[Free Speech] Hey, kids! Confused about free speech? Censorship? The role of the media? Assholes in the Legislature?
Try this handy quiz!
1. True or false: Elected officials have the right to speak their minds, no matter how misguided, antiquated or stupid their ideas are.
ANSWER: True. We're all endowed with the right to make fools of ourselves, even when we take public office. Or, perhaps, especially when we take public office.
2. True or false: When an elected official says something stupid, we have the right to criticize him/her.
ANSWER: True. The stupidity of an elected official doesn't abrogate the First Amendment. Everybody else still has the right to talk about what an asshole he/she is.
3. But isn't it hypocritical for you supposed denizens of "free speech" to criticize an elected official just for speaking his or her mind?
ANSWER: See above. Nobody questions an elected official's right to speak his/her mind. But, when he/she says something incredibly stupid, it's not just our right, but our duty, to heckle him/her.
4. You're just a bunch of liberal, PC thought-police going after a Republican because you don't like his record on gay rights.
ANSWER: That's not a question; it's a statement.
4. Aren't you just a bunch of liberal, PC thought-police going after a Republican because you don't like his record on gay rights?
ANSWER: Like you care. If we were making some lame Mallard Fillmore joke about the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of aging, liberal hippie caricatures, you'd pretend to think it was funny just to make sure it stayed in print.
5. But you'd never go after a liberal Democrat like that! ... Would you?
ANSWER: Probably. Hell, who knows? Today's Utah Democrat is too careful, paranoid and disciplined to mouth off like some smug, complacent Republican who feels belonging to the ruling party is some sort of birthright. Maybe if we lived somewhere like Massachusetts, New York or California, we'd have a wider variety of fools to choose from--undoubtedly we would, in fact--and many of those would likely be Democrats. (Brandon Burt)