Freedom of Expression? F#CK YEA!

Posted on April 27, 2010 by

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In my continuing discussion of the Libertarian Party platform, today I will be discussing section 1.1, Expression and Communication.  The views expressed in this blog are my own, and should not be taken as official Libertarian Party views.

“1.1    Expression and Communication

We support full freedom of expression and oppose government censorship, regulation or control of communications media and technology. We favor the freedom to engage in or abstain from any religious activities that do not violate the rights of others. We oppose government actions which either aid or attack any religion.”

Many people don’t know that the initial role of the Federal Communications Commission was to simply issue radio licenses.  When it was founded in 1934, it was the combination of the Federal Radio Commission and the telecommunications section of the Interstate Commerce Commission that formed the FCC.  This government bureaucracy has increased in size over the years, both because of the ‘need’ to regulate TV, phone, cell phone, and internet, but also because of the expanded role of the FCC to enforce and punish ‘indecency in broadcasting.’

So what is indecent? Well, that’s an interesting question, with an equally interesting, if not vague, answer. “Are four-letter words forbidden or not? Which ones? And when? What about breasts or bottoms or lower backs? Does it matter if the context is medical, accidental, or unattractive? The FCC’s answer to all of those questions is yes, no, maybe, or all three, depending on whether the words and pictures in question meet its definition of indecency. But that test is performed using guidelines that are clear as mud: “An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material as a whole appeals to the prurient interest.” Who counts as an average person? And how is one to determine current community standards in a country that contains both the joyous vulgarity of downtown Manhattan and the quiet piety of Pennsylvania’s Quaker communities? The answer, unfortunately, is that these judgments are left to the FCC’s whim.” via The FCC Doesn’t Need to Be – Reason Magazine.

As a Libertarian, I believe in smaller government and more freedom, and wholeheartedly support eliminating the FCC.  There should be a private, independent organization that handles the issuance of radio and tv licenses, and regulating the cell phone and broadband spectrum. There should be no politics involved, and there should be no censorship! If there were no censorship, would every radio and tv station have obscene programming tomorrow?  Of course not! They wouldn’t be that stupid!  They would know their audience, and program accordingly.  And if they didn’t, their audience would let them know, either by flooding them with phone calls, or abandoning their station.  ‘But what about my kids?  I don’t want them to be subjected to that filth!’  If you think your kids aren’t hearing, and probably saying, worse on the playground at school, you need a reality check.

The second part of this statement concerns religion.  Libertarians do not believe anyone should be forced to participate in religious activities, or not allowed to participate.  Freedom of religion is just as important as freedom of speech.  People should be allowed to participate, or choose not to participate, in any religious activity they want, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of another. This one brings up an interesting point.  There is a religious group called ‘Westboro Baptist Church‘, many people know them as the ‘God Hates Fags’ group.  They protest at military funerals, carrying signs that say things like ‘Thank God for Dead Soldiers’ and ‘God Blew Up The Soldiers’.  The main point of their protests is that God hates homosexuality, and is killing the soldiers of USA because America has allowed gay marriages.

I don’t agree with them.  I think they are small-minded idiots who have taken religion to the extreme.  I think the families of these soldiers have a right to be upset.  However, I think that no matter how tasteless, idiotic, or extreme these people are, they have a right to do it.  The freedoms granted to the tea party movement to gather and protest and speak also grants these people the right to gather and protest and speak. Why do I include this here?  Because these people claim it is part of their religion, and as stated above, people should be allowed to participate in any religious activity, as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of others.  Having a peaceful funeral procession, while preferred, is not a right.

The last section is that government doesn’t aid or attack any religion.  But our government aids ‘faith-based’ organizations every year.  For instance, in fiscal year 2003, 5.1% or $6.8 million of the Department of Education’s discretionary grants went to faith-based organizations. via Corporate governance in religious organizations: a study of current practices in the local church – Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal Articles | Find Articles at CBS MoneyWatch.com.  It isn’t the governments place to support these religious organizations, and our tax dollars most certainly shouldn’t be used to support them.  The other side of this is the tax-exemption status of religious organizations.  The government has the ability to grant, or revoke, tax-exemption status to these organizations.  What happens if the IRS doesn’t feel your religious organization qualifies?  You don’t get the benefit.  Your religion is less important than many others, because the IRS decides you don’t qualify.  Obviously, an easy fix to this is to scrape the IRS and the tax code we currently are burdened with, but that is a discussion for another day.

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