Does my right of free speech end where your cranky begin?
At present, in an apparently well coordinated effort, there are black students having “protests” all over about “racism”. It isn’t about any real rights, IMHO. There’s equal admissions. Equal access and treatment. In fact, real racism is so hard to find that they have had to resort to hurt feeling. The argument is of the form “I feel bad so you are racist”. Several college administrators have now resigned for the crime of not being looney lefty enough. ( I DARE you to find a public college with more than 10% republicans on the staff – excluding business colleges where they sometimes reach almost parity.)
IMHO, the Democrats / Progressives / Left are scared shitless of losing the race card and are hell bent on keeping it alive. They are now pushing not just the standard of “hate speech” but a new standard of “hurtful speech”. By that standard just about everything said by Mr. Obama is “offensive” and “hurtful” to me. Jessie Jackson belongs in jail and Al Sharpton with him, by that standard.
It is no accident that the media is covering every shooting of a black man committing a crime, but not covering black on black deaths or the black cops shooting a white guy (and killing his kid) with anywhere near the fervor. If the cute little kid had not been killed, it would not have even made the news at all.
It is no accident that “nationwide” protests suddenly break out from “Black Lives Matter” (nor that they are offended at the idea of non-black lives mattering too…). It is not an accident that “nationwide” protests break out at college campuses. This is what “community organizers” do, and it is strait out of Saul Alinsky Rules For Radicals.
* RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.” Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty. (This happens all the time. Watch how many organizations under attack are blind-sided by seemingly irrelevant arguments that they are then forced to address.)
* RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.” Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new. (Attack, attack, attack from all sides, never giving the reeling organization a chance to rest, regroup, recover and re-strategize.)
* RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.” Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog. (Unions used this tactic. Peaceful [albeit loud] demonstrations during the heyday of unions in the early to mid-20th Century incurred management’s wrath, often in the form of violence that eventually brought public sympathy to their side.)
* RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)
It is also no accident that all this “racism” suddenly burst on the scene as the primaries are starting and as the Democrat Machine is pushing for a 3rd Obama Term via Madam Clinton.
The Question Never Asked Nor Answered
Does one persons’ ability to fabricate upset, offense, and get cranky trump my rights?
In particular, my right of free speech.
Make no mistake about it: ALL emotional responses are generated entirely inside the brain case of the individual. IF you allow that to be the standard for determining what is “offensive” and forbidden, there is NO freedom of speech, assembly, political thought, expression, or much of anything else.
One personal example.
At one time I had a real Mexican Sombrero. Given to me by my close Mexican friend, I think. (It is now gone. One of many things I ‘let go’ when I moved onto a very small boat for a couple of years.) I’d worn it many times. Sometimes on Halloween, sometimes to parties. Sometimes just for fun with Miquel.
His Dad was the absolute stereotype of a Mexican Bandito in looks, and the family history had him riding with Pancho Villa (but who knows, it was a common claim then). We took it as a sign of respect to pretend to be Banditos too. (Gone too is my sarape… worn out over the years).
Now it has become “offensive” to pretend to be a Mexican on Halloween by wearing a sombrero. Guess what, a whole lot of poor Mexicans making sombreros for tourists are going to be very unhappy that their job is gone. BTW, the sombrero is so iconic of Mexico that they are nearly obligatory as wall decorations in the local Mexican restaurants. Somehow not “offensive” as a stereotype there?
Now the “kicker” for me is that I find it offensive that I can not buy and wear a sombrero without being accused of being evil. I’d like that hate speech suppressed please.
That’s The Problem
That is THE problem with “hate speech” and “hurtful speech” laws and rules. There is NO LIMIT on what people can find hurtful and offensive. I hate red shirts. They offend me. Many Jews hate a particular shade of brown shirt (and with good cause). In many Italian areas, a particular green shirt color is offensive (was a sign of Mafia affiliation). Do we ban wearing of plaid and tartan by anyone not from the particular clan that originated it? (It was originally an identification of membership and offensive to wear a tartan not of your clan). In local schools they ban blue and red as they are “gang colors”.
To avoid being “offensive” do we all need to walk around wearing gray? What happens when I complain that it reminds me of my gray hair and so it, too, is “offensive”?
