Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Student Free Speech Victory

A Federal court in Michigan just issued a permanent injunction barring the school district in Monroe, Michigan from enforcing a rule that prohibited students to hand out pro-choice literature to their fellow students before and after school and during lunch. The injunction also forbids the school from preventing a student from wearing a t-shirt that says “Keep abortion safe and legal.” Good ruling, I’m sure everyone would agree. Details below the fold.

Okay, I lied. The students were actually handing out anti-abortion literature. And the student was wearing a t-shirt that said “Pray to end abortion.” Still think it’s a good ruling? If not, then I would suggest that you don’t really believe in freedom of speech, only for freedom to espouse ideas that you believe in. And that’s not free speech at all.

Comments

  1. #1 Robert
    March 29, 2007

    As soon as I read the second part I immediately thought, well I don’t agree with that part of the speech, so they should fight it by doing what you suggested in the first part. You know, fight ideas with ideas. Plus I would love to see the reaction if students actually handed out pro-choice literature.

    Why is that idea so hard?

  2. #2 Robert
    March 29, 2007

    And you are of course right… it is a victory for free speech. I also really really hate it when people fight ideas that I also don’t agree with by suppressing the speech rather than challenging it on its merits. The school really should have known better.

  3. #3 Lettuce
    March 29, 2007

    I’m pro-choice, pro-choice enough that my conservative religious friends have called me pro-abortion (but nobody is pro-abortion in the way they mean it)…

    So when I read the first part of your post what did I think?

    I thought, “in a school? During lunch?” and I was uneasy. This isn’t bong hits for jesus out on a public sidewalk; this is in the bulding while school is going on.

    I’d still permit it, but I’m uncomfortable with it. It’s looks a lot closer to interfering with the educational mission of the school, especially if it’s being done to be obnoxious.

  4. #4 Robert
    March 29, 2007

    If the students start harrassing kids, or it turns into a shouting match in the hall then you can break it up (and I mean just that, seperate the kids and tell them to shut up). But really then you are suppressing the disruption and not the speech.

  5. #5 W. Kevin Vicklund
    March 29, 2007

    My response to the part I saw on the main page was “Great, but they need to keep in mind that they also have to allow anti-abortion speech as well.” Then I thought “Wait, didn’t he say Monroe? Wasn’t there a case-” and then the page finished loading…

  6. #6 Stuart Coleman
    March 29, 2007

    I’m always amazed that school administrators pull this kind of crap. They have to know that it violates their students’ speech rights, so why bother trying to deny them the rights and having a costly court battle?

  7. #7 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    March 29, 2007

    School cracks down on religious expression


    “I feel like my First Amendment was violated,” Killian, 16, said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That’s what I tried to do, and I got shot down.”
    .
    Freedom of religion?
    .
    Yes, Killian says, his “pirate regalia” is part of his faith — the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  8. #8 Brandon
    March 29, 2007

    Wow, can you believe I saw that second paragraph coming before I clicked the link? You’re starting to get a little predictable, Ed, but I do greatly admire how you adhere to your ethics even when they’re not convenient for you.

  9. #9 dogmeatib
    March 29, 2007

    My only concern would be the content of the literature, some of those partial birth abortion shots the pro-life crowd have been using lately really aren’t appropriate for kids (actually they’re not appropriate period…but).

  10. #10 Lettuce
    March 29, 2007

    Well, Bong Hits 4 Jesus

    I don’t believe that tunred into a shouting match in the hall, and we’ll see, won’t we?

    Indeed there are limitations placed on speech in schools. Calling speech “disruption” doesn’t do much for me; one persons disruption is another person’s speech.

    Like I said: I’m pro-choice and Ed’s initial post, above the fold, made me somewhat uncomfortable. School is mandatory, it is coerced. I can ignore the Witnesses at my door. I can’t stop people from pampleting at lunch time.

    It made me uncomfortable and I would have agreed with the speech.

  11. #11 dogmeatib
    March 29, 2007

    Lettuce,

    I don’t know what format their speech took beyond the handing out of literature. I am willing to guess, based on the ruling, that the pamphlets and the t-shirt were probably the extent of the effort they were making. Given most school campuses, cafeterias, etc., it wouldn’t be as much of a “captive audience” as you would normally see in an educational setting. Our campus has a huge courtyard area where students who didn’t want to be bothered by the pamphleteers could simply walk away and leave them there. At the other campuses where I worked, students would have similar abilities to go elsewhere without being forced to accept or read the material.

