Don’t reward reckless freedom of expression

Posted 8 February 2015 at 12:00 am


According to Lindsay Graham (1/30/15 on CNN), “Without responsibility, freedom leads to chaos.” That may be overstatement, but when Eisenhower reportedly repeated that “Freedom is nothing more than the right to exercise self-discipline,” he said something that should not be easily dismissed.

According to our often irresponsible media, the popular response in France to the Charlie Hebdo killings has been to support the magazine’s freedom of expression. Certainly there is no justification for the murder of its staff members. But I am NOT Charlie Hebdo.

What we hear from our often admittedly sensationalist mass media about “The Interview” has suggested some think it a “patriotic duty” to see the movie. The thinking apparently is that we should affirm our commitment to freedomof expression, in this case. North Korean outrage notwithstanding, we need to show them that their objections are not going to intimidate us. Some would say they should learn to “get over” the potential assassination of their leader, and they just do not understand “comedy.”

“The Interview” may not rise to the level of inappropriateness that the “Borat” movies did, but, to me, such irresponsible freedom of expression is harmful to American interests. “Borat” misinformed Americans who thought “Borat” was good for some laughs. Make no mistake, it further irritated the Muslims it stereotyped.

What was the price paid for a few laughs? Such things further the same end as did the pastor in Florida who unquestionably had a right to advocate burning the Koran. But, are these the types of things that people who care about this nation should encourage? Should we prioritize profit and selfishness over the best interests of our country?

We are obviously free to spend our money to support that which is damaging to the national interest. We can hide behind our “right” of free expression. To me, it is my patriotic duty NOT to reward irresponsible, undisciplined, and selfish freedom of expression by making it any more profitable than it often is.

Sincerely yours,

Gary F. Kent