(CNN) — America used to be a place where we said, "Give me liberty or give me death." We live by a credo that "freedom isn't free," and that our Constitution is worth dying for. How inspirational it is to believe that this is the wind of thought that blows underneath the Eagle's wings.
Unfortunately, whenever that wind becomes just a little too gusty for comfort, we find out just how little relationship our poetic credo has to our collective guts.
The latest example: Nine seconds of video of a number of boys singing an offensive song. Immediately, the University of Oklahoma expelled two of the boys for their speech. Forget whether you like the speech or not. That is not relevant. These boys got kicked out of a public school for singing a song, on their own time, in a privately rented bus, simply because the government didn't like the content of their song. (source)
While in a my college years, a black woman I knew said she opposed trying to force racists back into their shells and shutting them up because she wanted to know where people stood. She actually felt safer when the racists and people with views in opposition to hers on issues affecting her operated out in the open.
Today, it seems we aren't satisfied with avoiding expressions we dislike, we actually want to suppress their expression.
Are we on the right track?
I agree with you, completely; there are a lot of us who feel as you do. But I have yet to hear any hypocrites like "Fox News" defend the rights of blacks to demean whites, gays to demonize straights, Muslims to humiliate Christians, etc. Hell, "Fox News" demands that I stop attacking Christmas by wishing someone "Happy Holidays," which they and a lot of Christians consider a form of hate speech that must not be tolerated. My point is that, for a lot of people, "freedom of speech" only refers to THEIR freedom, not someone whose speech they don't like.
As a former coworker of mine would say, "Your freedoms end where mine begin."
No, actually your freedom ends where my RIGHTS begin.
So how do you define the difference between freedoms and RIGHTS, unseen?
A freedom is characterized by a lack of hindrance or restraint in my action(s). It makes no reference to authority.
A right is a permission granted by authority. Rights are legislated. Some freedoms may seem to be granted through establishing rights, but man in his primal state (before government) is free to do everything it's possible to do, so that is a give back, not a true gift.
I may have a right to vote, but if someone hinders me from getting to the polling place, I'm not free even though I have the right to vote.
Does that help?
Okay, with that in mind, in what way does that negate the statement that your freedoms end where mine begin. of course that cuts both ways. It is also true that your rights end where mine begin and vice versa.
Your voting example for instance would imply that someone who hinders you from voting must therefor have the freedom to do so even if lacking the authority and by exercising their freedom to hinder voting they limit your freedom to vote.
It would seem, in ths particular situation, the someone else's freedom is more important than your right.