Aside from Dobb's ridiculous dismal of climate change as a real threat, I do applaud him for bringing up this issue when he was on CNN.
I have a suspicion that there are some aspects of America that are not changing for the better. People are becoming increasingly afraid to say anything that could be considered "offensive." I fear that in the future, our speech, while not completely free now, will be even less so in the future.
Our nations live with a contradictory condition. Our legal systems tell us we have free speech but free speech must not offend the laws of liberty otherwise what is said in freedom because criminal because it has violated laws that exist to protect free speech.
A lot of aspects of America aren't changing for the better.
Progressive, for the sake of progressive, means that things need to change, even if 'it ain't broke'. Our rights have been eroding steadily for decades(or longer).
The right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have all been attacked. The right to life is attacked with laws that don't allow you to defend yourself from criminals. The right to liberty is attacked by the NDAA and PATRIOT acts, the right to the pursuit of happiness is attacked in so many ways, including loss of ownership... we seem to have no problem adding restriction upon restriction to business owners, saying 'No, you can't do that with YOUR business that wouldn't exist without YOUR investment, YOUR time, YOUR hard work, and the risk YOU took to make it all happen'.
The right to free speech... going more and more every year. The right to practice religion... constantly under attack(only some religions though). The right to bear arms is one area where we have actually worked to restore the intended rights our Founding Fathers fought and died for.
State rights... they are eroding faster than ever. The POTUS never should be involved with state affairs... should never be campaigning for or against a state proposition. State rights are a reflection of personal rights. The more we move to Federal control over everything, the less personal freedom every citizen enjoys(due to loss of choice, and less meaning to their vote).
America isn't far from the point of no return. I"m an optimist, but we don't have much time left. Even if the 'fiscal cliff'(just a distraction) is avoided, it won't do any more than put a Band-Aid on a wound that is bleeding us out. Our spending, our under-funded entitlements, our ever-growing welfare base... these are a tsunami heading for us, and we argue over whether the swimming pool should be 1/2 full or 3/4 full.
You cannot constantly be 'progressive', and changing things, and then be surprised when you no longer enjoy the same freedoms your ancestors did.
Well, to come back to free speech, I think I am a hardcore libertarian on this issue. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in Schneck v. United States that, "The question in every case is whether the words used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree."
I don't think a "clear and present danger" is sufficient justification for silencing speech at all! It's a slippery slope down the hill of censorship, as happens in some European countries where holocaust denial is ILLEGAL. Unless i am specifically citing someone to violence, or MAYBE defamation (I am still undecided on this), then there is no excuse to silence speech. But, what if I live in a part of the U.S. that is known for Muslim extremism, and I publish a cartoon that will bring about the "evils" Congress wishes to avoid by ultimately inciting people to attack the workplace where I published the cartoons? It sound as though Holmes opinion would legally justify punishing me for publishing the cartoon.
The court case with the "clear and present danger" clause was actually attacking socialists who were against World War I and were encouraging people to refuse to fight if they were drafted. The part after the clear and present danger clause is the most chilling and claims, "When a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right. It seems to be admitted that, if an actual obstruction of the recruiting service were proved, liability for words that produced that effect might be enforced." In other words, you literally have no legal way to hamper the war effort by encouraging people to refuse to serve. It's outrageous.
I'm moving more and more toward Libertarianism, because everything follows a slippery slope.
Everything has a reason, a justification... but all these justifications end up limiting rights... and I just can't support that anymore.
RE: defamation... people used to judge other people largely based on their own actions. Some yahoo running around telling everyone how John is a cheat in business, but those people all have pleasant experiences with John... well that just goes to show what kind of person the yahoo is. I'm just tired of it.
Thanks for the quotes and cases.
I think that the issue is people are not being held responsible for their actions. Christopher Hitchens made this point very well during his outspoken attacks on religion. If a extremist Muslim bombs me because I "defamed" the prophet, why is the solution to censor ME? I did not advocate violence; the extremist is the one who attacked, and I am not causing them to do anything; they are making the free choice to attack. If anyone should be held responsible, it's the person who reacted harshly to free expression.
I read an article the other day about a 'review' done on Yelp, and the reviewer had to remove his review along with getting sued by the business, and the 'reviewer' lost. It was negative and unfair I'd think since it was from 'experience' dealing with the business. I think it is a outright display of supporting behaviors that should be publicized especially if the business practices are questionable I've said a few times that laws need a overhaul and definitely got to question those sitting on the bench that support 'denying' freedom of speech. I'd think anyone in seats of power should be for the nation and not just business
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