  12. #12 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    Am I alone in thinking that the Judge missed a point ?

    If the school has a policy of not allowing students to hand out pamphlets on school premises then that would surely cover ALL such activity ? Where is the problem ? I see none.

  13. #13 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    If the school has a policy of not allowing students to hand out pamphlets on school premises then that would surely cover ALL such activity ? Where is the problem ?

    Um First Amendment?

    Students do not give up all their First Amendment rights just by being students. And banning ALL pamphlets under all circumstances encroaches far too much on their First amendment rights.

  14. #14 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    gwangung,

    You also seem have missed the point. The school did NOT seek to stop the activities of the students OUTSIDE of school. Provided the school does not allow one group to pamphlet and others not then I still do not see the problem.

    Your first amendment comment is not relavent.

    Want to try again ?

  15. #15 Poly
    March 30, 2007

    Penfold wrote:

    If the school has a policy of not allowing students to hand out pamphlets on school premises then that would surely cover ALL such activity ? Where is the problem ? I see none

    A public school is not the private property of an individual, or a group of individuals, or even the school administration. It is still an agency of the government, and that means it has to abide by the Constitution.

    While a public school administration can set reasonable time, place and manner restrictions on expressions of opinion – consistent with educational purposes and the level of the school – it does not have free reign to impose whatever restrictions it feels like setting.

    Therefore, a school could have a policy that there will be no handing out of printed material in the hallways during class changes (whether it would be practically enforcable is another matter). However, a policy proscribing all expressions by students, at all times, everywhere in the school – especially in a high school – would be illegal. The fact that it is an even-handed policy is essentially irrelevant.

  16. #16 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    No, his first amendment comment was right on. The issue is not discrimination, it’s free speech. Students do not give up their right to free speech when they walk into school. Those rights are diminished somewhat, but only by the circumstances. The only legitimate grounds for restricting the free speech rights of students is when the exercise of those rights disrupts the school’s educational function, which was not even alleged here. The school can no more tell a student that they can’t hand out literature to their classmates about an issue outside of actual class time than they can tell them that they can’t speak to their classmates about an issue outside of class.

    Not only is this consistent with the school’s educational mission and the first amendment, I would argue that it is a great boon to both. I think it’s great that students are getting involved in the public debate, trying to persuade others of their position and exercising their first amendment rights – and not letting those rights be violated, even if I don’t agree with the content of their speech.

  17. #17 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    You also seem have missed the point.

    No, I didn’t.

    Try again.

  18. #18 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    My arguement is that allowing students to hand out pamphlets on contentious issues is likely to cuase disruption at some stage, so why wait for that disruption to happen ?

    And handing out literature is very different to talking to your classmates. One is deliberate act, the other not.

    Would you allow students to hand out literature promoting the arguments in “The Bell Curve” ? How about calling for the decriminalistion of drugs ? What I am trying to get at here is where are you going to draw the line, becuase clearly there does have to be a line, and clearly it cannot be the same place as outside school as you admit when you say freedom of speech rights are diminished somewhat in school.

  19. #19 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    Ed,

    One more thing. I kn ow you are stringly opposed to the teaching of creationism/ID in schools. How do you square that restriction on free speech with your comments above ?

    I am not trying to be awkward here, I just want to know where you would draw the line we all think needs to be drawn.

  20. #20 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    My arguement is that allowing students to hand out pamphlets on contentious issues is likely to cuase disruption at some stage,

    This argument is specifically addressed in past court cases. Content based suppression, particularly beforehand, is simply not allowed, be it a school or not a school. Moreover, there are certainly times at school (like, lunchtime) where this reasoning simply does not apply.

    If students CAUSE a disruption, you can take care of it then. But you simply cannot suppress speech just because you THINK it will cause a disruption.

  21. #21 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    Matt Penfold wrote:

    My arguement is that allowing students to hand out pamphlets on contentious issues is likely to cuase disruption at some stage, so why wait for that disruption to happen?

    Because the first amendment demands it. It is far too vague and far too open to abuse to allow speech restrictions merely on the opinion that it might later lead to disruption. The courts have been clear on this, there must be an imminent disruption.

    And handing out literature is very different to talking to your classmates. One is deliberate act, the other not.

    Uh….okay. You don’t speak deliberately? Words come out of your mouth that you don’t want to come out of your mouth? Both are speech. Both are advocacy. Both are protected by the first amendment.

    One more thing. I kn ow you are stringly opposed to the teaching of creationism/ID in schools. How do you square that restriction on free speech with your comments above ?

