Monday, March 26, 2012

Free Speech

The term "Free Speech" gets thrown around alot. I have used it and abused it myself.

Liberals clamoring to "Hush Rush" or "Flush Rush" or whatever else they want to do to him are not violating his free speech rights, but rather exercising their own rights.We all have a God-given right to speak freely, and the First Amendment to the US Constitution says only that government may not abridge it:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Government may not prohibit your exercise of free speech, but that doesn't stop private citizens from telling one another to shut the hell up, and depending on the context, telling someone to STFU is not a violation of the target's rights.

FreeThinke, driven to madness because I won't get off the topic of abortion, birth control and how our rights fit around those subjects, unleashed a vulgar fusillade to provoke me, a free-speech advocate, to acknowledge that there are limits.

Of course there are limits.  To understand what they are, we must ground the discussion in our natural rights of liberty and property.

Property is the key

You can speechify in whatever manner you wish on your property.  Come to the Casa Silverfiddle, and you no longer are at liberty to say what the hell ever you want.  We have standards at our house.  They're pretty loose, but if you abuse them you will be asked to leave.  Disrupt the comment thread with your petty little hissy fights or off-topic tirades, and you could be zapped.  Stand up in the middle of a string quartet performance and start singing Megadeth songs, and you'll get tossed out.  Whoever controls the property makes the rules, and that's as it should be.

Trolls

I started making forays into Left Blogistan a few years back, and ended up getting Banned from a Lefty Kook Site.  It burned me up because I was on-topic and had called no names.  Here's what I wrote about the experience:
Sinclair Lewis famously said: "Fascism will come wrapped in a flag and carrying a Bible." That may have been true in 1935, but it is now outdated, since the bible and the flag no longer enjoy a prominent position in our left-dominated popular culture.
Fascism is already creeping up on us in the form of left-think political correctness. It is enforced by narrow-minded people who ignorantly call themselves liberals. It is writ large in workplaces, academia, and popular culture. But for big fascism to work, it requires thousands of little mini-me fascists. And these petty tyrants already practice it in thousands of petty fiefdoms scattered across our nation.
A few years later I got kicked out of a blog rather rudely and told in no uncertain terms to never return.  I still believe it was a petty potentate thing to do, because I was polite to everyone, although I did vigorously impugn the sources of their information, so they kicked me out.

However dictatorial and narrow-minded I may think their actions were, they had the right to do it.  Each blog serves a purpose, and when interlopers disrupt that purpose, they are not just "exercising their free speech rights," they are interfering with the rights of many others to have a free exchange of ideas.  Some blogs like this one enjoy a robust clash of ideas, while others do not want their group-think bubble popped, and both are within their rights.  

34 comments:

-FJ said...

Private property... indisputably. Public property, however...

Always On Watch said...

The only site from which I've been banned was Little Green Footballs. Charles Johnson hates my guts. I won't go into the details. All that's over and done with now.

Well, there was another blog that temporarily banned me. But the blog owner and I worked things out, so I was invited back.

When one comments at a blog, one is entering the equivalent of someone's home. The home owner sets the rules. Period.

Always On Watch said...

I do have a tendency to go off on a tangent in some comments threads. I hope that I haven't done so too often here, Silverfiddle.

Ducky's here said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ducky's here said...

I've been thrown off of quite a few blogs. It's not tough to get banned after no more than two posts without using profanity.

Bunkerville said...

Facts can be annoying things when responding to misinformation. More often than not, it seems that facts are what can get one banned.

dmarks said...

You said: "Liberals clamoring to "Hush Rush" or "Flush Rush" or whatever else they want to do to him are not violating his free speech rights"

Actually, they often are calling for violating his free speech rights. Numerous indeed are the calls to get the government involved to censor Limbaugh and those like him. That is what the effort to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" is all about. The liberals calling for the government to censor unapproved opinion is, of course, free speech. But if they get their way, significant free speech violations would occur.

As for the issue here, Silver. This is your forum. It is an exercise in free speech, freedom of the press for you to manage it as you see fit. Just like it is for the New York Times to choose not to print certain letters to the editor. It's the exact same thing. Freeth is freeth, er free to start his own forum anywhere and run it as he sees fit.

conservativesonfire said...

