googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Dr. Laura Needs a Lesson on the First Amendment

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dr. Laura Needs a Lesson on the First Amendment

Dr. Laura has always received a lot of flack from the leftist types, primarily because she's seen as “conservative.” She may be more conservative than most folks in her profession but she is nowhere near being a political pundit. She's Laura Schlessinger not Laura Ingram. Frankly, I never could stand listening to Dr. Laura for more than a few minutes. Maybe it's her callers that bother me; I just can't stand listening to people whine. Anyway, Dr. Laura's been in especially hot water lately after the “racially insensitive” remarks she made to a caller. It was that proverbial drop of blood in the water that now has the sharks of the political left worked into a frenzy. It seems it's Dr. Laura's turn to whine. I've heard her on news shows more than a few times apologizing for her comments but also lamenting that people have taken away her First Amendment rights by protesting her, writing/calling the stations that carry her, and threatening to boycott her sponsors.

A lot of people misunderstand the First Amendment but it's usually people on the left. In this case, though, Dr. Laura doesn't quite get it either. Regarding free speech, the First Amendment protects an individual's speech from infringement by the government. Private individuals are not obligated to guarantee another persons free speech. I'm not immune, for example, from the criticism of other people. If they want to rant, rave, protest, and attempt everything legal thing possible to silence me, they can try. Indeed, that is their First Amendment right! Free speech goes both ways. If I don't like something a radio or TV personality says (someone like Keith Olberman), I very well might contact his station or call his sponsors. Under what premise could he stop me? He could argue that it's his right to speak offensively but that same right allows me to tell his sponsors that I think he's a jerk. To suppose he's free to speak but I am not free to object is a characteristic trait of liberals – they're hypocrites. It's unfortunate that Dr. Laura would invoke the same argument.

By the way, liberals also seem to forget that free speech particularly includes political speech. We've seen a conspicuous omission of this obvious fact recently when Democrat leaders spoke out against protestors at Town Hall meetings. Our so-called “representatives” called it un-American, even Nazi-like, to raise our voice in protest. See my post, Oh the Irony!

Opposing view points and heated debate are the heartbeat of free speech. If there is ever any attempt by the government to “referee” or to insure “fairness” in the debate, it is only then that our free speech becomes jeopardized. Early on in the Obama administration there was some talk about imposing a “Fairness Doctrine” (see my blog here). Esentially, this would require radio stations (and only radio stations) which carry shows like Rush Limbaugh to devote equal time for liberals to express opposing views. Imagine if there were a law that required me to devote equal space on my blog to an atheist to write whatever he wanted to rebut me. Or worse yet, consider this analogy: imagine if, at the time before the American Revolution, King George III had required Thomas Paine to devote equal space in his pamphlet, Common Sense, to views sympathetic to England? It's absurd!

This is my blog and I have my right to express whatever views I wish. If someone else disagrees, let him have his own blog where he disagrees with me (trust me, they're out there). We will battle it out in the arena of ideas and hopefully I will be the more persuasive. That the way free speech works; ideas rise and fall on their merits. I wouldn't have it any other way. It doesn't have to be “fair.” Dr. Laura has already made her bed so it might be too late for advice but, for what it's worth, my advice would be to either stick by her guns or apologize and move on. Dr. Laura, stop whining about how shrill your dissenters are being and certainly stop whining that your First Amendment Rights are being violated. They're not!

Now that I've said that, let me make one other observation: Obama recently made a stir of his own by seeming to support the building of a mosque at Ground Zero. He's done a little back-peddling now but you can hear his comments yourself here. It seems to me that when these Muslims do something extremely offensive to a majority of Americans, the President is very careful to point out they have a First Amendment right to do it but when a conservative says something extremely offensive about a minority group, liberals aren't as quick point out the same? I think it's clear that liberals aren't as concerned as much about the First Amendment as they are about their own political ideology.

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