Monthly Archives: August 2012

Why the “myth” of free speech is anything but…

First, I must give a nod to Ken at Popehat for bringing this to my attention.

Before I comment on the idiocy at hand, I have to pull my head free of my desk.  Banging your head in to your desk in an attempt to alleviate stupidity-induced pain is a wonderful thing.  But, when the stupidity is so strong that it causes your forehead to become almost permanently fused with particle board and the thin veneer that passes for wood at Ikea, then you have reached the level of epic stupidity.

When Dan Cathy, President of Chick-fil-A, confirmed the company’s anti-gay stance, the company came under fire by many gay rights organizations, and others, who thought his stance was homophobic, intolerant, and unnecessarily proselytized from his corporate podium.

In the backlash against Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy, many people have decided to boycott the fast food chicken purveyors.  I am among them.  Due to the nature of the stance that the company is taking, coupled with the donations they have made to anti-gay organizations, I cannot purchase anything from them in good conscience.

However, there are others who are defending Chick-fil-A and their right to speak their mind, spread their belief, and “Witness to the Lord” (excuse me, can I get a “Hallelujah” up in here?)  Sorry, thought I was feeling the spirit of the Lord there for a moment.  Turned out it was gas.

But, to the point, I can’t say I disagree with those who feel that Mr. Cathy has the right to shout his Christian views from the proverbial mountaintop.  That is his right, and I would defend that right to the death.  Though, having the right to speak your mind does not mean that it is a good idea.  As the old saying goes, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”  Part of our right to free speech is the right to not engage in said speech.  We can keep our damned mouths shut!  Sadly, Mr. Cathy chose not to do this.

Also inherent in the right to free speech is the inherent permission that speaking out grants to your audience.  When you speak your mind, you are telling your audience that they are free to respond.  Sharing your beliefs means you face the potential that others may mock, scorn, and deride you.  A simple “I love Jesus/Allah/Buddha” could be met with anything from a “me too” to a “fuck you, you religious douchenozzle!”  Both are perfectly acceptable forms of free speech.

To get to the epic, head-pounding, Ikea destroying stupidity mentioned earlier, I give you John Rocker at WND.  Mr. Rocker, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to take on the issue of the Chick-fil-A PR debacle.  He feels, and why I can’t imagine, that the backlash against Chick-fil-A is somehow stifling their freedom of speech.

Mr. Rocker seems to be of the opinion that any speech that criticizes the speech of others is oppressive.  He states:

Over recent years, it seems the term “free speech” has become more of an oxymoron than an absolute in our society. Technically, as our Founding Fathers intended, we are all given the undeniable right to voice our thoughts and opinions freely without fear of scorn and/or ridicule derived from non-agreement. (…..)

(….)Over the past decades, media, in their infinite wisdom, have declared themselves judge, jury and executioner regarding what is acceptable and not so in the realm of exchanging ideas, thoughts and opinions. They also seem to be the ones who have created the “rule book” we all must follow – which over the years has gotten extremely complex with a tremendous array of double standards and finite logic regarding those to whom true freedom of speech actually applies.

There is without a doubt an unwritten but staunchly understood “pecking order” when considering who has the right to freely voice thought without the fear of public scorn and who must tread very lightly on certain obvious topics of socially sensitive subject matter.

On that, Mr. Rocker, I have only two words for you: Horse Shit!  The entire notion that free speech is an oxymoron because you can’t shout idiocy and bigotry from the rooftops free of scorn and ridicule has got to be one of the stupidest notions I have ever read, and I’ve read a lot.  I was a college instructor for several years, teaching many of those in the State Department of Corrections.  When I say that convicted murderers, rapists, child molesters, and drug dealers have sounded less idiotic than you, that is saying something.

He seems to be of the notion that speech is only free when it is applied to his own political ideology.  Though, that really isn’t anything new.  The Dixie Chicks “We are embarrassed Bush is from Texas” fiasco proves that liberals can be just as idiotic when crying “oppression” because people use their freedoms to call out stupidity.  Idiocy, hypocrisy, and a complete and total lack of understanding of the Constitution is not the sole bastion of either the right or the left.  Both sides are guilty of being moronic douchebags when the mood strikes, and when the situation would benefit them.  However, Mr. “I’m an idiot” Rocker seems to think that speech is oppressed when more speech is used to denounce the first speech, and this time it is coming from the right.  Those dirty liberals, how dare they not bow down and kiss your religious feet like you are Jesus Christ.

I get it.  I really do.  People, of all walks of life, don’t like being called out on stupidity.  Hell, I know I don’t.  But, of course, we all must face up to the fact that, as human beings, we are fallible and likely to make stupid mistakes.  Mr Rocker is making one doozy of a mistake here, that’s for sure.  He laments further,

Undoubtedly, the conservative, heterosexual, white male gets and most likely will continue to get the proverbial short end of the stick when it comes to speaking freely. Those who fall into this unfortunate category had better watch their backsides with both eyes when discussing any topic with a script of politically correct verbiage that must be followed.

Oh, let me weep for your privilege.  It must be so hard to be a heterosexual, Christian (I assume), white male in our society.  I just can’t imagine the torment you face on daily basis Mr. Rocker, never knowing if you are going to be the victim of racism, homophobia, sexism, or religious persecution.  Really, it must be devastating to never see people like you reflected in the media, in elected office, in the corporate world.  It has to be absolutely horrific living a life so isolated from others who understand you.  I weep for you, I truly do. [/sarcasm]

Is he fucking serious here?  Playing the “poor, oppressed minority” card only works if you ARE a poor, oppressed minority.  Being a heterosexual, likely Christian, conservative white male?  You can’t get more “majority” than that.  Mr. Rocker, I only have one question for you: Is it hard to see with your head shoved so far up your own ass?

Mr. Rocker, grow the fuck up.  You are either one of the most idiotic people whose writing I have encountered or a literary genius who is so far beyond my level of understanding that your artfully drafted satire sales over the head of the common man like me.  Personally, I can’t imagine the latter being remotely possible.  You, Mr. Rocker, need to learn one very important lesson:  Speech, and the freedom to use it as we wish, is a fundamental right in our country.  People have fought and died to protect that right.  The Founding Fathers were so concerned about oppression of speech that they made it the first right enumerated in the Constitution.  When people like you argue that speech is only free if it doesn’t receive scorn or derision in response, you are spitting in the face of the founders of this nation.  Not only that, you are digging them out of their graves and pissing on them.

To quote Ken at Popehat, “For God’s sake, man. Summon an ounce of self-respect.”



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