February 08, 2007

A Wingnut Knuckle-Dragging Neandertholic Conservative Defends Marcotte And McEwan: Free Speech Is Exactly That ~ Free Speech!

I haven't blogged about Amanda Marcotte or Melissa McEwan, primarily because they really don't have anything to say that makes much sense to me. Both tend to be potty mouths and I'll be here to defend their right to cuss all they want. I've visited their blog a few times and found them to be both potty-mouthed and intransigent.

Now, this may sound like heresy to a lot of my friends, fellow conservative bloggers and readers, but hear me out. John Edwards is running for the Democratic nomination for president, but as a campaigner, he has much to learn. Too, I don't think he has a snowball's proverbial chance in hades to win the nomination, let alone the election, but he is wiley enough to know that there is something out there called the "internets" and he needs someone savy enough to get him an in with the netroots folk. Edwards looked around, talked (no doubt) to a number of advisors and was told that Marcotte and McEwan were some of the best in the business at laying it on the line against us warmongering knuckle-draggers. Fine!

As anyone familiar with my blog knows, I seldom use or tolerate cussing. It's not my style and this is my blog. In my Rules For Commenting, I swiped a phrase from Kat at Cathouse Chat who had swiped it from La Shawn Barber. It is pretty simple in it's formulation.

"this is my weblog and I pay for the hosting. The First Amendment protects my right to speak on this site, not yours. The amendment prohibits government from infringing on my right of free expression. On this blog, your expression is a privilege. On your own blog, your expression is a right. Learn the distinction."
I also added
There will be no swearing, invective (look it up), or ad hominem attacks of a juvenile nature...
The point being here that Pandagon where Marcotte and McEwan blog is their blog and they are, by law allowed to say just about anything they want. Nuff said?

They may (or may not have been) much of persuaders in the lefty corner of the blogosphere, and now the controversy has arisen regarding the tendency of these two to rant, rave and cuss on their blog. Guess what folks, I rant and rave but seldom cuss because that just ain't my style. It is apparantly their style and that is OK.

Of course, when the news came out there was a lot of pseudo-outrage that the two were potty mouths, that (and this was likely real outrage) they had made disparaging remarks about the Catholic Church and Christians and that Edwards must have holes in his head for hiring them without looking at the stuff they put on Pandagon (you may have noticed that I haven't linked to their site - nor will I, if you want, go find it on your own). But, I digress, the outrage was all over the blogosphere from righties and even from some lefties. But folks, we are the same ones that were outraged at the Muslims who rioted over cartoon's of Mohammad. Was the blog-riot of the same type? Are we so locked into our own partisanship so tightly that we cannot see the bigger picture?

And a bigger picture it is. It is the right of each American in this country to say just about what they want, where they want and how they want to say it. It is codified into one of our most cherished documents, the Constitution. And I for one believe that each amendment means what it says and that is that. Now, that seems pretty simple doesn't it? You will find, for example, many lefties that don't think the 2nd Amendment or the 9th or 10th Amendment don't mean what it says very plainly. But that is their right to say that. Doesn't matter if it makes sense that some amendments say what they mean and others don't.

Freedom of speech is then, the issue. You either have it, or you don't and the Constitution guarantees that Marcotte and McEwan have it, as do I, as do you.

And just after typing the above, but before I published it, I read Glenn Reynolds Instapundit and see that the Beltway Blogroll has an entry on just this subject and it's pretty good too. A sample:

You can tell they are working for a political campaign now because they are apologizing just like politicians.

Rather than saying "I am sorry," for instance, Marcotte wrote, "I am sorry if anyone was personally offended by writings meant only as criticisms of public politics." And this from McEwan: "It has never been my intention to disparage people’s individual faith, and I’m sorry if my words were taken in that way.”

Basically, Marcotte and McEwan have agreed to muzzle themselves while working for Edwards.

Of course, this is the typical mealy mouthed non-apology apology of politicians and others who have transgressed but don't have the guts to admit it, but, you know what, it is still their right to say what ever they want. And it is my right to criticize it but it is not my right to shut them up. I suspect the electorate will do that just fine.

