Friday Firesmith – Freedom of Expression

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Recently I have written about the escapades of a young woman, a self-described “dumbass” and apparently by the reactions given to the essay there are some conclusions to be drawn:

1. There are those who believe any sort of expression ought to be free regardless of the emotional damage which it might inflict upon others.
2. This freedom of expression is limited only in the case of someone articulating objection and then the objection is objectionable.
3. Objection to someone’s objection is also freedom of expression.

In summary: You can say or do any damn thing you want. Anyone who says anything about it is wrong. It’s okay to point out it’s wrong.


Let me give you an example of what we’re actually talking about here.

It’s perfectly legal for me to tell a woman I am in love with her even when I am not. If I know she’ll sleep with me if I pretend to be interested in her then that is also legal. This happens each and every day, with other men and women, not with me mind you, and I would hope we could agree this sort of behavior isn’t to be encouraged.

Now, should we make it illegal? No, that would be a quagmire. But it’s enough to have some cultural recognition on accepted behavior. This doesn’t always work. When I had long hair I was harassed by a lot of the older people because they thought long hair was offensive. Now long hair is acceptable in other men in women, not for me because my hair leapt from my head, suicidally bent as it were, to escape what it saw inside.

I’m a writer. Don’t presume to lecture me on freedom of speech. I know full well the trail of bodies that have been left behind by those who would kill the printed word if they could only kill enough writers. It has been tried before, it’s going on right now, and in the future it will happen again. Don’t accuse me of trying to suppress someone else’s opinion because I voiced my own. I take exception to that.

Now, in case you think the Constitution sprang from a writer’s head onto a piece of parchment and freedom rang forth, you’re delusional. A war was going on and if the writer had been caught he would have been hung, if he was lucky. But there were men willing to fight, kill, and die, to keep that from happening.

I write what I want to write because wars have been fought, people have been killed, and nations have been born, in order than I might have that right.

My gratitude for that right extends to honoring the dead for what they, and their families gave.

What happened at Arlington pissed me off and I do not give a damn who I offend by saying so out loud, in print, and if need be, again.

But let me reveal a few things here, please. You are reading this not because I wrote it only, but because Jon chose to publish it. He could have decided not to and I would not have the right to demand otherwise. You have right to comment here only at his pleasure. You and I willingly submit ourselves to the rules and regulations here, and by being here, you have accepted that.

You have chosen to be censored for the right to be here, as have I. Yet in a broader sense, there are those who accuse me of censorship or suppression or over reaction because of something I wrote.

The word has formed in your mind. There is no need for me to write it, is there?

In 1869 John Stuart Mill published “On Liberty” I suggest you read it.

The subject of this Essay is not the so-called Liberty of the Will, so unfortunately opposed to the misnamed doctrine of Philosophical Necessity; but Civil, or Social Liberty: the nature and limits of the power which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual.-John Stuart Mill

I do not think those who support the actions at Arlington are either stupid or disloyal, as has been suggested by others, but I sure as hell think it’s misguided.

Take Care,



Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit

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