Quote of the day—Independent Democratic Conference

PROPONENTS OF A MORE REFINED FIRST AMENDMENT ARGUE THAT THIS FREEDOM SHOULD BE TREATED NOT AS A RIGHT BUT AS A PRIVILEGE – A SPECIAL ENTITLEMENT GRANTED BY THE STATE ON A CONDITIONAL BASIS THAT CAN BE REVOKED IF IT IS EVER ABUSED OR MALTREATED.

Independent Democratic Conference
September 2011
Page 34 in CYBERBULLYING—A Report on Bullying in a Digital Age
[I love the word “refined”. It makes the proposed degradation of a specific enumerated right so much more palatable. It’s a lot like “progress” and “liberal”. All very nice words. Surely reasonable people can agree we would all be better off if the government were to punish those that were divisive.

Via Thirdpower and Eugene Volokh.—Joe]

14 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Independent Democratic Conference

  1. Oh Joe, you’re such a caveman. Who could possibly disagree with “common sense” restrictions on free speech? After all, who really “needs” to have all those words in their vocabularic arsenal? The average person can probably get by using only a few dozen words – really, only politicians and lawyers and maybe state-designated physicians should have access to assault vocabulary. After all, it’s for the children!

    I think back to when I was a kit. I was really small for my age, and big kids liked to physically pick on me on occasion. My one saving grace was that I was quick, smart, and could cuss them out in a host of creative manners. Always backed them off. I’m sure glad I had some “hate speech” available for self defensive use!

  2. WHY IS THAT BLAMED REPORT IN ALL CAPS? Really, whoever did that ought to be required to carry a fully-loaded upper-case tray from an old printer’s case ever after, like the mariner with his albatross.

    I will note, however, that to the extent that the report deals with bullying among and between non-emancipated minors, they have not generally been held to have the full exercise of rights granted adults.

    The failure to treat children as lacking in mature judgement — and the corresponding societal distortion arising when the little savages reach their majority ignorant of some of the rights and all of the responsibilities of full members of free society — is certainly a major contributing factor to much that is wrong with the world today.

    But unless that REPORT concuudes that bullies should receive prompt corporal punishment, with the link between it and their actions made crystal clear, it’s not gonna help any.

  3. As the “weird kid” who carried puzzles around and read books constantly I got my share of being physically and verbally bullied. I understand such abuse needs to be addressed in some manner. That does not mean any tolerance should be given to those who advocate a fundamental right being treated as a privilege.

    Hint: freedom of speech is a right to be protected from government infringement. That does not mean parents cannot place restrictions on the speech of their children and punish children who treat others poorly. And it civil courts may be an option in some extreme cases when parents do not keep their children under control.

  4. This is nothing more or less than a concerted effort to control speech– mainly the internet in this case, but they’ll expand its scope as soon as they get this one done. Start with something “on which we can all agree”. We can “all agree” because there’s been a series of TV specials focusing on the eeeeevils of cyber bullying (see? concerted effort). Get the foot in the door with some stupid law named after some stupid kid (with ultra stupid parents—just the kind the networks like) who committed suicide because other kids made fun of her zits and called her a tramp, and expand from there. It’s always the same. Always. The pattern repeats on a regular set of cycles spanning weeks and months, sometimes years, and has been on-going for generations.

    Joe hit it dead on– parents are left out of the conversation, both as the counselors advising the kids being “bullied” and the family justice system for the kids doing the bullying. None of this is government’s business, except in extremely rare cases, and no legislation is required since, as always, we already have the basic rights protections in place if we choose to use them and if there has been an actual rights violation.

  5. Mike W is right, these people scare me. If they aren’t treating children as adults (cf the parental notification law re abortions vs getting a tattoo or piercing, or an operation for an impacted wisdom tooth), they are treating adults as children (cf “hostile work environment” and various speech codes at universities). While this is directed ostensibly at minors, one never knows when the US Supreme Court will take a footnote from one case and expand it into an entire doctrine, which would, in this case, involve extending this to cover the hitherto protected speech of adults, using a case where the speech was just so egregious and recognized as insulting and abusive that everyone agrees the First Amendment protections should not apply.

  6. If it’s good for the chirrin it must be good for the grownups too.

    Popular speech needs no special protection.

  7. If a cyber bully struck the business end of the victim’s fist with his nose the day following a nasty myspace post or tweet, there would be much less cyber bullying, then, wouldn’t there?
    Parents, teach your kids to defend themselves, turn the other cheek never does anything but encourage those who would torment them. This applies in the virtual world as well.

  8. There is no need to redefine the right of free speech as a privilege. It’s commonly understood that my right to bear arms does not give me the right to harm others with those arms (other than for self defense). Likewise, we can assume that the right to free speech does not necessarily give one the right to harm others with such speech. The difficult part here, which I won’t get into, is defining what constitutes harm. My point is that the right doesn’t become a privilege just because there are limits to its exercise.

  9. This is the NY Senate “caucus” right? Thank goodness it’s a small group of losers, not that NY deserves the “leaders” they seem to insist on electing but I can’t say it’s surprising to see them clamber up onto this kind of grandstand.

  10. “the right doesn’t become a privilege just because there are limits to its exercise.”

    Damn Right! And everyone in America understood this for decades. Heck, even misuse does not cause it to be a privilege; as some Roman addressed this 2000 years ago with “Abusus non tollet Usus”, or misuse does not prohibit proper use.

  11. And yes, if the smaller, well behaved, meek children got hauled into the principal’s office for popping the troublemaker in the nose at the moment of trouble, I think even the doctrinally blind would have to recognize the moral evil of their policies, and maybe things would change a little.
    Certainly for me the bullying only stopped when I fought back.

  12. I’ve been considering the First Amendment this week, especially since the Hank Williams Jr. story broke about ESPN cancelling his Monday Night Football promo because of his comments regarding Obama and Boehner playing golf together.

    It’s OK for a Congresswoman, someone who was elected to serve in a leadership posistion, to say, “The Tea Party can go to hell”, but not OK to compare anyone to the dichotomy between Hitler and an Israeli Prime Minister?

    These people ARE scary!

  13. “Refined”. Does he mean it like the soap supposedly refined out of human fat by the Nazis who inherited a constitution which gave the individual every protection afforded by the US Constitution except that each right was prefaced with the words “except when the interests of Justice require otherwise.”
    Refined indeed. Interesting how the totalitarians seem to fixate on curbing dissenting speech now that a right to keep and bear arms is explicitly acknowledged. If no one can resist, dissent is harmless. If the means to resistance is a right, then the ability to dissent must be eliminated, and that is done through language. Without the right words the thought is mere emotion and cannot be effectively communicated, as George Orwell pointed out in the postscript to “1984” he called “Newspeak”.

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