The Freedom of Being a Dumbass

Political correctness. You’d think it was something new.
Talented writers were blacklisted by Hollywood during the 1950s because they had dabbled in radicalism, mostly when they were much younger. The agency that runs the prisons is called the Department of “Corrections.” It may be the “pisser” or the “shitter,” but, officially, it’s the “restroom.” Cousin Shadie isn’t drunk on her ass. She’s “indisposed.” She’s not puking her guts out. She’s “under the weather.”
So now we’re off on another great national tangent, similar to the one where nutcases obligingly jammed the great Chick-Fil-A drive-throughs of this vast and glorious land. There are all the bogus wars: on Christmas, drugs, speech, white people. Republicans are feeling frustrated that an opposition president has stymied their attempts to bomb countries instead of, oh, talk things out first. They’ve got to come up with something war-like!
As usual, people have to claim oppression to rationalize inaction toward those who are … really oppressed.
And, as usual, the self-professed Defenders of the Constitution prove they don’t give a damn about most of it.
The difference, perhaps, is that, instead of conducting these carnivals in the name of important issues – education, civil rights, suffrage, war, poverty, national security, et al. – bees are in our bonnets over the firing of a reality-show star who made controversial remarks in a magazine interview.
Phil Robertson? At first, I thought he might be Pat Robertson’s brother, or son. I realized this probably wasn’t the case when I saw his photo. Ah, that show, something Dynasty. Oh, yeah. “Duck Dynasty.” I once thought it was a cartoon. Come to think of it, in another sense, it probably is. But I’ve never watched a second of it. I’ve got this intuition that it’s not my style.
Just for the record, freedom of speech applies to a citizen’s relationship to his government. It does not relate to an employee to his employer, or, quite obviously based on my background, a son to his father. There are reasonable exceptions – advocating the violent overthrow of the government, yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater, slander, libel – but, in general, the government can’t tell you what to say or write.
Your boss? As in, your television network? Oh, yeah. Every day. There’s a contract. From what I keep hearing, The Man can tell you what to tweet. ‘Cause, like, that’s another Vital Freedom of Our Time.
They fired my ass ‘cause I tweeted that my job sucked!
Imagine that.
You can’t have this free-enterprise caper both ways. You can’t, on the one hand, say, “It stinks that an athlete makes $20 million a year, and a schoolteacher makes $40,000,” and then say, “The market takes care of itself.”
Well … you can. Freedom of Speech inevitably envelops Freedom of Being a Dumbass. That’s an implied, but very important, freedom. Our civilization would grind to a halt without Freedom of Being a Dumbass. It only slows to a crawl now.


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