Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In Reply: "free speech is often about defending the rights of those one finds repugnant" (Simple Justice)

In reply to: Blogging: More Than The Cost of Admission | Simple Justice, wherein the author brings up several points worthy of consideration as concerns defending folks (and in particular, those folks) against Team Kimberlin.

You bring up several points that definitely deserve consideration...and do so with respect for all sides, which is all too rare here on the internet machine.

In fact, most of 'em are so worthy of consideration that I want to stew over 'em for awhile before expressing an opinion.

In part, I'm concerned that my desire not to support the rightwing bloggers on partisan and personal grounds is influencing my opinion of some of what you've said here. I believe in free speech and more speech, but I find some of the folks that stance has me defending morally repugnant and personally ungrateful, besides. While I'm defending them, they're attacking me both personally and via sweeping generalization. It definitely makes one want to just not bother, and some of what you've written here might be justification to do just that.

On the other hand, one's values are one's values. No one ever said it was easy, and free speech is often about defending the rights of those one finds repugnant. In any case, I just want to be sure that I'm agreeing with you (or Ken) for the right reasons.

The only bit I can speak to (at least a little) is whether there isn't a person or cause more deserving. My take has always been that one does what one does and starts where one starts. Every dollar donated to one cause is a dollar that isn't donated to any other cause. By donating to help families who lost their homes in a natural disaster, you're not helping starving children in Africa. By spaying and neutering stray cats, you're turning your back on programs that help homeless veterans. And yeah, putting money into a defense fund for internet free speech necessarily means those who do will give less to defend the indigent accused of more serious crime.

I take this all to be a plea to consider what's really important to you, and to donate accordingly. But at the same time, I also think there have to be people out there for free speech AND folks for indigents accused of murder AND people whose cause is stray cats AND... (etc.) While it's up to us to put our money where our values are, choosing from among all the competing "goods" there are, it's also important that someone fights for the local art museum, music education or the grey spotted salamander, even if others believe that money could be much better spent saving the causes they champion instead. We start where we start, and we do what we can (and we hope others do too, so that every worthy cause ultimately gets funded.)

Submitted for moderator approval September 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm

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