Freedoms do have limits even in public, if the exercise of that freedom violates the freedoms of others. Examples are yelling bomb on an airplane for the fun of it, waving gun around in a public place scaring the hell out of people or making human sacrifice as a religious rite.

Ducky's here said...

Actually, they often are calling for violating his free speech rights.

-------

What rights are those?

An advertiser can pull out or an affiliate drop the show at any time because of content.

As we try to explain to you fringe right morons it is only the government that must not infringe on speech.

If Silverfiddle wishes to raise the intelligence level of this blog by banning you it is certainly his prerogative.

Ducky's here said...

If you want to get banned immediately post a liberal sentiment at Free Republic (irony of irony).

Rimjob will delete the post and ban in a matter of minutes.

Ducky's here said...

In keeping with the spirit of "banned from a kooky left site" some day I would like to see you get down and slug it out about Obama's supposed and nonexistent progressive policies.

Reads as if you were punching outside your weight again.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky: The left has raised Obamaism to a religion, so criticizing the messiah is an effort in futility.

Put your glasses on and read Dmarks's comments again. He said the left attempts to use the power of government to shut people up, which is a free speech violation.

Finally, I have to agree with you about FR. I came perilously close to getting bounced in a thread about Palin, and another guy did. They are as as worshipful of her as liberals are of Obama.

Ducky's here said...

Silverfidde, give me one fucking example of the government trying to silence the right. One.

Now when I was volunteering at the Catholic Worker House (there are very left wing Catholics) we found out the Feds had tapped the phone as they had done to the Quakers. Left wing religious scare them.

Remember cointelpro?

No are conversation is nothing more than a fringe right poster who got his misconception of the fairness doctrine from some rabies radio hate jock.

The fringe right is just completely off its nut.

Anonymous said...

I get banned all the time, because I simply point out either errors, call blatant bigotry just that or simply question the motives behind the posts that I consider questionable. Though I am long-winded in my writing style I do often question and provoke on a purpose, because it brings out the worst in some bloggers and that was the idea.

I provoked Robert Spencer to respond and when I pointed out that it was neither logical or academic, my posts vanished and continues to this day. Simply put, he cannot answer two critical points that kills his entire logic.

Similarly, I bring out the worst in the realy nasty blogs that have real ugly agendas but hide behind well written posts. Needless to say, all you need is a prod and you got it. Daniel Greensfield is an arsehole of the worst kind, pretend journalist, hate-monger and fund raiser for the stealing land.

Freedom of Speech is a critical element of human rights but it is a term that is abused and is often used as a poltical tool and excuse, rather like the over-cooked word "democracy". Freedom of Speech was designed for individual liberty and only collectively in regards to collective freedom as a movement. Freedom to hate is just as much a right for the individual, but when it becomes collective, it should not. What about freedom to slander? Freedom to lie? Is not the internet and the bloggosphere a perfect nesting grounds for all of them?

Interesting item Silver.

Damien Charles

Timothy Reids Thoughts said...

"A few years later I got kicked out of a blog rather rudely and told in no uncertain terms to never return. I still believe it was a petty potentate thing to do, because I was polite to everyone, although I did vigorously impugn the sources of their information, so they kicked me out.

The same thing happened to me when I tried to join that Crack-Pot forum called "Republicans for Obama" when I spoke up against them.

Finntann said...

Ducky, I believe that what dmarks was pointing out is that while liberal calls for rush to be censored, or even government to censor him is an act of free speech. The government actually doing so would be a violation of the first amendment.

The Fairness Doctrine passed muster because it was applied to a medium in which there was limited selection. If you don't like the local newspaper, you can start your own. If you didn't like your local talk radio station you were pretty much screwed because there was not bandwidth or licenses available with which to start your own. The Fairness Doctrine was not applied to print media, only the airwaves which were government controlled (government granted monopolies?) anyway.

The Fairness Doctrine passed away due to the explosion of media choice in cable and satellite, including dedicated local program channels.

The key question isn't "why are there so many conservative talk radio shows" but "why does progressive talk radio consistently perform so poorly in the general market"?

