I’ve been reading the conversation between you and Mike Potemra and agree with
you fully. I think what’s missing amongst the “anybody can say whatever they
want” crowd is the first half of the Friends of Voltaire quote:
I disagree with what you say.
Unless and until you state that qualifier, the rest–”I will defend to the
death your right to say it”–becomes, by omission, a defense of the _words in
question_ not a defense of freedom of speech.
By not taking the effort to denounce Michael Moore’s statement that Bush is a
deserter, Clark is defending the statement, not Moore’s right to make an ass of
himself. (Moore’s bank account alone should be evidence enough of that latter
fact.) And Clark has now shown on several occasions that he has no intention
whatsoever of denouncing Michael Moore’s statement; hell, he hadn’t even taken
the time to even _question_ its veracity, last I heard.
In our culture, unless you explictly disagree with something you’re apt to come
across as supporting it, especially when you support those who believe it.
Wesley Clark thinks he is deserving of the Oval Office, but his actions reveal
time and again that he shouldn’t be allowed within 100 miles of that office.”
What many fail to grasp when using the phrase ‘marketplace of ideas’ is that some products often fail to find consumers to demand them, and hence they fail in the marketplace. If the Michael Moores of the world (or Susan Sarandons or Tim Robbins, etc.) are shamed into silence (note that Tim Robbins was quite well-behaved at the Golden Globes, progress perhaps?) by their response to the negative reactions that they receive, this is PRECISELY HOW A MARKET FUNCTIONS, and thus is a very good thing. Markets are about choices, not about mandated diversity. Mike would seem to be hoping for a series of (using the market metaphor) state-financed enterprises to provide make-work for those who simply cannot compete… I am a first amendment absolutist on a level that I doubt you would embrace, but I do NOT believe that the right to speak out obviates the necessity of accepting the consequences of one’s words…
Just a thought…