Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Free Speech is not the right to impose your will

There has been some weird things done in the name of free speech lately. During the elections, evidently people thought that stealing people's property, slashing tires or keying cars was an acceptable exercise of free speech. It didn't matter that destroying stuff that didn't belong to them might be considered theft or vandalism. What mattered was their viewpoint.

Lately, we still see this mentality exposed. First there's the person who was in the news last week bragging about how he feels it perfectly fine to rip off and destroy those yellow ribbon car magnets because he disagrees with the speech they represent.

I don't think it dawned on him that it's repressive to prevent other people from having free speech too, much less small scale vandalism.

We see this in colleges a lot. One of the complaints about the Ohio bill based on the Horowitz Academic Bill of Rights is that instructors complain how this will infringe on their rights. But the ones complaining frequently already infringe on the rights of students who disagree with them by forcing them to discuss only viewpoints that match the professors politics, and often punish those who disagree with them.

Free speech is the right not just for my viewpoint, but for all viewpoints. It's in the dialog between the two that truth is worked out. Surpressing either side of the dialog because you don't like it is repressive, and has more to do with totalatarian behavior than the American way of life.

Thomas Sowell mentioned something today that I thought was worth thinking about:

Back in the days of the divine rights of kings, it might be understandable why a given monarch might think that what he wanted was all that mattered. But, in an age of democracy, how can millions of people live together if each one asserts a divine right to impose his or her will on others?

That's not free speech, and it is the antithesis of what our country was founded on.

Interesting site.
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