« Online networking needs to establish rules and regulations. >:O | Main | Obscene emails at the work place = bad. »

The fine line of free speech.

Freedom of Speech Redefined by Blogs

"[Mike Rubino's] "10 reasons why Seton Hill doesn't need a football team," including a claim that "jocks" would bring more drugs, alcohol and fights to campus, irked arriving players who found his Internet posting months later."

Mike is allowed to say this. I know in my last blog that I said that online networking needs to have rules and regulations, but with this, he didn't point any specific people out. He made an assumption about a group of people. Now, ethically, this is wrong, but it didn't violate free speech. He is entitled to his opinions about people, and if he wants to post them, go for it. There is a fine imaginary line that one has to cross to violate free speech. This does not cross it, in my opinion.


Free speech is a right within the parameters of law and human decency.

While Rubino may not suffer legal consequences (after all, the KKK is still allowed to spew anti-intellectual rubbish about any group they want), he may suffer the social consequences of making himself look narrow-minded, petty, etc.

Still, the culture of America is very individualistic. You can make assumptions about a group of people, but as soon as you touch an individual, it's illegal.

What is the difference? The difference is that protecting the individual over the community perpetuates this cultural myth of the "American Dream." It makes it seem easier to achieve individual gain when the government stands behind you 100%.

But by saying what he did about a specific group, Corey, he made an assumption about all of them.

While I agree that free speech does have a fine line that shouldn't be crossed and should be the same for everyone, I also believe that attacks against groups such as the one above does, is crossing that line.

That's personal differences aside. His post--specifically that one line, could open up the floodgates of social backlash, and also legal issues. Seton Hill, upon people finding an attitude like that, could possibly see a decline in enrollment from these same people.

I mean afterall, as Dr. Jerz more than likely told you on the first day of class, yours (and others) blogs do represent SHU as well yourself. I think thats where censorship is needed--when an individual may post something that falls dangerously close to crossing that line. Mr. Rubino shouldn't be personally punished, but perhaps a disclaimer should be posted along with it saying that "these views are not the same as Seton Hill's" for example.

That way people see freedom of speech and perhaps not as someone having a personal grudge against someone or something, and then the person reading thinking it applies to the whole university.

Of course, I also could be wrong. That's open to debate.

It's a given that the individual's views do not necessarily reflect the views of Seton Hill. Taking a holistic approach to individuals that fall under an organization is simply facetious. Besides, if we inherently censor students' posts under the pretenses of covering the University's backside, where is the learning in that? People--no matter who they are or whom they represent--are entitled to free speech. I assume that's why anyone bothers to comment on a post...

Keeping people from their own thoughts ( la Orwell's _1984_) or preventing them from learning their own censorship is retroactive and promotes not learning, not debate, but ignorance and puts chains on language altogether.

To quote an article that we're to read for Monday's class: "...[it's similar] to a little kid who is forbidden to pour his own pancake syrup and thus never learns for himself how much is too much" (found here).">http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/12/INGU9H51EF1.DTL">here).

I am going to put myself on the line here, but isn't it a little bit over the line to compare Mr. Rubino to the KKK, Evan? While I realize that you may not have meant to make this comparison, aligning one person with a notorious group within the same sentence seems radical, and I don't think it's appropriate. It's a very unfair comparison.

That "fine line" pertaining to free speech is crossed every day. I see that it's okay for some to call individuals "narrow-minded" or "petty" here in a post. Somehow it seems hypocritical to attack an opinion with another opinion, all under the reign of free speech.

Mike Rubino's "10 reasons why Seton Hill doesn't need a football team" warms my heart.

Reread the comment. It's not anything like that, just like Mike's post is not meant to be a vicious attack on the football players as people.

I was constructing the example through a more Gestaltist lens: the big picture is what is important. Just because Mike's name is in the same sentence as the KKK (and yes, that is an extreme example, but it's used to make a point), does not mean that I think that he is anything like the KKK.

The parenthesis about the group was to show that people are allowed to express just about anything they want if it's about a group. It's not a comparison to Rubino, but it points to the phenomenon of how the microsystems are valued over the macrosystems.

And please note, I did not call anyone "narrow-minded" or "petty." I simply said his actions could make him look "narrow-minded" or "petty" in the eyes of others. (Hence, "making himself -look-")

Mark Twain uses all kinds of hurtful words and aligns characters unfairly. Does that make him racist?

Am I really against indiviual rights?

Or perhaps "political correctness has run amuck"? ;c)

Mission accomplished.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

[Future Spam Check]