    These are entirely different issues. A teacher does not have free speech while teaching because they represent the government. And the government is restricted from promoting or endorsing religious beliefs. A student, on the other hand, is certainly free to promote creationism, hand out literature to other students on the subject, try and persuade them, form creationism clubs, and so forth. Entirely separate issues.

  22. #22 THobbes
    March 30, 2007

    Would you allow students to hand out literature promoting the arguments in “The Bell Curve”? How about calling for the decriminalistion of drugs?

    Why the hell not? The fact that your right to speak freely is fundamental does not come with the qualification that your speech must be sensible. And as to your mention of The Bell Curve–Charles Murray thinks that there’s nothing at all untoward about his arguments, and no reason for them to be censored. “Offensive” speech is different for every person, and as such it is the height of folly for the government to try to censor such speech (the school acts as an agent of government, in this case).

    What I am trying to get at here is where are you going to draw the line, becuase clearly there does have to be a line, and clearly it cannot be the same place as outside school as you admit when you say freedom of speech rights are diminished somewhat in school.

    The line has already been drawn, as Ed Brayton has noted above. The standard to be used is an imminent disruption of the school, I believe, or language to that effect. It’s narrowly tailored, and for good reason.

    And handing out literature is very different to talking to your classmates. One is deliberate act, the other not.

    As Ed also noted, this is nonsense. Wearing a shirt with a particular message has been protected as a First Amendment activity (Cohen v. California); wearing a shirt is even less deliberate than handing out pamphlets. Speech is speech, advocacy is advocacy.

  23. #23 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    Ed has NOT drawn the line.

    One aspect of the law is that people should know where they stand with regard to it. Ed does not allow for that.

    Ed also does not seem to grasp that handing ouyt literature requires prior planning whereas an off the cuff remark does not. Han ding out literature in support of a contentious issue IS advocacy, so I fail to see you point there. And as for the proponent of an idea not accepting that their views are contentious and liable to cause offence, also irrelavent. The test is what a REASONABLE person would consider offensive, not the person accused of being offensive.

    As Ed would have it, anyone could remove the right of some to hand out literature in a school by the simple expedient of threating to disrupt the school should they do so. I have yet to see Ed address this issue, and I doubt he thinks allowing the opponents of a position to judge whether actions are permissible is a good one. Yet that is what he seems to be saying, in that he has stated that threating disruption, or actually causing it, is enough to override the assumption of free speech.

    And Ed also does not seem to consider the position of a a female pupil at the school who may have undergone a termination. Schools are under an obligation to protect their charges, “loco parentis” as the legal types would have it. Maybe Ed can explain how he would protect such a young women whilst at the same time preserving her right to privacy. In otherwords the school can let her be subject to harrassment like that yet, but also cannot take special measures to protect her as that would only draw attention to her. Or is this an issue that had not occurred to him ?

    So Ed, do you really think that someone should be able to restrict someone’s right to free speech by punching them ? Only as it stands that is your position, and it is simply not tenable. PZ was right, Ed is a lightweight.

  24. #24 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    Ed has NOT drawn the line.

    Quite true. The Supreme Court has drawn the line. Ed has referenced that. You’ve dismissed that. Why?

  25. #25 THobbes
    March 30, 2007

    Han ding out literature in support of a contentious issue IS advocacy, so I fail to see you point there.

    Then you must not have read what I said very closely. Advocacy is protected as a free expression activity in virtually whatever the form it may take.

    Ed also does not seem to grasp that handing ouyt literature requires prior planning whereas an off the cuff remark does not.

    What difference does this make? If this is your criticism, then it’s pretty clear that you don’t understand how First Amendment protections work. It also appears more and more like you’re trolling, so make a good-faith effort to understand and respond, or stop.

    The test is what a REASONABLE person would consider offensive, not the person accused of being offensive.

    Test for what? What exactly are you arguing for here–promotion of censorship based on the offensiveness of an idea? The bankruptcy of such an idea has been addressed before, here and elsewhere.

    et that is what he seems to be saying, in that he has stated that threating disruption, or actually causing it, is enough to override the assumption of free speech.

    Do you believe that your right to free expression extends to making your opinions known through a bullhorn on a street corner at 3 am? It is very much the same thing here. Students have wide latitude to express their ideas and advocate and what have you (as they should), so long as their doing so does not disrupt the order of the school or imminently threaten to do so. Now reasonable people will disagree as to what that means, but it does not allow for nearly the latitude that you are ascribing to it.

