You have the right to free speech/as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it…

Ann Coulter’s visit (or attempted visit) to Canada has already been given far more publicity and time and energy than she will ever deserve. But I wish to make one tiny comment more.

Call it a vocabulary lesson, if you will.

After her speaking engagement at the Unversity of Ottawa was cancelled, Ms. Coulter’s comments was that “Free speech in Canada leaves much to be desired.”

We realize, Ms. Coulter, that you feel the need to ridicule certain places because they speak a language you do not, but last I checked, “free speech” was still very much an English phrase, which begs the question why you do not understand its definition.

Legal Dictionary
Main Entry: freedom of speech
: the right to express information, ideas, and opinions free of government restrictions based on content and subject only to reasonable limitations (as the power of the government to avoid a clear and present danger) esp. as guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Oh! U.S. Constitution, you say? Well, as I am merely an ignorant and probably scary Socialist Canadian and you are a wise and learned American, then surely you would better understand that than I.

First Amendment definition
An amendment to the United States Constitution guaranteeing the rights of free expression and action that are fundamental to democratic government… The government is empowered, however, to restrict these freedoms if expression threatens to be destructive

Can we focus for a second on that last phrase… if expression threatens to be destructive.

What would you call comments such as the following if not destructive?

Muslims shouldn’t be allowed to travel in airplanes and should use flying carpets instead. 

“They’d better hope the United States doesn’t roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent.”

“The University of Ottawa is really easy to get into, isn’t it?” she said in an interview after the cancelled event. “I never get any trouble at the Ivy League schools. It’s always the bush league schools.”

In my opinion, Canadian and Francophile though it may be, Ms. Coulter needs to take a break from writing punchy blogs and from stomping around university campuses and maybe go back to kindergarten and learn some basics.

You know, like why name-calling just isn’t nice. Or necessary. And why it’s definitely not free… of cost or of consequence.

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6 thoughts on “You have the right to free speech/as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually try it…

  1. Well-written article!

    The fact that Ann Coulter exists is the second-saddest thing in the world.

    The saddest is that she apparently doesn’t get any trouble at Ivy League schools. Sigh…

  2. While I think that lady is crazy, and while the particulars don’t apply to Canada:

    The danger thing has to be an immediate kind of danger. Like yelling “Fire!” in a crowded location.

    Of course, that’s a protection against the government constraining expression. So unless the government were to cause the cancellation of a speaking engagement, it wouldn’t apply.

    And again, that only constrains the US Government.

  3. Thanks for the different take, culturecrusader. However, in regards to Patton (and therefore, indirectly, Coulter), who quotes: “When I want my men to remember something important, to really make it stick, I give it to them double dirty… You can’t run an army without profanity”

    All I can say is to that is – I guess that’s why I will never be in the army. Because in my opinion, talking “double dirty” isn’t a way to garner respect and attention. It’s immature, insecure, and often counter-productive, since the words you have chosen command more attention (negative or positive) than the ideas you were attempting to convey.

    ps. If Coulter is actually such a Republican, shouldn’t it have been the Bush league schools that welcomed her with open arms? hahaahaha…

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