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I have been trying to find an approach to writing a diary about the necessity of balancing rights of free speech against the rights of people who are often the targets of it. I thought that the controversies that boiled over here in relation to the issues about sexual violence and the efforts of women to discuss their experiences with it was truly a classic example of the problem. However, that debate became so extensive and complex that I found it very difficult to get a point of focus. Last night I saw an example of what I think was the same basic process on a much smaller scale and it has given me the starting point that I was looking for.

This happened in Robyn Serven's regular Friday night diary.

Colbert misses the mark: The Transgender Threat to Old People

The thrust of her diary was that Stephen Colbert has a pattern of using transgender women as the butt of his jokes and that she finds this personally offensive. She expressed an opinion. She did not suggest that Colbert be taken off the air or otherwise restricted in his ability to purvey his stock in trade. If you look at the comments in the diary you can see three posters in a state of outrage that she would dare to express such an opinion. To me it doesn't seem  to be just a matter of disagreeing with her opinion, but a claim that it is somehow unreasonable for her and "her friends" to even express it. I think that there is something wrong with this picture.

I often see people on Daily Kos and elsewhere talking about an absolute right to free speech. This position really amounts to a libertarian fetish. There is no such thing. There have always been limits imposed on speech. The focal point of the discussion is usually the first amendment to the US constitution. The constitution is essentially a contract between the state and its citizens. It imposes limitations and rules on the operation of the government. In the 1950s and 1960s free speech became a major issue for liberal politics. Two of the biggest issues were laws imposing restrictions on the publication of sexually explicit material and the McCarthyite restrictions on political speech. There were religious and political organizations who had managed to exert control over the laws of the state, but the battles were about government restrictions imposed on the speech of individual citizens. By about 1970 a new balance had been struck.

In the 21st C we are most often engaged in speech debates that focus on the private sector. Groups such as racial minorities, women and LBGT folk are raising objections to the public expression of prejudicial and derogatory statements about them and their concerns. These statements are coming from individuals and private organizations and not the government. The Westboro Baptist Church has been the most notorious instance. SCOTUS took the position that government does not have the power to restrict their expression of speech. However, there are no laws or judicial opinions which restrict the right of individuals to object to it.

Probably the most heated point in the debate about women and violence was the diary that was titled STFU. As far as I can tell, using that for a diary title did not violate any of the established rules on Daily Kos, yet there was a substantial cry of outrage over the use of such a title for whatever purpose. Most of it seemed to be coming from straight white men. The formal claim made in one counter diary was that it was an effort to restrict their "right" to debate.

Clearly there are a lot of restrictions of free speech on Daily Kos. Private business and media organizations always place some restrictions on speech that government does not. Now of course Markos is the only person who has the power to effectively enforce restrictions on other people's speech. The problem comes when people confuse an objection to someone else's speech with a restriction on it. A transwomen objecting to Colberts jokes is taken as a restriction on his speech. People asking for women to be given a chance to be heard is seen as a restriction of the rights of some men to try to shout them down. The very notion that people who have been in subordinate positions and considered fair game for jokes and ridicule have begun to push back seems to pose a very real threat.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I missed the latest brouhaha (7+ / 0-)

    Out of the country, and didn't check in much.  Sounds like I didn't miss anything edifying, however.

    People who complain about the right to free speech in recent contexts are generally arguing for the right to speech without consequence, I find.  You can express any ignorant, hateful, dumbass opinion you want, but you don't have the right not to take shit for it.  People can and will disagree about all sorts of matters.  Harsh words will be exchanged, and people expressing opinions outside the realm of acceptable behavior in a specific context may be hounded out of it.  That's all consistent with Constitutional free speech.  People whining about restrictions on their free speech are usually (not always) on the losing end of those arguments.

    We have always been at war with al Qaeda.

    by Dallasdoc on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:13:22 AM PDT

    •  I don't check in much either - at least not on the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VirginiaJeff

      straight white male bashing diaries.

