Wednesday, July 1, 2009

JMO - Freedom of Speech

We all know, or should know, it's taught in school, that we're guarranteed the freedom of speech in this country. At least as long as it doesn't violate the laws restricting it, such as to incite violence, to advocate the overthrow of the government, or threaten the President, and so on. We all have the common sense to know when words are dangerous. But these days with blogs, forums, newsgroups, etc., have we lost that over ownership?

Well, to me, yes and no. I make no bones about the fact that I have rules wiht this blog, and I've updated after some discussion about guns. I don't have a problem with the rules and restricting the tone and tune of the conversation. It's simple, if you want to argue and yell, get your own blog.

But what if someone opens a blogs, conducts research and writes a lot on something, including winning awards,invites guest columnists to add their voices, and then invites open and honest discussion to suddenly, and out of nowhere, decide to ban certain views because they personally find them contrary to their personal view? Is it being hypocritical or just the right of ownership? Editorial disagreement or censorship?

And my point or example? Like you can't readily find one almost everywhere anymore? But there's a difference about opinion with open and honest discussion with others and differing opinions, and about opinion with restrictive language to confine or restrict the discussion along the lines of their opinion. These people often follow the old adage, don't mistake opinion for fact.

And don't mistake your language as the standard, not allowing differing uses and meaning. You're not the OED, so never assume you own the definition or rights to words, especially ideas associated with the words. But then I'm not immune here, and have exercised it here. I know I did because I wasn't inviting discussion, just writing my opinion. I'm fully understanding of the range of views on some issues, I just didn't want opposing views here.

If I want to hear opposing views, I'll go to their blogs. An example is guns. I won't argue the right to ownership, I just think it's time this country grew up to have properly regulate and manage ownership and guns for the safety and security of everyone. It's not about individual rights but the rights of the all of us. It's not about just legal ownership, but any ownership. We don't need a country where fear drives everyone is allowed to carry a weapon.

My point is that this is my opinion. I'm opposed to unrestricted ownership and rights of guns. It's dumb and stupid in a modern society. We don't need the sheer number of crimes committed with guns. And despite what the guns-rights advocates argue, it's about all guns. You can't restrict your opinion where there are more violating the very thing you're claiming a given right. But then the NRA and others argue for this view.

That's their right and privilege in this country. So, it also allows me to express an opposing view. And there are other issues. That's who I am. I have some extreme views on issues, like wilderness (more with less or no people), environmental quality (protect our land, forests, air and water at any cost), death penalty (sorry, not against it), family planning (women's health and family planning, should be early, affordable and unrestricted), abortion ("Trust Women", it's their body and their choice), and so on.

Anyway, it's just my opinion, just one, as well all have and have the right to express, free of being restricted or denied the right and the voice. That's what's here, nothing more. Just mine, take it or leave, but it's also my right to limit what others want to say because it's what ownership is about. I'll hear other views, just not here.

And it's the right of others on and with their blogs and forums. But first establish the rules and don't violate them yourself in the censorhip of others. If you invite them, then allow them to express themselves or change the rules, but don't restrict others on a whim or personal dislike, especially without making it known beforehand so they know.

That's being open and honest, anything else isn't, just what you might criticize others for doing to you.

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