Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I am frightened by the crowd

BoingBoing links admiringly to this summary of means protestors plan to use to disrupt the RNC. Some of the commentors attempt to bring up (but are ignored or shouted down) the best reason why these are terribly bad ideas - because they assume a basically anti-democratic, anti-free speech stance. Who the devil do you think you are, that you can say with utter moral certainty that X, Y and Z are not allowed to speak, nor express an opinion, nor congregate publicly to do so, merely because you disagree with them? That's even setting aside the many practical reasons why the whole scheme is utterly shameful, such as the undecided centre perhaps wanting nothing to do with a candidate whose most vocal supporters are willing to commit acts of vandalism and violence in the streets for their cause. It's just wrong. You want to have a debate, and tell me all about why Bush is Hitler, and Ashcroft is Goering, and if you sorta squint right, you wouldn't believe it, man, Rumsfeld looks just like Goebbels? Fine. But I get to rebut your nonsense as the mindlessly angry, unserious and self-indulgent frippery it is. You may not win the debate by shouting over me loudly enough I can't be heard. That's not the way freedom of speech works. "Peaceful protestors" are setting more and more dangerous precedents all the time in their (self-declaredly permissible) political actions - and eventually, in some manner, they will come to regret it.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you actually read the article? Lots of the tactics seem to be about free speech. With fenced-in free speech zones in Boston and protesters relegated to the West Side Highway in NYC, it seems they've come up with some interesting ways to get their opinions out. Aside from the radio interruption (which, if you go to BIT's website, seems much more minor than the eyeteeth piece suggests), they're all perfectly legal methods of communication. What's undemocratic about it?

8/13/2004 03:43:00 PM  

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