This Duck Dynasty Debacle doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, does it? So I'd like to take this opportunity to say two things about freedom of speech. Maybe they've been said before on other blogs that are actually read – I don’t know. I don’t read a lot of blogs. I can only tell you that my corner of Missouri remains silent on these slightly troubling nuances regarding this issue.
Freedom of Speech and Glorious Capitalism
Freedom of speech is granted in our constitution and says that the government can’t give you shit for speaking your mind. It does not say that the government will force an employer to allow his employee to say any damn thing that crosses his mind. The Duck Dynasty guy is an employee of a television channel. They write checks to him in exchange for his performance on the show. If he says something that is going to piss off the vast majority of the most desirable demographic, it is their right in a free enterprise system to censure him, fire him or do any number of things. (For the record, the most desired demographic for advertisers is 18-37 year olds – and of those people a whopping 67% are in favor of gay marriage.) So if you’re outraged that his tv channel slapped his wrists over this, what exactly would you propose happen here? Do you want Big Government to regulate employee relationships in private businesses to that degree? Really?
Freedom of Speech Doesn’t Stop with Ducks
For those who shout about toleration and how much you adore freedom of speech – I’m right there with you. But I have two questions for you.
- Since you love freedom of speech so much, I’m sure you wrote impassioned blog entries when one of the Dixie Chicks said she was embarrassed of George Bush. You didn’t huff in outrage, but boldly stood up to those who would have shamed her. Right? Because freedom of speech.
- When the Westboro Baptist Church pickets soldier’s funerals, do you also write letters to the editor defending their right to express themselves? I'm betting you don't do this any more than I do.
If this issue was truly about freedom of speech, you’d have been doing those things all along. When you are silent on those instances and instead come out in defense of the Duck Man, I can’t help but think the real issue isn’t about his freedom of speech as much as it was the content of his speech. Since he’s on your team, you’ll defend him. Fine. You have the right to do that. But at least have honesty to stop wrapping the issue up in the constitution and come right out and admit - 'It's about the gays.'