Conservatives Don't Understand 'Free Speech'

The First Amendment protects free speech against government laws restricting it. Not the public exercising its own free speech by boycotting and protesting the speech of others.

But conservatives like Bill O’Reilly don’t get that.

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  • zirgar

    And they never will.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kevin-Krupski/100002308768984 Kevin Krupski

    I made it just over 10 seconds into the video before my brain started to hurt and had to turn it off. So how is buying chicken making hetrosexual marrages better? Also Billy, seeing that New York has same sex marrage, is your marrage now doing worse since it was made legal? On that note, why are the right of a gay bashing, AR15 carring racest more importent then a mine, a teacher or a nine year old girls? Tell us you “Big Man”.

  • http://doran.pacifist.net/ Doran

    They also say airing negative ads is voter suppression of white folk.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      I think it is a form of voter suppression.

      • http://doran.pacifist.net/ Doran

        How so? Because they get bummed out? That’s not voter suppression, that’s marketing. There’s no extra burden being put on Romney supporters through the airing of these ads. Certainly not in the way GOP efforts with Voter ID are adding extra burden on some potential voters.

        Saying bad things about your opponent has a long history in American politics. Until this year I’ve never heard it referred to as voter suppression, never mind voter suppression against whites.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          “saying bad things” is not the same thing as lying, which is what I was referring to.

          sigh…….. sorry for the double post.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          “saying bad things” is not the same as lying which is what i was referring to.

          When a campaign lies about their opponent, they are certainly suppressing the vote of some for their opponent in that their opponent loses some votes due to the lies.

          I was not referring to suppressing the vote in the sense of keeping them from voting, although negative ads which are lies can certainly discourage some people from voting.

          • http://phydeauxpseaks.blogspot.com Bob Rutledge

            nicole, I think you’re conflating two different things. Yes, you’re right, the intent of negative ads is to get a person to not vote for Candidate A because s/he is a _____________ (fill in scare quote).

            But voter suppression is much more than that. It’s an attempt to not allow a person to vote at all.

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            I know, Bob. I’m having a really bad day. :(

          • http://phydeauxpseaks.blogspot.com Bob Rutledge

            Here’s hoping for a better one.

            (((nicole)))

          • http://doran.pacifist.net/ Doran

            I hate to push it, but I really need to disagree. There must not be a false equivalence between making questionable claims about one’s opponent, and enacting laws which make it more difficult for legal voters to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

            The targets of these negative (perhaps false) ads are in no way prevented from voting.

            That’s a really important distinction: They are claiming “suppression” where none exists.

            Additionally, the attempt of these GOP operatives to label this as suppression of white voters is beyond specious and borders on being actively racist.

            For example, would they claim Mitt Romney’s false ads about Obama are attempts to suppress black votes? Any votes? Of course not. Yet they are more than willing to put forward those ideas in very high-profile outlets.

            This is just a part of the Romney campaign’s I’m Rubber, You’re Glue strategy they’ve been perusing from the beginning.

  • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

    Hi Bob, I just watched the entire clip and I think you may have mischaracterized Bill’s remarks.

    He did say that folks have a “right” to say what they want without being punished, but I think he was using “right” in the colloquial sense. He never said that the First Amendment protects Chick Fil A from retribution.

    I took Bill’s position to be that is it “un-American” to shut down folks for things they say, not that it is unconstitutional.

    • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

      How is it “un-American” to stand up to intolerance and hate?

      • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

        It’s not. It’s wonderfully American to stand up to intolerance and hate.

        Bob seems to be saying that Bill was misapplying the First Amendment, which appears to me after viewing the clip, not to be true.

        I’m all for calling people out, but we should be accurate when we do it.

        • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

          hmm….either I misread your first post or you edited it.

          • http://JCohenMusic.com Justin Cohen

            No sweat, Nicole. I did not edit it. : )

          • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

            Okay. No problem, it was my own fault then.

  • jalo8180

    I tried to post a sec ago, but it didn’t seem to take… So, just to be clear, are you saying that vandalism and verbally berating drive-through window employees is an acceptable form of protesting the free speech of others?

    http://lat.ms/MhCCEM
    and
    http://bit.ly/PAtN9V

    • i_a_c

      Who said anything about vandalism? Just you.

