires that someone be given the opportunity to respond?
Some alleged free speech advocates have criticized DeSantis’ education reforms in FL by claiming that they impinge on free speech. But these advocates seem to miss the fact that the “speech” of those on the right is impinged by the near monopoly of leftist thought in education. Those who disagree are effectively excluded in many instances.
What is frustrating to me is the lack of intelligent responses to the excesses on the left.
Some of the things they do and say are easy to respond to. And no one on our side ever does. I think the right needs some marketing education. They do not understand how to reach the public. Unfortunately for us, the left knows how to do this and excels at it.
My favorite example is the law concerning automatic citizenship for babies born on U.S. soil.
This law was passed right after the Civil War because the United States found itself home to millions of slaves who were born elsewhere and/or who had children here. What to do with those children? Granting them citizenship was a humane and practical solution to a very big problem. But it was a temporary problem. And, as government is wont to do, the federal government never restored the original laws–and I don’t remember what they were off the top of my head.
The right answer is that the child’s citizenship is the same as his or her mother’s. It would take one sentence to fix this problem. One sentence.
And it would sell well in our family-friendly country, one that honors family relationships. And it protects our citizens who are by chance born elsewhere–state department and military babies come to mind. Individuals are born into a relationship with their government: military draft, taxation, rights and duties, and so on. So first a baby belongs to his or her mother, and that baby inherits citizenship from his or her mother automatically. That keeps mothers and babies together. That’s what I like best about it. And it also clarifies the rights and duties relationships between that child and his or her country as he or she grows up and becomes an adult.
One benefit would have been immediate: it would have kept parents from having babies here and then returning to their home country, leaving their children here. (That was the crisis a few years ago that spurred me to look into this law in the first place: millions of children being left here unsupervised and unprotected by parents or guardians. Our foster care system did not and does not have the capacity to take on all those children.)
At any rate, it’s an easy fix. It just needs to be written up, put out there to gain public support, and then implemented. Easy marketing problem.
I would refer again to the “opportunity” point that I made above. There is one credible newspaper of national stature with even a conservative tilt on its opinion pages (WSJ). AFAIK, every other major daily in the country is on the left. Every broadcast network is on the left. Intelligent responses/ opposing views are confined to niches that are dismissed as “right wing.”
It wasn’t always true. Last night as I was shivering in the cold here on Cape Cod with no electricity, I was recalling a different time in the now all-blue Massachusetts, which I got to thinking about the other day on the black Republicans thread. We used to have a thriving conservative voice in this state. We voted for Reagan because of the strong pro-life and education-reform (school choice) conservative political bloc. Thomas Sowell and Hugh Hewitt are both Harvard graduates.
Whatever we were doing twenty and thirty years ago we need to be doing again.
We’ve lost our once-active ability to sell our political points effectively. It takes work to boil down complex issues to single-sentence selling points. But I think we must.
The stakes are really high now. More so than ever before in human history. The climate change agenda is the scariest thing I’ve ever seen. I was thinking about it all last night.
New Englanders have always been a hardy bunch, people who believed in not putting all your eggs in one basket and always having a plan B. :) That’s why so much alternative energy research has been done here. Nuclear, natural gas, coal, wood, windmills, and solar energy technologies were embraced here. That’s because “the grid” was a dumb idea to begin with. Ask any shivering New Englander. You need lots of viable and inexpensive sources of energy. There is no hospital in New England that does not have emergency generators.
The left is trying to reduce us to a single poor source of electricity. It’s wild.
Last night I was thinking that the parents and grandparents of the boomers used to say of us kids, “They think money grows on trees.” The comparable statement today about today’s young people is, “They think electricity comes out of the outlets on their walls all by itself.” :) :)
It takes planning and investment money to stay cool or warm. It doesn’t happen by itself.
We need to celebrate and honor the engineers and investors of the past. We’re alive because of them.
Free speech might be required and protected by the government, but it doesn’t work unless it is embraced by the people throughout our culture.
Kind of like the 10th Amendment* — powers not specifically delegated to the federal government are retained by the States and the people thereof. When you are taking federal money withdrawn from the pockets of other states it enervates the 10th Amendment.
* Thank you @skyler for your correction.
As a design professional, the ability to question and the ability to express to those questions about virtually everything and anything is imperative in the pursuit of solving any problem to do it’s fullest extent.
