Case in point: Chick-Fil-A is being blocked from opening a new location by a Chicago alderman displeased with Chick-Fil-A's owner's stance against gay marriage. (article)
Let me make clear, I myself am not against gay marriage, but I am against anything that prevents ideas from being expressed and debated. And that even includes hate speech and other distasteful expressions. I wouldn't even call opposing gay marriage as hate speech per se, even if it is wrongheaded.
I am against anything which is demonstrably slanderous. I am also against the government using its tools to silence unpopular views or views which run contrary to policy.
Of course being against gay marriage cannot be considered 'hate speech' - and of course the owner has every right to voice his opinion - and of course he shouldn't be kept from opening new locations of his restaurant - that's why we have the freedom as the people to either enter his restaurant or go to mcdonalds instead.
Any truth to the rumor that Ronald McDonald filed for a marriage license with the Hamburglar? I always suspected he had a thing for the bad boys --
I oppose any government efforts to silence free speech. At the same time, however, I know from long experience that the kind of people who run Chick-Fil-A would be more than happy to silence all of us (perhaps even permanently). So, don't look for me to show any outrage over how they are treated.
I'm not arguing with you Mo, but I'm curious as to where you're getting your information for such a serious charge: "I know from long experience that the kind of people who run Chick-Fil-A would be more than happy to silence all of us (perhaps even permanently)."
Free Speech is a tricky thing. Forcing someone to be silent just because you don't like what they have to say sets an ugly precedent. Whether they're speaking the truth or not is irrelevant: Because we are all guaranteed the freedom of speech, we can and should say anything that we feel must be said. If you force someone to stop expressing their opinion, merely on the grounds of "I find this to be offensive and hurtful", then it makes it easy for them to do the same to you.
I feel that as a society we all need to grow a thicker skin, and stop taking racist, bigoted opinions to heart. We need to learn to recognize opinions, falsehoods, and facts for what they are, and treat them accordingly. Free Speech is a great right that all human beings deserve, even though some abuse its use. I would never support any law that hampers another human being's free speech. Besides, if you hate what someone's saying, then just punch them in the jaw and deal with the consequences.
It seems some of our liberal brethren (and I count myself as a liberal-libertarian hybrid) have given minorities the impression that they have the right to shut anyone up who's saying anything unpleasant, hateful, racist, or wrong-headed. Don't we on some level wish that were true of how people describe atheists!
However, by suppressing the expression of some thoughts, one unintended consequence is the suspicion that some profound truth is being hidden.
Also, suppressing the public expression of thoughts in no way prevents them from being spread and may perhaps actually foster their dissemination among the more paranoid segments of society.
I could argue with you til I'm blue in the face, but since we seem to be having two totally different conversations, it seems a bit futile. So,my final thoughts:
I totally agree that we should respect the individual's (who, in this particular case happens to be CFA's owner) right to express whatever opinion he so desires. That right hasn't been violated.
However, CFA as an entity isn't a human being, it's a company, and as such doesn't even have that right in the first place,so I fail to see where there's even an issue here.
CFA is a corporation. It's established in the law that corporations are persons for legal purposes. I assure you, corporations have the same free speech/expression rights as human persons.
And that is one of the worst SCOTUS decisions ever. Along with the thing where money is speech. Cripes, somebody get those folks a dictionary, stat!
It's not a SCOTUS decision, it's a necessary part for the efficient functioning of the market system. If corporations were not legal persons a natural person would have to be liable for all debts and actions of the corporation, which would severely restrict the possibility for growth. Essentially, without it it's back to the 17th century and the economic rule of Houses and Dynasties.
Well, I'm not sure that placing reasonable limits on corporations' personhood would expose them as you describe. For example, placing a limit of $2000 on donation to political causes, whether by nature or legal art, and whether directly or obliquely (e.g., donations to PAC's) sounds reasonable. While most natural people can't afford $2000, individuals could make up for their ability to donate in large amount through number of donations, creating a more even playing field in the contest of ideas preceding an election.
I don't disagree with reasonable limits on political donation of i.e. $2000 per person (natural or otherwise) or the outright nationalization of political funding altogether. I certainly believe the US political funding system is harebrained and in dire need of reform. That said, I don't believe corporations/legal persons should be discriminated against (compared to natural persons) without some extremely strong arguments behind it. Thus they should have the same campaign donation opportunities, and I can easily see the logic behind the Citizens United verdict.
My bone of contentions are the idiots those who make blanket uninformed statements to the effect of 'repeal corporate personhood' or believes this was something that came into being with the aforementioned ruling. Such lack of knowledge of basic civics irks me to no end.