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Principled Disagreement 



Our American system of government is based on disagreement. Sides disagree on a course to take, and we vote – choose – which course to take.

But within that disagreement comes an unspoken assumption of responsibility: the responsibility to disagree reasonably. We place our case before the electorate and we abide by the decision of the People – vox populi, vox dei.

So, when we commit ourselves to Freedom of Speech, we also commit ourselves to use that freedom responsibly. We will not censor the speech of those we do not disagree with. We will engage in public discourse in a civil manner, and we will consider our fellow citizens to be misguided, perhaps, but that’s their RIGHT.

When the civil fabric of discourse breaks down, the Constitution breaks down. When screaming drowns out the voices of the opposition, we descend from democratic rule to mob rule.

The rise of Hate Radio, and the Hate Jockeys represents precisely that threat to our system of government. The acid bath that any “improper” ideas are exposed to can only be compared with McCarthyism in recent history.

Except that McCarthyism was wrapped in a threadbare mantle of “decency.” Oh, and “communist” has been replaced by “liberal.” To listen to Hate Radio is often more than a moderate-to-liberal adult can bear. It is a veritable orgy of focused hatred in an unfocused environment. Listen:

 Who voted for these smarmy know-it-alls?

The answer is: we did. If money is, as the Supreme Court holds, speech, then it is by our “speech” of supporting the advertisers of Hate Radio that we have voted.

We didn’t MEAN to vote for this stuff. We weren’t aware that some of the most “mainstream” businesses in our community have been advertising on Hate Radio and improving their sales, else they wouldn’t be advertising.

We can’t recall that vote. But we can take our “speech” and let those businesses know that we will not patronize establishments that use our money to pay for Hate Jocks to insult us.

And it’s very hard NOT to be insulted by Hate Radio. A broad spectrum of political beliefs are routinely mocked and derided (almost literally spat upon) by the Hate Jockeys.

When questioned, they scream that they’re engaged in “free speech” against, in the words of one, “a monopolistic liberal media.” There’s nothing “free” at all about this speech.

It is bought and paid for by local businesses. So, when the host refuses to let the person with the dissenting opinion finish a sentence; when the host questions the “Americanism” of someone who protests clearcuts of old growth; when the host takes the first word, the last word, and listens to screened listeners tell him how right he is, and how stupid anyone who doesn’t agree with “them” is, that’s your friendly local businessman paying for this pollution of the airwaves.

Just tell your local businessman that you won’t do business with a store that pays Hate Radio to insult you. If they ask you what that means, tell them advertising on Hate Radio is paying for it, and that they’re responsible for those opinions just as if they were sitting in the broadcast booth sniggering at “liberals.”

Tell them that you’re a ‘liberal’ and you are taking your business somewhere that values you as a customer.

It is called a boycott, which was invented in, by and for America and is about as American a thing as there is to do.

It really doesn’t take too many votes to change this “election.”

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last updated 06 May 2002

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