Sunday, September 16, 2012

Does the US Gov't Believe in Free Speech?

Man, I hate doing this. I really do.

But in this business, the subject of free speech is a sore one. And I don't want to bury my head in the sand.

Google (owner of YouTube) is a US corporation and presumably influenced predominately by American values. If the situation were different, if Google were a Saudi corporation, based in Saudi Arabia, I would expect it to be influenced by Saudi values. And, I suspect, we'd see quite a different YouTube. Agreed?

In the US, the first amendment to the constitution reads thusly:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
If everyone agreed with everything everyone else said, there would be no need for a first amendment. So it stands to reason that this exists to protect, wait for it ... unpopular speech; speech you disagree with; speech you find objectionable; speech you hate.

That speech must be protected or the whole idea of freedom of speech rests on shaky ground indeed.

So, I clicked over to "the video" on YouTube, a video I would not have had any interest in in a million years, if not for the current uproar. I let it play for about 10 seconds. It looks like shit. But hopefully my click will be added to the total number of views. That's all I wanted to accomplish.

The straw that broke the camel's back was the US government's attempt to pressure Google  into removing the video.

Dear Mr. President:

Sorry to bother you. I guess you're kind of busy right now, putting the screws to Google and all. But while we're on the subject, there's this video on YouTube I really, really hate! It makes fun of left-handed people. It really hurts my feelings and makes me feel all uncomfortable and bad inside. I can't sleep. Could you please ask Google to remove that one, too?

What's that? No! No! No! I'm not going to get violent or anything. Not going to shoot anyone, throw any bombs.

Huh? Nothing you can do about it? Well, uh, all right then. Thanks for your time.


Stand strong, Google. Give them the big, fat middle finger.

Here's the video. Do as you see fit.

Update: I just realized that article I linked to says in the headline that the White House's ham-handed move drew the ire of "civil libertarians". That's stupid. Aren't we all in favor of civil liberties? Was the wuss who wrote the headline trying to exempt himself?


  1. Abridging the freedom of speech.

    If I took a film of someone, removed their words and puts others in there, am I not changing their speech? Have I not removed their words from existence?

    Every man has the right to say his own words. No one has the right to put his words into someone else's mouth. That isn't free speech.

  2. Hi, thanks for stopping by.

    Before responding, I need to know what you are talking about. Can you be more specific? I'm not following this, or how it relates to the post.