UPDATE: Eugene Volokh writing in his own inimitable style reports on attempts to crush free speech at San Francisco State University. This is a good read folks and underscores my point that free speech isn't free unless it is free for everyone.

Professor Volokh has a link to F.I.R.E. (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) which has more on the issue and while niether post is about Marcotte or McEwan, both underscore my main point.

Posted by GM Roper at February 8, 2007 08:25 PM | TrackBack

GM...like I said at Rick RWNH:

For me, this wasn’t a personal thing with Amanda. Not at all. It was far bigger than her.

In the course of all things politics, we have seen the left lower the standards time and time again. The direction this country is heading in scares me to no end. To know that potential leaders of my country would stoop to a level that Amanda represents, frankly, appalls me. Whether Edwards knew of her opinions or not doesn’t matter because he SHOULD have known…part of what he will have to do is try to get some people on the right to sway their vote to him. To bridge the gap…and if he is elected, he will need to work to bring the country together.

It’s a free country, I would NEVER take away her right to call the Pope any name she choses; to rant and rave and call me names and slam right wingers…but a candidate for President MUST rise above this. This person MUST show good judgment and ability to lead and manage. Hiring the likes of Amanda proved those traits to be lacking in Edwards.

I think we have a responsibility to uphold the standards that make this country so great…if that means writing posts about our shocked and awed and yes, hurt, feelings over Amanda’s extreme points of view, so be it. The shock came more from the fact Edwards hired her. It’s a tough world. Politics is even rougher. When one enters the fray, they have to be prepared to be vetted out. Everyone knows this.

Another thing too…It’s not like people broke into Amanda’s house and ripped apart her personal papers and diaries. It’s not like people LOOKED for trouble here.

Amanda and Pandagon in general are well known among bloggers on both sides of the political fence…the posts that have been highlighted in this affair were written about before on many right wing blogs…so when people heard Amanda had been hired by Edwards- no one needed to dig for any dirt. The dirt was readily known. I think people were just shocked that Edwards used such poor judgment (in many people’s minds).

When we blog, when we put forth our thoughts and opinions and ideas, and in my case for example, personal stories of past days, we do so knowing the WORLD has access to this.
We have to accept responsibility for what we write and be ready to defend our posts. Amanda took down her stuff, which just added to the fire here.

Posted by Raven at February 8, 2007 08:57 PM

Hmm. My first instinct was to disagree with you. But then I remembered that, on our side of the pond, a conservative blogger was suspended from Orange for joking about the left's attitude to Palestine. I also remember a few lefty bloggers jumping to his defence on the grounds of free speech. So, yes, of course, you're right about this. Nobody should have to feel they ought to censor themselves in order to keep their job.

Posted by RottyPup at February 8, 2007 09:08 PM

Raven, you prove my point, freedom of speech is about freedom to speak, not about any consequences as a result of what you say. When you speak freely, be prepared for the consequences. Thanks for commenting with a lengthy and thoughtful comment.

RottyPup, thanks for the link, I was not aware of that controversy, but you are exactly right. We must be free to say what we think whether right (your friend) or wrong (Marcotte and McEwan). ;-)

Posted by GM at February 8, 2007 09:39 PM

The controversy arises because Edwards wants it both ways. He wants to have attack dogs from the nutroots, but he's afraid they'll cost him more votes than they gain him. He wants Nutroots Lite. Marcotte and McEwan write contemptible things, and when they say they don't mean to insult anyone's individual faith they are simply lying. Their comments are impossible to interpret any other way.

If that's what Edwards wants, he should have it, and no one should say him nay. But if he doesn't want to go to Chicago, he shouldn't get on the train that says "Chicago" on the front. They are apparently going to try and give him Nutroots Lite, and if he wants to let them try, that's his business. It's like hiring an advertising firm - if they can bring in the customers, hire 'em. If they bring down your business, hire someone else.

Posted by Assistant Village Idiot at February 8, 2007 10:03 PM

Free Speech is great - but there's no reason to pay for speech if you don't like it. I think Edwards has destroyed his campaign, which was never going anywhere anyway.

Posted by bird dog at February 10, 2007 10:27 AM

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