      But, as I understand it: Steven Colbert said something that a diarist didn't like.
      The diarist responded by writing a diary.
       Some people in the comments didn't like what the diarist said, and said so.
        So, whose free speech was violated?
        Why is this diarist complaining that people commented on a comment thread?

        I am sad to see that so many people on a Democratic website are in favor of penalizing people whose speech they don't like. Imposing "consequences" on speech is denying free speech.
        I would hope that a "Democratic" Party would support freedom of speech.

      •  Um, what? (4+ / 0-)
        I am sad to see that so many people on a Democratic website are in favor of penalizing people whose speech they don't like. Imposing "consequences" on speech is denying free speech.
        I would hope that a "Democratic" Party would support freedom of speech.
        Perhaps we are in parallel universes reading a different diary, but I find nothing in the diarist's remarks that remotely suggests penalizing people for expressing their opinions.

        Rather he seems to be defending people that used that freedom and then faced the ire of others that tried to shut them up.

        And then there is your summary of what you didn't bother to read.

        Polite Suggestion: you might consider actually reading things before you start commenting or taking the option to not comment.

        That said, I'm a strong defender of freedom of expression including the right to make pointless remarks or worse.

        No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

        by koNko on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 01:05:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The , um, original premise of the Freedom of (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allie4fairness, G2geek

          Speech and of the Press was a bar on prior restraint, not the elimination of all consequences for speech. Thus, originally, DKos would violate freedom of speech if it screened diaries and comments in advance and barred or dumped some of them. It is NOT a violation of free whatever for that speech to have consequences which the speaker may not like. His right that was protected was the right to utter something truly stupid if he chose to do so, not to have the truly stupid have no consequences whatever for utterance.  If there were no consequences intended to be allowed, we would not have libel and defamation in our law, and it has always been there.

          •  Thanks for your helpful explanation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon

            But I still don't see where the diarist advocates prior constraint, so if I'm missing something please block quote it in context for me.

            If I might paraphrase, I think what the diary suggests is that freedom of speech is not freedom to speak without consequences, and that exercising one's freedom of speech to criticize another's in the second instance, is not constraint of the first instance.

            Regardless, if you read the site FAQ you will find Daily Kos is NOT a free speech zone, the ToS clearly state that.

            Now regarding libel and defamation, the US has arguably quite liberal laws that go much further than most to protect speech in preference to constraining the real damage careless exercising of that right can produce, including behavior that strays into the domain of hate crime and civil rights violations as some other countries frame it.

            So if you think the rest of us are missing something about the legal aspects here, by all means publish a diary to educate us, none of us is all-knowing and infallible expect MB. (;-p

            No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

            by koNko on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 01:28:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I must have missed the diaries that bashed (7+ / 0-)

        straight white males simply for being straight white males. Can you give me a link?



        Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

        by Wee Mama on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 02:41:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I have always tried to remind people... (13+ / 0-)

    ...that their right to say whatever they want does not come with a denial of everyone else the opportunity to object.

    This misinterpretation of Freedom of Speech is rampant.

  •  Yeah, it's a funny thing- (9+ / 0-)

    Yes, you have the right to express whatever ideas are in your head.

    Conversely, I have the right to point and laugh when you say something stupid.

  •  tipped and recced (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, koNko, G2geek

    Der Weg ist das Ziel

    by duhban on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:39:00 AM PDT

  •  Sigh (4+ / 0-)

    to begin with, not everyone is an articulate writer, particularly when they're angry or upset. But let's put that aside.

    there was a substantial cry of outrage over the use of such a title for whatever purpose. Most of it seemed to be coming from straight white men. The formal claim made in one counter diary was that it was an effort to restrict their "right" to debate.
    There was far, far more than one Formal Claim on that STFU shit, yet for some reason, it has become solely about far more than its initial premise. It looks to me to be becoming "Those Without A Vagina Should Shut Up About It Forevermore". At some point, the "forevermore" part was weaseled into the pie fights, and there it sits, still, like an unlanced boil. There is a point where this conversation must be allowed to MOVE FORWARD.

    That being said, I agree with the central point here--"freedom of speech" does not protect you from CRITICISM. But that works both ways, Richard. Or at least, it's supposed to.

