A recent Supreme Court opinion that put the kibosh on a “racial balancing” plan in the Seattle public school system says: (“The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race”); so, by way of a paraphrase, I now say that the way to protect freedom of speech is to stop punishing free speech.
I don’t care for Dog the Bounty Hunter--in fact, I have a visceral reaction to the sight of him. I’ve never watched his show, and if his ads come on I change the channel, to avoid being insulted by him and the whole premise of his show. If a guy who looked like Dog bought the house next door, we’d move. I don’t like his dirtbag haircut, his convict attitude, his trashy retinue, nor the thought of all the young males--whose self-expression is limited to parking their trucks across two spaces in crowded lots, and having bumper stickers that say “DON’T LIKE MY DRIVING? DIAL 1-800-EAT-SHIT”--undoubtedly considering him an outstanding role model.
That said, the man has a right to talk on the phone to his kid without losing his job. In fact, the man has the right to talk on the phone without having his private conversation published in the National Enquirer. ("Bounty hunter 'Dog' off air indefinitely for slur").
No one seems to know whether or not it was Dog’s own whelp, Tucker, who taped his own conversation with his dad, (which would be legal in most states), or whether or not the call was bugged by a third party, which would be illegal wiretapping.
As a matter of fact, taping Dog and Tucker would qualify as an act of domestic spying, illegal, immoral, outside the rule of law, and about ten other things that Chuck Schumer and Pat Leahy and the overheated civil-rights community have spent eight months repeating ad nauseum endlessly about NSA programs directed at terrorists, not that they're going to bring up now.
Nor will the ACLU go after the National Enquirer over this. Because we all know that what Dog did is much worse than anything any Mafia hitman, al-Qaeda members, or child pornographer ever did, all of whom have had civil libertarians battling for their rights to be heard--or rather, not to be heard.
Oh yes, oh yes, we're to understand, it’s a violation of bin Ladin's constitutional rights if we listen to him on his cave-phone directing suicide bombings. Meanwhile, while Dog may be an American citizen having a private phone conversation, and, incidentally, not breaking any laws--because he used the “N”-word, he has no civil rights anyone has to respect!
And then Dog had to go an make things worse, for himself, and for the all rest of us, by crawling on his belly to Al Sharpton with an apology. Dog, who is, after all, "the Bounty Hunter," may have done this more or less as a professional courtesy, recognizing in Rev. Al a fellow chaser-down and bringer-to-justice of bad men (in exchange for money). And like a bounty hunter, Sharpton enjoys operating outside the limits of the law. Dog just figured if he tried to hide, Sharpton would just bust down his door, crown him with his bullhorn, and drag him off to justice, anyway. And we all know that till Sharpton gets his justice, no one's going to get any peace.
And the thing of it is, Sharpton didn’t even know all of this had happened, when someone showed him this white trash dude publicly requesting America’s Racial Conscience to give him forgiveness. As Marc Freeman at American Thinker writes:
How amazing is that? The Reverend no longer need even demand action in order to find his race-baiting butt right in the thick of it. Unlike Imus, Chapman planned his own lynching party. That's right, Sharpton hadn't even heard the bugged tirade, much less demanded Chapman's head on the block. Pre-emptive self-abasement. (“Dog throws himself to the Sharptons”).
Still, Sharpton is nothing if not the humble servant of the Lord, ever ready to search out that one lost sheep, and responding to Dog's penitential request in this wise:
"As a minister I would be inclined to meet with you despite the racist and grotesque things I heard you say," Sharpton wrote in a letter released to the media. "If you wish to meet with me somewhere on the road that is fine, but be assured that I will not sanitize the kind of hate language that leads to the hate action that has left so many people vulnerable in America today." (“Sharpton Open to Meeting With 'Dog'”)
Well, don't strain yourself, pastor. Talk about your Good Shepherds! And you'd better think twice about telling this preacher your sins, if you don't want him to reply in a letter released to the media.
Nor does anyone, at A&E, Dog’s network, nor anywhere else as far as I can tell, allow that Dog’s remarks being made in a private conversation mitigates anything. Once again Sharpton gets to be the one who explains how we in America certainly will tolerate private free speech--within limits:
“While people have the freedom to express themselves in any matter in private, when those private conversations become public, it becomes our responsibility to state, as we always have, that we condemn the use of this word as racist and derogatory.”
So when the private becomes public, even when it becomes public by the malicious action of a third party, we can let the condemnation begin?
A sentiment which grates, actually, right against the social and legal trends in our country having to do with privacy these last few years, trends to increasingly treat privacy as an absolute--and by definition, absolutes don’t have exceptions.
That’s why sodomy passed beyond criminal sanctions, because the Supreme Court ruled that what one boy sticks up another boy’s rectum in the privacy of his bedroom is a private matter that, even if it were to become public, is off-limits to condemnation. That’s why an abortion at any stage, performed on a female, even a minor, of any age, is beyond public condemnation, or even public regulation.
That’s why law enforcement is regularly sanctioned by courts who exclude evidence obtained without the strictest regard for due process and consideration for the rights of even the most heinous defendants--even where it means setting the clearly guilty free. And of course, the sanctity of privacy and freedom of speech are why the ACLU and other groups can’t sleep nights for thinking that there is a terrorist somewhere overseas chatting about plans to kill Americans--while having his phone conversations tapped by the wicked NSA.
The use of the “N”-word has not become prohibited under federal law--yet, so Dog isn’t facing legal prosecution for what he said to his son on the phone. Instead, he’s only suffering social condemnation, which may be worse, (Dog survived prison, but this?). After all, social condemnation is enough to destroy a reputation and a career, maybe even a life, at least, according to Nathaniel Hawthorne.
But is our nation so far gone that the only act upon which we can achieve consensus is that this--yes, this here, this daring to utter this word, is the only surviving mortal sin?