When Free Speech is Inconvenient for Some…

…some will try to limit free speech.

And in this case, “some” is an elected official in Philadelphia.

After a raucous community organization meeting that degenerated into name-calling, Philadelphia city councilman Kenyatta Johnson has a plan to stop such things from happening in the future.

He calls them “standards of conduct.

The Curmudgeon calls it “limiting free speech.”

Councilman Johnson has proposed creating new standards of conduct/limits on free speech for “registered” community organizations. He proposed legislation to do this, although he either knows better than to try writing those standards himself or is too clueless to have any idea how to begin. Instead, he punted responsibility for limiting his constituents’ first amendment rights to the city’s planning commission, which is staffed by people who are experts in urban design, zoning codes, transportation infrastructure, economic development, and other such things but in no way qualified to figure out a way to circumvent the first amendment.

Who is – Vladimir Putin?

The birthplace of the constitution is having second thoughts about the first amendment .

The birthplace of the constitution is having second thoughts about the first amendment.

It’s a terrible idea. And limiting raucous speech is certainly something new for councilman Johnson, who stood silently with the other 16 members of Philadelphia’s city council three years ago while city employees, unhappy with the lack of progress in their contract negotiations with the city, booed Philadelphia’s mayor off the podium when he tried to deliver his annual budget address. No, Johnson had no problem with that kind of raucous speech, never tried to extend to the mayor the courtesy of an opportunity to speak his piece or to urge the president of city council, who presided over the proceedings, to do so but has suddenly seen the light and decided that he’s on a mission to civilize.

You civilize by treating people with respect and talking to them about treating others with the same respect they themselves believe they deserve. You civilize by demonstrating the behavior, by modeling the behavior, as they say these days, that you seek to inspire in others.

You don’t civilize by putting a muzzle on people. It’s worse than unconstitutional; it’s just plain wrong.

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