    "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

    by lunachickie on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:42:09 AM PDT

    •  I meant to link (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      this comment, which came a week later.

      This is ridiculous, this angle.

      "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

      by lunachickie on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:43:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is why I despaired of even trying (6+ / 0-)

      to write about this. Last weekend's upheaval just became too complex. Robyn's diary seemed easier to grasp.

      •  It didn't "become" complex (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VirginiaJeff, koNko, benamery21

        it was complex initially, yet some took it upon themselves to boil it down to this:

        It is not your place to contribute to the discussion. You. Do. Not. Have. A. Vagina. Therefore, there is no truth on your side of the conflict....Listen to what the women have to say. Do. Not. Comment. Commenting indicates you did not understand what they said.

        I said it down in that thread. The conversation can't continue if some continue to scream SHUT THE FUCK UP to anyone who dares continue to possess a penis.

        There will be no resolution or solution until the discussion can continue without some obnoxious, ugly flaming rearing up.

        "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

        by lunachickie on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:55:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is one thing to say that a particular (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko, allie4fairness

          approach doesn't work very well. It is another to claim that it should be absolutely prohibited.

          •  Indeed (5+ / 0-)

            but there you have it, one of many demonstrable claims that it should be prohibited forevermore.

            What you note here in this diary IS the larger point for many of the posters who were entirely too angry or upset to make the distinctions work, largely at that point due to the inarticulateness of the angry or upset attempting to write when they aren't professional writers (most of us are mere bloggers, and not all bloggers are writers ;))

            Criticism of words is NOT "a violation of free speech", but that was absolutely NOT the only objection to that diary. This white female lacking a penis will continue to insist that the very important point could have been made by EV without loading the title in such a way. Whether one has a penis or a vagina, STFU is loaded rhetoric and it is anathema to the concept of uniting people in adult discussion.  

            "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

            by lunachickie on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 10:15:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Warning: Penis Owner's Opinion Below (4+ / 0-)

          I'm probably more tolerant of irate people with failing social skills than the average Dkos blogger because I blog some other sites were the standard of decorum is lower and the sewage a bit more raw.

          So I read those couple of pretty angry diaries and thought "Hummm ... sounds righteously pissed, with cause, maybe I should read and not comment" so I did.

          I totally get, despite my sub-keyboard apparatus, that:

          (a) the "manifesto" and related crime spree released a lot of pent-up female angst on an unprepared general public, and;
          (b) some men are pretty fucking clueless and don't know when to shut the fuck up and listen for a change, not to save their own pitiful lives, and;
          (c) subjects (b) made matters worse.

          So I did kind of stand aside, and even though some of the ranting made my own finely tuned and delicate ears burn a bit (because, after all, "I'm just a man" as Tammy put it), I tried to listen patiently and bite my own stupid tongue because, well, not my turn yet.

          Now, if said irate parties don't calm down at some point and crack the door open a bit for us guys, then yeah, the conversation ends and the rants turn into noise.

          But I don't think we are there yet, actually, because there are some genuinely serious grievances being aired and sometimes it's wise to just shut up and listen, because if you are arguing while you are listening, you're not really listening.

          So, guys, put a sock in it for a bit.

          Just a suggestion. Just my 2 cents.

          No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

          by koNko on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 01:47:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes! (0+ / 0-)

            But what happens when suddenly you realize that not all the "irate parties blocking your way at the door" are women?

            there are some genuinely serious grievances being aired and sometimes it's wise to just shut up and listen
            Yes, there are, and I suspect those grievances can, should and will continue to be aired, whether or not certain people just do not know when to stop talking/trying to talk over them. My question is, at what point can the rest of us sit back and say "here are X number of people who cannot or will not stop talking long enough to listen to a given (argument/anecdote/confessional/grievance/experience, etc.). What shall be done if they don't want to stop talking enough to listen, not now and not ever?

