Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Fail Quote of the Day: Dr. Laura still doesn’t get free speech

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Laura “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger
Dr. Laura
[source: The Portland Mercury]

Conservative talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger has already demonstrated her social and legal cluelessness, back when she entered a ridiculous, racially-charged rant on the air and then, when she promptly got hammered for it, decided to quit her show to “regain [her] First Amendment rights”. This obviously has nothing to do with the First Amendment; no-one stopped her from making those racist remarks, nor was her show censored by the government, which is all that the First Amendment encompasses.

What she (and, naturally, Sarah Palin) failed to understand is that Freedom of Speech is not Freedom From Criticism. Yes, she can say all sorts of stupid things if she wants – but free speech also means that everyone can then point at her and call her an irresponsible idiot for saying them, which is essentially what happened.

However, despite having been schooled in this rather extensively, she once again took to the radiowaves and showed that she still doesn’t have any idea how this “free speech” thing works [video below the fold]:

My transcript [my emphasis]:

“The right of free speech is being replaced by the right not to be offended.” That’s pretty serious stuff. And it doesn’t start with the government. It starts when small interest groups, groups that are supported and aided by political parties, decide that they are the guardians of what is politically correct! That’s how it started in Germany. That’s how it started in Communist China. That’s how it’s right now in Iran. And …

So, when I speak about leaving syndicated radio at the end of the year to regain my ability to speak freely, it is so I can speak freely, without the worry of saying something that will offend of disagree with some group of people. Disagreement is offensive to some groups of people. And then having the collateral damage of advertisers, agencies and radio stations being threatened and attacked for supporting me.

I’m not sure which is more ridiculous, here: that she still thinks that her First Amendment rights means she gets to say whatever she wants without people reacting to it (under their own First Amendment rights), or that she actually compared people’s offense at her long, racist rant to the rise of Nazi Germany. (And Commie China and Islamist Iran, to boot. What, Godwinning herself wasn’t enough? Why not Stalin, too? Maybe she just forgot.)

Once again: Criticism is not censorship. Calling you an idiot for saying idiotic things is not violating your right to free speech. If no-one is actually stopping you from expressing whatever you want, then there is no censorship taking place, period. You would think that Dr. Laura would’ve learned this basic fact by now. You’d then apparently be overestimating her intelligence.