Tuesday, November 18, 2003

I know I'm a little bit late to this argument, but I sort of appreciated Tom Tomorrow's "Chicken Hawk Down" cartoon. Tom Tomorrow has done some hilarious stuff, and while this certainly isn't his funniest cartoon (I still think that honor goes to the "crazy moon lover" toon from the olden days), it's certainly not offensive.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, go ahead and read it. It's only take a second of your time.

Roger L. Simon writes, "Actually he was trying, perhaps without knowing it, to do precisely what the anti-war faction is frequently accusing the other side of doing--stifling their opinion."

Come now. Look, I don't buy the "chicken hawk" argument. Never have. (The argument goes that if you're not in the military and you've never served, you have no right to support the war.) The argument is hollow, and worse, it goes against the ever-important principle of civilian control of the military.

But people, people.... It's a cartoon. One that takes a fair shot at the arrogance of people who proclaim themselves standard-bearers for a lofty movement just because they have a web log.

That's all. Nothing more. No stifling of opinion here. Move along, people.

Here's my big-picture take, which I think I've expressed before: Political speech, by its very nature, is coercive. That means that when you speak, you're usually, in essence, trying to prevent another person from speaking. You're trying to drown out other voices. You're trying to get people you don't agree with to shut up. This is just human nature and there's no getting around it.

Now that's all very theoretical, and in the real world, in the world of men and women and laws and whatnot, you need certain limits on what can be done to prevent others from expressing their view. That's called free speech.

But for chrissake, don't accuse somebody of trying to stifle your opinion just because he made fun of your opinion, called your a blowhard or told you to shut up.


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