In Defense of Roseanne: Freedom of Speech

Have we become so mentally infantile that we cannot even bear hearing things we disagree with without immediately launching a boycott or “die-in” protest? Are we such children that the mere thought of hearing opposing ideas, derogatory language or inflammatory words is enough to send us wailing into the tyrannical arms of bureaucrats?

Those of you who have ever attended a class with my father know his timeless creed:  Truth Never Fears a Challenge.

We should never shy away from hearing opposing views, different perspectives or contrarian ideas.

And can we please stop firing people for self-expression?  Let them own it!

This behavior is the worst possible reaction for a free people to allow.

The consequence of saying something that others disagree with should be a responding explanation of why they are wrong.  It should be a free society’s reaction in which individuals who agree or disagree with that person’s viewpoint can show support or lack thereof as they individually see fit.  The punishment for a bad idea in a free and open society is the shame of then owning that statement or idea every day thereafter.

But these knee-jerk reactions to anything remotely “inflammatory” to one side or the other of any given topic by burning everything to the ground needs to stop.  It’s not healthy and in the long run it is going to destroy us all.

We are heading down a path where we will no longer be capable as a society of engaging in any type of serious discussion about anything without the other side immediately going “nuclear”

So Roseanne said some hateful and despicable things about another person.  OK, then let everyone know what she said, and let her bear the public shame of wearing that on a daily basis.

Look, everyone, there’s that Roseanne show on again, do you remember what she said?  You know what?  I disagree with her comments, I will choose to watch something else instead.”

It should be up to the public, not the TV executives to determine what individuals will or will not tolerate once the show has been put on the air.

Why not leave it up to the TV execs?  Because they apply inconsistent standards, double-standards even, when it comes to the things that they will or will not tolerate.   I won’t drag out the laundry list (tune into any conservative pundit these days for the full rundown), but suffice it to say that their application of “intolerance” of hateful or despicable speech is a bit of a one-sided affair.

Beyond that, they clearly know who they are hiring when they choose to air a show.   Roseanne is not known for her tolerant and kindhearted statements, after all.  She’s not exactly the queen of compassion when it comes to talking about those she doesn’t like.   When things go wrong, TV execs are only protecting their ad revenue or worse trying to further socially engineer by choosing what we can or cannot see.  They are choosing, not according to our will, but according to their own self-interests and ideologies, what is acceptable for us to see.

I, for one, believe that they have taken this double-standard social engineering too far.  This right to choose should be left solely to the individuals at this point.

The TV execs need to be held accountable for who they choose to represent their brand.  If they chose people of low character or bad morals or people with bigoted opinions about anyone, then there needs to be some costs for them as well.  Let them ride out the entire rest of the season with falling ad revenue based on their poor choices.  The result could be that TV execs will be more cautious about who they are willing to allow to carry their brand. Additionally, it removes their ability to social engineer in this way too.

Another reason to leave it to individual choice is that it will also tell us who we really are as a nation.  What kind of people we have become or are becoming.  Are we the sort of people who agree with comments like Roseanne made?  Then her show will still be watched, and knowing who she is we learn more about who we are too.  If we are the sort of people who do not agree with such comments, her show will lose viewers and the TV execs will lose revenue.  Once again, as a nation we will know more clearly who we are by what we refused to tolerate.

Instead, by choosing to simply drop her, the TV execs (well within their legal  rights, of course) removed this important opportunity for discovery from the public.  They robbed us of the public display of rejection that we all needed.  They stole a defining moment for our culture.  I would have respected them more had they said.  We have a contract for the rest of the season.  If you support Roseanne, tune in.  If not, change the channel. And then apologized for choosing such a poor representative of their brand.

And yet another reason to allow individuals to choose the course of action is that it provides a path of public redemption for Roseanne as well.  If she believes what she wrote, she can continue to act that way and say those things.  However, IF she does not believe them and actually wrote them for shock value or humor in a display of atrocious judgement, then she has the opportunity to publicly apologize and change her behavior in the same public way.

That is what makes a free market such an amazing process.  It is a self-defining mechanism.  Put all of the ideas out there.  Let all of the opinions be expressed.  Let the forum ring with all voices.  And then trust the individuals to make their own decisions and by making all of those millions of individual decisions, we can come to understand what type of a nation we really are.

But the pundits and talking heads hate this idea.  It removes from them the power to define us.  Social engineers hate this for the same reason.  Progressives and collectivists trying to write the script of our future hate it as well.  They want to be the arbiters of what is and what is not allowed.  They want to be the judge of what is acceptable speech and what is not.  They DO NOT have the authority for this, but they still exercise the power as though they were given some mandate to do so.  They were not.

It is our right as a free people to accept or reject anything and everything according to our own individual conscience not the dictates of media elitists and collectivists.

If we are to be a nation of truly free individuals, we need to be free to express our own approval or disapproval of any idea or action.

Stop treating adults as children or that is what our nation will devolve to.

Let’s have the difficult discussions.

Let’s allow the haters and bigots to speak.

Let’s hear the ideologues spouting their twisted and illogical “wisdom”.

And then let’s be free to judge them all on their actual merits.

Truth Never Fears a Challenge.

I may despise everything Roseanne said, but I will defend her right to say them.

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