Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Freedom of speech revisited

Those of you who follow my blog may recall that I wrote a post, here, in which I fulminated about the fact that Hollywood, whenever consumers complain about vile, obscene material in movies, likes to scream "Censorship." I pointed out that only governments can "censor" -- everything else is just the marketplace, and the marketplace of ideas. Captain Ed, over at Captain's Quarters, makes the same point in connection with an employee who was fired when he used his blog to malign his workplace:

Free speech means a person is free to say whatever they want without fear of government sanction or prepublication censorship. It does not mean that a person is free from the consequences of his speech, a point that Hollywood stars also seem to miss whenever they feel the financial effects of the political activism that alienates broad swaths of their audience. Gordon has the freedom to call his manager Evil Boss in print and to call Waterstone whatever he wants. However, when his company finds out that he bad-mouths them in print - which, after all, has the added liability of handy proof of his speech - they have the right to terminate him for doing so, as long as they follow the terms of the union contract which governs his employment. That doesn't infringe on his right to speak his mind; it just reinforces Waterstone's right to associate with whom they choose. His speech can reasonably be construed to show disloyalty and an inability to work with his supervisor, as well as defamation and insubordination.
Thanks, Captain Ed, for the nice summary of a fundamentally important point about freedom of speech. Hat tip: Beef Always Wins.