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Some Thoughts On Free Speech

Authors Note:  While I had the honor of posting the previous team post, this post is mine and mine alone.  It represents only the views of Laughing Wolf and no other author or even of the blog.  Anyone taking exception to it should look to C. Blake Powers, aka Laughing Wolf, and no other. 

Over the years I've been blogging, and it has been about ten now I think, I have been accused more than once of infringing on someone's right to free speech.  The piteous screams of manufactured outrage have all come from those who found themselves refuted and/or banned/unpublished.  To go and get oneself removed from comments and/or banned seems to be the easy martyr merit badge for those of a particular bent, and the double-up-dying-duck-fits that elicit pity from the weak-minded usually garner only amusement or contempt from those with even a token of critical analysis ability.

To point out that the right to free speech has not been infringed is lost upon such, often deliberately as they seek to frame a false narrative.  All that has been removed is the ability to attempt to smear faeces on my wall and call it art; for, the ability to post that "art" elsewhere remains and is easily accomplished.  Today is no longer the day when the cost of a press was out of reach for all but the most wealthy and there are options for even the poorest among us to be heard (see the "Saving Pvt. Journalism" series for a fuller discussion of the concepts and history involved, see Pt. 1 for a start). 

I have suggested to more than one that they start their own blog or site, and have even encouraged a few.  In at least one case I felt that having them make their arguments would benefit rational discourse and the marketplace of ideas.  In most others, I will admit that having them do so would be less than helpful to those people and/or ideologies they claimed to support. While one can always debate the ethics of such, in practical (and tactical) terms I have no problem with those who proclaim themselves my enemy showing their true colours and damaging themselves and what they stand for (Note: I rarely claim someone as an enemy, for tis a wasteful and damaging thing done in all but the most exceptional circumstances -- far better, easier, and moral to have others to make the declaration; but, a philosophical discussion for another day). 

That all said, there is one other issue that many fail to get, particularly those that scream loudest and do the best stuck pig impression:  freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.  This applies to all, not just to those with whom we disagree.  The consequences can mean having a comment edited, being banned, etc.  It can also mean threats and even attempts to carry out those threats to various authors. 

As I noted earlier, there have been threats made to some of the authors here.  My "meeting" Blackfive came from one such, when I offered to stand second for him in regards a threat/challenge.  Blackfive does catch a few, and possibly even some meant for other authors since quite a few fail to grasp that this is a group blog and/or that we are NOT sock puppets for Blackfive.  I've had a few, some quite amusing, and none that I was not prepared to handle myself. 

There is a difference between a legitimate consequence of free speech and a threat, that is an attempt to end my right to speech by causing harm to me or mine.  Even with supporting documentation, if I were to approach another author here and suggest that their mother/wife/daughter swam out to meet troopships I would be inviting them to hit me -- and such is a legitimate and even proper response to those words (see the concept "fighting words" as there is much to be said for them in promotion of civility, civics, and rational discourse).  To have someone disagree with the philosophical foundations or content of your post, and to threaten your life, the life and safety of those who are your family, your job or the jobs of your family as a result, that is not legitimate or proper.  It is in fact intimidation at the least, and premeditation in most other considerations. 

As noted in the previous post, there is a passing strange situation in which those who write about Brett Kimberlin; his 501(c)(3) charities Velvet Revolution and Justice Through Music Project; and, his apparent associate Neal Rauhauser in anything but the most glowing of terms seem to find themselves being threatened by a person or persons unknown.  Worse, those threats extend to family members who are also threatened and often seem to find calls made to their employers that threaten said entities.  A growing number of people have found themselves "SWATted", that is a fake phone call is made to local law enforcement that spoofs the home phone of the victim resulting in an armed response by law enforcement to that location.  Mr. Kimberlin himself seems to engage in a large number of lawsuits, one of which has resulted in a blogger being arrested for simply blogging (courtesy of a judge who seems to understand neither modern communications, the law, or that pesky constitution thing -- despicable and incompetent are two words brought to mind). There is more, but I leave that for you to reasearch.  Some good places to start are with Michelle Malkin, Stacy McCain, Instapundit, John Hawkins, and Mark Steyn.

I think it a serious mistake to frame this as a left-vs-right or liberal-vs-conservative issue: it is simply one of free speech, of the first amendment.  That, not partisan politics, is the fundamental issue.  It truly matters not which side does it to the other, what matters is that it is being done at all and is being ignored by those sworn to report such and to prevent such.  The oath many of us swore does not specify a particular viewpoint or affiliation, it is to defend the Constitution (and through it the Republic) against all enemies foreign or domestic.  To have anyone, or a group of individuals, use violence to eliminate the right of ANY Citizen (and, yes, Citizen should be capitalized) to speak freely is an abomination.  This is exactly what is happening.  It is not a legitimate consequence of free speech, which may hurt but does not truly harm, but an attempt to suppress free speech through the infliction of harm. 

That is the way of tyrants, be they petty thugs or "lofty" despots.  Anything built on such is not merely tainted, but rotten to the core.  All good people should oppose such tactics, and work to expose and root out those that do so to face the just and proper consequences.  Even if honor and matter of oath does not sway, those who allow such to take place for benefit of a cause show that such cause is without merit even as they plant the seeds that will ultimately bring it down. 

As I have read up on this matter, and come to know more about Mr. Kimberlin and his convictions, and the interesting tactics and life of Mr. Rauhauser, I hope you too will take the time.  I hope you will reach out to your elected representatives to see to it that the efforts to suppress free speech by party or parties unknown are eliminated and that those behind such are identified and face justice.  Congressional action is slowly starting to build (thank you Senator Saxby Chambliss for starting such), and if we all join in on local, state, and national levels, this can be dealt with. 

This is not a partisan matter, but a Constitutional one.  Please investigate, learn, and act with knowledge and thought.  Spread the word, and let's shine some lights to expose that which currently scurries in the dark, and damages the foundation of our "home" even as it threatens the health and safety of the Citizens within.