Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dirty hippies and the First Amendment

Regarding this: I’ve had to make this point a couple of times in the past few days, so I might as well make it here: You don’t have to *like* the Occupy folks to think that abusive policing is bad.

There’s an old saying that—in my view at least—once represented the American ideal: “I don’t like what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” That ideal has been replaced, it seems, with the idea that dirty hippies deserve whatever they get.

I like the old way better. It does require that I hold myself to the same ideal—that I allow room for people to be (say) bigoted or homophobic or, maybe, just a little too solicitous of the rich and powerful. I should defend their right to speak their minds, and get angry if a cop pepper sprays them for doing so. It’s easy to be gleeful when our opponents are silenced, but it isn't actually right.

1 comment:

brendancalling said...

that saying is French, attributed to Voltaire. America, IMO, has not exactly lived up to that ideal from practically day one with the Alien and Sedition acts.