Monday, September 12, 2016

Just Like Traveling Back in Time...

...to the former Soviet Union.

Day after day, we are fed lies, confusion, half-truths, and complete nonsense by:

  • The government
  • The media
  • The reigning elite that run this country - or, would like to
That's what Benghazi was, you know.  A blatant attempt to bypass inconvenient truth with blustering, implying that refusal to believe poorly-sourced and omnipresent lies was akin to believing in a conspiracy (they aren't smart enough to craft a true conspiracy), and a heavy reliance on "everyone KNOWS this".

Inconveniently, not a few in this country escaped statist dumbing-down, and can use their brains logically.  When they did, they - even MORE inconveniently - published their thinking on the topic online, where the truth would begin filtering out.

Only a relative few blogged - at least the ones that wrote something worth reading.

But, Facebook and Twitter served an unexpected and essential purpose - they helped to get the word out to the average citizen.  I'm sure their creators hadn't planned on their platforms being used to spread the truth.  There is evidence that they actively worked to keep that from happening.

But, at least in this case, the Truth would OUT!

It's happened before.  In the former Soviet Union, many people (who should be named to honor rolls in libraries, newsrooms, and government buildings), risked imprisonment, torture, and exile for the chance to reach just a few other human beings with their testimonies.  They laboriously copied, via typewriter, the samizdat.  Those are re-typed articles, books, and letters from dissidents.  The effort and time such an endeavor took is staggering to imagine.

But, they did it.  To keep from being silenced.  The official news organ of the USSR was Pravda (the name means Truth).  When people bought Pravda, a favorite activity was to examine the articles, to determine just where the paper was lying, and by how much.

What will Americans do to spread the truth?  How much will they inconvenience themselves?

Will they risk their jobs?  As a teacher, I have limits on the things I can say or write, whether in school or in my private life (people are always amazed at how much schools hem in their employees' free speech rights).

Even private employers hesitate to keep on a worker whose remarks might offend a customer, co-worker, or supplier.  Often, people don't realize the limitations on their speech, until after they have transgressed.  Most people work "at-will", meaning that an employee can fire them for any reason, or no reason.  The only difference is, with "no cause" for firing, an employee has recourse to obtain unemployment benefits immediately.  With a cause, it depends, and may involve weeks before a determination can be made that an employee is eligible.

Free speech costs, no matter what the country/state/employer.  If it doesn't have a cost - if your speech is met with near-universal applause, it's not the sort of speech that was intended to be protected by the 1st amendment.

Who can inhibit/prohibit your speech?  A surprising number of people/organizations, including:
  • Private employers
  • Other citizens, whose protests may be loud enough to drown you out
  • Churches - as voluntary associations, they have the right to expel you from the congregation, excommunicate you, and, if a pastor, fire you
  • Home-owner Associations (HOAs) - they can prevent you from putting up a sign or a flag, meeting in community rooms to talk, having gatherings over a certain size, or otherwise violating the group's norms
  • and, Government entities - local, state, or national, providing that they can identify a protected minority who is being "discriminated against" by your speech.  "Hate speech" is always the first line of attack with this group - although they seldom manage to define such speech in sufficiently clear terms to pass judicial tests.  However, as their aim is NOT to permanently shut you up, but to keep your speech from being effective (delivered in time to influence elections/campaigns), it is sufficient to go through the motions, which wastes your time and money.
Reading this back, I'm more than a little depressed.  I hadn't realized the extent to which Americans had been hemmed in by the anti-Free Speech crowd's actions.  More later, maybe.  I'm both sickened, and need to get ready for work.


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