Offense is entirely and completely a creation in the mind of the offended. If that is your standard, there is NO standard and there is NO limit.
There are many good quotes here:
a few I particularly liked:
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
“Nobody has the right to not be offended. That right doesn’t exist in any declaration I have ever read.
If you are offended it is your problem, and frankly lots of things offend lots of people.
I can walk into a bookshop and point out a number of books that I find very unattractive in what they say. But it doesn’t occur to me to burn the bookshop down. If you don’t like a book, read another book. If you start reading a book and you decide you don’t like it, nobody is telling you to finish it.
To read a 600-page novel and then say that it has deeply offended you: well, you have done a lot of work to be offended.”
― Salman Rushdie
“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”
― Salman Rushdie
“Truthfully, wicked people reveal themselves in words first, to inhibit speech would inhibit us seeing the wicked before they act.”
― Leviak B. Kelly, Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction
“The censor’s sword pierces deeply into the heart of free expression.”
― Earl Warren
“All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.”
― George Bernard Shaw, Mrs. Warren’s Profession
Particularly in the case of the Black Bigots attempting to find offense under every rock, this one applies:
“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”
― Hubert H. Humphrey
I’ve had a LOT of offensive things said to me, and about me. I’ve had a road full of “offensive” things in my path through life. Not every thing you stumble over is due to your skin (Lord knows I’m as white as they come and I’ve had plenty of things in my path. I’ve been interviewed and not hired far more often than hired. Sometimes somebody just doesn’t like you. A V.P. at one company fired me for just that.) I’ve been called names and insulted and even had a guy take a swing at me more than once. Yes, I’m sure it’s no bed of roses being black in America, but it isn’t much easier being Mexican, Italian, Irish (“No Irish Need Apply” signs were common when my Irish ancestors came here), Chinese, Japanese or just about any ethnicity.
The simple fact is that all groups of people are mean to all other groups of people. Often even within their group. It is a fundamental fact of our nature. Get over it, or prepare to be offended forever by everything.
“We live in a world in which people are censured, demoted, imprisoned, beheaded, simply because they have opened their mouths, flapped their lips, and vibrated some air. Yes, those vibrations can make us feel sad or stupid or alienated. Tough shit. That’s the price of admission to the marketplace of ideas. Hateful, blasphemous, prejudiced, vulgar, rude, or ignorant remarks are the music of a free society, and the relentless patter of idiots is how we know we’re in one. When all the words in our public conversation are fair, good, and true, it’s time to make a run for the fence.”
― Daniel Gilbert
“A choir is made up of many voices, including yours and mine. If one by one all go silent then all that will be left are the soloists.
Don’t let a loud few determine the nature of the sound. It makes for poor harmony and diminishes the song.”
― Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration
So, in my opinion, “cranky” and “offended” do not trump constitutional rights of freedom of expression.
Oh, and anyone who says ‘hateful’ and ‘offensive’ ought to be banned: That speech offends me, so start with yourself.
Obligatory Racism Disclaimer
For anyone wishing to paint me racist for insisting on freedom of speech and dress, please note:
A very good friend gave me his Kilimanjaro motorcycle suit when he was headed out of the country. He was black and stayed at my house waiting for “Space A” to open up. I wore it proudly when on my motorcycle. Now it just hangs in the closet as a memento (since I no longer ride). You don’t get much closer to someone than wearing their clothes (and no, I didn’t wash it. It goes over regular clothes so doesn’t need washing unless you hit a bug cloud – rare in California.) Didn’t look nearly as sharp in it as he did, though.
I have taken a black woman on a date. In the south. (Yes, we ‘got looks’. So what? She was a nice lady).
I have regularly hired black employees, based on their qualifications.
No, I wouldn’t mind if my kid married a black. We have short legs as a clan and could use some of the longer leg genes. Besides, I have a ‘thing’ for Halle Berry ;-) and think the blend works out well… I know, hopeless, but that cat outfit…
So anyone thinking that, you are just making up an offense in your own mind. It is a fantasy. I am arguing for YOUR right to say offensive things about me, too. Think about that for a minute.