Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Civil War Within the First Amendment

I most emphatically do not share the views on race that Clippers' owner, Donald Sterling, expressed in a recorded private conversation. If given the chance to get to know Mr. Sterling personally, I probably wouldn't care much for him and would choose not to associate with him for many reasons. From the revelations of recent events alone, one can discern that he's not just a racist, he's a cheating, bullying, misogynistic racist.

That said, the death sentence and pay-for-your-own-execution imposed upon him today by the NBA disturbs me. I think it has to do with the evolving trend to consider one person's opinion as more important than another's; one person's "feelings" being more worthy of validation than another's. Political Correctness.

The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects the rights of American citizens with respect to: the establishment and free exercise of religion; a free press; the right to assemble peacefully and to associate with whomever they please without interference from government; the right to contact government representatives; and the right to free expression.  (Wikipedia.)

What the NBA did today, essentially, elevated the opinions and feelings of a group of people above Sterling's. Mr. Sterling should be allowed to express his opinions -- especially in private -- no matter how reprehensible they may be. But, here's where it gets a little complicated -- others, who do not share his views, have the right not to associate with him. This includes the NBA.

Perhaps that's how the issue should be framed -- we do not desire to associate and do business with a man who adheres to a doctrine with which we do not concur. If this is what the Commissioner intended to relate in his press conference, it didn't come across that way. Commissioner Silver stated that the League had determined "the hateful feelings are those of Mr. Sterling.The views of Mr. Sterling are deeply disturbing and alarming." Hateful feelings.

Condemning someone's feelings because they differ from yours, and rendering someone else's feelings superior, is just one step ahead of creating a Thought Police Force. Isn't "diversity" one of the goals of modern society? Shouldn't that include diversity of thought?

Maybe I'm making too much of it, but the tone of the whole kerfuffle gives me the creeps. Maybe my Inner Libertarian has surfaced.

By the way, does anyone else find it amusing that Mr. Silver condemned Mr. Sterling? Maybe Mr. Silver is just jealous that he's merely plated and not solid sterling.

Sorry. Someone had to say it.

And, does anyone else wonder where the coverage of John Kerry's gigantic gaffe concerning Israel (also uttered in private) might have gone?


  1. Sorry. Someone had to say it.

    But... but... that's RACIST!

    I'm only tangentially aware of the Sterling kerfuffle, as I have a tendency to disregard anything and everything about the NBA. I appreciate the enlightenment.

    As for Kerry... I saw some things about his remark on memeorandum but it was all blog-type stuff.

  2. Heh. FOX is still covering the Kerry thing. Perrier says Kerry should be banned from the State Dept for life and assessed a $2.5 fine.

  3. It's difficult to argue with the fact that Sterling is nothing more than a rich, fat, moronic lout. But we're on a very slippery slope here when your private conversations can be recorded and used against you in the court of public opinion.

  4. As you say, I neither agree with nor condone his racist statements, but defining them as "hateful" and treating them as if they are a crime is worrisome. I'm sure I have held and/or expressed some views that are not what is considered mainstream today, but I've always believed the First Amendment at least protected me from retribution for holding them.

  5. Yep, guys. Scary and dangerous.

  6. This is going to a scary level. He has been punished by the thought police. Consequently, despite my dislike of his opinions, I hope he takes them to the mat.