I just don’t want to hear it, so you shouldn’t either

There are folks who can’t stand hearing what they don’t like, and don’t want others to hear it either. Three different approaches are in the current news. One is the effort to resurect the FCC requirement for ‘equal’ time allotments for every point of view on the airwaves. Another is an attempt to squash an expression by a government official in the name of “human rights.” The third is what happens when a few act out so no one can be heard.

From Strategy Page: Information Warfare: Free Speech Restricted

Charles Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, touched off a new fight with human rights lawyers by suggesting that corporate clients might want to re-evaluate who they do business with. As one can expect, this sort of comment did not sit well with the human rights groups, who threw a fit. …

the comments do raise a couple of points. First, many of the lawyers who are waging lawfare are doing so pro bono. They have gotten the resources to do so through their work on other cases. Naturally, it is only fair to point out who is doing that work.

Second, while it might have stung human-rights groups and the legal profession, the DOD does have the right to speak out about criticism that has been unfair. Looking at the facts, the term unfair is arguably an understatement

The ultimate heckler’s veto

Santa Cruz has thus positioned itself as an interesting test case in the wake of the ruling. On the one hand, the university is known for its politically active students, and it prizes them; on the other hand, the law is the law. Knowing that all eyes would be on them this year, Santa Cruz administrators had a tough decision to make–reign in student protesters, or avoid the problem altogether by shutting down the job fair in advance.

This is the heckler’s veto at work. Though the protesters aimed simply to scare off military recruiters, they have succeeded in depriving the entire study body of the right to participate in career recruitment that is potentially crucial to their futures. And they have done so because the administration, by its own admission, cannot maintain order on campus, and cannot ensure that students will respect the law.

Then there are the legislative attempts.

But, back to the DoD and USC brouhaha’s: what they illustrate is that matters of ethics and standards and fairness take a back seat to politicial or idealogical preference.

‘If you dare say something we don’t like, we will harass you without end until you shut up. We won’t worry about intellectual integrity, fairness, ethics, or even the law. We want you to shut up. You have no right to say anything that offends us.’

This heckler’s veto has even been tried to silence this weblog. It is the only passion that seems to have been raised by this effort to educate the need for integrity, ethics, and high standards in dialog. And the efforts illustrate the typical low standards, lack of integrity, and ethical lapses that so often seem to be the means employed by those who want to shut out the ideas of others.

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