Those Elusive Free Speech Rights

In wandering through some old posts, found this one from 2010, with certainly bears repeating, on free speech:

Americans have always considered their rights–especially the one of free speech–as “inalienable.” And why not: after all, it’s in our fundamental national document, isn’t it? Isn’t that why we make such a big deal of “rights?” Because they’re important and legally enforceable?

Well, in reality the extent to which rights can be defended depends upon the recourse we have when they’re violated. If we live in a country whose economic system is dispersed, our recourse is better because our ability to sustain ourselves through the process is easier. But when wealth and its disbursement is centralised, then our rights are compromised by our economic dependence.

Put in terms more people can understand, we all know we don’t formally give up our constitutional right to free speech in the workplace. But we also know that we have to be careful about what we say–especially if it regards our boss, the company, and to some extent our coworkers–because our employer sends us money every now and then for what we do, and if they’re displeased about our actions, that cash flow can stop. It’s the same with centralised health care: as long as the federal government basically holds all of the cards, they can deprive insurance companies of cash flow and thus exercise some control over what they say.

In a system of state socialism, when government controls the entire economy (in theory at least,) their control over people is nominally absolute, no matter what their constitutions say. People who spoke out could find themselves unemployable in a hurry.

That’s the extreme example, but hopefully you get the idea. The more economic centralisation we have, the more our rights will be in the subjunctive rather than the indicative, where they belong.

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