Feb 20, 2010

Westboro Baptist Church Out-Protested! Awesome!

It shouldn't take very much support from people in order to "out-protest" the members of the hateful Westboro Baptist Church - whose members show up at soldiers' funerals with signs reading "Thank God for Dead Soldiers" - because the outfit is so small, but is refreshing to see someone finally confronting their appalling speech. In the YouTube clip, an entire high school showed up to counter-protest the Westboro protests.

This represents an interesting situation. 99.999% of people are absolutely mortified by the way that these people choose to exercise free speech, but they often roll their eyes and do nothing else, which has allowed the niche of hatemongers to fester and feed in their own little nook. Those who disagree with the signs and the antics ignore them - because they are mature adults - or decry what they do as illegal hate speech and call for it to be banned.

Personally, I find it difficult to define any speech as illegal. Even as much as I despise what these knuckle-draggers are doing (which I hope would offend them as being conspicuously non-creationist, but I digress), I am convinced that the marketplace of ideas would drown out what they are doing. That's the whole idea behind the marketplace: to let those awful ideas be presented but be discouraged and kept at the fringes of society. Because, really, it being offensive doesn't really matter. As long as it doesn't become the mainstream view, we should not be worried at its presence. In other words, to continue the marketplace analogy, it doesn't matter what they're selling, as long as people aren't buying.

However, what has happened with places like WBC is that their speech is ignored - like I said above - and is allowed to persist unchallenged, which is not ideal, I don't think. Sure, people aren't buying, still, but it's encouraging to see an overwhelming view counter the fringe stuff we see with the WBC. Rock on, Wilson High School kids.

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