October 1, 2011

Issue Avoided. (Economic Freedom)

I stumbled upon this article while procrastinating of facebook a couple of weeks ago, and at first didn’t think of it for a blog until I read the comments. The article is about a girl who wore a shirt that said ‘Marriage is so Gay’ on it to her public school one day and was forced to change. She went to the news and explained she just wanted to show her support for the gay community. The ACLU got involved, and it became a big deal. Majority of the comments are people explaining how they think that being gay is the equivalent to being a child rapist, somewhere criticizing the school, some criticizing her parents, and other saying that they supported her but felt that the shirt was inappropriate for school.

It was these last kinds of comments that got me to thinking about economic freedom, and freedom of speech and such. Regardless of how you feel on the subject of gay marriage, the real question at hand here has to do with ‘freedom of speech’ or rather it even more so has to do with private property. Many people will say it is her right to wear that shirt because of free speech, other will say it is the right of the students to not be distracted. The question that came up a lot was where do you draw the line? The example used most frequently was what if she had worn a shirt that said ‘Marriage is so Christian’? These people who asked these kinds of questions will probably never realize that they were questioning the entire right to free speech. But as we established in class because there is nowhere to draw the line, the right to free speech is rubbish.

Instead of trying to figure out whether or not this young girl was within her rights to wear the shirt or not, why not just enforce property rights? If the school was privately owned, the owner gets to make the rules, and say yes you can wear that shirt to school or no, you can’t wear that shirt. If the girl and her parents don’t like it, they can go to another school, and the same extends for other students and parents.


Larry Eubanks said...

What if the school is a public school? Can the answer still be found by first considering who owns the school?

Lauren Peterson said...

I have been meaning to respond to this forever sorry about the delay, however if it is a public school no I don't believe that it can just be decided by the person who owns it. At that point it would need to be a consensus or a majority vote I suppose at least of the parents of the children who went to the school, and also possibly of the children going to the school, and the people who pay taxes to keep the school running even when they do not have children attending it.

Larry Eubanks said...

In a sense even if a public school the issue can still be decided, in principle, by the person who owns the school and supplies the educational services to parents and students. Government owns the school, government provides the educational services, and government can decide the conditions under which it will supply the service.

Of course, there is a complicating factor, and I think your comment points in this direction as well. The decisions and actions taken by government are decided in the realm of politics. So, the invites any citizen to try to decide on these kinds of issues.

Lauren Peterson said...

I think the greatest complicating factor is that government is not a person, so who is actually the owner?
Doesn't this make it a public good in a sense? With an extra little kick of force via taxes? So everyone owns it and pays for it but nobody owns it? And that is where the issue of who gets to say comes from mostly, right?