Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Freedom of Speech

Yes, I supported discontinuing the display of the Confederate battle flag on government property. Banning its display generally, on private property or at public venues, however, constitutes impingement of freedom of speech. And no, I do not display that flag.

Greg Grandin says, in his piece at Tom Dispatch, that, “the Confederate flag represents ‘hate, not heritage,’”
but I would submit that it represents whatever the person displaying it intends for it to represent. We cannot know what is in the mind of another. He attributes that consensus to “liberal and mainstream commentators,”
so what he is saying is that it is perceived in that particular fashion by that particular group, which is a tiny fraction of the general population, and one which holds its own set of prejudices and preconceptions.

So, in reality we do not know what a person is expressing by displaying this symbol, but even if he is expressing some form of hatred, where is it a given that the expression of hated is impermissible? We may not like it, and I don’t, but what happened to the American tradition of, “I despise everything that you say, sir, but I will fight to the death to defend your right to say it?”

There seems to be an emerging belief that we have some sort of right not to be offended. What is particularly odd about that is that it is liberals who are fighting to deny the freedom of expression involved in the display of this flag, and they are at the same time declaiming that we should embrace a greater degree of diversity.

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