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Free Liberal: Coordinating towards higher values

Free Liberal

Coordinating towards higher values

I Lovingly Disagree

by Paul Jacob

Sundry censors among the party now in power in Congress — those ardent foes of the Culture of Corruption — are eager to "solve" the problem of telecommunicated "hate speech." You know, like conservative talk radio and stuff.

Democratic Representatives John Dingell and Ed Markey are particularly concerned about broadcasting that is overly negative about things. Dingell chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce, Markey chairs its Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. They want the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to focus on "uses by broadcast facilities licensed on behalf of the public by the FCC, and whether such uses convey messages of bigotry or hatred, creating a climate of fear and inciting individuals to commit hate crimes."

Um, gee, what would be the point of such an inquiry? Could it be to use the government's licensing power to somehow hamper political speech that Dingell and Markey happen to dislike?

Now, of course, speech can be offensive. Speech can foster anger and ill will.

But that's not the same as speech that directly incites violence, like telling listeners to assault somebody. And if all wrongheaded speech is outlawed . . . or all speech that makes us uncomfortable is outlawed . . . or all speech that somebody might use to rationalize bad deeds is outlawed . . . all so-called "climate-creating" speech . . . Well, what speech is one still free to make? The speech on how to make chocolate-chip cookies?

Paul Jacob's "Common Sense" is published by the Sam Adams Alliance. Their website can be visited at www.samadamsalliance.org.



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