The Colonel #8

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Facebook, and I am assuming some offended parties worked together to block the others in last night’s discussion from appearing on their site. So be it. I thought tonight, I might say something about free speech and freedom in general.

Now, some might be tempted to say taking down posts from my blog violates the right to free speech. This is simply not true. In no way was I inhibited from speaking my mind. My right to free speech does not require others to rent me an audience hall. Just because I have a right to free speech does not mean Facebook must provide a platform for me.  

If only more people understood that we would not be talking about the right to healthcare, abortion, or homosexual wedding cakes. There is not a single right that you or I can possess that compels others to do anything but stand aside and let us avail ourselves of our rights. That is why talk of a right to healthcare is such absolute nonsense. 

People say to me, “don’t you think everyone deserves healthcare?” Sure, I do. Because everyone deserves it does not mean the have a right to it. Everybody deserves clean air and water, and pesticide-free food, but do we have a right to it? No! And until people demand the market change, by changing their spending habits, it will never be the standard for industry…and rightfully so.

Another thing about free speech that most people ignore is that free speech does not mean speech free from consequences. Gillette had the right to air girly-man commercials. They do not have a right to compel the customers that ad offended to continue buying their products. We would all do well to remember Mark Twain’s admonishment that it is better to say nothing and have people think you’re an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Free speech…the free part only means you are free to say it. Like all “free” stuff, it’s not really free, there is a price to be paid somewhere along the line whether it’s the men and women who have died to win and keep that right, or the personal price we pay for the things we say.

So, if Facebook wishes to disallow my posts because their community has standards different from mine…my right to free speech can not compel them to grant me a forum. Thankfully, everyone can still read everything I write on MY website. 

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