16 January 2004
First things first
Alison Jane's Frolic and Detour reminds us of the purpose and the limitations of that "freedom of speech" business:
Nobody invented the First Amendment to make sure that no matter what you thought, or said, or said about what you thought, nothing would happen to you. The federal constitution was not written so that no one would call you on your bullshit. It doesn't mean there aren't costs. Think free verse, not free beer.
In fact, if everyone lived this way cowering from conflict and argument, afraid to say no, afraid to thwart anyone's id or step on their buzz or imply that what they just said was the stupidest thing we ever heard, or that we will never listen again to a radio station or read a newspaper that would continue to employ them it would destroy, not serve, the spirit of the First Amendment. You're supposed to participate. You're supposed to get in there and argue, and sometimes, when it really matters, you're supposed to make it expensive or unpleasant or uncomfortable to be wrong. That's why the government doesn't do it. The guys in the wigs expected the rest of us to deal with you. The entire notion of the First Amendment is that in the marketplace of ideas, the morons will go broke. If you insist on buying from them out of some twisted notion of equity or community or "judge not, lest ye be judged," you are failing the system.
I figure most of you already knew this, but it bears repeating.