Freedom of expression is the key to all other rights in our American system of government, I am convinced. Defending the First Amendment becomes the way to defend all other rights. Telling the King he has no clothes, without fear of retribution, makes it possible to keep the King clothed.
I support most groups and efforts to defend and protect the First Amendment. I’ve been a member of the Society of Professional Journalists for most years since 1974, I’ve been a member of the National Freedom of Information coordinating committee, and I’ve worked in three states and the federal legislature to expand freedom of information, reporters’ access to information, and especially the people’s right to know.
In the press, there are few hard-core idiots. A few exist, but they are outweighed by the many who make sincere efforts to get the story right. That’s a long way of saying, it’s easy to support rights of people who aren’t always yapping at you. Their existence puts me in a little quandary, and I need to resolve it.
Last night I found one more deluded, on-line writer working against the First Amendment and, IMHO, hammering away at the foundations of the Constitution in other ways. (Incredibly, this guy asked Jonathan Rowe to abandon commenting at his blog, suggesting Rowe’s carefully crafted, court-tested, generally take-’em-to-the-bank correct ideas about history are “lies.” Yeah, he has a right to hold foolish opinions.)
Does he have a right to do that, on-line?
Yes he does have that right. As I’ve often said before, I put a lot of stock into the old Ben Franklin maxim that truth wins in a fair fight. So we need to keep the fight fair.
We also need to defend the rights of bloggers whose work helps expose the truth, even at the expense of defending the deluded writers who get it wrong.
What are blogger’s rights and protections? The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) put together a concise and nearly complete legal guide for bloggers — you can find it here.
EFF campaigns to protect and defend bloggers’ rights. Bloggers, and other supporters of freedom, should join that campaign. Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub will display a badge of the campaign to encourage others to join it.
Do you like freedom? Do you read a lot? Do you read on-line? Do you express your opinions? Then you have a vested interest in supporting these groups. Since you’re reading this on-line, you have a vested interest in supporting the Electronic Freedom Foundation’s work to defend bloggers’ rights. Click over to EFF, get informed, lend some support, and get involved.
This blog is banned in Turkey, prohibited from viewing in China, non-grata in much of Singapore and Iran, and blocked from the Duncanville, Texas, Independent School District. I appreciate the freedom to blog, and I hope we can keep blogging free everywhere else, and make blogging free in those areas darkened by bans on expression.
(Okay, I like the cat in the one badge from the EFF — would it kill them to put a dog in one?)