[ RadSafe ] Coarsening of discourse vs. free speech

gelsg at aol.com gelsg at aol.com
Tue Nov 20 22:05:48 CST 2007


Well said.? I think you have touched the central core of this issue.

Jerry Gels
Cincinnati, OH

-----Original Message-----
From: Clayton J Bradt <cjb01 at health.state.ny.us>
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 10:19 am
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Coarsening of discourse vs. free speech

I have for years received RADSAFE postings via the digest option.  I find
it more convenient even though there is a built-in lag time that can cause
confusion, as others have already described.  I'm used to it though, and
find that the ability to screen out diatribes or threads that just don't
interest me, outweighs the loss of immediacy.  So, in that respect the new
screening policy doesn't really bother me too much.

That being said:  I grew up in a free country and old habits are hard to
break. Back in the day, we used to pride ourselves on our freedoms,
particularly freedom of speech.  We used to feel sorry for people in
Russia, or other Eastern Bloc countries who had to be careful what they
said because someone might be listening in.  We couldn't imagine what it
was like to have policemen demand to see identification papers whenever we
traveled, even within our own country!  The idea that the US government
could knock on your door in the middle of the night and haul you off to a
secret prison where your family didn't even know where you were, you had no
access to a lawyer, and no idea when you would be let go - this was
unthinkable.  Those times are long gone, but I still think of myself as a
free man.  So, as an unreconstructed civil-libertarian, I rankle at the
notion that otherwise responsible adults such as the members of this list
should be subjected to having their postings screened prior to delivery.  I
believe that the best way to reduce coarse and inappropriate postings is to
ignore them.  They will extinguish themselves once the authors' realize
that no one is going to respond.  As I indicated, the digest format makes
this very easy to do, and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't tried it.

I would like to add my vote to those who request lifting the pre-screening
of posts.  As important as civility is, freedom of speech is far more

Clayton J. Bradt
Assistant Bureau Director
NYS Dept. of Health

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