( – promoted by buhdydharma )
Recently a good friend here on teh toobz was banned from public discourse in a private setting, a limitation of his personal freedom of speech in a private place. Though he was offered reinstatement, he refused it on principle. He stood by his perinciple. He defended his freedom.
Personally, I think the whole situation sucks.
But MUCH BIGGER than that was the Police State RIOT SQUADS brutal response to PROPERTY DAMAGE in Pittsburgh, PA this weekend, when protestors without Government permission to exercisize.
This is my point.
If you have to ASK PERMISSION to use your rights, you never really had that right in the first place.
Protestors at the G20 meetings in Pittsburgh were not given permits to protest, despite their Constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment rights to freedom of assembly. They did it any way. Property was damaged. NO PEOPLE WERE HARMED BY THE PROTESTORS. And for that, the riot police were called in, and they used tear gas, sound guns and rubber bullets against the Protestors, whose greatest crime besides property damage was choosing to exercise a right they thought they had.
The First Amendment.
If they had been protesting IN FAVOR of Corporate Interests they would have be given permission to use those rights.
And a right is NOTHING until you try to use it.
The Corporatist State, led by the entire Republican party and most of the Democratic, would gladly reduce your righs to this.
1st Amendment – Right to $ = Free Speech
2nd Amendment – Right to bare arms.
3rd Amendment – Right to not shelter soldiers (pending future adjustments)
10th Amendment – State’s Rights (pending approval)
Since the 2nd Amendment benefits the Gun Lobby and MIC it will NEVER be restricted despite all logic. Every other right we think we have is MEANINGLESS, if, when we try to use it, we find it isn’t really there.
We have seen the astroturfed tea party protests that act against reform and in favor of Corporate interests. They NEVER get their permits denied, they NEVER are restricted to Free Speech Zones. They get PERMISSION, which makes them GOVERNMENT APPROVED PROTESTS, and thus GOVERNMENT APPROVED FRRE SPEECH.
Doesn’t sound much like freedom, does it?
So, what does this have to do with bannings on blogs?
Well, when you blog on someone’s website you are not engaged in public speech, not if someone owns that website who is not you. In those instances you are a guest on their property, you are a sort of guest in their home, and if they do not like what you have to say they have the right to ask you to leave. That is all well and good if they run their home like an authoratarian dictatorship where their word is law, but, in the spirit of democracy that attitude does a disservice to free speech and the free exchange of ideas. If that host expresses the desire to have a BIG TENT of ideas, they are doing a disservice to their own interests by limiting the freedom of speech of other citizens and guests, who are their equals.
But there is no reall equality there. It is private property, not public property. Different rules apply.
So what happens when we can not use those same freedoms, such as freedom of assembly or speech in public places?
Can we truly be free and enjoy freedoms if we can not even do so in public, excpet without permission to do so, and then with limitations as far as where it is permitted and acceptable to use those freedoms?
If we do not have the full freedom of our rights, do we have any rights at all?
I think not.
And when others violate those rights (Take the 4th or 8th Amendments against illegal search and seizure or cruel and unusual punishment, for instance) and face NO PUNISHMENT for such violations, are they not above the law? Does the violation of rights without consequences not nullify the very idea of those rights existing in anything other name name or word only?
If we as citizens are not equally free, are we free at all?
By squelching unpopular speech in a private setting we do the same thing to our fellow citizens as those who deny rights to citizens in a public place. By limiting the free exchange of ideas in a private setting we are acting EXACTLY like those who would deny those same rights to you in a publiic setting. Is this what we want for our society? Is this how you create grassroots Democracy? How can one TAKE ON THE SYSTEM while doing it’s dirty work for it?
To each and every reader I ask this question, If there is no equality under the law, can there be freedom? And that equality is not just for the freedom to your rights, but also in the equal consequences that comes when those rights are violated.
And is banning someone from a private place because of unpopular or undesirable speech akin to doing so in a public place? If not, why? Speech is speech, yes? Or is Speech = to money?
If we do not stand for our principles, do we stand for anything?
I leave the floor to you, in the spirit of Democracy.