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Tag Archives: free speech

Players Who Kneel are Contemptible, but Trump Should Butt Out

Make no mistake, football players who express their grievances by disrespecting the flag and the national anthem, and therefore the nation that is responsible for their freedom and their riches, should be fired.

It’s one thing to protest against a problem. It’s another thing to reject the nation. What we are seeing today would not have been tolerated at any previous point in our nation’s history, prior to say, the last 20 years. The culture has indeed reached a very sad and frightening new low. It’s remarkable that so few in football are standing, literally, against this.

Can the kneelers be fired? Would it mean the end of the NFL? Maybe. Or maybe not. Start firing them slowly, one by one, and the others may just decide their money is more precious to them than their principles.

The NFL may be finished anyway. A significant chunk of its fan base is deeply patriotic and know they have other options. Baseball is still going, hockey and basketball are about to get underway, and there’s always college football.

But President Trump ought to stay out of football and the actions of its players. Trump is the government, and America doesn’t need the government attacking free speech. Whatever one thinks of a football player kneeling during the national anthem, it is speech, and I don’t want Trump telling people what they can say any more than I would Obama. It’s pretty ironic to be criticizing people for disrespecting the republic while at the same time trying to squelch one of its founding principles, free speech.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s comment that football players “can do free speech on their own time” is Orwellian. “This is about respect for the military and the first responders in the country,” he declared. Well, as much as I love and respect the military and first responders, I recognize that you are allowed not to respect them. And I don’t think it’s about that anyway. Our flag is not there to represent the military or first responders, it represents the entire nation and our principles.

And I’ll be damned if I’m going to have the treasury secretary define free speech for me.

That doesn’t mean corporations, like the NFL or its franchises, have to tolerate this behavior. You can’t say or do anything you want at work. Companies are private entities that have a right to decide whom they employ, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to work for them. But the government should stay out of it.

Here’s a random sampling by Fox News of fans who say they like football too much to stop watching.

Campuses Want Students to Turn Each Other In for “Offensive” Speech

If only the Founding Fathers had anticipated microaggressions and mentioned them specifically in the Constitution.

From the Washington Examiner:

Universities are the cradle of free speech, where ideologies and ideas clash, where academics and activists can agree, disagree, or be disagreeable. This is particularly true in the United States, where the First Amendment zealously guards against government surveillance and intrusion into free speech.

Yet at hundreds of campuses across the country, administrators encourage students to report one another, or their professors, for speech protected by the First Amendment, or even mere political disagreements. The so-called “Bias Response Teams” reviewing these (often anonymous) reports typically include police officers, student conduct administrators and public relations staff who scrutinize the speech of activists and academics.

This sounds like the stuff of Orwell, although even he might have found the name “Bias Response Team” to be over-the-top.

Obama Attacks Free Speech at Prayer Breakfast

President Obama used the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning to undermine one of the Constitution’s most fundamental rights, suggesting those who demean Islam are abusing the use of free speech.

While acknowledging that Americans have “a legal right” to attack another’s religion, Obama said everyone should question those “who would insult others in the name of free speech,” indicating such insults were a misuse of the right. Similarly, Obama’s called for “civility” – a demand he has issued before but not always abided by himself – suggesting a desire that people censor their own speech.

As has been often said, the Founders’ free speech protections were not designed to safeguard polite conversation. They were exactly meant for speech that might offend.

Obama said:

There’s wisdom in our founders writing in those documents that help found this nation the notion of freedom of religion, because they understood the need for humility. They also understood the need to uphold freedom of speech, that there was a connection between freedom of speech and freedom of religion. For to infringe on one right under the pretext of protecting another is a betrayal of both.

But part of humility is also recognizing in modern, complicated, diverse societies, the functioning of these rights, the concern for the protection of these rights calls for each of us to exercise civility and restraint and judgment. And if, in fact, we defend the legal right of a person to insult another’s religion, we’re equally obligated to use our free speech to condemn such insults — (applause) — and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with religious communities, particularly religious minorities who are the targets of such attacks.

Just because you have the right to say something doesn’t mean the rest of us shouldn’t question those who would insult others in the name of free speech. Because we know that our nations are stronger when people of all faiths feel that they are welcome, that they, too, are full and equal members of our countries.

For Obama to lump himself in with other citizens who might criticize anti-islamist speech is also a dangerous precedent. Obama isn’t just any other citizen. He is the president of the United States, with vast law enforcement resources at his disposal, and his attacks on the speech of others, however offensive the speech is, can have a chilling effect on the right of free expression.

The remarks castigating those who attack Islam also are an indirect criticism of cartoonists at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, who drew caricatures of Mohammed and were killed for it.

Government Trying to Silence Private Citizen’s Speech

The Democratic Party, in its quest for money and politically correct purity, has reached a new low. A private citizen made a statement that some would find offensive. Democrats in Congress are trying to put that citizen out of business. The citizen in question often makes controversial statements. He draws calumny from his opponents. And… Continue Reading

President Obama and Duck Dynasty

Political correctness is a threat to the republic. It says, at bottom, that hurt feelings are more important than free speech. That some members of society have a right to mold the thoughts of others. It’s exactly the reverse of what was intended by the first amendment, which sought to protect speech from the anger… Continue Reading

Obama Offers a Strong Defense of Free Speech

President Obama Tuesday minced no words in defending the First Amendment before the world, declaring in a speech to the United Nations that the right to free speech is “enshrined” in our Constitution and that failure to safeguard it leads to oppression. In response to the video denigrating Mohammed that sparked outrage in the Muslim… Continue Reading

Mr. President, Don’t Tell Us to Tone it Down

I can remember that at some point during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, there was news that Henry Kissinger and other diplomats were getting nice and busy trying to bring about a cessation of hostilities. And I remember my mother saying, “Every time the Israelis start winning, everyone starts talking about peace.” I’m reminded of this… Continue Reading

Obama’s Bullying Bully Pulpit

The penchant of the White House to use its huge power and megaphone to slam private industries is one of its most disconcerting features. It distinguishes President Obama from the two other presidents I’ve covered, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. For sure, I remember them railing against their opponents, but not attacking specific private… Continue Reading