Sunday, January 24, 2010

Free Speech - Is the Constitution about Fairness?

If this isn't dug out at the roots we're not going to get very far defending even something as basic as freedom of speech.

The roots, the foundation of the rot, is in the notion that the purpose of the Constitution is fairness rather than freedom.

You know, actually... it's pretty close to exchanging some feel good "What would Jesus do?" for study of scripture and doctrine. (I know that some people think that's useful, but it's *lazy*.)

What the Constitution actually says, matters. Liberty and freedom actually matter. The defense of our liberty matters. But people have become lazy. Instead of adhering to the words and principles that are there they've exchanged it for what seems fair or sounds right. If something isn't *fair* then the Constitution can't actually mean that's the way it's supposed to be, right?

Wrong. Lazy and wrong. But that's what we've seen over the last how many years beginning with laws criminalizing speech as hate crimes, or criminalizing and punishing the expression of wrong thoughts on campuses... anyone paying attention has heard the earnest claim more than once that... "Free speech is not offensive speech."

Of course it is.

No speech is free if only approved speech is allowed.

And now with this... it's the *fairness* principle, and now it is that "free speech" requires shutting everyone else up so you can be heard. See... if other, perhaps louder, speech is going on that isn't fair. So those voices have to be silenced or our speech isn't free.

Maybe someone can be more pithy and direct than I can about this... the errors are three... "The Constitution is about Fairness and not Liberty." "Free speech is not offensive speech." and "Free speech requires silencing louder voices."

It's tempting to just blast people for being idiots, but political dialog and thought has been so shallow and our lives have been so comfortable that no one really knows in their gut the value of Liberty. So they need to be told. Not just that the three errors I mentioned are wrong, but that free speech and liberty have a purpose worth the discomfort.

Push back, but educate as well.

Speech can never be free if only approved speech is allowed.

3 Comments:

Blogger A.W. said...

Hey Sy,

This is Aaron, frequent commenter at althouse.

You might want to click on my profile and check out the blog i started today. i register my thoughts on citizens united, here.

http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/2010/01/freedom-of-expression-is-for-everyone.html

Um, but my language can be a little coarse.

A.W.

7:57 PM  
Blogger Neil B said...

Synova, I replied to you at Althouse, and indeed Palin didn't use a 'prompter at TEA speech but has elsewhere.

On this topic, briefly: you are completely ignoring the major EITR issue here which is the *nature of the entity* to which the speech rules are being applied. A corporation is a special legal type of "person" with limited rights, not necessarily to donate to purposes other than it's chartered business purpose. I could understand someone not agreeing with that once the issue was brought up, but to avoid it shows lack of insight into social debate issues.

BTW I like physics more, so if you're into that check my blog!

3:06 PM  
Blogger carlos de la parra said...

You're so right,like they say,if you take away a little freedom,you take away all of the freedom.
Unfortunately we are currently caught in a cross fire of lawyers who pressure legislators,all for the benefit of banks and corporations,so freedom is no longer for everyone.

7:16 PM  

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