    And Ed also does not seem to consider the position of a a female pupil at the school who may have undergone a termination. Schools are under an obligation to protect their charges, “loco parentis” as the legal types would have it. Maybe Ed can explain how he would protect such a young women whilst at the same time preserving her right to privacy. In otherwords the school can let her be subject to harrassment like that yet, but also cannot take special measures to protect her as that would only draw attention to her. Or is this an issue that had not occurred to him ?

    By “termination” I take it that you mean an abortion, so tell me if that is incorrect. There really is no issue here–certain information is protected from ready dissemination (doctor/patients discussions, etc.), but once it gets out there, there is no reason for it to be suppressed, nor should it be. The right to privacy is protection from the government, not your fellow citizens. And kids can be cruel, without a doubt–but that is not a justification.

    So Ed, do you really think that someone should be able to restrict someone’s right to free speech by punching them ? Only as it stands that is your position, and it is simply not tenable. PZ was right, Ed is a lightweight.

    What the hell is this? You really must be trolling.

  26. #26 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    THobbes,

    First, yes termination in this context means abortion. If that is not clear you to then I am sorry but I do assume a modicum of knowledge of English.

    You are wrong on a number of fronts.

    The right to privacy is not just from the government, it is from EVERYONE, including your parents, your spouse and your children.

    You and Ed have stated that the test be used over allowable free speech in school is if that free speech causes disruption it can be prohibited. Now punching someone is causing a disruption I am sure you will agree, so using your logic the opponents of someone handing out paphlets need only punch that person, or grab the pamphlets and tear then up and disruption has occurred, thus the handing out of pamplets can now be banned. But here is the thing, it is the OPPONENTS of the pamphleting who have brought that about.

    And as for you accusing me of trolling, when are you going to address the issues I raise ? As for PZ calling Brayton an intellecual lightweight he has not actually used that phrase but certainly expressed that sentiment.

  27. #27 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    LOL. This is getting really funny.

    Ed has NOT drawn the line.

    One aspect of the law is that people should know where they stand with regard to it. Ed does not allow for that.

    As has already been pointed out to you, the courts have already drawn the line – schools may only restrict student speech that disrupts the educational function of the school (they also have upheld content-neutral prohibitions on vulgarity, but that’s a different legal issue). Now, I’m not entirely happy with that standard either, as it offers the possibility of a heckler’s veto – if someone doesn’t like what someone else says, they can cause a fight over it and thereby cause a disruption that will result in the speech they object to being censored. But that’s probably as good as we’re likely to get in an area with overlapping and often conflicting concerns.

    But what I find really amusing is that you’re accusing me of not drawing a clear line that will allow people to know exactly what they can and can’t do, yet you’ve been advocating allowing the schools to censor anything that they just think MIGHT lead to a disruption. Tell me, how is that a clearer line? It is clearly far more subjective that the standard in Tinker, which requires a serious threat of imminent disruption, not the subjective whim of an administrator. In addition, you have advocated that the school be able to ban anything that might be controversial. How is that a clearer line? How is one to determine what is and is not controversial? Again, you would leave it up to the subjective whim of a school official to decide what is and what isn’t. The current standard is at least more objective than THAT.

    Ed also does not seem to grasp that handing ouyt literature requires prior planning whereas an off the cuff remark does not. Han ding out literature in support of a contentious issue IS advocacy, so I fail to see you point there. And as for the proponent of an idea not accepting that their views are contentious and liable to cause offence, also irrelavent. The test is what a REASONABLE person would consider offensive, not the person accused of being offensive.

    It is? And where can that standard be found? Not in any court case I am aware of. You may want that to be the standard, but that doesn’t make it so. And that standard clearly violates the first amendment. The first amendment doesn’t say that free speech may not be violated unless someone finds someone else’s speech offensive. Nor does the first amendment make any distinction between speech that is planned out in advance and speech that is extemporaneous. You are simply inventing irrelevant distinctions that do not exist.

    As Ed would have it, anyone could remove the right of some to hand out literature in a school by the simple expedient of threating to disrupt the school should they do so. I have yet to see Ed address this issue, and I doubt he thinks allowing the opponents of a position to judge whether actions are permissible is a good one. Yet that is what he seems to be saying, in that he has stated that threating disruption, or actually causing it, is enough to override the assumption of free speech.

    No, that is the current standard. I don’t like that, but it is really funny that you criticize that standard because it allows free speech rights to be violated while advocating that free speech rights be violated on far flimsier and more subjective grounds. Seriously, pick a freaking position and stick with it.

