Monday, March 12, 2012

Freedom of Speech and the Slippery Slope

While there always have been and always will be discussions on free speech, it seems to be at a fever pitch of late.  Rush Limbaugh calling a law student a slut, Bill Maher and his constant attacks on conservative women, a presidential candidate weighing in a new television show, the looney left's drive to remove Rush from the airwaves and to even have him prosecuted are all in the news.

Gloria Allred is on yet another crusade this time to see Rush stand in front of judge because he called Sandra Fluke a bad name. Seriously?  C'mon do you how many bad names I have been called since I starting blogging?  I am not interested in seeing the people responsible for it arrested.  I am on record saying that Rush was wrong for using that language.  Rush has since apologized for his poor choice of words.  The boycott attempt to push his sponsors from dropping his show has been a failure.

There is a push on the right to get the Obama to return the $1 million donation from Bill Maher to his super-pac.  Legally speaking, Obama has no control over that.  Of course we all know that there are ways around that, but legally he can't ask them to return anything.  There are "walls" between the candidates and the pacs.  The courts have ruled that money going to a super-pac is a form of free speech.  Agree or not agree, it is now the law of the land.

Does the left really have the right to tell a company who they can and cannot advertise with?  I don't think they do.  They are private companies, they can use their advertising dollars anyway that fits their business model.  Of course boycotts are part of the American fabric and allow an individual to make their choices as to whom they spend their money with.  But I, for one, do not have the time or the desire to listen to such shows like Ed Schultz to figure out who his sponsors are so I can boycott them to prove my point.  I do that by not watching and occassionally mocking him on my blog when he says something even more stupid than normal.
The ABC TV show GCB has even raised the attention of Newt Gingrich:
"Here's to show you the biases of the elite media, look at the new show that's on that has the word 'Christian' in it and I want you to take the exact name, drop out Christian and put in Muslim."
What he says is true.  The outcry for a show named GMB would be loud enough to be heard around the world.  But, I have to ask would he be joining in at that outcry?  Is it simply because it is Christian that upsets him?  One of the stars of the show, Kristin Chenoweth is a self-described Christian. Her view of the show is:
"There's a difference between making fun of something and having fun with something, and we do the latter."
I have not seen the show, nor do I plan on ever seeing the show so I can't say for certain if she is right or not.  But I do know that the book was not mocking Christianity.  It was mocking the way people use church as a social event and how some women never grow up and still live out the same fantasies that they had back in high school, and the conflict that causes in the lives of the people around them who do want to move beyond it.  I received the book as a gift during a chick lit secret Santa thing I went to, and I enjoyed the book and didn't find it offensive.  Although, I admit, I don't normally offend all that easily.

My point being that we are coming dangerously close to ignoring our freedom of speech rights in this country.  This constant back and forth about who is allowed to say what and the price they have to pay for it when they say it.  Look there is no law saying that we have freedom of speech as long as you are not offended by it.  You will be offended by the speech of others.  There are very few universally shared values in the U.S..

Bill Maher is offensive to me as conservative and as a woman.  Many women on the left find him to be equally offensive.  But, does that mean he is not allowed to participate in the political process?  I don't think it does.  Had it been anyone else that gave a $1 million check the chances are we wouldn't have heard about it at all unless we went through and looked up the donors.  Depending on how this pac is set up, they may not even have to disclose that information.  That mistake in the law is a post for another time, but my point being that it is only because he is so publicily offensive that we even heard about it.  I am sure their are plenty of other people who have given to Obama's pac that I would find equally or even more offensive and their is no outcry for them to give them their money back.

As much as I don't like Bill Maher, it is not my place to say that he isn't allowed to involve himself in the political process.  I certainly wouldn't want someone to say that to me.  I am sure that my writings have offended at least some people.  But as an American citizen I have constitutional rights.  Just because I don't like someone or disagree with their beliefs doesn't mean that I get to say someone else has to limit theirs.

The question we must ask ourselves is that do we really want to censor each other's speech?  Isn't their another more effective way of getting our points across?  The Constitution protects all Americans, not just the ones we agree with.


Rebecca said...

It has been interesting to watch the feminists decry Limbaugh and not even mention Maher. Apparently conservative women don't demand respect like a woman who testifies she has so much sex, she can't afford it.

I agree with your point here. What's wonderful about this country is our power to choose. We can turn our radios, televisions, website, etc., if we disagree with something. We have the power to say we dislike it and why. Others, no matter how horrifying their message, have the same right. So Maher can keep saying what he wants but I choose to ignore him. And those that don't want to hear Rush can choose as well.

Rational Nation USA said...

Good post.

It is the hypocrisy, particularly on the left that bothers me the most.

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