Cheers!

Ducky's here said...

The Fairness Doctrine passed away due to the explosion of media choice in cable and satellite, including dedicated local program channels.

---------

Correct, we agree.

The point is that dmarks doesn't believe it has passed away but rather believes what he hears from Sean Inanity or whomever that the Feds are trying to use the doctrine to shut down rabies radio.

Finntann said...

Ducky, do you disagree that there is a certain segment of progressives who wish to use a revived "fairness doctrine" as a cudgel to silence those they disagree with?

Honestly, I think most of them are confused regarding the fairness doctrine and equal time doctrine. My personal opinion is fairness doctrine or not Rush isn't going anywhere. You might find a counterpoint in another time slot but they aren't stopping big daddy radiobucks (keep in mind I don't listen to him, or even like him all that much).

Which brings us back to the question, why is progressive talk not all that successful in the market?

Personally I would rather listen to a point-counterpoint format than a bunch of dittoheads (no offense to those Rush devotees out there). I stopped watching Hannity when Colmes left, not because I like or agreed with Colmes, but because it got boringly one sided.

I like my news like I like my water, unflavored. Hard to find a neutral news outlet out there.

Cheers!

viburnum said...

Finntann: "The Fairness Doctrine passed away due to the explosion of media choice in cable and satellite, including dedicated local program channels."

U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) told The Daily Post in Palo Alto, California that she thought it should also apply to cable and satellite broadcasters. "I’ll work on bringing it back. I still believe in it. It should and will affect everyone."

Ducky's here said...

Well Finntann, be that as it may be, you and I aren't.

dmarks and some unnamed progressive are.

98ZJUSMC said...

The point is that dmarks doesn't believe it has passed away but rather believes what he hears from Sean Inanity or whomever that the Feds are trying to use the doctrine to shut down rabies radio

Hey! Start up your own radio show. More power to you. Make it all lefty and hopey changey and chock it so full of vuargity and hate that everyone will flock to it.


Oh......wait....

98ZJUSMC said...

Always On Watch said...
Little Green Footballs. Charles Johnson


That. Is a seriously troubled individual.

98ZJUSMC said...

why is progressive talk not all that successful in the market?


It's difficult to lie and hide your agenda for 24 hours a day.

Not counting commercials, of course.


Oh, wait....you mean other than Spike's Tatoo Parlor?

98ZJUSMC said...

do you disagree that there is a certain segment of progressives who wish to use a revived "fairness doctrine" as a cudgel to silence those they disagree with?

All you have to do is look at this current administration and the answer is clear. Lefties are chomping at the bit to silence any opposition.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky, Nice trick, replacing "progressives" with "the feds."

No, "the feds" are not stifling conservative free speech, but there are plenty of progressive lawmakers and bureaucrats who would love to implement laws and regulations that would do it.

Also, phone tapping is a 4th Amendment violation, not 1st.

Leticia said...

I haven't kicked anyone off my blog, nor do I intend to and believe me, I have gotten some pretty hateful remarks, but I respect the Freedom of Speech.

You didn't say anything that wasn't true, Silver, and guess what? The Left can't handle the truth so, when faced with it, their reflexive response is to spew and retaliate with hateful words or banning the person who offended them with the truth.

You did great!

KP said...

I had the same experience at a self-proclaimed "moderate" web site.

You don't have to be the wicked witch of the west to get banned on some sites. All you have to do is be Dorothy and question.

Like yours, sites should allow flying monkeys, Winkies, wicked witches, munchkins, Scarecrows, a Tin Man and a Cowardly Lion, to post.

Each of us will wear a different hat or name as we visit and post through the spectrum of blog politics.

One site's Glinda is another's wicked witch.

Anonymous said...

I guess the main point about Freedom of Expression is that in a truly free society everyone would be free to speak his mind, but no one would be compelled to listen.

In the waning days of ancient Rome the infamous Nero -- who did not play the "fiddle," as legend would have it, but instead a sort of harp that he plucked rather badly -- would hold an audience of thousands captive -- for hours -- while he regaled them with tedious renditions of songs badly composed and performed by his egomaniacal self.

No one in the audience could escape, except on pain of death.