            Is there not a point where we realize, "OK. They don't care! SO! Do we think we can make them care by yelling STFU at everybody else in the meantime?  Because that seems to be what's happening, and it's, as you say,

            the conversation ends and the rants turn into noise.

             

            But see, here's the thing: either you're shutting up and listening, or you're having a conversation. These two things, are in fact, mutually-exclusive, there is no such thing as a one-sided conversation.  

            "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

            by lunachickie on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 08:33:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Conversation is an art (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Richard Lyon

              As you note, we're not all equally talented at that and not everything the masters produce is a masterpiece, especially on blogs.

              What I'm suggesting is people use their heads, even if it means taking them out of our asses occasionally to do so. I've done this myself a couple of times and it's not a great inconvenience.

              Now, when we have a situation where there are readily identifiable groups, be they women, men, ethnic groups, users of particular smartphone OS, whatever the tribal indentity, a simple test can be useful; ask yourself:

              "Am I a ___ ?"
              "Do I have actual personal experience with ___ ?"
              If the answer is NO, perhaps you don't know all there is to know, or your incredible powers of perception and empathy, or brilliant solution, are not quite as awesome as you think they are.

              Be patient and listen. Or ask non-threatening questions to confirm understanding before delivering your pedantic lecture or clever put-down.

              These rants are a process. Let it run sometimes to see what it produces. Be the objective observer.

              Great art is full of negative spaces.

              If my wife reads this I'm in serious trouble.  Just in case this is the end.

              No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

              by koNko on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 12:55:18 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  But, again: (0+ / 0-)
                At what point can the rest of us sit back and say "here are X number of people who cannot or will not stop talking long enough to listen to a given (argument/anecdote/confessional/grievance/experience, etc.).  What shall be done if they don't want to stop talking enough to listen, not now and not ever?  

                WHO DECIDES when it's time to move forward?

                "Inevitability" diminishes free will and replaces it with self-fulfilling prophecies."--Geenius At Wrok

                by lunachickie on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 06:18:48 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I am one of the three (0+ / 0-)

    Lyon says were in "a state of outrage that she would dare to express such an opinion"

    Now - I will admit that I wasn't pulling my punches in defending Colbert against what I think was a mistaken critique.  But I don't think there was anything approaching outrage.

    However - I really must ask Mr. Lyon to provide a single example where one of the three respondents "confuse[d] an objection to someone else's speech with a restriction on it."

    I - nor anyone else - accused either the diarist or anyone else of trying to quell Colbert's free speech.  What we did try to do is point out how the diarists response involved a misread of the episode.  

    If anything - the reverse was happening, as again and again we were charged with trying to silence the ideas of the diarist - simply for critiquing it. And the hypocrisy continues in this very post, where the author implies that the sort of objection me and the other two critics were engaged in  - is perhaps worthy of some sort of deeper review.  It is also noteworthy that the three of us were threatened with HR - when all we were doing was critiquing the original post.

    That said - I stand by my initial critique of that post - and against the suggestion made time and again by Lyon and others that because the post was the personal opinion of the author - who sincerely felt offended - there is no room for criticism.  

    Putting aside for the moment whether or not Colbert pushed too far in this case, I once again want to stress that while I might sympathize with the individual triggers that people have based upon troubling episodes in their past, I think there are good reasons to be suspicious of them when proffered up as an argument for why a particular debate should be forestalled.  The fact is that the original diarist published her opinion in a public forum.  She clearly did so to try to influence the opinions of others.  It therefore makes little sense for her defenders to respond to those responders who attempt to try to change her opinion (and/or her reader's opinions) - by suggesting that doing so is somehow unreasonable, or unfair, or misdirected.  

    Is it really too much to ask that if you are going to engage in a debate about a particular issue, you do so in an earnest and straightforward manner - and not run for cover by self-righteously declaring your personal opinions/responses to be somehow sacrosanct and out of grounds as soon as the going gets tough?

    •  Examples: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      This is where you accused her of trying to silence him.

       

      which just confirms my point (2+ / 0-)
      For by your logic - he should shut up shop and go home.  Because the "uncritically minded" (yes, I am talking about you - so feel free to feel attacked) - could say this about EVERY parodic gesture he has ever made. Oooh. . . .when he did X . . . I felt like the target.  MISFIRE!

