I woke up a little cranky this morning and I’ve been out of sorts ever since. However, in my defense I do tend to get a little worked up when people voluntarily give up freedoms we have traditionally held dear; Even more so when they voluntarily give up those freedoms for other folks.

For example, today’s AJC online opinion section features Angela Tuck, the public editor, bemoaning the terrible situation presented when people get rowdy in blogs and spout sexist or racist commentary.

Now, I’m neither racist nor sexist (even though I do hold the door), but since when does my preference for the PC allow make my opinion any more valid (or less) than anyone else’s? Doesn’t freedom of speech apply equally to all? Does Ms. Tuck believe that by suppressing opposing opinions she’ll be able to change them? That sounds somehow familiar.

My mind is drawn to that last bastion of common sense (and potty humor), South Park. Whether you love Matt and Trey’s cartoon or you hate it, the one think you’d be forced to admit is that they take on the relevant issues of the day.

Remember the Danish cartoonist who lampooned Muhammad (the final prophet of the Abrahamic tradition according to followers of Islam)? In a clear freedom of speech issue, those less familiar with freedom reacted by rioting and burning buildings. At least they expressed honest sentiment. Of course we tend to react with derision, to wit: The Cartoon Wars (parts 1 & 2) episodes of South Park. “Either everything is okay to make fun of or nothing is.”

Here in America where the notion of freedom is ever present (and a little scary for some) folks take a different tack. The slow insidious creep of sensitivity for minorities has lead many to seek other nominal reasons to censor their disagreeing brothers and sisters.

Cutting straight through the BS, censoring a heartfelt opinion is immoral. It is an overt statement by one person that another person’s thoughts, views, and aspirations are invalid simply because they are in opposition to perceived societal norms.

Don’t misunderstand me, minority rights are something to fight over and I’d be glad to be the whitest fella in the crowd. As Ayn Rand once said:

“Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage — the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”

I’m no great philosophical thinker, but that’s pretty much a no-brainer. There is however, a clear line between “Rights” and the risks that all people take simply by virtue of being alive. People are allowed to hold differing opinions and to argue those opinions.

Anything less is a step on the yellow brick road to tyranny. In America we have the right to be silly, ignorant, and wrong -with respect to freedoms of speech.

Poor Salman Rushdie… he gets knighted for his lifelong contributions to literature and some angry religious people decide he needs do be censored -to death. I’m glad those folks don’t work for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution.

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