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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Consequences Of Free Speech

While reading this piece from Tulsa World, I immediately recalled Rand Paul's words to Rachel Maddow about how private businesses should be allowed to discriminate:

Shortly after finishing their protest at the funeral of Army Sgt. Jason James McCluskey of McAlester, a half-dozen protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., headed to their minivan, only to discover that its front and rear passenger-side tires had been slashed.

To make matters worse, as their minivan slowly hobbled away on two flat tires, with a McAlester police car following behind, the protesters were unable to find anyone in town who would repair their vehicle, according to police.

While I doubt that people like Rand Paul would even begin to consider instances like a liberal business owner who operated a local restaurant denying entry to local and regional Republican politicians, I find it quite interesting what an entire town did to the Westboro Baptist Church. I think that this, more than anything as so now, shows us that "freedom of speech" doesn't come with "freedom from consequences".

That being said, I in no way condone the actions of anyone destroying property in order to make a socio-political statement. But, is there any nuance here? Was the van purchased with tax-free donations to the church? Sure, that might be a reach, but the larger point here is that these people should be realizing that their message - if they even have one - is not one reciprocated by the average American.

Come to think of it, it would be interesting to hear what both Maddow and Paul have to say about this.

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