Living with Free Speech  

header1979 37M
404 posts
1/24/2006 4:42 pm

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Living with Free Speech


As one who makes his living in Washington from the US First Amendment rights, I am a strong supporter of free speech. I am used to the rough and tumble of dealing with issues in the Washington and national media on US public policy issues. The raucous national debates lubricate the wheels of democracy and protect our liberty in the US. We could probably do without some of the excesses but that is the price of free speech and it has been that way since the founding of the republic in the 1700’s. If you think today’s debates in the media are bad, you should read the vitriol that was printed in the 1700’s and 1800’s. People at that time were saying the same type of things about George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln as they say about George Bush today.

So with this tradition as an essential part of our way of life in the US, you would think that people would appreciate and understand free speech. (Although I am referring to the US, what I am saying applies to people in other countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia that have similar free speech rights.) However, constantly on the Advice Line, many people continually try to control what people write. Aside from telling people that something should be posted in the rants or in the blogs or isn’t a question, which could be construed as helpful guidance, many people make the assertion that if you don’t like a question, then don’t post a response, or if you can’t say something positive then don’t say anything at all. Many get angry if the responders don’t agree with them. Some seem to think that people are being rude if they point out reality. Granted, some responses can be rude but that goes with free speech, also. Some say that responders can’t read the question or are not asking the question asked. Some seem to feel that free speech is for them but not for others.

This past week someone asked, “If people don’t like the question, why do they respond to it?” and also asked, “why respond and at the same time vote ‘don’t like’?” If someone doesn’t like a question or votes “don’t like”, I don’t think it is hard to understand that the person would post a response as to WHY he or she did not like the question. That seems reasonable to me. I think it is better for someone to post their disagreement rather than just vote negative so that people can hear another viewpoint on a topic. That is how topics are debated and knowledge is spread. This is how we learn, gather information, compare that information to our own and learn something from it. But some may not have the time or interest to respond or their position may have already been stated by another responder. It is a personal choice as to whether to respond or not.

Another person posted the following: “How do you feel about people who can’t seem to just simply answer simple questions? Feel they must berate you for stating it in a crude manner. I thought the point of the question was to get an answer that corresponds to it. Not a drawn out definition on how demeaning a particular word is to a person. Then they never get around to answering the question.” One responder said, “ Some people just lack proper reading comprehension and respond about something that’s not even asked by the poster.” Both posters seem to be unclear on the concept of free speech.

People respond with what they want to say, not what the person who asks the question wants them to say. It has nothing to do with reading comprehension. Some one opens up a topic and the discussion can go in many directions that the poster had no idea it would go. The poster posts ‒ the responder responds. Both the poster and the responder can post what ever they chose that the website will allow to be posted. It is up to the responder to determine how he or she will respond. The question may raise issues that were not directly asked that the responder thinks is relevant to the discussion. The responses are not necessarily intended just for the one who asked the question but for all the readers. Even if a question is stupid or bogus, it may raise other issues that merit discussion.

In media training one is taught to stay on message. Regardless of the question asked, you are to turn the question with your response to the message that you want to get out. You are under no obligation to give an answer that corresponds to the question. That is a legitimate way to respond to a question. Sometimes that can be more informative than answering the direct question asked. Many questions are poorly worded and provide “hooks” for others to raise other issues. That is why in writing for the media, you are to keep your message on point and not provide the opposing side a “hook” to turn the story in their favor. The same applies to questions asked on the Advice Line. If you don’t want people responding on other issues, then you have to state your question clearly. What you think you said may not be what others perceived that you said. But no matter what you have no control over people’s response. You have to understand that people will not always respond the way that you intended.

There is nothing wrong with responding to a question that you don’t like. You can say why you don’t like the question or disagree. If you think someone is bullshitting, you have the right to say they are bullshitting. You have the right to respond with a humorous, snide or rude comment if you think the question merits it. If you think a question is by a fake profile or a bogus question, you have the right to say so. If you want to you can flame some one who is a complete asshole. The multi-profilers are playing games on the website and having fun. There is no reason that you can’t call them out or play games with them and have fun too. Or you can just ignore them. That is what free speech is all about.

