Friday, September 30, 2011

Putting In Your $1.05

One thing people tend to forget is that Freedom of Speech also means that individuals have the Freedom Not To Speak. Perhaps we should all exercise that freedom just a little more often.

We're hearing more and more stories about anti-gay weirdoes spouting off their beliefs in unnecessary or unusual places. Some of those people, like this guy, are being punished for their inopportune and unwelcome comments. And some of those people, like that same guy, are being propped up as martyrs in the fundamentalist Christian community.

The thing is that, while he does have a right to speak his mind, he doesn't have a right to do so without repercussion. We all have rights and privileges in this country, but those come with responsibilities as well. The responsibility to speak about appropriate topics in appropriate ways and in appropriate settings strongly correlates with the right to free speech.

For example, I am free to discuss topics like my bedroom activities with whomever is around me. But that may come at a cost. If I choose to speak of these things with friends at a bar, that cost will be laughs or friendly jibing, but if I choose to do so in front of my boss, that cost may be the loss of my job, or if I choose to do so on Facebook, that cost may be the "unfriending" of family and friends who are not keen on participating in such discussions.

You see, I am free to discuss my bedroom antics, but I am also subject to the cost of that freedom. Conversely, I am free to simply not speak of such things, thereby avoiding any cost, and I am free to selectively share, thereby incurring only the costs I am willing and able to pay.

Clearly, there are people who are unaware of the costs of their Freedoms. Perhaps if people continue to lose focus of the societal costs of their freedoms, we should enact the $1.05 policy advocated by Team America: World Police.

No comments:

Post a Comment