Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2457 Is a discriminatory bake sale free speech?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion,
but not his own facts.


Also not his own definitions. The facts:
"Loan" is a noun. "Lend" is the verb. When you lend money, you grant a loan.
"Invite" is a verb. "Invitation" is the noun. You invite someone by sending an invitation.


Watching a video clip of hamsters running in a wheel reminded me of white mice I had once, long ago. Their wheel was on a metal stand, with flat metal spokes attached to the wheel. One day one mouse was inside the wheel and another mouse was on top, spinning it very quickly, and the inside mouse got off the wheel on the wrong side. She got caught between the support and a spoke, and it cut her in half. Traumatic. Ever since then I get wheels with closed backs.


I'm a bit tired of litigants and lawyers stretching the meaning of "freedom of speech" beyond all reasonable limits. The intent of the Founders was that one could not be prosecuted for criticizing the government in speech or text.

Now it's bake sales. A conservative student group at Bucknell University has protested affirmative action by running a bake sale with different pricing based on the buyer's race. A white male student would pay, for example, $1 for a cupcake, and a black buyer would be charged only 50 cents.

The college administration shut them down, because racially discriminatory practices are not allowed. And now it's headed for court.

Ok. I understand what the students are saying. I understand that they figure this is the best way to get the point across (and anger a few people). But I do NOT agree that it's a free speech issue. If they had argued on street corners or in the lounge, or printed and distributed pamphlets, or wrote an article, fine. But charging different prices is not what I understand as free speech. Free commerce maybe, but that's not what the First Amendment is about.

There's a short article at (Wall Street Journal law blog).

The legal beagles seem to be coming down on the side that yes, this is a First Amendment protected activity, but the First Amendment doesn't apply on a private college campus. I don't agree with either part of that sentence.


Brandon, FIRE said...

For the most recent update in this case, please read:

Bucknell Lies Again

~~Silk said...

Thank you for the link. I read the top five missives.

I am not on any particular side on the issue. My point is that I'm tired of the First Amendment being expanded to cover anything and everything anyone wants to do, anywhere.

In fact, the shutdown of the "Obama dollars" distribution fits a charge of suppression of free speech better than the bake sale thing, so one has to wonder why the bake sale was chosen as the straw.

I went to college in the mid-60's, the heyday of sit-ins. Folks who participated in sit-ins expected to be arrested, and were arrested. In fact, sit-ins were specifically engineered to result in arrests, since that got the publicity, and drew the most attention to the issues.

Having been trained as a court mediator, I don't quite understand why the college and the students don't sit down at a table and negotiate interpretation of the rules so that both can be satisfied. In fact, I will happily volunteer my services.

But, I have a feeling the students don't want compromise, even if such compromise would allow them to get their message out in the way they want to.

Back to my point, my only real objection is the bloat of the First Amendment.