The price of free speech
Whenever I hear some stupid rhetoric about soldiers dying in a foreign land for our “freedom”, I’m reminded that we really aren’t accustomed to the kind of actual sacrifices we have to make to maintain our liberties. In truth, freedom isn’t about the kind of conflicts that involve bombs and bullets: it’s about the right to say what you want, even when it happens to be horribly offensive.
The Supreme Count recently ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church’s right to picket the funerals of men and women that die in combat. You may remember these tasteless fuckwads who show up with signs so vile they normally get censored by TV stations covering their exploits.
The court ruled 8-1 in favor of Phelps, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the opinion. Roberts said that despite the pain the protests can inflict upon families and friends, “On the facts before us, we cannot react to that pain by punishing the speaker.”
A lot of people are outraged by the decision, which is why the rights of individuals aren’t decided democratically. If we could, most of us would vote our fundamental rights away. As much as I hate the WBC, I’m glad the Supreme Court isn’t catering to the whims of easily offended citizens. If you have a problem with free speech, and all that entails, I suggest you try one of the countries where such options are more in tune with your precious sensibilities.