Monday, January 22, 2007

Vote on "Cyber-Bullying" Bill Goes Beyond Left and Right

HB 1072 would make it a "crime" to express opinions on blogs that school administrators didn't like. The bill does not say that outright, but those of us who are used to legalese can read between the lines. If there is a distuption in school, discipline the disruptor, don't extend the state's control into cyber-space.

Unfortunately the bill just passed the state House 91-7. The house passing a bad bill is not news. What is news is the composition of the "Magnificent Seven" who opposed it. They run the gamut from left to right on the political spectrum. And the fact they do highlights why we must no longer think only in terms of left and right, liberal or conservative. That is linear, one dimensional thinking that is inadequate to describe political reality. We must also consider up and down, that is Individual Freedom vs. Statism. I first addressed this some time ago in more depth with this article called "Beyond Left and Right".

On this bill, the "Liberal" Arkansas Times blog and this "Conservative" blog are in agreement- we were against it. The seven legislators who voted against it were Aaron Burkes, a conservative Republican from Rogers; Rep. Ed Garner, a moderate Republican from Little Rock, along with Dan Greenberg; Liberal Democrat Steve Harrelson (House Majority Leader) from Texarkana; Republican Micheal Lamoureux of Russellville (which surprises me); and the biggest uber-liberal in the chamber, Lindsley Smith of Fayetteville, and the Republican legislator who is sitting in a seat once held by Jim Bob Duggar and Jim Holt, Jon Woods.

You don't vote against 91% of your colleagues unless you are really taking a stand on principle. These seven are spread across the spectrum in terms of left and right, but this bill was not about left or right. It was about up or down. Up towards the maximum amount of individual freedom possible in an orderly society or down towards big brother regulating every aspect of our lives.

It does not matter so much if your goals are leftist goals (tolerance-relativism) or rightest goals (virtue-conformity to the moral order). What matters is the willingness to use disproportionate and centralized government force to mandate whatever your desired outcome is. That is what makes you a fascist or a freedom lover. It does not matter whether you use the state to force bible classes on the unwilling or gay sensitivity training on the unwilling. The desired outcome is irrelevant on the up-down scale. Leftwing statists are called socialists and rightwing statists are called facists, but they are both statists.

I say that the expression of opinions, even opinions that ridicule someone, in a local school is not a matter for central state interference. If someone was being hurt or killed, then of course the use of government interference would be proportional to the act. But there is a right to life, not a right to be protected from complaints or insults.

Congratulations to the Magnificent Seven who understand that our own freedom of speech is worth the trouble it takes to allow the other fellow his freedom too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheers to those seven! By the way, Ed Garner is our Representative from Maumelle.

8:03 PM, January 22, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could still email the Senate Education Committee members - they have to let it pass through:
Chair: Senator Jim Argue
Vice Chair: Senator Dave Bisbee
Senator Gilbert Baker
Senator Jimmy Jeffress
Senator Steve Bryles
Senator Kim Hendren
Senator Shane Broadway
Senator Gene Jeffress

6:12 AM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonder why the republicans lost across the board in Arkansas. Fine republican legislation such as this will drive away another part of the conservative coalition that Reagan built.

Members of the Republican Coalition who don't trust the party....

1) Social Conservatives (protecting pedophiles in the congress didn't sit well with them.)

2) Fiscal Conservatives (increasing the size of goverment and increasing government spending on the state and federal level didn't sit well with them.)

3) Constitutional Conservatives (attempts to trample free speech will drive them away as we start down the slippery slope of taking away constitutional rights. Start with speech and feel free to move on to taking away firearms.)

Losing these three groups leaves....

Corrupt Conservatives. (interested in corrupting the conservative movement and enriching themselves at the expense of their fellow Americans. Willing to dupe voters to get their way)

11:59 AM, January 23, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently failed in the Senate today.

1:45 PM, January 24, 2007  

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