Free Speech Isn’t

Jonah Goldberg plants his tongue deeply in cheek and goes off on a great rant on the Dixie Chicks, Martin Sheen, and all those other "brave dissenters". It’s a great piece that deftly pops the argument that there’s some right-wing conspiracy to destroy free speech in America.

Free speech does not mean that everyone has to agree with you. When Martin Sheen says that Bush is a racist warmonger who wants to steal all the world’s oil, he’s exercising his right to free speech. When I say that Martin Sheen is a washed-up has-been with a third-grade conception of the world, I’m not censoring Sheen or contributing to some Orwellian censorship – I’m excising my right to free speech. Freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from criticism – in fact, it’s only logical that a society should give radical criticism to radical ideas.

Of course, as has been made increasingly clear by the left, the tenets of free speech only apply to those who agree with them.

2 thoughts on “Free Speech Isn’t

  1. Criticism is one thing, but banishing someone from radio airwaves so that other people don’t have the option of hearing them is another. This is what has happened to the Dixie Chicks as intolerant and bloodthirsty radio listeners decided, with some help of publicity-seeking radio stations who want to get their names in the paper, to stage public, rather than private, boycotts of Dixie Chicks music.

    Similarly, the Baseball Hall of Fame’s mouthpiece (and former Reagan administration stooge) used his influence to try to keep Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins from attending a Bull Durham reunion movie because he opposed their politics. He’s not letting the public decide for themselves whether or not they want to individually boycott this event, he’s deciding for them. When I was growing up, this was known as censorship.

    Worst of all, going back to the Dixie Chicks, many irate rednecks went so far as to participate in CD bulldozings of the artwork of people who don’t share their narrow worldview. The founding fathers are most likely turning over in their graves, but the Third Reich would be proud.

  2. So should we accept the alternative that radio hosts can’t organize boycots if they so choose? Should we tell a private organization that they can’t choose who they want to associate with or not? Should we say that people who burn Dixie Chicks CDs have no right to do so?

    Free speech says we should not, which proves my point. A radio talk show host has as much right to speak his or her mind as Natalie Maines has to say something idiotic.

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