On Free Speech, Washington Post Finds That “Constitutional And Decent Are Not The Same Thing”

On Free Speech, Washington Post Finds That “Constitutional And Decent Are Not The Same Thing”

By now you may have heard that the Supreme Court ruled in a manner that Free Speech is actually Free Speech. That government may not regulate it because someone got the vapors, such as, say, with the name of the Washington Redskins. The NY Times took to the Editorial Page to hail this decision, writing

The decision is likely to help the Washington Redskins, who lost their trademark protections in 2014 after years of complaints from Native American groups. At the time, this page supported the Trademark Office’s decision, and we still regard the Redskins name as offensive. Based on this case, however, we’ve since reconsidered our underlying position.

One has to wonder why the NYTEB has suddenly changed their position. WIIFT (what’s in it for them)? Did they suddenly realize that their own freedom of speech could be in jeopardy because some people find it offensive, a position that Leftists have been pushing for years? Will they now support people saying things that Leftists consider “offensive” on campus? How long till they decide to change their opinion again?

Then we get to the Washington Post Editorial Board, which ends on a doozy

The Supreme Court gives the country some necessary guidance on free speech

THE UNITED STATES is engaged just now in a freewheeling debate about — freewheeling debate. Or, to put it more precisely, about how freewheeling debate should normally be. The struggle is being waged across various battlegrounds — college campuses, social media, New York theater, even the air-conditioned offices in which federal employees decide whether to protect trademarks, such as that of Washington’s National Football League franchise.

Not mentioned is that it is Liberals, Democratic Party voters, who are attempting to shut down speech that Offends them, with Republican voters standing foresquare in attempting to protect Free Speech.

Now comes the Supreme Court with a strong statement in favor of free speech, to include speech that many find offensive. With the support of all eight justices who participated in the case (new Justice Neil M. Gorsuch being the exception), the court struck down a 71-year-old law requiring the Patent and Trademark Office to deny registration to brands that may “disparage” people or bring them “into contemp[t] or disrepute.” The ruling means that a dance-rock band may henceforth call itself “the Slants” on the same legal basis that, say, Mick Jagger’s bunch uses “the Rolling Stones” — even though many Asian Americans find the term derogatory and demeaning.

The justices were obviously, and properly, influenced by the fact that the Asian American members of the Slants took the name in a bid to “reclaim” that slur as something more positive and prideful. To apply the existing disparagement proviso in the statute despite the band’s expressive intent would not merely have exercised government control over government expression, implicit in trademark registration, as the Obama administration argued when the court heard the case shortly before Inauguration Day this year. It would, as the justices ruled, have put the government in the business of picking and choosing among points of view, a role that the court has repeatedly forbidden it to perform.

Not a bad start for the WPEB, though it’s a cute spin about trying to “reclaim” that slur by using it. They then note this quote (among others)

The concurring opinion followed with the rationale underlying that jurisprudence: “A law that can be directed against speech found offensive to some portion of the public can be turned against minority and dissenting views to the detriment of all.”

Perhaps the WPEB is starting to realize that what’s good for the good is good for the gander. That what goes around comes around. That the Special Tiger Of Being Offended they let loose could turn around and take a bit out of the people who set it free.

But, here we go

This is strong medicine, both in terms of the support it offers free speech and in terms of what it requires of those who do take offense at expressions likely to enjoy court protection as a result of this opinion — specifically the Washington football team’s name, which was also the subject of a suit against its trademark. The answer, in our view, is to redouble all lawful efforts to get that name changed, even if a federal lawsuit probably can’t be one of them. As the court’s decision reminds us, constitutional and decent are not the same thing.

That’s an interesting turn of phrase. What are we to read into it? Is is simply an acknowledgement that Free Speech is Free because it can offend you, and governmental entities are restricted from doing anything? Or is it something deeper, something more Progressive, a belief that the Constitution is profoundly wrong because it should allow government to restrict certain speech? Liberals have long had a problem with the Constitution, especially when it goes against the things they are trying to accomplish, and this ruling makes it harder for them to restrict any and all Free Speech they disagree with.

This could mean very bad things for Leftists who want to ban speech they do not like, that they consider “hate.”

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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