      • jalo8180

        Another thing nobody said anything about is Joe Moreno using his political position as Alderman in Chicago to block businesses when he disagrees with their opinions… or how Christine Quinn is writing on official city council letterhead and stating that she’s writing as “the Speaker of City Council” telling NYU they need to kick Chick Fil A off campus (despite the fact that City Council never voted or agreed on the matter)…

        But I get it. Sorry, thought this was Disqus as in “discuss.” Thought people wanted to intelligently discuss and listen to each other’s views. In re-reading this trail, I clearly walked in on a rally with pitchforks and torches ablaze. No worries. I get it, I get it. Dissenting opinions on free speech have no place here.

        I have to say, though… It’s kind of funny how you did not answer my one question; and then not only asked me a question, but answered it for me.

        I will kindly leave you like-minded people alone.

        • i_a_c

          Your question was dishonest and the answer is evident to anyone with an iota of reading comprehension.

          So, just to be clear, are you saying that vandalism and verbally berating drive-through window employees is an acceptable form of protesting the free speech of others?

          Nobody here is saying that or anything remotely similar. It’s just another boring strawman posed as a question.

          • jalo8180

            Okay, since you’re pressing the issue… at marker 2:48 in the video it states using “Threats and indimidation” to silence another’s opinion is wrong. Bob posted the video, not me. Bob 1) disagrees with the opinions in the video and 2) advocates protesting of other’s free speech. Hence the question. Dodge it all you like.

          • D_C_Wilson

            Wow. So before Bob posts a video, he has to go through it line by line and mark which statements with time indexes he agrees with and which ones he doesn’t?

            Look, nobody is fooled by your little game here. Everyone can see you’re trying to bait someone into defending vandalism and threats of intimidation. It’s not going to happen.

            Vandalism and threat of violence are wrong. Even when the person doing it agrees with you on some isse.

            Happy now?

        • Victor_the_Crab

          Good. Crawl back to your right wing bubble with all your likeminded mouthbreating retards, fuckface. You goobers add nothing of substance.

          • jalo8180

            There it is. The assumptions and intolerance. I’m actually pro-gay rights, but I’m also pro free speech as well. I’m pro choice and believe we need to do better about gun control. I’m neither conservative nor liberal. I honestly voted for Obama last election. But, please – call me names, swear, intimidate me, bully me… I like your free use of the “r” word. Very sensitive of you. Very respectful of people that have to care for those effected, let alone the individuals themselves.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            I’m sorry, I take that all back. You’re a concern troll with no life and like to hang around sites like this taking in punishment. Well, we aims to please!

          • jalo8180

            More name calling, got it. Compelling way to make a point. Genuinely was interested in people’s opinion on this issue. Because I can see both sides – free speech vs gay rights advancements. Have to say I won’t find any intelligent discussion or points here. I am leaving feeling sad for gay rights causes if this forum’s contributors are representative of its ambassadors. This will be my last post (to all, yes, Bob included). So please flame away… I am now going to be a completely unarmed target for those that come read this later. You win. Good job.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            Horray for our side! Eat it, concern troll.

          • Victor_the_Crab

            BTW, numbnuts. I would never use the “r” word to describe the mentally handicapped. Just losers like. Buh-byeee!

        • mrbrink

          When you spend millions of dollars persecuting gay people, or your fellow Americans for who they are, you are not engaging in free speech. That is called persecution. Look it up.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    I’ve spent so much time, effort and energy over the years explaining what free speech is, and more importantly, what is isn’t, that I’m no longer surprised when something like this happens.

    The pattern is predictable. Some high-profile person who is in some way associated or aligned with the GOP/Fox cohort, says some really despicable, bigoted, hateful thing that the GOP fan base likes, but that offends just about everyone else. Some backlash ensues against that person, and immediately the right-wing mediasphere declares that his free speech/First Amendment rights are being violated, and that the whole episode proves just how Intolerant™ The Left™ is.

