Quantcast

Freedom of expression. It goes both ways, right?

Mantic 2012/03/30 20:47:57
You!
Add Photos & Videos
Lots of people bandy around the terms "free speech" and "free expression." But how many support the idea?

To be clear, I am no fan of censorship.

I have seen people I knew driven to ruin and ultimately treated as poorly as child molesters by zealous censors. I have donated quite a bit over the last couple of decades to one charity (the CBLDF) that helps fund legal expenses of those fighting government censorship, and related efforts to ruin names and shut down businesses.

By the same token, I have seen plenty of abuse of the law by individuals and groups who believe their supposed freedom trumps that of others. Especially business owners.

The most recent scenario making the news is that of Lexington, Kentucky screen printing business Hands On Originals. This small, specialized printing company declined a job offered by the local Gay and Lesbian Services Organization (GLSO), on principle of not supporting the associated message and event (for religious reasons, but that should have no relevance). Instead of simply going to a competing company, the GLSO immediately filed a discrimination complaint with Lexington’s Human Rights Commission.

It is an attempt to use the law as a weapon against even a passive expression of dissent, and so typical of censorship it tries to damage the livelihood of the victim (Hands On Originals) through legal harassment.

Printers, distributors and retailers of printed matter are more often targets of censorship efforts than individual authors. For obvious reason: the individual has very little means of impacting the wider environment without the support of these businesses.

Many major printers and distributors already have policies in place refusing certain kinds of material, not so much because of personal conviction as fear of legal repercussions. Whether it is obscenity or "hate speech," company owners have learned that lawsuits from agencies like the GLSO can put them out of business even if the courts don't ultimately fault them.

This DOES result in effective censorship of individuals!

Although I do not agree with the rhetoric of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, it still bothers me to know that those people and others like them are unable to find internet hosting or other publishing access in this country. Unlike the GLSO facing individual disagreement with this or that small company, they will not find willing alternatives just around the block, they are universally blackballed out of fear.
Add a comment above

Sort By
  • Most Raves
  • Least Raves
  • Oldest
  • Newest
Opinions

  • JustTheFacts 2012/03/31 10:39:28
    Using the law to punish disagreement is censorship. True freedom requires tru...
    JustTheFacts
    +1
    The current event that comes to mind here are the educators in Wisconsin that are being fired from their jobs because they support the responsible, reasonable approach to a fairly elected leader in Walker in Wisconsin and do not support the union thugs.

    While pro-thug (er, I mean union) teachers put bumper stickers on their cars one woman was fired for placing a pro-Walker sign in the back of her car window.

    Freedom of speech does not go both ways in Wisconsin.
  • Mantic JustThe... 2012/04/01 06:57:56 (edited)
    Mantic
    +1
    Wow.

    That is the sort of thing that SHOULD be addressed through the legal system. Problem is, of course, dissent is tied to the individual's employment so until the situation actually puts them out of that job most will not risk making waves.
  • JustThe... Mantic 2012/04/01 17:01:57
    JustTheFacts
    +1
    Yes, the lady is pursuing it. Her attorney was on the news with her. Problem is, a lot of the state judge's in Wisconsin actually signed the Walker recall roles. That, needless to say, is a problem of it's own. Wisconsin is just a place with a lot of horrible people.
  • Mantic 2012/03/31 00:10:08 (edited)
    Using the law to punish disagreement is censorship. True freedom requires tru...
    Mantic
    +1
    Here is a recent article taking a different angle:

    Legal Censorship: PayPal Makes a Habit of Deciding What Users Can Read

    Although eff.org is pretty left-leaning, I usually agree with their efforts in regard to privacy and censorship. This article, however, illustrates the kind of disconnect that leads to such things as the GLSO petition mentioned above.

    Granted, PayPal/eBay are probably more concerned over legal issues than owner morality, but once again the complaint confuses the business service for a right, being denied, rather than respecting the company owner's freedom to refuse service, for any reason.
  • StormPath 2012/03/30 21:44:16
    Using the law to punish disagreement is censorship. True freedom requires tru...
    StormPath
    +1
    I would tend to agree. I believe they have the right to spread the word through the gay community that they do not agree with their values, but using the law in this way is flat out wrong in my humble opinion.

    I also tend to agree on the free speech issue. While I strongly oppose the opinions of the kkk, they have a right to their opinion, and should have a means to express it.

    Bottom line is indeed, it should cut both ways. Some may argue that speech from the kkk and similar (hell, even rush limbaugh) creates, inflames, or causes others to react violently. They may be right. But...nothing is perfect, and if we are to honestly embrace the concept, then that is the price to pay for such a freedom.

    Storm
  • Mantic StormPath 2012/03/30 23:25:52
    Mantic
    "I believe they have the right to spread the word through the gay community that they do not agree with their values, but using the law in this way is flat out wrong in my humble opinion."

    Well said. Rallying a boycott among the people is very different from legal harassment.
  • Rebel [SHP] 2012/03/30 21:09:13
    Using the law to punish disagreement is censorship. True freedom requires tru...
    Rebel [SHP]
    +1
    I practice true free speech everyday. I'm an admin on a political debate community. I keep my moderators in line and we don't intervene unless our rules our broken. My rules prevent fights, illegal activities, and trolling. We're probably one of the most free spoken forums on the net. So yes it certainly goes both ways.

    If anyone is interested, we're always growing, and always happy to meet new debaters.... http://www.politicalbuddies.com

See Votes by State

The map above displays the winning answer by region.

News & Politics

2014/07/31 01:26:51

Hot Questions on SodaHead
More Hot Questions

More Community More Originals