We are Losing Free Speech
Last weekend I was tuned to a college community-type radio station with the typical slow talking type C personality disc jockey (you know the type, smoked too much something) rambling on about how he was leaving the station due to an incident that transpired at the station weeks earlier. Not being too critical here but being on radio air myself since 1999 and having over 65 radio stations carry my thousands of shows and newscasts, I know a little bit about the radio business.
Anyway this twerp was making the egregious radio sin of airing his dirty laundry about the station and its management while on the air at this very same station. A bad no-no in the radio business and a good way to insure you never see another radio mic close up for a great many years. These transgressions have a habit of making it around the block, like a banker who embezzles money, it’s a foregone conclusion that remaining employed even near a bank is highly unlikely after such malfeasance.
So as I listened intently to what this DJ was saying, and it went something like this: he had been on the air for nary a decade and seemed to think that elevated him to a godlike status at the station. I guess he wasn’t aware of my dad’s old saying that anybody is replaceable, especially if you start trashing the management that hired you while still being employed there. Not the sharpest tool in the shed no doubt.
The DJ was spinning records of dissonant jazz which few people like and even fewer people understand (no doubt sometimes even the people playing it). For those going to look up the word “dissonance” just picture three kids in a basement with little musical talent and even less musical training playing together for the first time. It could be said that their resulting cacophony of noise is dissonant. Anyway you get the picture. It’s hard to listen to even for me who has been playing music since age 6, but some people like it and apparently this guy did.
Between the noise (opps I mean music) he was ranting about how this was his last broadcast (there is a God!) and that he was never going to raise money for the station again (obviously this guy can do advanced math as well) because he was leaving the station (like I said, a whiz this guy was).
Apparently the station management had interviewed a well-known a**h*le who supported the idiotic stance that racism had a place in the world. Barred from entering 26 countries worldwide so it was said, I don’t need to illustrate to you dear reader, you have to be a pretty bad dude with a pretty bad philosophy to get your passport cancelled in that many places.
Don’t get me wrong. Racism is akin to the worst evil on the planet and speaking from experience, my wife is Asian as are my kids obviously and my adopted half-brother is African-American. That said, my beef with this DJ was that he believed as many do: that silencing opposing views is a necessary evil in certain cases.
I beg to differ.
Much like an oppressive regime, disallowing free speech is the proverbial foot in the door for tyranny. Regardless of how bad the opposing view might be, when we start down the slippery slope of deciding who can speak and who can’t, we then must decide WHO decides and on WHAT they decide on. Hence the first amendment, as in FIRST.
Lord help the poor DJ if someone ever decides against what he perceives as just and silences him. Apparently the management was practicing the first amendment as they did in allowing the controversial guest. Illustrating its consistency, something this DJ can’t apply in his own thinking, management allowed this spud to trash them in the studio while they sat in the front office 50 feet away. Not something many program directors would do but I guess the management was truly allowing the concept of free speech, something this DJ was espousing against yet practicing hypocritically himself. No doubt had the management exercised the very gag order he was babbling about, he would have been locked out of the station after his first criticism and then taken up protesting out front about freedom of speech. Oh the irony.
With a gag concept fully enforced (and therefore trashing the first amendment in the process), the precedent of silence for all who disagree then falls solely on those who wield the power of the soapbox and isn’t that why people protest and should be allowed to?
Additionally assuming your audience is that stupid to somehow be swayed by a call to a stance so outlandish that it’s beyond comprehension is hubris on the part of anyone thinking they have to “protect” our innocent, virgin ears from hearing such rubbish. It also assumes and wrongly so that the populace is so mealy and without sufficient grey matter that a great many people might lean into the absurdity such as this guest was espousing to.
A particular stance or belief, whatever it may be, should be open to interpretation and debate in whatever the topic and by whoever the audience. After all, if it’s so ludicrous such as the stance this guest postured himself in, it will easily fall under the wheels of just debate and truth and therefore be declared dead and buried at the onset.
By silencing the discussion under the guise of protectionism of the constituency, not only is a dangerous precedent set as to who decides what is and what isn’t appropriate, but showing fear about such discussions gives them the weight its proponents need to further the cause. Truth and justice bask in the light. In contrast injustice and lies hate the light and fall under its illumination. If whatever the argument is sound, it will stand up to opposing views and spirited debate while the falsehood will fall in contrast.
Only when you shut off the light of discussion do you keep both the just and unjust in the dark. That then gives way to opportunity of the absurd to shine a spotlight on their position, giving light to an otherwise dark room.