Friday, March 6, 2009

Free Speech?

I know this is a normal cycle of happenings when a shift in power occurs in our country.

People whose person didn't get elected get scared and think the other guys are going to run rampant and turn our country into [insert nightmarish outcome here].

Consider the ongoing review of our Bill of Rights.

One thing folks seem to forget is that Freedom of Speech covers a range of issues. It should be collectively looked at from time to time to be sure it isn't being abused. For example, recent online gatherings of militia groups ready (and planning) for succession.

One blogger [who shall remain nameless in fear, yes fear that I will get flooded by death threats for a third time in so many weeks] has been claiming that the US is going to run out of food, so people need to stockpile dry goods and non-perishables alongside their weapons to protect said food.

"People will kill for food if they get desperate enough" wrote the blogger, to which 178 zombies replied, "Yes, master".

The other side of the coin is people trying to squash freedom of speech, namely trying to ban books from publicly funded schools.

Case in point:

If a nation's ethics are so bound to the books it reads, and it's people cannot be responsible for their own thinking, then that nation does not deserve to be free.

Banning books is an act of cowards, dullards and lay-abouts.

I would add the group known as "obsequious crack lickers" (Stephen Colbert 3.5.09 about Dittoheads), but that's another post entirely.


Seeing Eye Chick March 6, 2009 at 12:27 PM  

Really Upholding Freedom of Speech is understanding, that some people are going to awful, questionable things with that freedom, often irresponsibly so.

Yes people will kill for food. However I amore concerned about Angry White Men than anyone else. They are by far the most threatened and have collectively demonstrated the least compassion, and an apparent lack of long term thinking of all the groups I encounter on a regular, long term basis.

Angry White Men are also most likely in this country to be Christian--which unfortunately includes groups that have a pre-millenial, apocalyptic theology that is comprised entirely of {and once again--motif jingle--drum roll please} a Self Fullfilling Prophecy--to the point that some actively seek to create the circumstances so that this destructive prophecy may be realized, from warring with the Middle East using Israel as a cat's paw, to breeding the perfect red heifer so that the Temple may be rebuilt as per Mosaic Law in Israel, etc., Crazy nutbar shit that is no better than the Hale Bop Comet cultists--the difference being that at least Heaven's Gate didnt try to take the whole fucking planet with them.

Yep, they all have freedom of speech, but I do too. And I have other rights as well. And I vote.

True Blue Texan March 6, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

Banning books is a ridiculous exercise. Check out this website for a list of books that have been banned, challenged or censored at some point.

When I was in college, our university book store used to have a display once a year in September for Banned Book month where they filled a window display with books that had made the list at some point. Some of the books in the display were really amusing- Charlotte's Web, for one. Huckleberry Finn is always on the list. Of course, the most ironic book that makes the banned book list is Fahrenheit 451.

I often wonder if the people who want to ban the books really read them or if they're just responding to something they've been told. Or if they think their children are just too stupid to understand the difference between what is written and what is reality.

skyewriter March 6, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

Thanks for stopping by seeing eye and true blue.

Free Speech is a tricky issue.

I agree that there will always be those who test the boundaries of that freedom.

In terms of a blog, may I ask you seeing eye and true blue, do you consider setting a boundary (such as comment moderation) as barring free speech?

This is my blog and like any personally operated publication, I determine what gets published and what doesn't.

I ask only because many of the folks from the comment insanity a couple of weeks ago keep trying to get me to publish their comments, calling me a hypocrite because I won't.

Seriously, five people still will not let it go... unless it's all the same person using various screen names which then I am not sure what is more disturbing...

I think of comment moderation as an editorial policy.

Thoughts, ladies?

Seeing Eye Chick March 6, 2009 at 2:43 PM  

I dont see you as limiting Free Speech when moderating comments on your own blog.

People who are unahppy with your actions at your own blog are free to set up their own blogs and rant til their heart's content.

There have been a few times when I have returned and was surprised that you left some of my rants up. Even though they might personally support your views, I know that my anger and frustration might not really help your cause. I do understand the difference.

If someone is posting 10 or 20 times in a row, on the comment section--trolling, well that is creepy and doesnt need to be up. Once again they have the freedom to set their own site up FREE I might add, where they can post pictures of themselves doing whatever they want. They can test the boundaries of free speech, and that is fine.
Trolling on someone else's blog and threatening that person overtly or implying a threat is not okay though, and you don't have to give air to that.

skyewriter March 6, 2009 at 2:55 PM  

seeing eye, your rants are part of what make this blog worthwhile.


I appreciate your support as always.

driftwood March 6, 2009 at 5:17 PM  

First, let me say that moderating your own comment section does not constitute a violation of free speech, and those who say so need a greater understanding of the concept.