    And Ed also does not seem to consider the position of a a female pupil at the school who may have undergone a termination. Schools are under an obligation to protect their charges, “loco parentis” as the legal types would have it. Maybe Ed can explain how he would protect such a young women whilst at the same time preserving her right to privacy. In otherwords the school can let her be subject to harrassment like that yet, but also cannot take special measures to protect her as that would only draw attention to her. Or is this an issue that had not occurred to him ?

    This is nonsense. Because she had an abortion, she therefore has to be protected against the knowledge that others are opposed to abortion? In what universe? That the message being spoken might be personally uncomfortable for her is not a justification for censoring the views of others. If it was, no one could ever say anything. How about someone who had an abortion but now is ashamed of it and thinks it was wrong? Hearing someone advocate a pro-choice position might make her feel bad, just like your hypothetical girl might feel bad. Well welcome to the real world, where having the freedom to express our own ideas makes it inevitable that we will encounter ideas expressed by others that make us angry, sad, or whatever other reaction we may have. I would not protect that young woman from the opinions of others, not even in high school. No one has a right not to be offended by the views of others.

    So Ed, do you really think that someone should be able to restrict someone’s right to free speech by punching them ? Only as it stands that is your position, and it is simply not tenable. PZ was right, Ed is a lightweight.

    The answer is no, but that’s a hell of a lot more reasonable – and constitutional – than your position, which is patently absurd. And as far as being a lightweight goes, you are cordially invited to go fuck yourself.

  28. #28 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    Ed,

    You are clearly amoral. You seem to see nothing wrong with allowing a young women to be sunject to harrassment becuase she chose, LEGALLY, to have a termination.

    I am not sure what planet you inhabit but I hope it is not the one I live on.

    In one day you have managed to exhibit a total lack of compassion and xenophobia. And to think you like to call yourself a liberal.

    And as for the test of reasonablness, learn your common law. And then study English law, as English common law is the basis of the US law. In fact English common law rulings can be used in the US as precendent. I am sorry your legal training missed this, prehaps you were sick that day ?

    And as for fucking myself, I would suggest your knowledge of human anatomy is not what it could be. Either that or you mistake me for a contortionist.

    Does the fucking yourself bit apply to PZ as well, as we could compare notes on how it might be done ?

  29. #29 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    Ed,

    And as for my position on the heckler’s veto, if you remember my position was to ban ALL pampletting. That solves the problem.

  30. #30 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    You are clearly amoral.

    And you are clearly evil.

    C’est la vie. Let’s get back to some realistic discussion of the issue.

  31. #31 Matt Penfold
    March 30, 2007

    gwangung,

    I am evil becuase I raise an issue you either cannot or will not address ?

    And you accuse me of not being realistic ?

    Jesus, Brayton really does attract like-minded fuckwits!

  32. #32 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    Matt Penfold wrote:

    You are clearly amoral. You seem to see nothing wrong with allowing a young women to be sunject to harrassment becuase she chose, LEGALLY, to have a termination.

    Bullshit. No one said anything about harassment. This case had nothing to do with harassment. They weren’t targeting some specific girl who’d had an abortion (how would they even know?), they were just advocating that abortion is wrong. That there might be someone in the school who is bothered by that position is legally and morally irrelevant – no one has a “right” not to be offended by the opinions of others.

    And as for the test of reasonablness, learn your common law. And then study English law, as English common law is the basis of the US law. In fact English common law rulings can be used in the US as precendent. I am sorry your legal training missed this, prehaps you were sick that day ?

    LOL. Now this is truly funny. No, English common law is emphatically not the basis for American law. There was a time when, at the state level, the English common law continued to have force until they could write their own statutory law, but that time is long past. And yes, common law still applies in certain narrow areas of the law, like torts. But the English common law is completely contradicted and nullified when it comes to constitutional law. The first amendment clearly supercedes any common law precedent to the contrary. And of course, there is nothing in the English common law that would have anything at all to say about the kind of case we are talking about, so this is yet another utterly irrelevant distraction from the issue.

    And as for my position on the heckler’s veto, if you remember my position was to ban ALL pampletting. That solves the problem.

    Solves what problem? It certainly doesn’t solve any of the excuses you’ve made for censorship in this situation. That poor girl who had an abortion can still feel bad if she overhears someone advocating against abortion, which the ban on pamphlets does not touch. Which means, if you really intended that argument to mean anything, you would now have to ban anyone saying anything that might make someone else feel bad for any reason. Good luck trying to enforce that. And of course, this silly attempt to “solve the problem” leaves another problem – it’s clearly unconstitutional.

