Freedom / ideation

Meandering Monday about the Safety of Words

I’m a writer, and so FREEDOM OF SPEECH takes on a particular significance to me. But it isn’t just the realm of writers – we ALL have this freedom, although in many countries this is prevented by dictatorships, monarchies, theocracies, or various other manifestations of tyranny. I’m fortunate to live in the United States, where this freedom, and others, are enshrined in our Constitution, with a government whose purpose is supposed to be to ensure those rights.

But our FREEDOM to SAY and WRITE what we think (even the right to THINK those things) has been eroding for some time. Consider that if you use the wrong pronouns in New York you can be fined a quarter of a million dollars (I wonder if the outlawing of 32-ounce soft-drinks was to curtail free speech? Talking IS thirsty work, you know.) Or that California is trying to make skepticism about Global Warming illegal. Or that government officials in Houston tried to subpoena the sermons of pastors who opposed the city’s 2014 equal rights ordinance (an early version of “use whatever bathroom you wish”.)

Wrong-thinking will be punished.

Bakers or florists across the country may believe what they want – but if they try to act on those beliefs they can be fined and sued out of business. The IRS can deliberately target individuals and groups for their political beliefs in Obama’s America. The attempts on close-minded campuses (and the rest of the country, really) to outlaw topics that might offend the guardians of safe speech. Rioters disguised as protestors against the police. Against Christians. Against Donald Trump. Thugs beating up the opposition for trying to assemble peacefully.

I thought we had laws in this country to protect those God-given rights enshrined in the Declaration and the Constitution. Why aren’t these sorts of attacks pursued as civil-rights issues?

Fear of reprisal for saying what you think – even if it is true – can be a forbidding thing. Anything from simple ostracism to and through loss of livelihood, fines, imprisonment, even fear of physical harm or death is used to hush the opposition –  if not directly ordered by the powers that be, at least encouraged by tepid or non-existent criticism (sometimes, silence can not only deafening, but muting, too.)

Who left the door open and let the brown-shirts in?

Just saying (while I still can)…

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FleeMarketCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “Flee Markets”:

Small town summer doldrums can leave your imagination wanting to flee away with you, taking you to far-away places – or maybe even bringing them to you for a time. Samantha Sanger has a chance encounter with a slightly disreputable merchant and learns that the limits on what you can be sold go beyond cold hard cash. Purveyors of controlled artifacts must choose their customers carefully.

(And no – that’s not supposed to be “FLEA” – it’s a deliberate double meaning. But don’t take my word for it – read it for yourself.) Use coupon code UC78A to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until June 11th. Here’s the link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/402085?ref=NoTimeToThink

“Flee Markets” is also available in the collection  Still Even More Things I Could Get Out of My Mind.

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William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub More, And Yet Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND, can be found in many places, including:

To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to

oppression

 

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