It certainly annoys me when I see others’ First Amendment rights being abused. However, it is almost as annoying when I hear people wank about how their First Amendment rights are being trampled upon, and there is just no such thing going on.
Take this asshat, for example. According to reports, he was screaming out in the street, hitting parked cars, and the cops came by to ask him to stop. They didn’t beat him down, they didn’t throw him in handcuffs, they didn’t taze him. After all, this was Cambridge, not Miami. Instead of just quieting down:
He reportedly said he didn’t care, that it was his right to say what he wanted. When told that if he did not quiet down, he was going to be arrested, he reportedly shouted “Go ahead, arrest me! It’s my First Amendment right to say what I want.” Carbone was then placed under arrest for disorderly conduct, according to the report.
Equally stupid? The ever-amusing John Dozier. Dozier is the frequent target of mockery for his silly positions on various aspects of internet law. Most notably, he has been lambasted for his belief that his cease and desist letters are copyright protected, therefore when he sends them, you can’t re-post them online.
Well, here he comes again with this Jack Thompson-esque rant about how the “left wingers” are trying to oppress him — calling the blog coverage of his antics a “virtual police state online.”
I have often said that the left wingers are all for the right to free speech, until they don’t agree with it. Time and again you’ll see discussions and postings about using the Streisand Effect to retaliate against someone for offering an opposing voice. It is a policy aimed at destroying dissension, particularly in Internet legal and policy areas. “First things we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Consider the context of the statement if you don’t already know and it quickly becomes apparent that this effort to bully, undermine, attack and destroy lawyers is the rallying cry for the police state…a world in which dissidents are held out to public scorn and ridicule by a vicious mob (Streisand Effect) or relentlessy attacked by masked intruders (anonymous speakers). This is the world in which we live today. Honest, honorable, intelligent, well mannered, battle worn veterans of the world rarely participate in online dialogue because of the attacks their participation invites. And so you get a very one sided, jaded, biased perspective on Internet law and policy issues. The far left liberals not only control the message, but police the web for anyone not drinking their kool-aid. (source)
For all the similarly-minded imbeciles out there, repeat after me: The First Amendment does not guarantee you a right to be free from being mocked when you act like a toolbag. That’s what wide-open and robust debate is all about. You put your ideas out there, I put mine out there, Dozier puts his out there, Billy-Bob puts his out there, and then the court of public opinion judges the contest. It is called the “Marketplace of Ideas,” and it is hardly a left-wing philosophy. In fact, it is decidedly NOT embraced by the left (example).
To round out his rant, Dozier proposes five New Years’ resolutions that he wants us all to follow. They are funny.
So, to round up. Yes, you have a right to say what you like. That does not mean that you have a right to shout it at the top of your lungs, while banging on cars, while other people are trying to sleep. Similarly, it does not mean that you have a right to be insulated from being mocked, criticized, or called an asshat for expressing your opinions. I’m glad we covered that.