Free Speech?

*** Caution  – the links are to an article on a website that may display advertising that could be considered offensive.  I don’t endorse the site, I’m merely referencing an article hosted at the site.  Proceed with appropriate caution. *

Before you read this article, we should probably get out of the way the pesky notion that we enjoy free speech in this country.  Or the pesky notion that free speech has ever existed for very long among very many people, and that this is a good thing.  We don’t want free speech.  Free speech – literally the ability to say whatever you want, whenever you want, about whomever you want, to whomever you want – is dangerous.  Consider the classic example of shouting “FIRE” in a crowded movie theater.  We don’t want that sort of free speech protected.  Most of us wouldn’t want  coworker who routinely used the most coarse vulgarities and most offensive profanity as part of their interaction with colleagues.  Nor would we want teachers using that sort of language in the classroom.  We all understand that – regardless of what we may think is personally acceptable – there are plenty of forms of expression that can’t be publicly defended.

What we enjoy in our country is protection from the abridgement of speech by the government.  The Bill of Rights, and specifically the First Amendment, ensure that people are free from arbitrary restriction by the government to speak their minds.  There are intellectual libertines who want to make the argument that this means speech should be absolutely and totally free of any restrictions or impositions.  But this is hardly what the Founding Fathers had in mind, and it’s certainly not what most other people have in mind.  Those who argue for speech free of any form of restriction are either intentionally or unintentionally arguing against the primary purpose of the government, which is the protection of the people and ensuring their peacable existence.
Now you can read this article.  Partway through, the issue is raised as to whether or not the governments refusal to fund pornography constitutes a violation of our freedom of speech.  But, as the article later points out through various quotes from legal authorities, that’s not what this is about at all.  The government deciding not to fund something is not the same as the government censoring it, or denying freedom of speech or expression.  
Those who argue against this point of view have to take on the position that if the government is funding anything, then it has to legally fund everything, or else it’s practicing some sort of discrimination.  But discrimination is not prevention or elimination.  And this article highlights the danger of a market-driven culture where everything is boiled down to issues of how many people employed and whether or not something is a legitimate business.  

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