Freedom of Discretion

Freedom of speech is a funny thing.

The concept itself, when implemented correctly, allows for the press to question the government, for artists to express themselves without fear of repurcussion, and in general, for an open discourse.

Sometimes, people misuse the concept for much more unwholesome reasons.

Recently, Hank Williams, Jr., aka the guy who sings the Monday Night Football song, made some puzzling comments about President Obama. See below:

I used to get irritated with the starry-eyed hippies who compared Bush to Hitler, and Williams is no better. Hitler was Hitler, and comparing anyone to him is an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

However, Williams has the right to say it, no matter how intoxicated he seems.

ESPN (broadcaster of Monday Night Football) promptly fired Williams, who evoked The First Amendment,

See here.

Excerpt:

“After reading hundreds of e-mails, I have made MY decision,” Williams said Thursday on his official Web site: http://www.hankjr.com. “By pulling my opening Oct 3rd, You (ESPN) stepped on the Toes of The First Amendment — Freedom of Speech, so therefore Me, My Song, and All My Rowdy Friends are OUT OF HERE. It’s been a great run.”

Of course he has the right to say what he thinks; conversely, he must accept the repurcussions for his words. The First Amendment is not a get out of jail free card. Eminem wasn’t any less homophobic because he was afforded the freedom to rap like a middle school jock, and Williams isn’t any safer from repurcussions for what he said.

Williams never saw his freedom threatened; he was not censored in any way. What did happen was ESPN (rightfully or wrongfully) excercised their right to sever ties with him.

If he’s so into freedom, he should salute ESPN for asserting their power as a private enterprise in the land of the free.

Author: Affluent White Male

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