Second, I have to point out that it isn't too hard to find liberals who are into book banning. Two cases in point:

Liberals Abandoning the First Amendment, Part 4: Banning Books in Virginia

Liberals Trying To Ban Books & Ann Coulter

skyewriter March 6, 2009 at 7:35 PM  

Hi, Driftwood,
I didn't write that conservatives were trying to ban books.

Overview of my post:
I started with a general statement about the party not in power; moved to a conversation about the bill of rights and the first Amendment and gave two examples of how it is applied.

I even used the phrase "the other side of the coin" to show attempts to squash 1st amendment rights.

*Nowhere* did I write anything about conservatives banning books.

Thanks for the links to liberals who tried to, tho'.

driftwood March 6, 2009 at 7:58 PM  

Well, perhaps you didn't mention conservatives by name, but the books in the video would be found objectionable mostly by conservatives, and your reference to Dittoheads led me to think you were mostly speaking of conservatives.

Mea culpa.

skyewriter March 6, 2009 at 8:54 PM  

"...but that's another post entirely". March 6, 2009 at 9:06 PM  

SEC said a lot and I don't want to repeat it, so I'll just say this: The world is full of idiots... and they are the ones who keep popping out children left and right.

Seeing Eye Chick March 6, 2009 at 9:58 PM  

Liberals do bad stuff too, no doubt about that. Now I understand what constitutes bad, might have different definitions in different groups, but generally speaking, Banning Books is about controlling thoughts. I find that reprehensible. I might get angry about someone's message, but its pretty rare that I tell them to just stop trying to communicate.

Banning books generally is premised on the erroneous idea that if you can suppress the spread of an idea, a concept or story, that others won't come up with those ideas all on their own.

Its fairly silly. All that does is keep people ignorant. But it doesnt supress the ideas, the arise all on their own.

And from an American perspective, its one group trying to indoctrinate others into their world view by controlling the flow and spread of knowledge--instead of letting people actively choose what to believe, or feel how they feel, or say what they need to say. March 7, 2009 at 1:30 AM  

Hey Skye and everyone. I am late for the blogging world. Had to go to Colorado for business and got altitude sickness. My blood oxygen level was around 84 by the time they called the doctor and that was not good so he gave me two shots and I was out for almost the whole day. I have been up here in the Rockies twice and that never happened before.

Anyway, great post as usaul Skye. About the comments and moderatiopn thing. I know who you are talking about because I have been vilified for over a month for deleting comments when my blog was absolutely swarmed one day bu hundreds upon hundreds of comments. At first I just turned on moderation, because I had something like 30 comments at the time. When I turned on the moderation, they assumed I was deleting and got pissed and then the angry ones started come on and the threats.

They misunderstand the right to free speech and I explained it to them that I have my blog and they have theirs. If I feel that people step over the line, I do not have to post it. I would be attempting to violate free speech if I tried to suppress their right to post on their blog about the topic, which I have never done. They have to first amendment right to post on anyone's blog. In fact, there is a good argument that we as bloggers have a duty to either have a comment policy that they own their comments and we are not legally liable for what they say or we need to moderate because arguably the blog owner could appear to acquiesce to that wrongful and/or criminal conduct by leaving the comments or not having a policy.

I posted on that earlier about the Fox blogs because in the Fall there was no moderation. People were freely and openly talking about assassinating Barack Obama. I wrote a post because I thought that could leave them open for liability because they seemed to be encouraging it.

A healthy debate is one thing. Swarming, mobbing and harassment are another. That is not a debate. They just want to stand up on a soap box and shout on your blog. They can do that elsewhere.

Don't let them intimidate you Skye. They are still harassing me about moderation and asking people to leave, but if they aren't there for a good debate on the issues and only want to tell me that I have "shit for brains,: screw them. I graduated magna cum laude in 3 years with a degree in English literature from a great undergrad school. I have a juris doctor and have been a successful lawyer for 17 years. Words don't hurt me. I have had far tougher competition on the other side than those pathetic blow hards. They only know how to get personal and name call. One of the worst offenders was a 22 year old law clerk! As if.

So hang in there, know where they are coming from. It is not about the debate. You are a woman shutting them out and they are a bunch of narcissistic chauvinists who want to make you feel bad.

I personally would love to see you in a debate with them. You'd clean their clocks. : )

skyewriter March 7, 2009 at 9:39 AM  

Catherine I am sorry you are not well!

You are on the go so much... perhaps your body just demanded some rest, huh?

Feel better soon.

Here's a hug from me (()).
skyewriter March 7, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

Thanks Skye. You are so sweet. A lot of people get altitude sickness and oxygen is the cure. I feel better today.

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