"There are countless horrible things happening all over the world and horrible people prospering, but we must never allow them to disturb our equanimity or deflect us from our sacred duty to sabotage and annoy them whenever possible." -Auberon Waugh
Somewhat OT, but I heard a woman from the Wilson Center (forget her name) on BBC News America last night say that the Bad Mo movie shouldn't be protected by the 1st Amendment, because it's the equivalent of yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.But, what if there really is a fire?
Yes, the old lame quote from O.W. Holmes, always trotted out on these occasions.But Holmes was a lawyer, and a good one, so you need to parse the whole thing.Yes, it is non-protected speech to shout fire in a crowded theater (old theaters had gaslights, yannow), but not because of panic, but because IT ISN'T TRUE.If it IS true - the theater IS on fire - then there is a positive duty to shout fire.Just as many people in the theater will die of panic, trampling, etc. as in the first scenario, but now THERE'S A REASON.
It's apples and oranges, IMO. Yelling fire in a crowded theater has predictable consequences, and recognized circumstances where it shouldn't be done. But why should it be expected, in the 21st century, for a whole people to go on a murderous rampage over a dumb movie? Or cartoons? Or any number of ridiculous events.
Deborah Leigh said... RebeccaH, the riotous mob isn't living in the 21st century. You have to time travel when going Middle East.
Mojo is correct, it is the paraphrase of Oliver Wendell Holmes is what gets trotted out. The actual quote is "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic."It is depressing how many people seem willing to make an exception to free speech to appease barbarism. It doesn't even seem to be well thought out; over the last few years it became what is said among the bien pensants. "If you want something banned you just need to riot" is not a lesson I want propagating.
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