Those who try to suppress questions or information are working as agents like many here who question various websites for those who want to stop innovation, stop progress and stop those who are trying to solve society’s problems because much of our ruling Corporatist Elite seek to maintain their power want to maintain the status quo without any disruptive improvements.
Good ideas and good questions Often come from those not historically preferred by so-called credentialed authoritative sources. Often the best ideas come from rebels and those often thought as outsiders.
One need not fear bad ideas in a society with open vigorous debate for those ideas in a vigorous debate milieu will be found wanting. It is only in environments where vigorous debate is stifled and suppressed and new ideas that challenge the ruling orthodoxy are censored and punished that bad ideas can find fertile soil to take root and flourish with all their ill effects.
It’s easier if I don’t think about that.
An ignore button would neatly automate that process.
Let me put it this way. Being for free speech or against cancel culture does not mean I need to treat all speech equally.
Disagreeing with or ignoring speech is fine. If it was not, then my not watching CNN is attacking their freedom of speech. Free speech can include telling someone to shut up or walking away from them.
We each have only so long on Earth. There’s no reason spend time in a pointless debate.
I think one of the real issues here is the different between individuals and large organizations. If I personally refuse to interact with someone because he is an outspoken communist, that is part of free association. If a corporation were to refuse to interact with a person for the same reason, it becomes more concerning as the corporation gets larger.
Ah, but the instructors promulgating this stuff: do they make sure that there is a full, fair, and frank discussion of the issues?
I’ve told the story before, but when I was taking Ethics at the university, we got to abortion. At the time I was thoughtlessly “pro-choice.” There was one pro-life girl in the class who was getting picked on by the pro-choice crowd. I didn’t like it. They really shouldn’t have picked on her like that.
So I gave them a new target.
(I’ve told this story before I think.)
I think in retrospect that the professor appreciated my arguing with them. I think I may have been doing what he himself would have had to do. He asked me when the class was over if I had ever considered changing my major to philosophy.
CRT is not education. It is indoctrination.
By the way, I have to say that the right to say whatever you want anywhere anytime ends at the classroom door if you are a teacher.
I am ardently and unequivocally devoted to the First Amendment, with one exception: teachers do not have the right to say whatever they want to other people’s children.
Parents have the obligation and right to protect their children from undue influence, and that includes the classroom.
The teachers’ unions drive me nuts on this point. To them I say, “Hey, guys, if you want to ‘make a difference,’ take on people your own size. Stop trying to influence my children behind my back.”
They don’t see it. They laugh at parents who try to monitor the school’s library holdings.
This is a fascinating point. And it is foundational to the “standing” doctrine in legal proceedings. That is, a corporation cannot simply ignore any private person under any and all circumstances. If they do, a person can ask a court to, in effect, compel a corporation into a conversation or simply pay for the privilege of not doing so. We refer to these “conversations” as lawsuits, but it is basically a regulated conversation. Corporations should not totally ignore someone with standing to sue, but possibly should ignore speech of someone who doesn’t.
Freedom of association is such an outdated concept. Today we must vote against someone simply they were seen on a stage with a person of Orange hue.
Good point. The concept of “academic freedom” arises from higher education, not basic education. The function of K-12 is to produce functioning individuals armed with the tried and true information basic to employment and maintaining a household. I am convinced that a lot of the problem with K-12 is how boring the job is to transmit basic information over and over. We get “new math” as a means of making life more interesting for teachers. We get “wokeness” because teachers need to have an exciting and challenging mission to get out of bed. Teachers need to find fulfillment in the success of transferring basic knowledge to a lot of kids, and solving roadblocks for individual students, and not as officers in a crusading army.
This was exactly the point I just made to some CISG during the ongoing wordfight on Larry Corriea`s FB page.
Or listen, or agree. I use the “stop notifications about this post” often on FB. I am not required to keep arguing with strangers infinitely. For one thing, I´ve got a job….
Yes, “association” has been weaponized by everyone. The stories about nefarious associates seem to focus on a contact, not an involvement in nefarious acts. To the extent that the tactic is successful in smearing people it assures that we will all be locked up in bubbles.
A thousand times this. I’ve spent a lot of time in public schools as a parent volunteer and I could not agree more.