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It's very simple:

Rush Limbaugh, as a citizen of this country, has the right to speak his mind.  He has the right to his beliefs and his political views.  He has the right to mock public figures in an abusive fashion and he has the right to make rude and insulting comments about people provided that they are not actually slanderous.

What he does not have the right to do is to get paid for that speech, nor does he have the right to expect others to subsidize it.  Just as Fred Phelps has the right to picket in public spaces outside funerals, but no right to not be surrounded by people preventing them from doing serious damage, Rush Limbaugh has the right to say what he wants, but no actual right to have those comments be broadcast on the radio.

I say this because I have repeatedly heard comments concern-trolling freedom of speech with respect to Limbaugh.  

To be clear: Limbaugh is reprehensible.  His comments do not belong in polite society.  But there is no law which dictates that society be polite.  There is no rule that we are not allowed to say things which are obscene or inappropriate.  There are, however, many stores which will kick you out for making obscene comments.  This is within their rights.  

Similarly, no broadcast outlet has an obligation, beyond whatever contracts they have signed, to broadcast Limbaugh.  No one can expect any rights to have their point of view broadcast, published or otherwise distributed.  

Just as a cartoonist can promote a racist and misogynistic point of view in print (no matter how poorly drawn), no newspaper or web service is obligated to support him in this endeavor.  No sponsors are obligated to provide financial backing for such cartoons.  

It really is that simple.  We don't have to apologize for pointing out that someone's speech is reprehensible.  Limbaugh makes a living off of what he does, which is his choice, but in the unlikely event that our actions make that living unworkable for him, he has plenty of opportunity to find work through other venues.  We are not depriving him of a basic right.  We are pointing out that the way he is implementing that basic right does not need to be promoted above and beyond the freedom of speech allowed most of us.

In short: if Limbaugh has the right to a radio show, so do I.

1:48 PM PT: I thought of a much simpler way to explain this after I made the rec list: I have the right to post diaries here that express my opinion.  I do not have the guaranteed right to have them promoted to the rec list.

That just seems to happen on its own.  Thanks, everyone :)

Originally posted to Where the Waters Run Free on Wed Mar 07, 2012 at 12:20 PM PST.

Also republished by Sluts.

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