Some of the newbies are shocked at how some people respond to the fake profiles. They are not aware that a question is from a well-known fake profile. The fake profiles deserve no respect. They are fictional characters created by a multi-profiler and deserve no more respect that a fictional character in a book, movie or play. They are not real people so you are not harming a real person with your response.

Too many people spend too much time trying to tell others what they can post. They just can’t seem to grasp the concept that others have just as much right to post what they think as they do. If the questions and responses don’t cause you to think about your positions on issues and then be able to debate and defend those issues in an open forum, then you are missing out. We all have an equal opportunity to make an ass of ourselves on the Advice Line. The website can be a great learning experience but it is also fun.

Living with free speech may be threatening for some but the right of people to express their thoughts should never be stifled.

LadytoPleaseYou 64F
5447 posts
1/24/2006 10:22 pm

I enjoyed this very much and agree with you.

PENIS CHARMING....where are you?


SolarPowered0 67M
8018 posts
1/25/2006 6:58 am

Good job with this, Header!

The biggest problem I find on the Ad Lines is the fact that voting is used as a means of avoiding debate. It pisses me off greatly to post a response and then have a number of disagree votes with no one posting a cpomment of their disagreement. How can a debate ensue when no one is willing to debate a statement except to vote "disagree?"

The following line from your post here is one I had posted a response to... 'This past week someone asked, “If people don’t like the question, why do they respond to it?” and also asked, “why respond and at the same time vote ‘don’t like’?”'

I find that statement appalling! I also find it appalling that someone would vote disagree and then refuse to, or abstain from, posting a response which gives their reasons for disagreeing with someone's comments. I believe the reasons this happens is simple - the person voting such is incapable of stating an argument using valid facts. Therefore, as they know any comment posted by them which relies on "emotion" rather than data can be refuted, they choose not to post a comment for fear of having to defend their position. If faced with data, they fall back on their emotions and in doing so, they end up looking like fools. So, they post votes - a vote can't be refuted in open debate, now, can it?

The votes themselves mean nothing. But, to a "newbie", or to someone who might not be versed in the art of "communication", these votes of disagreement tend to have a visual effect. That effect is to indicate the comment being voted on has no "VALIDITY." And that is exactly why the voting occurs - not as a statement of disagreement, but as a visual aid in denying the comment's validity to others, and this is done for personality issues - not for the purpose of debate.

I have submitted to management the idea of doing away with voting other than to have one vote only. That vote is "agreement." If you agree, you vote. If you don't agree, you are forced to render a statement of disagreement. This forces deabte. Debate is healthy. Voting in disagreement without render your opinion of disagreement serves no purpose other than to "label" the comment as invalid, without supporting arguments to that effect.

It's dog crap! Pure and simple. If you disagree with a comment (or even a question, then you should be forced to give the reasons - or move on to something else. That's freedom of speech - in action.

Again, good job, my friend.

Solar...


header1979 37M
507 posts
1/25/2006 1:35 pm

Hey Solar,

Thanks for the compliment. Just before viewing your comment, I read a personal email from another member that we know well about the negative voting on the regular responders. Our exchange of email echoed your comment exactly. Many great minds are thinking alike. lol

Thanks for posting an excellent comment.

Header


rm_SultryVirgo 48F
567 posts
1/25/2006 2:52 pm

You know I'm a little ticked off! I replyed to this, this morning and my brillant coffee induced thoughts have yet to come up! Dammit I have been ripped off!!!! Okay so I'm going to try this again, of course now I don't have a clue as to what I had said at 10:00 am however I'm going to try and formulate a few thoughts. So header if my face comes up twice, pick the best of the two and delete the other one so I can avoid shameing myself with several posts.

