Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

NFL and the National Anthem

September 29, 2017

Currently, NFL players are protesting injustice by refusing to stand for the National Anthem at the beginning of the football games. The football players are claiming that the United States is unjust and that this protests the injustice. Therefore, kneeling at the National Anthem is part of their freedom of speech. Critics say that it is disrespectful to this country and its veterans, and that the football players should stand. President Trump has weighed in as well, stating that the NFL should fire such players.

This issue can (and will) be resolved by the free market and property rights.

First, the right to free speech extends only as far as your property. I may speak my mind, whatever I think, on my own property, using my own paper and my own broadcast equipment. I cannot force someone else to give me a platform from which to speak. I cannot demand a TV network use their property to spread my message. I cannot go to another person’s property and demand they listen to me. In fact, the only way an idea gets past my walls is if someone else allows me to speak in theirs.

Second, I certainly cannot expect my freedom of speech to include going to my place of employment (say my company owner’s property) and demand that he listen to and repeat my message.

The NFL players have signed contracts stating that they will stand for the National Anthem, with their hand over their hearts. If they refuse, their employer has every right to fire them, just like Walmart can fire the cart pusher for not pushing carts. It is not an issue of “freedom of speech” at all.

Personally, I think that a bunch of football players, making a small fortune are interesting folks to talk about “injustice” and “privilege.” They should stand in support of this country, its flag, and its veterans. They, of all people, should recognize the affluence afforded by this society that we can watch them play a game, and willingly throw money at them to do so. A less fortunate country would not have time for such unimportant activities as watching a sport.

Having said that, let’s let the free market decide. Yes, they have their freedom of speech to run their mouths, but the NFL can certainly request their dismissal, and the individual teams can fire the players.

From an informal examination of my Facebook friends, I think keeping these “protesting” players will do more harm than good for the NFL. My friends who have come out in support of the protest never watched football anyhow, and aren’t about to start, regardless of who is protesting. My friends who watch football are the ones who are angry and are boycotting football.

My bet is that the NFL will have a choice: continue to allow the protests, and watch their bottom line sink, or reprimand the players and salvage what will be a dreadful year for the organization. Perhaps baseball will be more popular next spring.

Thank you for reading my post.

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Censorship, Yet Again

July 13, 2017

Censorship exists only in one fashion:  when the goverment forbids you from speaking/writing/etc.  Censorship cannot occur unless THE GOVERNMENT forbids speech.  A person, a corporation, Facebook, etc., cannot “censor” anything.

There has been quite a few misconceptions about this over the past few weeks, starting with the Kathy Griffin incident, where she displayed a model of a beheaded Donald Trump.  No, Kathy, CNN did not “censor” you.  You are free to speak, but you cannot demand CNN, or anyone else, for that matter, to provide you a platform to do so.

I have also seen quite a few posts recently talking about how Facebook “censored” them.  No, it didn’t.  Facebook can choose to keep or discard any information they want. It is their platform.  They don’t have to support your views, nor are they required to provide you a microphone.

If you go to a concert, security is not “censoring” you when they do not let you run up on stage and take the microphone from the lead singer.  They are not “censoring” you by not giving you “equal time” or any other nonsense.

Unpopular Opinion Time:  The same is true for Net Neutrality.  A company can decide what content travels along their equipment, and at what speed.  Plenty of you will point out that the internet operates under Net Neutrality at this time, and that blogs like mine could be blocked.  So what?  I should not be able to force someone else to display my content.

Would this be the death of the internet?  No.  In fact, it opens up a huge door for companies to CHOOSE to be Net Neutral.  I bet that a few internet providers that choose to be net netural, instead of being forced to be net neutral, will very quickly displace the companies that choose to reject net neutrality.

Even so, whether or not the internet will change with no net neutrality requirement should not supercede the rights of the provider to run their network how they wish.

Really, it comes down to property rights again.  The KKK cannot show up in an interracial couple’s bedroom and protest, because the couple’s property rights supercede the KKK’s rights to “free speech.”  In the same way, an internet provider should be able to determine what content and at what speed and conditions messages are passed through their property.

Thank you for reading my post.

Censorship and the 1st Amendment

January 27, 2017

As many of you have heard, President Donald Trump wrote Executive Orders to keep the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and several other organizations from making press releases and social media posts.

Many on the left are calling this censorship and a violation of free speech.  Neither of these is true.

Basically, one part of the government has told another part of the government to shut up.  That’s it.  It is no different than what they’ve told folks with a security clearance for years.

Censorship is the act of a government forbidding its citizens from speaking freely.  Like, say, this.

It isn’t a war on science, either.  You can still get these articles from peer-reviwed sources, same as always.  The only difference is that, for the time being, people working for the federal government cannot publish press releases designed to alarm citizens in an effort to get more funding.

As a scientist/engineer, I am sick of seeing awful science published in regular media outlets.   So many of the press releases are done so poorly, they can hardly be called science.  From CNN articles about hurricanes in the Dakotas and blaming every weather disaster on climate change to exaggerated claims about new technological advances, the real science is not featured.

In the end, I really don’t care if the government can’t toot its own horn any more and exaggerate its contributions to science.  How many climate scientists believe in climate change?  How much funding would they receive if they disagreed?  How much would they receive if anthropological climate change wasn’t blamed every time the wind blew?

This isn’t to say that climate change isn’t happening or that government funded research hasn’t led to great discoveries.

I’m done ranting for the evening.  Thank you for reading my post.