Friday, August 29, 2014

“What is happening to my country?”, part 9,394 in a long series...

“What is happening to my country?”, part 9,394 in a long series...  Peaceful demonstrators are threatened by rock-throwing thugs.  What happens?  Why, the police told the peaceful demonstrators are told to shut up and leave, of course!


  1. "Peaceful demonstrators" at an arab festival shouting over a bullhorn with a pig head on a pole? Every year?

    Don't the other guys have right to assembly as well without having jerks with a bullhorn in the middle of it?

  2. Nobody in this country has the right to assembly without being offended by jerks. That is, actually, the very essence of what "free speech" is - the right to say things (including the manner in which they are said) that offend other people. We wouldn't need a right of free speech otherwise, as the only speech anyone is interested in suppressing is that which offends. Our rights to free speech are limited to public places; if one wants to be in an offense-free zone, the way to do that is to go to a private place.

    I am personally very offended by the Westboro Baptist Church's antics, most especially their vile demonstrations at the funerals of our soldiers. However ... I don't know of any way (and many smarter people than me have tried) to outlaw that kind of speech while ensuring that my own speech won't be curtailed because someone (a Progressive :) finds it offensive. The problem boils down to the questions of who is going to make the decisions, and on what basis. Neither of those questions can be answered in a way that will satisfy all Americans. The only answer anyone has ever come up with is the concept of free speech - wherein any speech is allowed, even if it offends every other American than the one who said it.

    The U.S. Constitution tacked on freedom of speech as the first amendment in the bill of rights - the original Constitution didn't include it at all. Some other countries have embraced freedom of speech as an even more important part of their constitution. One of my favorite examples is Sweden, where the freedom of speech is actually the basis of their constitution - they think of the rest of the constitution as having been derived from the core notion of free speech. I like that construct a lot...