Saturday, January 24, 2009

To my children

We here in America usually don't keep close track of happenings in other nations. That's probably more because we lead extremely busy lives and have full plates just "getting by," much of the time, and not due to our parochialism or arrogance I hope. But I could be wrong.

Anyway, something is now occurring in The Netherlands [nee Holland] that bodes ill for your future, and as the "supreme authority figure in this family" [interpretation: ancient of days] it is my solemn duty to draw the issue to your attention - not that you can change it, but because you need to be aware of the ramifications that might eventually flow over you and yours from it.

Please read this post from one of my favorite web sites. Maybe even follow its links. Afterwards you might want to "google" Geert Wilders and read more about his supposed "crime". The sad fact is that America is the ONLY major nation left in the world that allows our level of "free" speech. Not Canada, not Australia, not Great Britain, not Scotland, not France, not China, not Japan, not any of the major players. All those nations in some way limit "free" speech if the words in question cause someone else to "feel" a certain way. In other words, they've given up one person's freedom to accommodate another person's feelings. I'm trusting you each see the fallacy in this line of thinking.

Now I'm not an absolutist on "free speech". There are reasonable limits to this freedom, such as not being permitted to yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there isn't one, etc. But arresting a person just because one's exercise of free speech might cause others in opposition to the expressed viewpoint to become violent is not "reasonable," in my view. Someone else's criminality is their responsibility, not a speakers merely because the speaker expressed an opinion. And any nation or peoples group which thinks otherwise have slipped a cog in the rationality department I fear.

By-the-way, taking away free speech would be the important first step in eventually altering or removing freedom of religion, and though that end result might at first glance seem far away, in fact once "free speech" could be shackled a restriction on religion is probably less than a decade behind - in my estimation.

The reason I raise this issue with you now is because there is a fear, whether realistic or not, that some radical supporters of our new administration, along with a few congresspersons, also favor the approach taken by The Netherlands in limiting certain aspects of "free" speech. Please be vigilant in the years ahead over this issue. If it comes up please exercise your rights as citizens to be heard. This issue sounds so innocuous at times, but once taken away, freedom of speech can almost never be restored without bloodshed. And the thought of that possibility waiting my offspring's future saddens me.

Ranting lesson over. Resume normalcy.


Suzi said...

You are a good dad!

Olivia Tastemaker said...

I agree with Suzi!

49erDweet said...

Ah, shucks.

Ed said...

I highly recommend a screening of "Good Night, and Good Luck" as a companion to reading this post, which 3/4 of the GMC population have accomplished, followed by a heated discussion period.This was a good news/bad news event in my family; it degenerated into strict and very strident divisions along political party affiliations.
This should be "endlessly debated" and our rights of civil freedom should be tirelessly defended - over and over again.
Thanks, Dad, for minding the gap.

49erDweet said...

Knowing Clooney's affinity for leftish politics I skipped this flik when it first came out, so was somewhat amazed with your comment. Nice to see more things than I supposed are useful for enhancing family togetherness and cohesiveness. [smiling]

Plus I lived through the real event, disliked McCarthy as a bully well before Murrow's broadcasts, and also disrespected many of ERM's frequently espoused political positions. But about this subject he was spot on.

Most "journalists" today, I'm afraid, whiz through the fact-finding portion of the news gathering biz and spend their time on opinion spouting - as if their own personal thoughts are more significant and worthwhile to we the insignificants than the facts of the case. Murrow did spend lots of time gathering all manner of facts, so if and when he fairly presented them his viewers should have had enough knowledge upon which to base a valid opinion. I'll give him that.

But what today's "journalists" miss is that ERM separated his news presentations from his opinion segments. As I recall editorial comments were always at the end of his broadcasts, with him shown more relaxed, smoking a cigarette. It was as if he were having a conversation among friends. That difference is why the MSM today is failing. Today they seem to all be advocates, not reporters. And to many of their readers have recognized that fraudulent practice for what it is, and decided to not pay for advocacy per se because so much more of it is free and openly available. But I digress.

Thanks for the comment and love to the GMC's, darling Ed.