FREE SPEECH MEANS THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO YOU, NOT THAT I HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU

FREE SPEECH MEANS THE GOVERNMENT CAN’T DO ANYTHING TO YOU, NOT THAT I HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION TO YOU

Matt HealeyTuesday,6 May 2014

The Snap:

I usually try to stay away from faux news. The reason is that I find they have a tendency to make shit up much more frequently than other news channels. Not that the other news channels are truthful, it is just that I think faux news is worse. However recently I stopped on it because the hotel remote was being kind of twitchy. The 3 minutes that I watched before the remote started working again left me with this opinion: John Stossel is a fucking idiot.

The Download:

The segment that he was teeing up had to do with the Donald Sterling thing. My position on that is explained here. Regardless, Sotssel had in his lead in all of the negative things that had happened to Sterling based on his comments. Then towards the end he asked the following question “Don’t we have free speech in this country?” That is the idiot comment. We do have free speech. It is in the First Amendment, which says:

“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.”

And we followed it. You can see that be the fact that Sterling is currently not under arrest for his comments. He has not been disappeared by government forces. He has not been fined by the US government. There have been exactly zero government-sponsored actions taken against him.

What is not in the first amendment is something like “The NBA shall make no law….”. The NBA is a private organization. They can do what they want. The First Amendment also does not say that sponsors can not pull their advertising dollars if the owner or the organization does something stupid. They are also private organizations. They can do what they want. If an owner threatens their business they can take their money and go home which is exactly what they did. Also the First Amendment does not say that other people can not voice their concerns and object to the comments. I think, as is often the case, Randell Monroe summed it up best in xkcd:

Free Speech - xkcd

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Hat Tips:

xkcd, Image Credit: Flickr



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