First off, brillant post LOL. I think I have somewhat figured out what the problem with some on the ad lines is in regards to other's who speak their mind. They are mistaking the posters expression of the phrase "free speech" with the demand that they must agree with them. For some reason they have confused the right of the individual to say something with a demand that they be agreed with. Why are they doing this? Do they not understand that those who say this are not demanding that other's agree with them, they are simply aserting their right to say it. Nor are they being told they themselves can't say something, and yet it seems that is how they are taking it. Thats one thing I have come to realize.

The other being that you have ripped me off in regards to some of my statements LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Sorry I couldn't resist cause I really am a shit at heart, but I'm glad you can make use of them, feel free to do so LOL.

I really can't add anymore then what you have already said, and in regards to negatives Solar really has summed it up.

For those of use who do stand up to the bullys we pay a price for it, it does not matter that our cause is just to us, we still pay a price. I for one am willing to pay it, I realize that to ignore it to not respond, is the greater evil. If you stand for nothing you fall for anything. I'll stand thanks and keep standing no matter how many votes are cast, no matter how many times I'm called a bitch. To do any less is too devalue every single person that has ever fought for the right to express what they think or feel. It debases us as humans to ignore it to let other's smother an individuals ability to express the thoughts in their heads.

No good deed ever goes unpunished.

Sultry


bardicman 50M

1/25/2006 5:17 pm

I think this would have been better posted in the Rant section.

This is a sex and relationship sight and the blogs are only for you to talk about sex in.



I am not dead yet


bardicman 50M

1/25/2006 5:18 pm

Ok.. I was kidding but you have to admit..

It was funny..

I think..

ROFL



I am not dead yet


header1979 37M
507 posts
1/25/2006 8:43 pm

Hey Sultry, thanks for posting and forgiving me for ripping off some of your statements. You said them better than I could reword the thought. I agree that some are confusing the right to free speech with a demand that people must agree with the poster. Another person stated that people shouldn't disagree but just post their own opinion. In my mind, that is what we do when we disagree. Oh well, it doesn't affect my salary or my love life. lol

Hey Bardicman, thanks for the funny comments. We need you back on the Advice Line to straighten things out and liven the place up. They will get a good dose of free speech when you post. lol


header1979 37M
507 posts
1/25/2006 8:56 pm

The subject of free speech came up again on the Advice Line yesterd day. It is apparent that there is some confusion about what free speech is in the US constitution so I thought I would post a little clarification on the US Constitution. The First Amendment which is part of the Bill of Rights states, "Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech ... " This provision was subsequently made applicable to the States in the 14th Amendment.

The Consitution only restricts the Congress, and by extension
the States, from making laws that abridge free speech. The limitations on free speech are determined by the Supreme
Court. The Supreme Court made the determination that freedom
of speech does not include the right to shout "FIRE" in a crowded theater. Congress did not make that law. The Supreme Court has determined that speech that has the effect of immediate endangerment or a real and present danger may be restricted. The Supreme Court has taken great pains to delineate between prior restraint on the content of speech and the consequences of speech. There is no law putting prior government restraint on slanderous or libelous speech but there are laws and court precedents allowing individuals to recover damages resullting from slander and libel. These are civil actions and not criminal actions.

There are still some questionable areas concerning the restraint of free speech such as hate crime legislation that in effect criminalizes the content of speech that are yet to be resolved.

one poster stated that "No one actually has freedom of speech, never has. It has been an illusion carefully orchestrated by our forefathers during the drafting of the Constitution of the United States." This statement demonstrates an extreme lack of understanding of the Constitution, the development of the Constitution, and the meaning of free speech in the context of a constituional form of government. Freedom of speech in the US is not an illusion. It is a very real freedom in the US with very little prior government restraint. While many would prefer more civil discourse and less offensive speech at times, the Constitution protects offensive speech in order to protect free speech for all.

