Thursday, October 7, 2010

Musings on Speech

Sometimes I do wish I had Twitter. Everything I'd want to say in 140 characters in a box on the side of the blog. Setting it up looks complicated, so I haven't--need a geek. I've used Facebook that way somewhat and you are always welcome to look at FB to see the short and snappy thoughts.

City Hall has been up to its usual stuff--a little more exciting due to the presence of some protesters exercising their free speech rights. Which brings me to the Ph*lps clan of Topeka, presently arguing before the Supreme Court about the outcome of a civil case that rewarded a military family money from the Ph*lps clan.

There is a right to privacy expected by regular citizens, that their activities will not be infringed upon by others without permission. There is the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" issue--are the Ph*lps' signs and megaphone pronouncements provocative enough to be a safety or life quality issue. Up against that is the issue of free speech. Can we restrict speech in this case and not start the slide downward that puts all speech at risk.

I hate to say it, but I want to err on the side of safeguarding speech. Laws restricting all public demonstration from private moments--distance and volume restrictions--I'm all for those. But if you are standing on public land, and you are not restricting my movements, or my ability to carry on my activities, as much as I hate your stuff, you have a right to say it. I have the concomitant right to have a group of people screening me from you and monitoring your activities.

Ignore the Ph*lps bunch. Eventually, the interbreeding will catch up with them and they'll disappear. Or a major figure in the organization will announce that they are homosexual. Then you'll know for sure that it's just a sad broken family that really needs to get some spiritual and psychological help.

(Using the * instead of an "e", hoping that these publicity hounds will not pick up this post in their Google reader.)


Bob G. said...

I'm with you regarding the 1st Amendment, but they did have a good debate about this on The O'Reilly factor last night (with Megyn Kelly).

It IS indeed a slippery slope if you change any aspect of this, and don't think the "ambulance-chasers" aren't watering at the mouth over ANY case that mentions this.

have a great weekend.

the observer said...

Bob G:
This is a tough one for the Supremes. Many things to balance. My instinct is that they will go for upholding the first amendment.

There are those who think the first amendment has been corrupted and the framers would not have approved of this. However, history tells us that presidential campaigns in the first 40 years of this country's history swung on this very issue.

The thing is: If they come for them, what's to say the Methodists aren't next? (Who? Us?


Bob G. said...

Oh, we "shoutin' Methodists"....(as Mom used to say).

Head for the hills!