Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Real Threats to Free Speech

I tend to have little patience with most in this nation who claim that free speech is threatened. False claims generally happens in one of two ways.

The first way is those who claim that their speech is threatened because people in the government listen to it. To that, I must ask this: since they have not the legal authority to do anything to you because of your speech, how are you threatened? Indeed, those who make comments against the government, indeed even those who side with those who've sworn to destroy all we hold dear are prospering. Ironic that they complain about civil liberties here while turning a blind eye to, or even praising, nations that execute homosexuals and apostates.*

The most egregious, however, are those who can't handle an argument. I have far too many times heard people argue that someone is "denying their freedom of speech" by telling them that what they just said was stupid. Guess what: free speech works both ways. You have the constitutional right to say something stupid, while the rest of us all have the right to call you a moron for doing so.

In this nation, however, there is one place where free speech is an endangered species: Colleges and Universities. Colleges love to put in place "speech codes" that say you have to be nice to one another and can't say anything that offends anyone else. Private colleges have the right to do that. If they do, however, any statements they make claiming to protect academic freedom or free speech are fraudulent. Public colleges, however, do not have the right to do so. For further reading, I can best point to the yeoman's work being done by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

Outside of the ivory tower, however, Americans have unmatched free speech. We stand in stark contrast to our neighbor to the north.

Canada is busy living up to its sometime nickname of "Soviet Canuckistan." Canada's "Human Rights Tribunal" has become a kangaroo court in which the rights of Canadians are thrown to the wind in the name of "tolerance" and "diversity". In this article one can read about the current case in the tribunal against Mark Steyn, accused, essentially, of writing something which some Muslims found offensive.

In Canada, it seems, as on some college campuses, people have invented a right to not be offended. The money quote, from one of the tribunal's investigators is this:

"Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value."

America is a nation founded on laws and values, not common ancestry. One of the most fundamental values is that people have the right to say and think what they want. Those who deny American Exceptionalism would do well to remember how quickly other nations abandon free speech in the name of "tolerance." This is why concepts such as "hate speech" "campaign finance reform" are so pernicious. The moment we give the government power to regulate any sort of speech-what people say and when or where they can say it-this power will be abused by those seeking to shut down any who disagree with them.

Free speech and free thought are fundamental to liberty. This is why they are the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. Hopefully, there will not come a day in which they are truly threatened in this nation.

If that day ever does come, well, that's what the second amendment is there for.

In the meantime, those who want to go through life without ever being offended may talk to the turtle:

And if you still don't get it: talk to the anteater.

Edited 6/5/08 @ 4:33PM because I posted the wrong gorram video.

*And don't even get me started about those who can claim with a straight face that women in this country are oppressed if you've even heard of the middle east. That's just stupidity on the level with claiming that anyone who would willingly dress like the women in the Texas polygamy cult could possibly be considered sane.[back]


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