Friday, April 28, 2006



Last week, a judge ruled that schools were allowed to ban images and phrases from t-shirts in K-12 schools. Understandibly this limits individual rights of autonomy and free speech. Yes, autonomy is already lost in the prison system called public education, however the ability for administrators to effectively ban undesirable matters from schools creates a much larger precendent for limiting freedom of speech on public property.

It seems that the main motivation for limiting freedom of speech is because the students are on property that is owned by the state ("public"), where they have to follow particular behavioral and non-offensive guidelines like diversity-driven and PC friendly activities. So...

Isn't it very easy to pursue this agenda for all public lands and property -- so that all undesirables can be avoided. Like roads, parks, sidewalks, the open-air, beaches and all other publicly owned facilities. In fact, most private establishments that are not explicitly private member-limited clubs have already been under public health regualtion (Clean Air Laws).

Additonally, yes freedom of speech is already limited by purported "hate crimes" and derogatory (generally race-based) slurs and other limitations based on local "decency codes" and at-risk public behavior like yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre.

However, isn't this sort of ability to ban always a dangerous power? Why would we ever expect it to stop, when it is some bureaucrat's ultimate pipe dream to remove all social undersirables (insensitivities) from greater society. We just have to remember that they are acting in our own best interest. You's for your own good.

I don't see any reason for imposing a moral standard when we say there isn't one. Is it rude to cuss in front of my kids? Yeah, it's rude, but detering it should not involve the use of force.
Force is a chicken-squat way of dealing with conflict. Not that it's always bad to be chicken. If the other dude's got a bazooka, call me clucky. But for the majority of cases the deterent of acting rude is that someone might act rudely toward you in response.
The alternative to convention is violence. As Miss manners has taught us, the polite thing is always to act polite no matter if someone else is acting rude. They've got a problem, it isn't ours, leave it at that.
I used to live in Wellons Village, Durham. I met a lot of rude people.
Many a night I would walk outside in my pajamas and knock on the window of some john with a trick.
"Are you lost? Can I help you? Are you new to the neighborhood? I live right over there in that house, and I just love to meet my neighbors. What's your name?"
I wasn't rude, but I wasn't chicken either. The johns found somewhere else to shop, and the tricks found somewhere else to work. I let my morals be known without imposing them on anyone else or being rude. Now, whether their own consciences spoke to them as a result of our meeting, that's for them to deal with.

This way of handling socially undesirable behavior is effective and gracious. Employing the use of force is ineffective and rude.
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