Now THAT'S tyranny.

At least here in the blogosphere we are free to ignore one another, and perfectly free to escape an atmosphere that annoys us. Our contact is purely artificial.

As far as I can tell, blog owners are able to exclude only anonymous comments, and cannot block a particular identity, so this notion of being "banned," is a bit silly.

There is no way to preventi a determined troll from posting. Most of them are utterly shameless, possessed of colossal effrontery, impervious to reason, and insensitive to threats, and expressions of ridicule and contempt that would drive most people away.

We all have the power to ignore what we dislike, but few seem capable of availing themselves of it.

Humanity is rather a silly lot.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

THIS IS MUCH MORE ABOUT FREE SPEECH THAN TRAYVON MARTIN

New Orleans officer resigns after Trayvon comments

NEW ORLEANS — A New Orleans police officer has resigned after being suspended for posting a comment on a local television station's website about the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in which he suggested the Florida teen died like a "thug."

Jason Giroir used his full name and identified himself as a New Orleans Police Department employee when he wrote, "Act like a thug die like one!" in response to a WWL-TV article about a rally supporting Martin.

Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas suspended Giroir indefinitely without pay Monday. On Tuesday, Giroir resigned after being told allegations against him had been sustained and a hearing to begin his termination was in motion.

The 17-year-old black teenager was unarmed and shot in Sanford, Fla., by a neighborhood watch captain who said he acted in self-defense.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501363_162-57405523/new-orleans-officer-resigns-after-trayvon-comments/

Anonymous said...

Here is another interesting topic on freedom of speech and micro-blogging (twitter).

A student has been sentance in the UK (Swansea) for 56 days for tweeting a racial slur at hospitalized Footballer Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers) who at the time was in serious condition after collapsing in a game with an aparent heart attack.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2121003/Liam-Stacey-jail-tweeting-abuse-Fabrice-Muamba.html

As for my part, I had full knowledge of this case as it was being reported, and John had no choice in his determination as the laws are actually quite clear.

What would be interesting here is not so much discussin this as being freedom of expression, but the power and responsibility of the media formats and perhaps a warning that technically speaking any blog if it can be traced and comments attributed to an individual can result in action depending on jurisdiction - and of course, if it is an offense.

Damien Charles

Silverfiddle said...

This is the difference between the US and Europe. We are free to say offensive things. Slander and libel are the only such forms of speech punishable, and the laws are drawn very narrowly.

I do not agree with the European laws

Right Wing Theocrat said...

Well said Silver, the leftie squealers are free to wail at Rush and his sponsors and we are free to support him and his sponsors, telling the lefties to shove off.

Anonymous said...

"... We are free to say offensive things. Slander and libel are the only such forms of speech punishable, and the laws are drawn very narrowly.

I do not agree with the European laws"


BRAVO! Hear! Hear!

The problem WE face, however, is the fierce determination of the left to criminalize-- and severely punish -- anything they don't find agreeable.

The ONLY things that should be forbidden by law are:

MURDER
RAPE
KIDNAPPING
MAYHEM
THEFT
VANDALISM
EXTORTION
TRESPASSING
CAMPAIGNS of HARASSMENT and INTIMIDATION

More or less in that order.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

"OFFENSIVENESS" is in the eye of the beholder.

Vulgarity. for instance, may be "offensive" to those who find it tedious, but it should never be criminalized.

I find the scolding, captious, hyper-critical, overly-challenging, managerial, wrist-slapping attitude of liberals -- and a certain class of blog and website "hosts" and "hostesses" -- deeply offensive, myself. That doesn't mean I think the federal government ought to legislate such behavior out of existence.

That said, I believe in the Rule of Common Sense. When someone's obvious purpose at any sort of gathering is to distract, disrupt, derail, and debunk, I think whoever is in charge ought to be able to denounce and disable that individual then drive him or her off the premises.

There's an enormous difference between sincere disagreement and the mere intent to do mischief.

And no one could or should be compelled by law to LIKE, SUPPORT, or HIRE someone -- or some GROUP -- to whom they instinctively feel an aversion.

It is impossible to legislate for or against FEELINGS.

~ FreeThinke