Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Casualty (sort of): Free Speech

Well, there seems to be a casualty of the swine flu today...attention to the Supreme Court's outrageous ruling that the FCC will be allowed to fine broadcasters for airing any "fleeting expletives." These are single-word curses like "fuck" and "shit" - or perhaps references that should be thrown around a lot in any documentary about the kinds of people (Parents Television Council) who are celebrating this ruling: "assholes." But while the news headlines have been dominated by the "all swine flu all the time headlines" (and yeah, not an unimportant story), the Supreme Court allowing the FCC to trample all over the First Amendment has fallen off the media's radar today.

For some excellent thoughts on this, do check on the right of this blog for Paul Levinson's piece too. As he argues - and has been arguing for years - it's outrageous how the words as clear as "Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech" can be allowed to be flouted by an irrelevant and reactionary bureaucracy like the FCC.

And Dr. Levinson is absolutely right in the argument that conservative justices are ignoring their own beliefs that a judge should not legislate from the bench. This is an exact point I have believed in for a very long time, every time I heard the conservative far right wing moralists supporting censorious legislation. What the hell happened to the party of "small government" and Ronald Reagan's goal to "get government off your back?" What happened to the American people knowing how to live their lives and raise their families better than Washington bureaucrats and censorious, puritanical, whacko special interests?

Perhaps this might be one of the reasons so many are deserting that party for a real limited-government-alternative like the Libertarian Party.

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