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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Free Speech

Blogger Comments:  The Daily gets it right again on free speech being under assault.  It is.  Those of us who write the blog believe in free speech and being able to debate the issues from both sides. Unfortunately, the comments have been all about name calling from both sides without substance. We each have the right to call it as we see it.  However, you should also be able to explain why you know something isn't true or is true for that matter.  That hasn't happened with most of the anonymous comments.  People can still comment but they cannot comment as anonymous anymore.  We intend to post the truth.  People making nasty comments deflect from the truth and do not bring anything to the table.  Sure, we put jokes and funny videos on the blog and some may not appreciate them.  Sometimes we must laugh at the corruption within the sheriff's office and the things that Sheriff Ana Franklin has so far gotten away with.

The enemies of free speech must be challenged — not with raised voices or clenched fists but with better ideas, such as the idea that most Americans are responsible adults capable of holding a rational conversation, no matter the impression one might get from spending a few minutes reading Twitter.

Our View

Free speech under assault from both sides


The Issue

From hecklers at plays and lectures to college students demanding their professors denounce themselves, free speech seems to be under attack from both extremes of the American political spectrum. Like all bad ideas, these should be met with more and more steadfast speech.
They came to shout down Caesar, not to praise him.
Two supporters of President Donald Trump were removed from a Shakespeare in the Park production of “Julius Caesar,” and one of them was charged with trespassing, for disrupting a performance last week of the 400-year-old play.
They didn’t simply hold a lingering, high-school grudge against William Shakespeare. The two targeted this specific production because it updates the costumes and sets to the present day. As a result, its Caesar, the Roman general who marched into Rome with his legions to become dictator and end the 500-year-old Roman Republic, bears a bit of a resemblance to President Donald Trump.
This has proved a bit much for some Trump supporters, especially given Caesar’s fate — stabbed to death in the Roman Senate.
“Sic semper tyrannis,” Brutus, one of the assassins, is purported to have said. “Thus always to tyrants.”
So, two Trump supporters decided to shout the play down, one rushing the stage while the other recorded the disruption on video and yelled at those in the audience, comparing them — somewhat bizarrely — to Nazis.
Talk show host and Trump booster Laura Ingraham took to Twitter: “The Left doesn’t like it when their tactics are used against their ‘expression.’ How many wd (sic) storm stage if ‘Obama’ was stabbed?”
How many indeed? This is not merely a rhetorical question. We know the answer even if Ingraham doesn’t: zero.
A similar production of “Julius Caesar” was staged in 2012, with Caesar resembling then-President Barack Obama. No one then batted an eye. The country was more sane.
Still, the political left is by no means blameless when it comes to shouting down speakers they don’t like, and worse. Bret Weinstein, a politically left professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, discovered he wasn’t left enough after he criticized a student-organized “Day of Absence” demonstration, during which white students, faculty and staff were asked to leave campus. Since then, Weinstien has been afraid to return to campus, where he has been denounced by both students and some faculty members.
At elite universities and small liberal arts colleges, radicalized students are engaging in their own version of China’s Cultural Revolution, with students, staff and even professors who don’t toe the party line made to engage in self-denunciation — or else leave. Even the slightest deviation can result in denunciation, as professors like Weinstein are learning.
The ideal of free speech is under assault from the aggrieved fringes on both sides. The proper response to speech one doesn’t like is more speech. But “more speech” doesn’t mean shouting down opponents; it is not a license to heckle. Rather it means rent your own lecture hall, start your own blog or post your own YouTube video.
Too many on the left treat words as weapons that need to be controlled like firearms, and too many on the right treat any criticism of the president as sedition meriting jail time or, at the very least, lawsuits. But that is no way to run a representative government of, by and for a free people.
The enemies of free speech must be challenged — not with raised voices or clenched fists but with better ideas, such as the idea that most Americans are responsible adults capable of holding a rational conversation, no matter the impression one might get from spending a few minutes reading Twitter.

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