Tuesday, May 15, 2007

More on Freedom of Speech From facebook discussion

Speech is tricky in this way. I can only think of it like this:
You offer your words, but your friend may reject them. How often do we do this in our relationships? Our parents offer us constant advice, but we reject much of it. Someone offers us evidence to prove their argument, and if we agree we say, "I'll buy that."

We have the right to our labor, to offer our words as a product of our though-work. We do not have an entitlement to be heard.

A protester is on the street corner shouting about the evils of big business. If the news services do not report their protest, have the protester's rights been violated? One might say that their right to free speech has. But this is unworkable. If everyone had the right to have their protests published, the newspaper would be full of nothing else until the newspaper were run out of business.

You are including emotions as a measure of the market in your example. In other words you are assuming that I give a damn about what you have to say to me. If you should ask what I think of what you have said to me I might just respond the way Ayn Rand did: I do not think of it.

You have offered a product in a market, but have found no buyer. Now your feelings are hurt. Tough.

You can use your speech to ATTEMPT to exploit others and restrict their choices, but there is no assurance that they will pay any heed to what you have said, just as there is no assurance you will pay any heed to what I am saying now.

You are free to go on denying my argument that speech is not a right. You may be right that it is not a good, either. Perhaps it is best understood as economic "land," or "air". The action of speech itself is meaningless. What possesses value is the content of that speech, or the ideas contained in that speech.

I will say that you have a right to your ideas, the product of your thought, but you are not assured a market for them.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

Just like land and air, my thoughts are not scarce, depending on your definition. In fact, if I have something to say, you can choose not to hear it. You cannot attach market value to my speech as a means of restricting it. That my friend, is what we call a price floor, and if I'm not intelligent enough to converse with you, then you can ignore me, but don't screw up the "market equilibrium" by restricting whatever supply I offer.

" If everyone had the right to have their protests published, the newspaper would be full of nothing else until the newspaper were run out of business."

A newspaper would not let that happen. People do not run their papers into the ground, they would publish good material. This is the purpose of IP, to create quality work.

Everyone has something to say, but there is a huge quality differential. If my only outlet were a newspaper, it would be filled with junk, but its not. I can stand in the brickyard and preach all day.

But that's just my $.02. And that's fair market price for my thoughts :-)