Monday, February 14, 2005

HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?

The boundaries of free speech extend very far in this country. There are times when it is limited or proscribed. Long ago, courts adopted "shouting 'fire' in a crowded theater" as an example of "too far" when it comes to what you can't say, or when.

Over the years, the concept of free speech has extended to acts that don't even involve the spoken word -- e.g., the burning of a flag or book; that is, unless the intent of the "speech" was to provoke a criminal act. That would be conspiracy.

This past week, two separates acts of what some will argue is "free speech" were in the news. One being the now infamous Native American wannabe, Prof. Ward Churchill, and his abhorrent speech comparing the Trade Tower victims to Eichmann. The other being Lynne Stewart, the lawyer for Sheik Abdel Rahman, who was convicted of facilitating his communicating with his cohorts in direct violation of a court order proscribing such "speech."

I could rant for a long time about how Churchill's words are perfectly allowable (though he should be fired from his teaching post for his fraudulent resume as a "Native American"). He comes off as a rather harmless buffoon. He's had his fifteen minutes and is now best fired and forgotten.

However, Ms. Stewart's acts are the worst form of treason. She knew what she was doing. She knew her efforts could result in further terrorism. In years past, she would be facing the gallows.

Wretchard has a great post on the subject, so I'll just save my fingers this morning.

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