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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Shut up? Says who?

Again with the free speech clause... Betsy Newmark points to Tinker v. Des Moines, today. Here's the nub of the decision:
" ...in our system, undifferentiated fear or apprehension of disturbance is not enough to overcome the right to freedom of expression. Any departure from absolute regimentation may cause trouble. Any variation from the majority's opinion may inspire fear. Any word spoken, in class, in the lunchroom, or on the campus, that deviates from the views of another person may start an argument or cause a disturbance. But our Constitution says we must take this risk, Terminiello v. Chicago, 337 U.S. 1 (1949); and our history says that it is this sort of hazardous freedom - this kind of openness - that is [393 U.S. 503, 509] the basis of our national strength and of the independence and vigor of Americans who grow up and live in this relatively permissive, often disputatious, society."
OK, the case of kids wearing black armbands as a "statement" against the Vietnam War barely qualifies in my book as "speech" (but does qualify, because they widely publicized that was the purpose), so, qualifying, it's simply not the business of ANY agent of a governmental body in any way recieving funds from Congress to promulgate a regulation "abridging the freedom of speech." Period. And any agent of the feds (or person or body who recieves moneies from the feds in any way, shape, fashion or form) who says differently is itching for a fight. And I'd be happy to oblige them. Of course, the Thousands Standing Around will clap you in irons if you make a political observation in their presence that disagrees with their tender sensibilities... Maybe I'd better not fly anywhere for a while...