Thursday, March 22, 2007

Supreme Court should err
on side of free speech

An op-ed from the Washington Post via the Houston Chronicle:

But as the 9th Circuit pointed out, establishing a standard that is too deferential to school administrators would make it legal, for example, to stop students from distributing copies of the Alaska Supreme Court's decision allowing personal marijuana use in the state. It is distressingly easy to see how such a precedent could apply to expressions of support for other activities that administrators might not condone, such as the distribution of pamphlets discussing civil disobedience or expressions of disagreement with standing laws.

The court should ensure that administrators cannot define a school's basic educational mission so broadly — inculcating "good citizenship," for example — that they have the power to suppress any meaningful speech with which they, or their school boards, disagree.

Click here for the rest.

This essay is in reference to the case coming out of Alaska where a high school student displayed a banner that said "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" during some sort of Dick Cheney drive-by appearance. Needless to say, this Christian marijuana enthusiast was immediately busted bigtime, and he sued, and the case made it all the way to the Supreme Court. Of course, I totally love this shit. It totally sets our understanding of what this country's about on its ear. That is, on the one hand we're supposed to be a free people, and, no doubt, our most important freedom is to speak our minds. On the other hand, there are some deeply authoritarian strains here, in both our culture and in our various government entities, especially the public education apparatus. We don't like to really talk about that authoritarianism so much because, you know, it contradicts the whole free-people concept, which means that, by and large, we just pretend that we're not really so authority-driven. But make no mistake about it: when push comes to shove, Americans love being told what to do, as well as telling others what to do. It's really fucked up.

That's why I love the "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" kid. His crime isn't so much that he was celebrating pot-smoking on one of the frontlines of the never-ending "War on Drugs," that is, public education, as much as that he was pointing out how utterly problematic our two-faced concept of freedom actually is, which drives the heavily-indoctrinated public education class insane.

And boy, do those motherfuckers have it coming. Good work "Bong Hits" dude. Even if you lose, you've already won.