|If I understand your reply correctly, you want to be politically uncorrect to promote freedom of speech.
No, I reserve the right to express my sense of humor by wearing T-shirts that amuse me. The CCCP T-shirt amused me because I knew it would get a knee-jerk negative reaction out of some people here in the U.S. Most of them don’t even know about the history of Stalin’s purges, or could even tell you when Stalin was in power. Some of them might even think Stalin was a “good guy” because he “helped us defeat Hitler”. They just know “USA GOOD! USSR EVIL!”. This unthinking, uncritical, credulous attitude was cultivated by politicans like Ronald Reagan which took mythological, simplified, comic-book-style ciphers like the Empire in _Star Wars_ and mapped it onto the real world USSR (Reagan’s “evil empire”).
Americans are not encouraged to think critically, they’re encouraged to conform to the ideological orthodoxy of the day. Our churches and public schools (and, some argue, corporate boardrooms) are institutions dedicated to the promotion of groupthink over independent, individual reasoning. The value of the First Amendment is a guarantee that those who challenge the orthodoxy will not be silenced for their speech.
Just how far can you go then? Will you wear a “Support the DMCA”, a “Bin Laden saved me”, a “The KKK needs you”, a “HIV positive & homosexuals should be jailed”, a “Child pornography helps poor countries” or a “Hitler was right” Tshirt at DebConf3 or the next time you represent Debian at a roadshow?
Your premise is false in that it draws an equivalence between all of these messages, and my CCCP T-shirt with each of them. I assert that these messages are not equivalent, and in any event they are not for me because I don’t find any of them funny as such (perhaps they would be if accompanied by an image that punctured the literal message of the text, however).
Wearing a Tshirt representing a regim that suppressed all individual freedoms and killed millions of people doesn’t strike me as a very clever way to support freedom.
I don’t know, people around here drive around with American flags on their cars, and they think they’re supporting freedom. The U.S. government has plenty of blood on its hands, and is suppressing the constitutional and due process rights of its citizens as we speak. Does the USA get a free pass for its offenses against human rights because it hasn’t managed to be the worst government ever? If the U.S. government were the best, noblest government in all of history, would that mean that its citizens would have no right to criticize it? If so, how would we know when our government fell from grace and became only the second-best government? Remember, we wouldn’t be allowed to talk about and quantify the offenses of our own government relative to some other government, because our own is “the best”. The same people who tell dissenting U.S. citizens to move elsewhere if they don’t “like it” are the some ones who tell “foreigners” not to criticize our country because they don’t live here. What these people really want is no dissent at all. I reject this facile, parochial, and malevolent dogma. I say the United States can be made a better place if we have the moral fiber to admit to the mistakes of our government and social institutions. Moronic, simple-minded, jingoistic patriotism is prominent on my list of mistakes that U.S. society makes. The U.S. government is founded on principles, not our flag, not the size and power of our military forces, and not the strength of our economy. I hold that the foundational principles of the U.S. government are more important than all of these things. I admit that most of my neighbors disagree. They want to buy cheap gas and the recreational goods that are advertised to them on television, support the right of the U.S. military to kill whoever it sees fit to preserve their power as consumers, and will wave the flag in support of our troops as they kill “ragheads” who stand in the way of Unocal’s oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea.
Just because the 1st amendment gives you the right to do so doesn’t mean that it’s not completely stupid to do it.
That is true, however the evaluation of what is “completely stupid” is also a subjective one. The preservation of an environment where people can express their subjective opinions is the whole point of the right to freedom of speech.
You have the right to tell me to shut up.
I have the right to ignore your request, and keep on talking.
Were your position on “freedom” controlling, I doubt things world work that way.
Sometimes the people who want to urge others to think are the ones who would need it most.
And sometimes, a person is simply attempting to keep others from expressing points of view with which he is uncomfortable. Perhaps he fears those points of view will gain currency and threaten his dogmatic slumber, or perhaps he simply doesn’t understand the principles on which his country was founded.
Anyway, we’re clearly talking past each other. You’re not up to the task of advocating the preservation of your human rights, let alone mine, so I’ll just have to do it for both of us. Don’t bother to thank me.