Friday, December 01, 2006

I may not like what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it

I believe those are the words of Voltaire (ok, as I understand it, it is often misattributed to him. There is some information on that here), and I do believe in that. So to that end, I was glad Keith Olbermann had something to say about Newt Gingrich's recent idea to "rethink" our freedom of speech. I could not say it any better, so I will let Mr. Olbermann's comment do the talking. All I can say is that it is time for people to wake up and be vigilant. Maybe go reread Orwell's works while you are it. I wonder if some of the Founding Fathers are rolling in their graves right about now. As I have said before, I try not to get too political, but as of late, it is getting harder to do so, especially with certain politicos suggesting the Constitution needs to be "rethought."

Some quotes from Mr. Olbermann's commentary:

Well, Mr. Gingrich, what is more 'massively destructive' than trying to get us, to give you our freedom?

And what is someone seeking to hamstring the First Amendment doing, if not "fighting outside the rules of law"?

And what is the suppression of knowledge and freedom, if not "barbarism"?

The explanation, of course, is in one last quote from Mr. Gingrich from New Hampshire… and another, from last week.

"I want to suggest to you," he said about these internet restrictions, "that we right now should be impaneling people to look seriously at a level of supervision that we would never dream of if it weren't for the scale of the threat."

And who should those "impaneled" people, be?

Funny I should ask, isn't it, Mr. Gingrich?

Because, as always with people wanting to take our rights away, they never tell you who exactly is going to be the watcher, and they sure as hell don't want the watcher watching them. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

But apparently there are some of us who cannot see, that the only future for America is one that cherishes the freedoms won in the past, one in which we vanquish bad ideas with better ones, and in which we fight for liberty by having more liberty, not less.

I have always had faith in the marketplace of ideas. I cannot help but wonder, are things really so bad in this nation that people now feel a need to simply silence anyone they disagree with? I thought that soldiers of this nation fought for the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, including our freedom of speech? Are we telling those soldiers now that their efforts are not worth it? Indeed, we fight for liberty by having more liberty, not less.

What a dark place your world must be, Mr. Gingrich, where the way to save America, is to destroy America.

I will awaken every day of my life thankful I am not with you in that dark place.

And I will awaken every day of my life thankful that you are entitled to tell me about it.

And that you are entitled to show me what an evil idea it represents — and what a cynical mind.

And that you are entitled to do all that, thanks to the very freedoms, you seek to suffocate.

I am thankful as well that for the moment we still live in a nation where anyone can say what they want. I will grant that if you say it, you should be willing to live with the consequences of your actions, but that is also part of what freedom of speech entails. And I am thankful that I am in a profession that can help people explore ideas and provide access to people looking for ideas or ways to question ideas. And I am thankful that I can be exposed to various opinions and ideas, even if I disagree with them.

Crooks and Liars has a link to the video here along with the transcript. Find it also at the MSNBC Website here.

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