So I’ve been contemplating what’s been happening in the Middle East.
I’m heartbroken at the loss of life our nation has suffered in Libya. Being an expat kid and knowing so many in the foreign service, I’m upset by the unjustifiable, abhorrent violence against fellow citizens who were trying to increase peace and understanding in a troubled corner of the world.
I’ve also been thinking about the internet film that supposedly sparked this whole powder keg.
And I’ve been thinking about our responses to this whole mess.
I will not pretend to be an expert on the Constitution, but methinks that just because we have the right to free speech doesn’t mean we’re absolved of the responsibility for what we unleash on the public.
Just because the Interwebs has built for us this awesome global social community where we can share photos of our latest culinary masterpieces, blast our friends with LOLZCATS! memes, or pontificate on political gaffes-du-jour doesn’t mean we just get to leave flaming bags of poo on the world’s virtual porch and escape unscathed.
Yes, the right to free speech is an American value worth protecting fiercely and without capitulation–even worth dying for. But I shudder to think that a lot of us don’t really know what free speech means or entails. Frankly, I’m tired of cowards hiding behind knee-jerk exclamations of “free speech!” (or, similarly, “academic freedom!”) without thought or appreciation for the obligations associated with said free speech. What kind of entitled morons are we breeding in this country?
When you enjoy the right to speak your mind freely–a right that the Constitution has afforded you as a citizen–you accept responsibility for the consequences of your free speech.
If you want to post a photo of your wang on Twitter, by all means, do. But you’d better be prepared to take responsibility for the mass riots and looting that happens as a result.
Rights and responsibilities, people.
We get to enjoy these inalienable rights because we agree to abide by certain responsibilities expected of us as citizens. Clearly we all didn’t learn this in Civics class.