Quiet-List 1997

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Re: Re Free expression on mailing list



I have a few points I'd like to make on the free expression
issue.

First, I realize that this list is international, but I can only
speak with  regard to the Constitutional tradition of the US,
as I understand it.

The doctrine of free speech doesn't mean you have to
invite people who disagree with you to your private events.
E-mail discussion lists are sort of like a private club, which
most anybody with a computer and an interest in the topic
can join.  Still, the list manager has the right to specify
rules.   If he says no obscenity, then I see that as his
prerogative.

Free speech is for public channels of expression.  You can
stand out on a soapbox in a public park and make a speech
and use obscenities.   Those who are offended can ignore you.
Those who choose to listen may do so.  That doesn't mean
that those who disagree with you are obligated to invite you
into their homes to honor the principle of free speech.  The
idea of free speech doesn't mean you can use amplification
equipment to impose your exrpression on those who have
chosen not to hear it.

Free speech also includes the right of potential audience
members to choose NOT to listen.  That's where the noise
issue comes in.   I don't want to listen to someone's auto
stereo broadcasting his trash into my house.  I would be
extremely offended by anyone trying to use the free speech
doctrine to justify this kind of noise aggression.

The boom car boys have every right to choose for themselves
what kind of trash to listen to.  The free speech tradition does
not confer on them the right to force the rest of us to hear it.

If "free speech" arguments are being seriously made by anyone
on behalf of the boom car boys or similar noise-makers, I would
be dismayed.  I would also be curious to know who is making 
this argument.

  -- Michael Wright
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