free speech

Terry Semple (
Wed, 8 May 1996 09:30:12 -0400 (EDT)

I would vote against re-instating Bill Chambers, and as requested
I have tried to explain some of the reasons for this position.

I do not see free speech as a universal value which must be
guaranteed by each and every level or grouping in a society. I
see a difference between free speech guarantees provided by a
central government and style/content requirements which are part
of a voluntary organization.

I think that most non-governmental voluntary organizations impose
various requirements on their members, for example consider what
the Catholic church does with dissidents (or other churches for
that matter, it is just that excommunication is more codified).
In Canada in the last week or so we have seen political parties
exercising their rights to discipline their members for speech
and behaviour that were viewed as contrary to the party's

All of this is to say that I think the list, through its owner,
has the _right_ as well as the power to set limits on the content
of postings to the list. Parenthetically, because the list is
unmoderated the options were limited ... accept all postings or
none. If the list were moderated each posting could have been
allowed or blocked, which is a finer grained intervention,
although having its own costs.

I do not mean this to be a "modest proposal" but perhaps some of
those who want Bill C. reinstated could undertake to forward to
the list messages from Bill that they see as appropriate, and
forward replies to him. This might allow Bill C. to have access
but not "free" access. I admit that compromises are messier than
either-or absolute decisions.

In the final analysis, for me the list is like listening to
shortwave radio, when the signal to noise ratio gets too bad, I
change stations. I hope this does not happen here. I want to
learn more about this area, and given the costs of journals, this
list is a valueable resource.

Terry Semple.