      YOU are not the target!  The Bill O'Reilly's of the world are the target.  It's really a very, very simple concept.

      by mintosh on Fri Jun 06, 2014 at 06:52:31 PM PDT

      It is also the point where you crossed over into personal attack.

      You will of course go on ad nausium defending your "rights". You can go out in your backyard and bay at the moon. But, you don't have the right to insult people on Daily Kos. You will get resistance and objection when you do.

      •  This is NOT. . . (0+ / 0-)

        . . . accusing her of trying to silence him.  And you are being completely disingenuous in saying that it is.

        Crikey - its quite simply a logical argument about the situation Colbert would be in if he were to listen to all his critics.  That if Colbert were to listen to all such similarly personal complaints, and decide to heed them, he would have to quit his gig.   This is a far cry from me saying she was trying to restrict his speech.  

        And cry me a river if what you re-post above constitutes a personal attack.  That is some thin skin.

        And

      •  let me try again (0+ / 0-)

        She clearly would prefer Colbert to change his shtick.  What I am saying is that if he changed his shtick for every Tom Dick, Harry, and Sally it made uncomfortable, he would have nothing left - and so he may as well quit.  

        But to say that she would prefer him to change his shtick - and accusing her of trying to silence him - are two VERY different things.

        I did not accuse her of trying to silence him - nor would I.  

      •  i have avoided those gender-meta diaries like... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        ... plague, because highly emotional meta of all kinds has a history of being destructive around here.

        That said, I agree with your points about the fetishization of free speech, and the prior restraint issue.  You did an excellent job with the brief overview of the history.  "Speech" is the left's equivalent of the right's fetishizing of gun ownership & open carry.

        The right to keep & bear doesn't mean "in the baby aisle at Target."  The right to freedom of speech doesn't mean "taunting people at funerals" (though it does mean I can say that the Supreme Court can go f--- itself for that one).  

        The solution to Nazis marching through Skokie isn't prior restraint, but rather a weather forecast of "cloudy with occasional downpours of eggs and rotten tomatoes."  And the solution to stochastic terrorism is to warn the media corporation whose hate-spewer triggers it once, that a second occurrence will incur legal liabilities.

        Otherwise we are on a downward spiral whose midpoint is crowds of hooting mobs chanting "Kill! Kill! Kill!" and whose endpoint is the complete reversion to ape-like grunts and howls.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 10:20:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, there you go again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      /s

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 01:52:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Reciprocal right to free speech (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dallasdunlap

    Thank you, Richard.

    Of course, one has the right to express disagreement with speech, to mock, parody, or vilify it.  All that says is that free speech is reciprocal.

    Some of us, apparently with a "libertarian fetish" feel that the values of a free society extend to the protection of speech from the tyranny of the majority, even where that tyranny is not expressed via state power.  Just because the movers and shakers take off their 'government' ballcap and put on their 'owner' ballcap or their 'concerned citizen' ballcap doesn't mean we should support suppression of unpopular expression.

    One facet of this discussion is the limits of 'the public square.'  There has been marked privatization of societal public space (real and virtual) in both the market and the courts which is then used to repress speech.  Zuccotti Park comes to mind.  Walmart sidewalks come to mind.  Public airwaves come to mind.  Net neutrality comes to mind.  Enclosures of the commons are direct limitations on freedom, which taken to the extreme become a denial of rights.

    I am tired of the reduction of free speech to a limited right extending to only freedom from state repression.  The Bill of Rights is designed to protect natural rights from state oppression, not to delineate the limits of those rights.  The mob is not a valid check on free speech.

    Yes, free speech is limited, and should be.  It is not limited to only those things which the majority wishes to hear, even when the vast majority agree.

    Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

    by benamery21 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 09:59:47 AM PDT

    •  The bill of rights was a document (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      specific to a historical time and place. It really isn't holy writ that is true for all eternity. Constitutions really ought to be updated with changing times and circumstances. The political difficulties of doing that have defaulted power to the courts to do it in practice.

