Monday, December 18, 2006

Censorship or Safety

Recently I was sent this link from slashdot (please click on the highlighted text within the article too). I was also informed of legislation regarding censorship of blogs by Senator McCain which you can see here: Link
Both of these pieces of information bring up nagging questions about censorship, freedom of speech and constitutional rights erosion. Now I personally agree completely with doing everything we can to stop child porn and so there for Senator McCain's idea doesn't seem to really be a bad idea (originally I was told that McCains's legislation also included censoring blogs in regards to content issues like defamation of character and some other things---but I believe that was incorrect as I currently understand it. I could be wrong though). On the other hand where is it that you start down the slope and it turns into something nobody can stop anymore. I mean---most people would agree that at some time there could be people in "charge" that are less than honest. Or maybe they are just more power hungry, desire more riches or just have an extremely firm viewpoint on an issue that could be the opposite of yours. Now I don't have a problem with people with convictions---I have my own. But when do my convictions possibly conflict with the rights of others if I am the one making laws?? Where and when do you stand up and say "I agree with this issue---but I don't like where this could end up heading so I will vote no" Is that the same thing with National Animal Identification? Or Real ID? They are both for "good" reasons: protecting our food supposedly and protecting our selves supposedly. But will they? And what might happen after we already have those rules and a new elected official comes along and wants more laws or more control? What about laws regarding what you eat? Or drink? Where I live there are rules about drinking. Supposedly to make me a better person. By whose standards? Christian standards? or would that be Baptist standards? Or Seventh Day Adventist standards? Or Catholic standards? All three of those "standards" have differences---regarding something so small of an issue as to whether to have a glass of wine or beer with your steak. And that isn't even moving into the heavy issues. I absolutely detest smoking. And when I lived in Texas years ago and the law was passed to ban it in public places---I was glad! Then I moved to Georgia and they still have smoking in restaurants and other public places and I thought yuk! bummer!.
Now--my Aunt has asthma badly enough that smoking around her will cause problems. So I am for this "censorship". But when I recently read of the Free State Project, I realized that I was doing exactly to others the thing I detested most--censoring their right to choose. O.k. so I still choose not to be subjected to smoking in public---and I think that smokers could be a bit more polite about it, but what if the next thing is the type of clothing we are allowed to wear in public? or the music we can listen to?" or the t.v stations? Does that sound familiar to you? Why are we fighting in the middle east for "freedom"----when we are handing over our own freedoms right here on American soil?
Now if you are interested in seeing more things supposedly censored here is a link to a group that studies it:
Project Censored Media and this is what Wikpedia says about their organization.


Phelan said...

I don't know! You people keep throwing new things at me! I can't keep up with all the "But it's for your own good" agendas.

What ever happened to live and let live. Yes, I know, there are bad people, bad people must be dealt with. But come on, don't let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

Off to find some more appropriate euphemisms

BurdockBoy said...

There is a big difference between freedom of speech in the privacy of ones home and banning things in public. I detest smoking and believe it should be banned from restaurants and such, but I would be against criminalizing it- like smoking in ones own home.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Thanks Burdockboy for the reply and for the record I agree with you BUT what if somewhere down the road other things we take for granted (like picketing) are not allowed for the "safety" of others? You know so they don't get whacked in the face by an angry sign carrier. LOL Or more seriously to the point---tagging all farm animals so that the subdivision dwellers can feel "safer". The smoking was an easy one to start with for laws though since it is a known fact others can get ill and people are very divided about smoking----not much of a gray area in that issue. Again --I agree with you, but I just wanted to make others think about censorship and where it can go without us even realizing it is headed there.

Karen said...

In NY, smoking was banned in restaurants and bars a few years ago. I am not a smoker, but I objected to this law, because it took away the right to choose, not only for the smoker, but for the bar owner or restaurant owner, and, it also takes away the consumer's ability to choose. That is, I think that bar owners should be able to choose whether they will allow smoking or not on their premises. I also believe that patrons should be able to voice their choices by frequenting establishments that meet their needs. So, if you are a non-smoker and can't stand to be in a place where people are smoking, you will choose a non-smoking establishment. If enough people refuse to patronize restaurants where smoking is allowed, the owner may then decide to change his/her policy - or not. Smokers equally would patronize businesses where they could comfortably sit and smoke. When we allow government to take our ability to choose away, we reinforce the notion that we are unable to make intelligent decisions, and need to be nannied.

Recently in NY, a proposal was made that smoking should be prohibited in one's own home, if children are present. So you see how the slippery slope works...

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

"When we allow government to take our ability to choose away, we reinforce the notion that we are unable to make intelligent decisions, and need to be nannied". Super good point Karen---and I for one don't want or need a nanny.