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23 January 2012

Rick Santorum on Free Speech

By Diana Hsieh

In this video, Rick Santorum answers a question on SOPA. He doesn't express an opinion about the bill, but he does explain his view that he regards all rights as limited and subject to regulation, including free speech rights:



Here are some highlights, but I recommend listening to the whole video:

My general feeling is that we have a free market and a free market should work. But like any freedom, there has to be regulation. We're not unlimited in any right, even rights that we have within our Constitution: they're not unlimited rights. There is, and can be, limitations on that. Freedom of speech, there are things that you can't say: you can't cry "fire" in a crowded theater. There are limitations to all freedom: there are no absolute rights. There are rights that have responsibilities that come with them. If you abuse those rights -- piracy -- if you abuse those rights, then you have a consequence of abusing that right. ...

I would make the case that ... there are limits to freedom on the internet. The internet is a powerful source for good. And, as we all know, it has been a powerful source for bad in this country. So the idea that we should just "hands-off" -- and it's a moral-free zone, it's a regulation free-zone, and that people should be able to do whatever they want -- I don't know of any other zone in America where that's the case. Why should the internet be different than everything else?

So I would say that responsible, well-[something], discussed regulation -- if there is abuse, taking someone's private property -- if there is abuse, as there is in pornography and a lot of other areas where we are destroying the moral fabric of our country -- to say, "well, it's just tough, let people to whatever they want -- let a 12 year old -- let them do whatever they want."

There are limitations that have to be put in place because your free speech rights can be incredibly harmful to someone else. Your desire to go a grab something that doesn't belong to you can be very harmful to someone else. ...
Rick Santorum views liberty as mere license to indulge in whims, including stealing from others. That's an utterly corrupt conception of rights. A person does not have the right to violate the rights of others! Yet on Santorum's view, protecting intellectual property from theft is on par with banning pornography to protect the moral fabric of society. They're both a matter of limiting rights to prevent harm to others.

Oy vey.

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