Free Speech?

This clip is frightening: https://twitter.com/FrankLuntz/status/910554684372291584.

Roughly half of college-age people, according to this Frank Luntz query, profess to believe that it is permissible to shout down someone with whose speech they disagree.  Not to worry, only about 20% think it is within their rights to forcibly cause that right of free speech to be denied.  So, if we have a group of college-age men and women numbering 10,000, only 2,000 think force is permissible.  What a deal for those charged with riot control.

Think about that for a moment.  One in every five who believe it permissible to shout down a speaker also believes that they ought to be able to forcibly end a speaker’s speech if they disagree with that speech.  The term ‘forcibly’ carries all kinds of connotation.  Once use of force has entered the discussion, who defines appropriate levels of force?  Are we confining that to pushing and shoving?  Can we take a swing at someone if we feel so compelled?  How about throwing rocks?  Why not carry a club with protruding spikes on the ‘business end’?  Maybe we simply ought to carry guns.

We are, frankly, going down a dangerous slippery slope today and it seems we’re going at an increasing rate of speed.  These kinds of thoughts used to be the turf of the ‘Outlaw’ motorcycle gangs.  And somehow now that has been moved to college campuses?  How did this happen?  Has parental upbringing devolved to this level?  Are these young adults okay when they walk onto the campus for their freshman year and then exposed to this kind of philosophic junk that turns them into rioting punks?

There was a time in our not-so-distant past when organized labor found itself in the same situation.  Most of that has disappeared today.  Maybe as the result of organized labor’s decreasing presence.  Clubs, not organizations…actual clubs, are used to get their points across today for the very most part.  Physical ‘beat-downs’ have been relegated to the pages of modern history books for the very most part but are re-emerging rapidly.

The alt-this and alt-that groups of today seem to be quite agreeable to using force to accomplish their disruption of events with which they appear to have some issues.  Witness our very recent past.  The definition of ‘force’ in these situations has taken on frightening connotations.  Apparently, clubs studded with spikes make a nice sound when they collide with a skull.  The escalation of tools desired for use by these thugs evolves rapidly.  If a club is neat, how much more so a sawed-off shotgun loaded with buckshot?

We have recently witnessed the degree to which such groups will go.  The tipping of statues does not seem to satisfy quite so much as it did initially, although that still seems a favorite of some.

These kinds of so-called ‘movements’ need spawning grounds, and those are apparently available in increasing numbers.  Modern communications technology feeds these movements.  The press coverage makes such groups feel quite self-important especially when they score one against the authorities.  Authorities are compelled to resort to violent means of riot control only when absolutely necessary…but that absolutely necessary line in the sand has been reached sooner, it seems, with each engagement.

Police officials and para-military forces need a new order of engagement for these situations.  We have seen what this movement is willing to use and that hasn’t been ‘words’ so much as it has devolved to violent methods and means virtually from the start.

Not everything in our nation’s history has been something of which we should be proud, but it is part of our nation’s history.  To pervert those things into the reasons for a riot in this day and age is simply the brainchild of some that believe they want to disrupt our lives and our freedoms by any means available.  We have authority-haters.  We have cop-haters.  We have racial divides that lend themselves to those who would organize haters for the next incursion against our freedoms.

The United States of America is at a dangerous crossroads today.  The inbreeding of these people who seem to believe they are somehow doing work that needs doing is symptomatic of a strain of hatred of authority.  Period.  There is nothing involved that is based upon protection of our basic freedoms.  To the contrary, these people interdict our freedoms by creating the need for additional rules and regulations that may actually dampen our basic freedoms.

I am reminded of Mad magazine and its cover image of Alfred E. Neuman with the question…”What?  Me Worry?”

Yes, it is time, past time actually, for each of us to worry and to make some changes as the result.

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