Thursday, October 30, 2008

Freedom of Speech.

Everyone knows that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States covers Freedom of Speech. 

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.


Now, as an aside, I thought it would be fun to highlight other examples where freedom of expression is guaranteed to the individual. 

The Soviet Union guaranteed freedom of expression. On paper, in practice, not so much. 

Article 50 [Expression]

(1) In accordance with the interests of the people and in order to strengthen and develop the socialist system, citizens of the USSR are guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street processions and demonstrations.
(2) Exercise of these political freedoms is ensured by putting public buildings, streets, and squares at the disposal of the working people and their organizations, by broad dissemination of information, and by the opportunity to use the press, television, and radio.

So what you might ask, and it's a good question. The difference is simple. Americans actually practice our rights, while the Soviets saw their rights on paper, but never were able to actually exercise them. 

I got to thinking about this when I saw an article stating that Australia is implementing mandatory internet censorship

AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.

The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled a code of conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.

The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of the proposed national internet filter.

The plan was first created as a way to combat child pronography and adult content, but could be extended to include controversial websites on euthanasia or anorexia. 

So if the subject is controversial, it's going to be filtered right out of existence for the people of Australia? Freedom means that friends, free to do, read, or speak things that are unpopular, or even controversial. So where does this freedom end? Your freedoms end, where mine begin. As long as I'm not hurting you, or anyone else, it's my speech and it's guaranteed as long as we the people say it is. 

Now, Child Pornography, obviously, in that, the child is hurt, and thus it's wrong. However, do you need to join China in filtering the information your people get? Is a nationwide internet filter the answer? Let's say someone writes an article that is critical of the Australian Liberals, and that article tells people how to vote the bums out of office. Obviously, to an Australian Liberal, that would be Controversial wouldn't it? So would that article be filtered? 

Probably not right away, but eventually, you can bet your ass it will be. Governments never stop taking freedoms. In the United States, we take freedoms every year, a little at a time. We say, it's necessary for the public good. The words haven't changed on our Constitution, but the reality is the words don't mean what they used to. 

Free Speech zones, usually in a cage, far from those whom you're trying to get your message to, is the norm now. Somehow, this is part of the Homeland security. I'm not sure what a bunch of lunatic college kids have to do with Terrorism, which is what Homeland Security is supposed to be concerned with. The terrorists didn't protest us on 9-11. They attacked us while we sat like sheep planning on everyone liking us. Don't fight back, just wait for the experts to sort this all out. 

So what if Australia filters it's internet, I don't live there, and it's not my problem right? Wrong. Citizens of the world have the internet, and with it they are exposed to thoughts and ideals that otherwise they might not be exposed to. Just take a moment, and imagine what some beaurocrat might find controversial. Censorship is something you don't do, because if you justify it with one topic, it becomes easy to justify it on many more topics.

I've never heard of any topic that was so awful, that it couldn't be discussed. The Liberals have heard of many topics, and you know, they probably like this internet filter. They probably are all happy they can finally shut down the nasty Rush Limbaugh types from the net. 

Our own Government is going to limit speech, should Obama be elected. It's called the Fairness Doctrine, and it's anything but fair. Anything that limits free speech, isn't fair in my understanding of the word, but hey, I'm just a Conservative who thinks that the few little rights we surrender today, will lead to the Chinese society in the US tomorrow. 

One last thought, I wonder if President Obama will be meeting with the Australian Government officials asking for lists of Political Prisoners, like Bush did with China. That's what happens when someone uses free speech in China, and Australia is working on doing the same thing. I wonder, how long it will be before Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid meet with President Obama on locking up people who abuse the public trust by speaking freely? 

BEIJING AND SAN FRANCISCO – In prisons across China, inmates languish for committing "political crime" - anything from starting an illegal newspaper, trade union, or unofficial religious church, or speaking a democracy slogan in public.

China is not a liberal state with tolerant laws, as its leaders agree. President Bush, showing solidarity with Christians who are sometimes arrested here, Sunday visited an official Protestant church in Beijing on the last leg of an Asia trip that has stressed what Mr. Bush called the "universal" value of freedom of expression. 

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