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.

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RE: "I think for once, Unseen, we are in agreement."

Really hurts to say that, doesn't it? I said it once last week, and I still haven't recovered. Mild nausea, a little throbbing in the left temple, ect.

I see nothing wrong with city council denying Chick-Fil-A approval to build in that location. I also don't see how preventing Chick-Fil-A from building is the government trying to curb free speech. City councils all over the US try to block and succeed in blocking many businesses from building where they have jurisdiction to do so all the time.

Is it ok for the government to throttle free speech for social ends?

It's okay for the government to do whatever it likes so long as the people remain complacent or the people know nothing about it. (This isn't my personal opinion, it's just reality.)

The issue is that a government denying people an opportunity to build an enterprise for an argument that boils down to "I don't agree with you" tramples on people's fundamental rights.

"City councils all over the US try to block and succeed in blocking many businesses from building where they have jurisdiction to do so all the time." If this happens, and it's not for a legitimate reason, then it is a severe abuse of power and someone should be held accountable.

And just because people accept what is happening doesn't make it correct. That mindset always reminds me of the horse in Animal Farm, who eventually gets sold for glue.

I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death, your right to say it.

Ok, maybe just severe bruising, but it's the thought that counts --

On the subject of free speech in the U S, do you think most people are aware of the extensive governmet control over the media reporting in the last two wars. They seemed to be able to control all the major networks in the U S under the guise of "national security" by using "embedded reporters" who had severe restrictions on what and how they could report. Observing this reporting from Canada, which has all of the major U S networks available and comparing the reports from other international networks, at times it was hard to believe they were reporting on the same incidents.I was totally amazed that in the most prominant democratic country in the world such censorship would even be possible.  

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)."

(emphasis, mine)

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.


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