Joined: Sep. 2005
||Posted: Oct. 08 2006,11:09
|Freedom comes with responsibility to be civil, express things in a civil manner, and especially not to troll in an inflammatory manner.|
Mmm. Though you might believe in that personally as a sensible principle, it's actually arguable, especially in the US, where as I understand it the legal test of freedom of speech has been the "clear and present danger" test - eg shouting "fire" in a crowded theatre creates a clear and present danger by causing panic and hence possible harm, therefore is not protected by the US Constitution. The key point, as Humpty suggested, is whether or not the moderator and web site have any responsibility to publish and/or support the views of a poster. If it's a private forum, then they probably do not (eg what do the conditions of membership say?). People are free to censor their own publications (it's called editing). If you write a letter to a newspaper you'll find they usually trim it down. People are also free to disagree with you. What's obnoxious is when the government restricts this freedom via regulatory means or otherwise prevents debate.
What Brian is free to do is find a different forum to vent his views where these are more welcome, and I don't see why he can't do so. He's doing it here, for example. So he is not being deprived of the capacity to air his views, hence I don't know that this is really a matter of "freedom of speech" or censorship at all. What we have to all watch out for are the current shifts internationally towards real control of the internet. There lies the possibility for genuine restriction of freedom of expression ...
In the UK/EU the current situation is different - they have hate crime legislation (not sure what you have in the US?), which I am of two minds about, and at least one member country has a quite bizarre (I think dangerous) law about "offending" or ridiculing their nationality.
BTW Brian, I must be lacking in imagination lately - I've never once associated the handle "AwPhuch" with copulation. I did think it might have been something to do with "Aw, puke", but thought this unimportant. My handle, as I recently discovered, is quite coincidentally the same name as an old MacIntosh virus, some Windows program, some "family" radio station, and probably many other things, none of which have anything to do with me whatsoever.