Are You In Favor Of Freedom of Speech? Are You Sure?

In the course of performing my act (i.e., giving speeches) about the nature and pleasures of a REAL wellness lifestyle over the course of almost forty years in all parts of the country, I have made it a practice to ask questions within the first minute or two of my introduction. I ask audience members if they are in favor of freedom of speech. Doing so prevents anyone from trying to nap and serves to keep the audience involved. It also helps me make a point while segueing into the topic of REAL wellness.

The point I make is that everyone (unless I’m in Alabama) claims to favor free speech, but only if it comports with their opinions.

Usually, the opening goes like this: “How many of you are in favor of freedom of speech?” All hands go up. Then I ask, “How many of you are in favor of allowing speech that insults your religion? How about speech that denigrates the flag? What about speech that insults the president, your favorite sports team or Elvis?

In every instance, the number of raised hands drops significantly.

The conclusion, as already noted, is disturbing: Many Americans favor free expression, provided the expression is agreeable. No wonder civil discourse has reached such a low state.

I won’t go into the nuances of constitutional law, in part because it’s boring, in part because I’m not qualified and mainly because it’s not the point I want to address in this essay. Instead, I wish to rant about gutless disclaimers from pusillanimous writers terrorized into pitiful cowardice by bottom-dwelling lawyers urging the fainthearted to sue for the quick buck. This has a disquieting affect upon freedom of speech.

Unlike the rest, however, I shall buck the trend. Are you ready for it? Take a deep breath-there’s a long sentence coming up. Here it is: Essays in this and all the “Don’s Reports” at SeekWellness stand on their own and I make no apologies for any of them, except to note that all opinions expressed in these columns are really not mine or anyone else’s at this company, including my friends and my cats and don’t quote me on that or anything else. All rights are reserved; these insights are copyrighted and you can’t profit from them or include any of my stuff in commercial publications without written permission from the president of the United States. Other copyright laws for specific one-liners apply wherever noted. Articles are subject to change without notice and some have been slightly enlarged to show detail. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is unintentional and purely coincidental. Hand wash any printed copies of these essays and tumble dry on low heat and don’t bend, fold, mutilate or spindle the thing. Your mileage may vary and be advised that no substitutions are allowed.

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Remember, I’m open to all arguments in support of my opinions. If something I wrote offends you, please adjust your opinions more in line with mine and consider taking both of us less seriously and move on to more consequential matters. One more thing: All opinions expressed in these essays concerning personal responsibility and that sort of thing are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the official view of the SeekWellness Editorial Board, the National Wellness Institute, my grandchildren or President Obama. However, I prefer to think that now, if not before, a few of these opinions are yours, too.

May random good fortune be upon you and all of us in seeking to become and stay well and mentally prosperous while doing what little we can to support others to do likewise.