The right to be stupid

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In New York, a councilwoman wants to ban the use of "ho" and "the 'b' word."

In Forsyth, Ga., Monroe County commissioners have been asked to outlaw sagging pants.

Come again? Speech codes and dress codes - on public streets?

Which is more frightening: such silly attacks on freedom, or the fact that in 2007, some Americans think it's OK to use the government to tell their neighbors how to dress and talk?

Look, we don't like the words in question any more than anyone else. And we gladly stood and applauded as they lowered the casket into the ground recently for the "n" word.

But such things are matters of social construct, debate and agreement - not of government coercion.

Let's not bring the beginnings of sharia law to these shores, please.

New York councilwoman Darlene Mealy says the resolution is merely symbolic; she admits it is unenforceable. We agree.

But we don't think even a "symbolic" resolution prohibiting the utterance of certain words is at all a healthy thing. Symbols have inestimable power. We don't need to be sending the message, symbolically or otherwise, that the government has the first thing to say about what words we use.

As slippery slopes go, that's Mt. Everest.

Nor do we disagree with former military and law enforcement man Julius Stroud of Forsyth when he laments the tacky underwear spilling over youths' sagging pants.

We just don't think the government should try to legislate away everything that bugs the heck out of us.

And it's a stretch to call the sagging pants "indecent exposure" as Stroud wants Monroe County to do.

Nor can the government protect people from themselves.

"They go to apply for a job, nobody's going to hire them dressed like that," Stroud said.

Perhaps not. But that's their problem. Last time we checked, you still have the right to be, and look, stupid - at least outside Tehran.

We don't mean to use illegal language, and we certainly don't mean this as a fashion statement - but government, butt out!

Comments (14) Add comment
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patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 04:24 am
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Banning any words is no

Banning any words is no different then burying the N word. And, fashion police make as much sense as thought police. The effort to ban any of this type of stuff is where stupid comes in.

femacamper
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 06:38 am
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Not once, but twice, ACES

Not once, but twice, ACES attempts to tie this issue to Islam. Sounds like stupid propaganda to me

bone
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bone 08/12/07 - 08:56 am
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i was going to disagree with

i was going to disagree with you femacamper (i only saw one), but after careful reading i caught the sharia law reference. women do look quite fetching in dark, heavy shrouds, don't you think?

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 08/12/07 - 09:29 am
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Hmmmm...Sharia law has both

Hmmmm...Sharia law has both banned speech and banned dress. Looks like a good tie to me.

johnsmith
9
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johnsmith 08/12/07 - 09:55 am
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Um, the ACES didn't tie this

Um, the ACES didn't tie this to Islam. Islam tied this to Islam. You don't read the news? Tehran has roving bands of morality police who lock up women who are inappropriately dressed, musicians (not musicians who play some particular banned music--musicians, period), and others who say or do things banned by sharia. The fact that there is no religious underpinning to dress and speech codes in the US does not make them any less repressive...or ridiculous. And could we stop with the "symbolic" laws? Laws are not supposed to be symbolic. Once you decide that it's ok to have a symbolic law against "ho," then I get to decide which other laws are symbolic...like speed limits...laws against theft and fraud... Our legal system is SUPPOSED to consist of a reasonable system of laws that every citizen can understand, and that every citizen is expected to obey all the time.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 08/12/07 - 10:05 am
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Wonder when the Chronicle

Wonder when the Chronicle will come out against those other freedoms that have already been lost, Habeus Corpus and domestic spying?

femacamper
0
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femacamper 08/12/07 - 10:31 am
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the point is not whether or

the point is not whether or not Islam bans speech and dress - they do. So do other nations, cultures, religions. So why link socially disgusting speech and dress with our favorite axis of evil?

_kpc_
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_kpc_ 08/12/07 - 10:32 am
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Citizens haven't lost any

Citizens haven't lost any rights. You still have the right of Habeus Corpus, and the spying is only on international communications.

sjgraci
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sjgraci 08/12/07 - 10:36 am
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kpc has not been paying

kpc has not been paying attention.

girlygirl
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girlygirl 08/12/07 - 10:48 am
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For once the ACES is talking

For once the ACES is talking sense. Are y'all feeling okay?
And the Richmond County Board of Ed has dumped uniforms in elementary and middle schools, and decided to allow individual high schools to decide if kids have to tuck in their shirts or not. Such a wave of sensibility...perhaps everyone's been eating the tainted chili?

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 08/12/07 - 11:27 am
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kpc hasn't been pay attention

kpc hasn't been pay attention to the spin. He's been following the facts.

datrite
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datrite 08/12/07 - 12:24 pm
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I agree with the sagging

I agree with the sagging pants ban. I think a good punishment for the thugs that walk around like this should have to walk naked in a prison a little while then maybe they will keep their pants up and get a JOB

nofrills
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nofrills 08/12/07 - 02:48 pm
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You may have the right to be

You may have the right to be stupid but I have the right to take my children out in pubic without the fear of racials slurs or viewing some guys butt because his pants are around his knees. Wake up people. This world is going to Hell and we are sitting around refusing to do things that would make the world better. As it is now if I punch you in the mouth for using bad words around my children then I go to jail. If I call the police and report you for your foul mouth then I am told to take my family and go else where. What a messed up world!

_kpc_
22
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_kpc_ 08/12/07 - 03:10 pm
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sjgraci, go read what the law

sjgraci, go read what the law says. I have been paying very good attention. It's foolish to think that the government has any interest in your aunt Mary's cookie recipe, unless she's talking to someone in Syria about it. No citizen has been denied Habeus Corpus. You should look up what that means in stead of listening to what you hear from the media.

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