      •  The Bill of Rights (0+ / 0-)

        is not the origin of the right to free speech or the basis of my comments above.  

        Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

        by benamery21 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 10:52:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The present judicial interpretation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          allie4fairness

          of it is what prevails. Any effort to change the way that American society deals with speech issues would have to deal with that. I personally think that there is value in the present approach in the UK, but any suggestion of considering that in the US raises cries about the sanctity of the first amendment.

          •  While the judiciary and law is one source of power (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VirginiaJeff

            for speech concerns, it is not the only source.  Speech itself is another source, and will remain so as long as principled people support it.

            I argue that we need more freedom of speech, not less.

            Iron sharpens Iron. Normal is a dryer setting. STOP illegal immigration NOW! -- Make it LEGAL. If Corporations are People--Let's draft them.

            by benamery21 on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 11:15:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The only outrage expressed (0+ / 0-)

    in the comments were from those who refused to brook any dissent to the diary. Will you be threatening to HR me for daring to disagree with you here, as well?

    I'm a Christian, therefore I'm a liberal.

    by VirginiaJeff on Sat Jun 07, 2014 at 10:52:59 AM PDT

  •  I don't see the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    benamery21

    I agree, btw, that criticism (of any sort) is not censorship.

    I think the complex issue comes up in that as citizens, we have the right to express virtually any opinion and to be free of official sanction by the state. The current standard is "immanent incitement to criminal action". In other words, anything short of standing on a street corner and urging people to go rob a bank is in theory, protected speech.

    The matter gets a lot more complicated when private citizens use their economic power and clout to prevent others from speaking due to fear of economic harm.

    How much free speech do you have if your employer, or potential employer five years from now can fire you-or just not interview you-because that employer doesn't like what you said on Daily Kos or on your blog or your facebook page?

    Then there are the more complex issues that arise wrt what people say on TV. In principle, the network owns the station, so it is the network that has the right to free speech. But how much free discussion can we have if a large media conglomerate can fire someone on a popular talk show because they say the wrong thing about foreign policy?

    What if you are a college professor at a public university and your Human Resources office threatens to fire you because you created a hostile environment in your class for white males because you talked too much about white privilege? (this has actually happened and it was diaried on Kos a while back). What if you teach sociology and you take an anti-porn stance in your class and you are sanctioned (I suppose) for being too explicit in your discussion? (also happened).

    What if you are Ward Churchhill, a professor at a public University and people go on a campaign to destroy your reputation because they quote you out of context?

    What i I want to protect the expression of the above three individuals? But doesn't somebody have the right to be "pro-porn" in a college class too?

    Why shouldn't private sector workers have at least some Constitutional protection at work against their employer?

    I do agree that there are times in the workplace where employers have a right, even a responsibility to protect people from being targeted due to protected characteristics. I certainly agree people have a right to disagree, criticize or protest speech they perceive as racist, sexist, etc.

    Finally, while you can't enforce it per se, doesn't free speech, to be effective, imply a responsibility to engage in some kind of open, honest communication?

    Sure, someone has a right (as long as Kos thinks they do anyway) to start a diary with "STFU" and to then say "this isn't an invitation to debate..." (quite obviously). But then I certainly have a right to decide that I am not going to bother to make efforts with those people.

    Anyway, my apologies for rambling a little bit here but I guess what I am trying to do is provoke a little more thought and discussion about what free speech is.

    I generally come down on the side of "the answer to bad speech is good speech". I would like to see less limitations on speech, not more.

    •  Well, Mr/Ms Rat (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      That's why we have the option of anonymous user names, because it's difficult to enforce the Chatham House Rule on blogs or in the public square.

      And that's why I'm an activist for privacy policy and against mass-surveillance, because it's impossible to predict or even know when one's free expression make on an enemy of the state or persona non grata.

      And why I don't HR anyone, ever.

      No one is coming to save us, the future is in our hands.

      by koNko on Sun Jun 08, 2014 at 05:25:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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