Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Awe of Military vs. Free Speech

By Ivan Eland
October 12, 2010

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case where the father of a fallen serviceman is suing members of a church over its picketing of military funerals with signs that say, “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Killed Your Sons,” and “Thank God for 9/11.”

Read on.

1 comment:

Big Em said...

I agree with Mr. Eland and the other free speech activists on this. As long as these yahoos from this mini-cult church are not PHYSICALLY interfering with services - - - which would include verbally disrupting whatever quiet ceremonies/eulogies are occurring (they claim that they are standing with their obnoxious signs across the street from the funerals), their free speech should be protected. Yeah, it's boorish and really crass, but so is a lot of peoples' speech. Ultimately, they're just words - - - they can't directly hurt anyone like a bullet/bomb/grenade/etc can. As adults in a functioning democracy, we just need to ignore some of this crap, much like we would ignore a crying infant during a funeral/church service/speech, a panhandler/huckster on the street, or traffic noise. Not every external stimuli needs to be, nor CAN be, addressed/managed.

Also, with THIS Supreme Court, it's not hard to envision a slippery-slope into some variant of an autocratic theocracy. We're already saw 'free-speech-zones' at GW Bush functions. Or, if you're a right-winger, do you want us liberals/progressives coming to power and arresting some of your media figures for the stupid/outrageous crapola THEY say daily? Limbaugh/O'Reilly/Hannity/Coulter/etc would all be in jail with life terms under that criteria.

As the ACLU and others note, the speech that NEEDS protecting is the UNPOPULAR kind, including some really distasteful, repugnant stuff. NO government has a problem with pro-government, congratulatory speech... not the WWII Nazis, not the USSR under Stalin, not the most repressive 3rd world dictator's regime. Surprise-surprise - - - they all would/will let you say nice things about them.

Free-speech is one of the few 'political correction' mechanisms we have. Even voting is highly dependent upon a candidate's right to say virtually anything, especially the uncomfortable or distasteful truths. Without that right, it just becomes a false-front, a travesty, a 'show-election' such as was/is common in parts of Central/South America.