Free Speech vs big money spin

John K Clark (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 20:55:33 -0700 (PDT)


On Wed, 18 Jun 97 "Rick Knight" <> Wrote:

>I wonder if the founding fathers in declaring the right of free
>speech imagined multi-national companies with huge advertising

Who cares, I don't usually listen to moral advice from slave owners.

>Free speech is not an oan all or nothing consideration in my book.It
>is leveraged by discernment and the discernment of the collective at
>that. And even then, if the decisions of the people are a result of
>a smoke and mirrors deception by a charismatic leader (say...Hitler
>or Kohmeni), is it true discernment?

I would be all in favor of government thought control to protect the world
from dangerous or erroneous ideas, provided you can prove to me that this new
ministry of truth would have the following 4 properties:

1) A ministry of truth that can always tell truth from falsehood.

2) A ministry of truth that can always tell when little people like me and
you can not handle the truth and so must be lied to.

3) A ministry of truth staffed exclusively by saints so it always has the
moral courage to do the right thing and would never abuse its awesome

4) A ministry of truth that can magically enforce its edicts on incorrect
speech even in a world that contains strong encryption, anonymous
re-mailers, DC nets and a Internet that spans the globe.

>with alcohol consumption linked to so much dysfunction, death and
>destruction, I don't really associate "free speech" with a
>multi-billion dollar industry's ability to exercise it sensibly,

I concede that stupidity can be hazardous to your health, and perhaps it's a
character flaw on my part but I just don't have a burning desire to make the
world safe for fools, especially when it would mean less freedom for me.
I think of it as Evolution in action.

>In most things in a cooperative democracy, there are limits

That's one reason most of us on this list do not believe in democracy, I
certainly don't.

>and not just yelling "Fire" falsely in crowded theater.

That cliche originally came from the American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes
(1841-1935), he used it in one of his decisions that upheld the conviction of
a man imprisoned for saying America should not be in the First World War.
Years later Holmes said it was the worst decision he made in his entire legal
career and he cringed whenever he heard somebody quoting his famous saying.

John K Clark

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