Ick, i hate this computer. I just lost a response....
The true meaning of free speech is acrually very confused. it's quite simple- in the US, free speech allows people to express any beliefs they have as long as these are not blatant fabrications that would cause or lead people to cause themselves harm (the fire in a crowded theatre example) or in such a way as that they are threatening (cross burnings). So, it's perfectly legal for a KKK member to say that he thinks that all gays and blacks should die. It's not legal for them to say that they would like to kill all gays and blacks. the difference is that the second is threatening, while the first is not- directly. In the example earlier in this thread with the Christians who complained that they had their free speech repressed because they couldn't dis gays, the chrsitians have no case. They can't be kept from saying 'i think homosexuality is wrong' but they can be kept from saying 'I want to kill gays and send them all to hell' because that's threatening and harmful.
Also, the bit with Comedy Central and their refusal to show the Muslim cartoons has very little to do with free speech. Instead, they simply made an educated decision to not show inflamatory images. While they shouldn't have had to worry about their safety, they also made the socially correct choice to not anger a group of people whose religion has already been trampled and defaced. Really, shows like 'South Park' misuse, if not abuse, their free speech rights. They express opinions, but in a very derogatory way. This is legal... but it's still opinion, and protected, not statement, and therefore not free speech. That's not to say that I don't enjoy these shows, but it's just a way of using them to illustrate this point.
Oh. also, popo, liberals don't really want everyone to conform to their opinions, I think. They're more interested in making free speech free, but also unoffensive. Republicans are interested in allowing pretty much anyone to say whatever they want- especially giving businesses free speech and all the rights of people. In essence, businesses are people. they have birth certificates, death certificates, free speech, constitutional rights, and even a bit of a variant of a social security number. Replublicans also want to be sure that none of the free speech contradicts the government.
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