Letter: Confusing the word “freedom” with “license” | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Confusing the word “freedom” with “license”

Pat Girardot
Glenwood Springs

After reading Randy Essex’s column of Jan. 12, it is tempting to think I now have permission to insult and call him names. I might even render a cartoon of him eagerly searching his Roget’s Thesaurus or Google for synonyms of “stupid” or “dirtbag.” I could feel patriotic while doing that because I was exercising my First Amendment rights.

I’m as passionate about freedom of speech as anyone; the alternative is anathema. I also appreciate the value of satire in exposing duplicity and hypocrisy. The brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo was abhorrent. But I also believe that with any freedom comes responsibility, not just as a moral imperative, but from a pragmatic point of view. With an eye for the greater good, and as a minor, unsung poet, I like to put it this way: What do we leave in the wake of our words and actions?

Several panelists on a recent “Diane Rhem Show” expressed the same view, so I am not alone in wanting to temper the “anything goes” interpretation of the First Amendment.

The newly released movie, “The Interview,” is another case where inflammatory content has worked to stoke unnecessary conflict. As one analyst put it, it was like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull. Some people thrive on this kind of drama.

Are we confusing the word “freedom” with “license”? It seems so.

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