Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Freedom of Speech Does Not Equal Freedom From Consequences

If you haven't heard, Elton John and Dolce & Gabbana are having a bit of a feud. This is because Dolce & Gabbana publicly stated that they didn't believe in "synthetic" children produced by IVF, and further stated that gay people shouldn't raise kids. Elton John took exception to this (after all, he has two children conceived by IVF), and started a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce & Gabbana also tried to institute their own boycott of Elton John, but so far, Sir Elton is way ahead in the boycott race.

Now, Dolce & Gabbana are confused, and their supporters are confused. What are they confused about? They are wondering why Dolce & Gabbana don't have the right to say what they want. This keeps cropping up, with people simply appalled that Dolce & Gabbana can't freely espouse their feelings about a given subject.

But there shouldn't be any confusion here. You see, Dolce & Gabbana most surely did freely espouse their views. What they don't get is that, once they've freely shared those views, everyone else on the planet is free to share theirs in response.

That's right, Dolce & Gabbana--freedom of speech does not protect you against the words of the masses who were angered and offended by your speech.

And we see this all the time, especially with celebrities and government officials. They say something the general public takes serious exception to, and then are surprised when the general public buries them under a flood of fiery replies. The supporters of these people are always crying about freedom of speech and how everyone has a right to say what they want. Literally, they are blown away that so much anger and vitriol is lobbed at someone who, say, thinks women shouldn't be allowed to work, and their standard tactic is claiming a violation of the freedom of speech.

But, you see, freedom of speech does not mean you can say something, and everyone else is forced to simply accept what you said without comment. Everyone else has a right to free speech too, and they have the right to call you a blithering idiot for whatever it was you just said.

People collectively need to stop thinking that the right to say a thing protects them from any potential backlash once that thing is said. It doesn't. Just like having the right to jump off a bridge does not protect you from the consequences of dying when you slam into the ground below, the right to open your mouth and spew forth bullshit does not protect you from the fury incited in others by said bullshit.

So, if you've the balls to say something idiotic, especially if you're a celebrity, government official, or hell, just on the interwebs, then you'd best have the balls to deal with the consequences. If "your mouth is writing checks your body can't cash" applies to you, then you'd be better off sitting down and shutting the fuck up.

Be an adult and own your words. If you believe that strongly in whatever you said, then you should be strong enough to withstand any hate thrown your way. Can't handle the hate? Then keep your trap shut.

Or, better yet, DON'T BE A BACKWARDS, IGNORANT ASSHOLE, Dolce & Gabbana. When you aren't a backwards, ignorant asshole, things you say are more likely to not incite the rage of the masses, and you're much more likely to feel the love and support of the people. That's also a fairly simple concept to grasp--DON'T BE A DICK, and hate will tend to stay away.

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