The restrictions on free speech in a private forum such as this website is determined by the owners of the website. This is not a governmental restraint. Private organizations can make their own rules about what speech is acceptable. It is one of the ironies of free speech in the US that the organizations that have the most restrictions on speech are academic institutions. Colleges and universities, which one would think would be forums for the debate of ideas and places where freedom of speech would florish, have restrictions that resemble some of the most dictatorial forms of government. Go figure.


header1979 37M
507 posts
1/25/2006 9:10 pm

A responder on the question about free speech that was posted yesterday by Blow_Squirt read this blog and asked asked how we "know" who the "known" fake profiles are. You have to be on the website for awhile to learn the patterns and styles of the multi-profilers to know this. It is basically, a rudimentary form of pattern analysis that is used to catch terrorists. It requires
some understanding of the uses of language. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure these things out but having good perceptive and analytic thinking skills help. It is something like detecting art forgeries. You just have to know what to look for. Some people have these skills - others don't. In response to that question by the responder, Blow_Squirt gave an excellent example of how this is done.

At a later time, I intend to post a blog on the multi-profilers and fake profiles.


SolarPowered0 67M
8018 posts
1/26/2006 7:13 pm

Header...

How to tell a "fake" - It's in the eyes. Dead giveaway! However, what do you do when the "fake" uses multiple windows simultaneously? Hmmm...

As for the Constitution, it hasn't been in force and effect of law for 73 years. If you wish to examine the evidence, look up 12USC95-a,b. Then trace the history of the legislation behind the statute. Start with PL65-91 and PL73-1. Once you discover you are an "enemy of the state" (legally), freedom of speech is one of the last things to come to mind.

Without habeas corpus, everything else is moot!

And tell that damned Bard... "Flight #9 has not yet landed!" ROTFL

Solar...


silkysmoothlegs3 105F

1/31/2006 5:08 am

giggles at bacardiman

goodblogg babes


rm_muffin162 55M
763 posts
2/2/2006 3:51 pm

Header,that was a good read,i have to eat some humble pie,i said the other day that folk who spend time looking for multi profilers are sad puppys,i have thought about it and i wrote that in haste without thinking, if people like to do that,who am i to say they are sad if they get enjoyment out of it,good for them.I am now eating my humble pie.


rm_SultryVirgo 48F
567 posts
2/2/2006 7:03 pm

That's very cool of you muffin, I did see your statement the other day. I know that when new people join the advice lines, they often just jump into the middile of what sometimes is an ongoing battle. There is a reason that Solar did what he did, because it HAD to be done. This particular person is using that place as their own personal battle ground, and others are paying a price for it. The price they are paying is freedom to enjoy every aspect of this site, and that's unfair.

No one has to agree with anyone on there, however everyone does have the right to voice their thoughts and opinions, even the ignorant ones. No one has to like what another person says, however NO ONE has the right to try and drive others off the site because they are disagreed with, which is what happend with this multi profiler. Now Solars actions could be taken as trying to drive this person off, however that is not what is being done. The only outcome any of us wants is for this person to STOP the multi profileing, stop the hounding of other members with the negative voting, stop the accusations of other members being fakes because she has been disagreed with and she has done that.

She has a hate on for certian members who have disagreed with her in the past, and instead of voicing her opinion, has choosen instead to try and drive them out. That's not right period. If it would stop she would be free to post as she see's fit the choice is hers to make, lets hope she makes the right choice.

I for one am tired of the continous cry of "oh you are all so mean" no we are not. We are simply people who feel strongly about our opinions and the right of everyone to state them, either in agreement or in disagreement. And what do we get for that? An endless supply of bullshit from those who are unwilling to stand up and agree to disagree. I don't care what anyone posts, if I don't like it I will respond, it I don't care I won't it is that simple. We all make a choice one way or another now that's freedom of speech in action.

Sorry Header but I had to say it, if you want feel free to delete my scribbles in your blog.

Sultry


header1979 37M
507 posts
2/4/2006 4:08 pm

Hey Sultry, I welcome your comments. I am a big believer in free speech and an open debate on issues. That is what the blog is all about.


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