Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Free Speech and Hate.... Really?

My family had dinner at our place last night with a family we hadn't socialized with in awhile. Great people. Wish we could see more of each other. The after dinner conversation included a recap of a recent camping trip they had taken. The down side of the trip was a guy in a neighboring campsite who seemed irate at the fact that our friends have a mixed marriage (he is a minority, she is not). Or maybe he just didn't like minorities, mixed or not (likely he wasn't fond of either scenario). The guy went so far as to point his index finger, thumb up (gun style) at my friends brother. Kind of scary really. This made me ponder once again whether the value we place on free speech is worth the aggravation.

We consider ourselves to be a free society and cherish those freedoms as outlined in the Constitution. And I agree that for the most part, this is in fact something to be cherished. But we have passed ammendments to the Constitution in the past and I'm sure will again in the future. Isn't it time we took a look at this free speech thing?

We are in fact not a totally free society. We are a free society governed by laws. A totally free society would entail some brand of anarchy. Probably not a comfortable way to go. So why not consider some restrictions on "hate speech" and public expressions of beliefs and values that the vast majority of Americans would view as ignorant, vile, disgusting, and hateful? Should our right to free speech extend to allowing radical hate groups to express their views on the inferiority of people based on race? Isn't this taking free speech a little bit too far?

We do not allow by law, the willful physical harming of another human being. Why should we allow emotional harm? Insurance companies cover both physical and psychological diagnosis and cure. Shouldn't we as a society try to inhibit the infliction of both on our citizens?

I think it's time our lawmakers took a good hard look at what constitutes free speech and what constitutes criminal speech. Would there be a rational argument against limiting actions that target a specific religion, race, or gender? Is the KKK really a justifiable entity in a free society. And if we cherish freedom so dearly, why would we allow an organization to exist that could inhibit the freedoms of a specific segment of our society?

We often hear things like "The founding fathers didn't have (fill in the blank) in mind when they (fill in the blank)". Well, can we really be sure what the founding fathers had in mind? The founding fathers lived over 225 years ago. Some of them owned slaves. African and Native Americans were obviously not included in the rights and priviledges originally extended to our citizens. I'm not sure what the founding fathers may or may not have had in mind is relevant to our current society. I'm sure they didn't have space travel in mind. I'm sure they didn't have computers in mind. You get the drift.

At the very least, we as a people should put our foot down and let it be known that we won't tolerate hate for hate's sake. If we can't get the Constitutional Ammendment, maybe we can start the AKKK (Anti-KKK), wear black robes, and start lynching Klansmen.


Common Sense

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