    One thing we have to remember about Mr. O’Reilly and his cohort: No matter what happens, no matter what anyone does or says, no matter who does it or who says it, their understanding of it begins and ends with one basic fundamental principle: THEY ARE THE VICTIMS. Before anything else is said, before any question is asked or answered, before any further understanding is sought, they begin with the normative concept that they, meaning fans of the GOP and their sundry enablers, are being unfairly and arbitrarily victimized, persecuted, oppressed, picked on, threatened, “just because” they’re conservative, “just because” they’re Christian™, “just because” they believe in God, “just because” they believe in Freedom™, or “just because” of whatever other thing they admire about themselves.

    They’ve been reading from this script for years and years and years. There’s no point in listening to them anymore because their thoughts are always the same; one can predict what they’re going to say long before O’Reilly or Hannity or the Fox & Friends douchenozzles or whomever else says it.

    • i_a_c

      You nail it. When Christian conservatives speak, they are just standing up for their beliefs, and when liberals speak, they are trying to silence their adversaries and violate their rights, etc. Of course, they are unwittingly insisting that liberals not speak their mind, making their own worldview a complete and utter contradiction. In other words, it’s OK if you’re a Republican.

      • http://doran.pacifist.net/ Doran

        It’s the same with the Catholic Bishops who say giving an employee access to contraception if she wants it is somehow infringing on the employer’s rights, but preventing access to contraception isn’t an infringement on the employee’s rights regarding religious freedom.

  • Lee Bryner

    Bob, they do understand how the 1st Amendment works. The problem is that they think it only applies to THEM and no one else. As Sarah Palin puts it, the “real” Americans. It’s like this whole religious “freedom” issue. It’s only about THEIR religious freedom; meaning the freedom to shove their so-called “Christian” beliefs down everyone’s throat, but if anyone else wants to exercise their freedom, whether they be Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or god forbid athiest, then screw them, they don’t count. That simple. Look at the whole Tea Party vs. OWS thing. The Tea Party are simply exercising their rights as Americans; but OWS protesters deserve police brutality.

  • D_C_Wilson

    I love how Bill-O the clown, a man who once called for a boycott of the entire nation of France, is now claiming he’s always been against boycotts.

    Whatever.

    Hey, jalo8180, this is what is known as hypocrisy.

  • mrbrink

    Persecution is only free speech if you’re psychotic.

  • joseph2004

    The First Amendment protects free speech against government laws restricting it. Not the public exercising its own free speech by boycotting and protesting the speech of others.

    But conservatives like Bill O’Reilly don’t get that.

    Your first point reads a little weird, but we get what you meant.

    Your second point seems made up in this case. The video doesn’t support your claim. It does, however, take issue with some mayors who have threatened to punish businesses (in this case Chick-fil-A) for their CEOs’ political and social views, something we like to call tyranny.

    I’ve been amazed at the discussions on this site around “free speech,” and who is and who isn’t excercising it properly.

    In the case of Chick-fil-A, the vibe I get is that the protesters have a constitutional right to protest Chick-fil-A and its CEO, but that the outspoken support for Chick-fil-A and its CEO is somehow to be interpreted as an attack against the constitutionally protected speech of the protesters, rather than opinion countering other opinion.
    As such, I suppose you’d accuse the Chick-fil-A supporters of being “constitutionally illiterate,” in the same way you did those protesting the “ground zero” mosque a couple years back. In the latter case, too, you seemed to suggest that the protesters, by simply protesting against the community center, were not merely protesting but also infringing on somebody’s religious freedoms by doing so.

    Your past arguments belie the sentiment expressed at top.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      As usual troll, you got it wrong. We don’t care if you pathetic bigots eat at Chick-Fil-A as a way to try and stick it to the gays and liberals. In fact, we encourage your ilk to eat all the Chick-Fil-A you want every day. That way, the cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other health ailments associated with eating that shit will do you retards in, and then we can be left the fuck alone.

    • mrbrink

      How many times and ways do you have to be told that persecuting gay people is not protected speech.

      Persecuting gay people is not expressing your view.

      Persecuting gay people is not expressing your opinion.

      You are a fucking moron.