  33. #33 THobbes
    March 30, 2007

    First, yes termination in this context means abortion. If that is not clear you to then I am sorry but I do assume a modicum of knowledge of English.

    Don’t call me an idiot, Matt, either directly or in so many words. The idiom is different between us, clearly, but that is no reason for assuming that I’m stupid.

    The right to privacy is not just from the government, it is from EVERYONE, including your parents, your spouse and your children.

    No, no, and no. Let me clarify how I see it: the “right” of privacy as applied to groups apart from the government is an extension of property rights and the right to bodily integrity. That is, the rights to control your own property and your own body. This presumes that your neighbors, parents, etc., aren’t allowed to do things like look through your mail or enter your house and use your computer. The result of these protections is a “privacy right”; I do not think this is a separate entity.

    Government obviously has powers beyond those of your neighbors–the agents of government can, for instance, detain you or search your house for evidence of a crime. The right of privacy in this case also includes the above guarantees, but something more as well: the government may not justify violating your privacy by simply claiming that it is doing its job. A higher standard is required to justify that invasion.

    And as for you accusing me of trolling, when are you going to address the issues I raise ?

    Have you been reading what I’ve been writing? I’ve been addressing your points; they do not all take a paragraph to explain.

    Now punching someone is causing a disruption I am sure you will agree, so using your logic the opponents of someone handing out paphlets need only punch that person…thus the handing out of pamplets can now be banned.

    You are also prohibited from restricting someone else’s free expression by using force–the right to swing your arm ends at my nose, and so forth. More to the point, the “imminent disruption” standard is like that, yes, and it’s unfair that the result you describe can occur. Many schools, however, try to be even more restrictive toward students’ free speech rights. So until a better standard can be constructed, I’ll advocate for students’ rights against administrators who often find themselves assuming (as you do) that any potential disruption is grounds for even more restrictive controls.

  34. #34 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    Jesus, Brayton really does attract like-minded fuckwits!< ?blockquote>

    I would suggest that the only fuckwit in this thread is you. Jesus, you really are an idiot.

  35. #35 Ed Brayton
    March 30, 2007

    Jesus, Brayton really does attract like-minded fuckwits!

    I would suggest that the only fuckwit in this thread is you. Jesus, you really are an idiot.

  36. #36 gwangung
    March 30, 2007

    I am evil becuase I raise an issue you either cannot or will not address ?

    No, because you’re a repressive, authoratative tyrant who poses under the guise of “reasonableness.”

    You’re a hypocrite, too, because you’ve totally ignored issues others have brought up.

  37. #37 THobbes
    March 30, 2007

    no one has a “right” not to be offended by the opinions of others.

    That is the essential truth that Matt and others who argue his position do not understand. Offense is a part of life–including being insulted for something like choosing to have an abortion, legally. Note that Ed has been called a “lightweight” and “amoral”; I have been called a “like-minded fuckwit.” We are not bitching to authority figures because of the offense.

  38. #38 Ben Ackerman
    March 30, 2007

    What do you want from the guy… he’s a DBA. They can’t help but be idiots. No really intelligent person would voluntarily take that position. ;-)

    I also think he’s a troll, or at least close enough to one so it really doesn’t matter. In two threads I’ve read he deliberately changed the subject of an argument slightly in the middle of the argument. It smacks of typical Creationist hand waving… the whole moral argument above is a dead give away as well.

  39. #39 kehrsam
    March 30, 2007

    Jesus, Brayton really does attract like-minded fuckwits!

    I would suggest that the only fuckwit in this thread is you. Jesus, you really are an idiot.

    With all due respect, Ed, I think you’re mistaken as to his identity.

  40. #40 Matt Penfold
    March 31, 2007

    Thobbes,

    It is sad you think I called you can idiot, if not in so many words.

    The term “termination is in commin usage to refer to abortion. it is used for two reasons. Firstly it indicates that the process is elective; as I am sure you know most abortions are spontaneous and not the result of intervention. Secondly the word abortion has become poltically charge, at least in those parts of the world where the enlighenment never really caught on.

    So Hobbes, please if you want to discuss a subject do make sure you know the meanings of the words likely to be used in it.

  41. #41 THobbes
    March 31, 2007

    Wow, and you effectively call me an idiot again. I’m done with you, Matt; you have regrettably gone from reasonable to asshole in the space of a day and a dozen blog posts.