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[personal profile] talvin
I am going to make this public here, because I made it public elsewhere.

https://twitter.com/AvoidComments/status/317675023731159040

This. This right here.

I have been accused of "Censorship" in the past, because I wouldn't read something somebody else wrote--or, horror of horrors, that I removed them from my "friends-list" (which I think of more as a reading list). That is not censorship, at least as they seem to conceive it. It is most definitely not a violation of their "Free Speech Rights". There is a right to SPEAK, but there is no right to require that other private citizens LISTEN TO.

Arguably, the government has to listen to you. If you have not actually read the First Amendment, or if it has been too long, read it again. Here:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

No state religion, nor can the state forbid the exercise of religion. The state can't prevent free speech, can't prevent a free press, and people have the right to peaceably assemble, *and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.* That last, right there, is the only point where it implies that ANYBODY just HAS to listen to what you have to say: you are allowed to petition the *government* for redress of grievance. Even if you have a beef with *me*, you have no inherent right to deal directly with me: you may have recourse through the courts.

The Bill of Rights does not dictate what private citizens may and may not do to one another, as a rule. Oh, there are occasionally cases where a private citizen is convicted of Civil Rights violations, but in almost every case they are either abusing a office of public trust in some way, or interfering with the exercise of a public function--such as harassing people who are trying to vote.

Ignoring someone who is saying something you despise or could care less about is not a crime. Rude? Possibly. But not a *crime*. Not a Civil Rights Violation. Stop cheapening that with spurious flames on the Internet, guys. Ask somebody who was born in a country that is NOT free. If you need a referral, just ask: I know somebody who is probably reading this right now. ;)

So, if somebody tells you to shut up, look for their badge--or their government paycheck. If they have one of those, they MIGHT be violating your right to freedom of speech--ask a lawyer. If they do not, they are probably exercising their own right to speak. If they don't want to listen to you, or allow you to say or write things in *their* forum, that might qualify as censorship according to some moral code or other, but it is not a violation of a legal right.

And if I remove somebody from access to my blogs, that is just me exercising my ownership of same. If somebody drops me from theirs, well, that is *their* right.

If I have offended you with this (or any) post to the extent that you want to drop me, go ahead. I won't cry censorship. I won't point to the First Amendment. And I won't listen if you do.
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June 2014

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