Cure the Disease: Speak Freely
By Cap'n O
JULY 5, 1999: A sickness is sweeping this country. The potential for havoc and grief that this sickness can wreak is worse than that of any pus-making germ or organ-eating bacteria. If left untreated, it will turn America into a hellhole.
This intolerance isn't new; it's as insidious as any that has come before it. And like the new, antibiotic-resistant super germs that are scaring the wits out of doctors today, this intolerance defies death. It goes into remission at times. But it always reappears. And when it does it seems stronger and harder to kill than before.
It is an intolerance for people who practice a certain lifestyle, a lifestyle that unnerves the powerful in political, religious and social circles, and makes them tremble more than a boozer with a liver as hard as coral.
No, this isn't an intolerance for homosexuals, poor people, accordion players or chronic sneezers. Today's intolerance is far worse.
It is an intolerance of free speech and of those who practice it.
Everywhere in this country free speech and free thought are being stomped on. In many cases, they are being savaged by the very people who profess to love free speech and by the same hypocrites who a generation ago exercised their First Amendment rights in anti-war protests by lobbing plastic bags of excrement and urine at cops.
The most furious attack on free speech occurs on college campuses. Speech codes and codes of conduct on some campuses have made it a crime for students to state and hold views that don't conform to the leftist and "politically correct" views of the college administrators and faculty.
On one campus the thought police have made the thousands-year-old human ritual of courtship and mating a crime. It used to be that if a guy or a gal had to ask permission for a kiss, a quick feel or a bicep grab, there was something wrong with him or her. Now, on some campuses, conduct codes require students to ask permission from each other for kisses and other mating delights. Failure to do so can bring about disciplinary action. So much for spontaneity and self-confidence.
Opinions are now quashed because they might offend certain groups. It happens to be that the groups that can't be offended are those to which the thought police belong.
But in trashing free speech -- the greatest, most glorious and noble right humans have ever had -- the speech Nazis forget one thing: Every opinion ever expressed and every joke ever told has offended someone. Sometimes they have offended large groups of people. That's what free speech does.
The speech-killers refuse to understand this: The First Amendment protects speech, no matter how offensive its content and no matter who it offends. The Supreme Court once wrote that free speech is "the matrix, the indispensable condition of nearly every other form of freedom."
Conduct codes and rules that outlaw speech that might offend certain groups are censorship. Read it again -- c-e-n-s-o-r-s-h-i-p.
The ugly truth about Americans, both on the left and on the right, is that very few people really like or want free speech. Many people hate it that others hold views that differ from theirs. The slogan of the new politically correct censors should be, "You are free! Free to think and to joke exactly like me!"
So this Independence Day, celebrate the First Amendment by using it for its intended purpose: to protect unpopular views.
Insult a neighbor. Ridicule someone's political views. Go to UNM and talk loudly and negatively about politically correct views and groups. Be insensitive. If bald men with scabs on their heads make you sick, say so. If the sight of fat women in tight clothes offends you, shout it out loudly. And if someone tries to stop you, read them this:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Read it. Then watch how they cringe.
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