Commentator

When public officials try to silence criticism

It is human nature. People don’t like to be criticized. However, those who hold public office must accept criticism as part of holding office. We have the right (and the duty) to hold our officials accountable for respecting our rights and spending our tax dollars wisely. Usually, the way public officials try to hide from accountability is to persuade the legislature to frame sunshine laws as...

Read More

Does “slacktivism” work?

“Slacktivism” is better than nothing, but it’s not hard to do more. Brett Bittner at The Advocates, a libertarian site, wonders whether sharing, favoriting, retweeting, and pinning things on social media really accomplish anything. On reflection, he understands that when many people pin, like, or share social media posts, there is an impact; and there are busy times when that is all we can do....

Read More

Make a difference using social networks

Social networking is a great tool for the political Commentator, but it is important to know your audience. Different groups have different ways they can be reached. We all know that social network usage has been climbing for years. The Pew Research Center reported last year that 73% of all Internet users go on at least one social network. A majority of users of all ages, except 65+ use social...

Read More

What are the limits on free speech?

Part 2 of 2 Last week, I wrote about the problems of using the law to limit free speech. There is another way to contain discussion within acceptable boundaries, which I will call social pressure. Social pressure is an informal agreement that certain subjects should be outside the range of open conversation. Like the law, social pressure can be abused; but our best hope of maintaining speech...

Read More

What are the limits on free speech?

Part 1 of 2 What, exactly, is free speech, and what limits can we reasonably put on it? Readers of this space know that free speech is a frequent topic here. In past articles, we have looked at the right to put bumper stickers on a car, attempts by officials at the University of London and several U.S. universities to restrict speech (mostly to protect “political correctness”), the evident...

Read More