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"Surely freedom of speech does not preclude decency?" I'm quoting this from Connor's post on my last blog entry, and I think it's a point well worth considering. And no, Sharon, I'm not trying to use this as a platform to slam the Rainbow People or our private leader. So what's the answer to that question? I think that freedom of speech does preclude decency, and I base that assertion on two key factors. The first is that "decency" is a relative, subjective term. What is decent for one may be indecent for others. Some people enjoy anal sex, others think it is a vile sin before God. Some people like George Bush, others think he is a vile sin before God. (SMILE). It is for this reason that white supremacists can march in Skokie, IL, a predominantly Jewish Community. The second is that once you start using "decency" as a filter, you enable the ability of groups of people to impose their views and their will by revealing or withholding information. It is a not-so-subtle form of mind control.I think that these are fundamental to maintaining the civil rights of individuals. As you used in the context of this forum, that battle has already been fought and the "feelings" of others have triumphed over more open communication. That, in my mind, represents the culture of this site. On a broader level, though, we should all view the cry of "decency" as a prelude to the removal of our individual freedoms.To me this is a core value, and I thank you Connor, in all sincerity, for raising it as an issue.


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Not so long ago, in another forum, you asked me to apologize to another member for being rude. Essentially, you asked me to be decent to this person. I took your advice and apologized.


I do not see freedom of speech as a goal unto itself. It is a means to an end. It allows anyone to come forth with a stated purpose. It strikes me that if I want people to even listen to my purpose, let alone have them support it, I need to be decent, that is to show a reasonable level of kindness and consideration. If I am simply shouted down, what then is the value of this right.


I believe your concept of freedom of speech exists only on a theoretical level. In the real world, it would result in chaos. Without decency there would be no community. In fact there would be no civilization. It would be he with the greater numbers and weapons who would prevail.


Saddam wasn't being particularly decent and look what happened to him.


In the end, decency is a choice. I choose to be decent. Being human, I may deviate from that choice from time to time, but it is a discipline I choose to practice.




P.S. One more thing, it would be decent of you to spell my name correctly.

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Conner, to add to what you eloquently posted, in the U.S. there are restrictions and limitations on freedom of speech in the U.S. (indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court has indicated that there are several types of freedom of speech, with varying levels of how free is that speech (commercial vs. private speech) and such things of decency as "not being able to yell "fire" in a crowded theater" as Justice Oliver Wendell Homes wrote during WWI in an opinion he authored.


The U.S. Supreme Court has indicated there are levels of decency to determine if pornography constitutes free speech and provided guidelines for that...it has also provided guidelines for levels o free speech in wartime as compared to peace time.


Therefore, it is often a misnomer to say there is "free speech". By way of example if one person says to another "I am going to kill you" that speech may be deemed not free but in fact a crime if the person acts on it or doesn't (terroristic threats, hate crimes, or other such crimes one can be charged with depending upon the context in which it was uttered)


Therefore, as you said, speech is not free and often a goal and human decency is taken into account when we speak. Indeed, if one person says to another person "I hate you because you are a f***king faggot".. and then beats up someone (speech combined with conduct) or wears a tee shirt "All Gays should die" (a form of speech) well that is free speech, but may be deemed a crime as a hate crime...is it free?


Indeed, there are rules on speech governing this Forum and in such ISP providers such as Yahoo, MSN and AOL and to be subscribing members, we must accept those rules and are subject to them. (they are commercial providers of speech forums and can place restrictions and rules as to what they deem to be acceptable to or unacceptable speech. Indeed, many, if not most, websites, have the same type of rules or restrictions on speech and indicate that if one finds speech content of a member objectionable, to report it to the provider, who then can take action regarding the "offensive" speech and member uttering it)


So, thank you for your post...it says it well.


Indeed, you had expressed your freedom of speech and Mark objected to it....hence, suggesting you should limit or place restrictions on your freedom of speech under the guise of "decency".


As you said, there are common sense "rules" of human decency which serve as filters and "restricions" on freedom of speech to create civil discourses of conversation and all of us getting along in our day to day lives.....otherwise it could end up where we live in a society of who can outshoot whom and the person that is feared most has the freedom of speech and those that dare to speak out end up dead...etc...


so, thanks for the food for thought:)



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Mr. Arbour,


With regard to the two key factors you mentioned:

  1. Whether one finds anal sex or endorsement of George Bush or racial purity or any other thing decent is a completely different issue from whether one treats other people decently.
  2. There's no imposition of views nor any mind control. One can hold and express whatever opinions one wants. It's how those opinions are expressed that is restricted.

With regard to the larger picture, two other things are worth remembering:

  1. This site is not a democracy. No site is. Indignation over civil rights and individual freedoms is just wasted energy, since, to be blunt, the expectation of any freedoms or rights is delusional. The reality is that this is Myr's site, with his vision of what it's to be and his rules for how it's to run. Any freedoms or rights we have are privileges, granted by Myr, not inherent to us. This is generally true of any site: the creator(s)'s way or the highway. Like it or leave it.
    By and large, I myself like this site and find the rules quite reasonable. For me, the benefits of fun reading and good company clearly outweigh the costs of having to hold my tongue on occasion. But if that balance were different, nothing forces me to stay with this site. Which leads to the most important point,
  2. This is just an internet site! Not worth the disgruntlement and unnecessary elevations in blood pressure.

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Well said!!! No one is saying that one has to participate if they don't like Myr's rules. The same is true for other internet sites and for the rules of say AOL, MSN or Yahoo. If one doesn' like their rules, then one need not participate.


Myr's rules, to me, are fine and reasonable.


Issues of free speech and treating each other with human decency and mutual respect need not be mutually exclusive.


Beyond, all that, as many members have said, this is supposed to be a forum for discussion of Gay stories and the Mission statement speaks to that:


Mission Statement


The purpose of this site is to support authors and readers of the Gay Male stories by hosting author websites, a discussion board for Authors, Editors, Readers and Review seekers, and a list of links to other authors and story hosting sites.


There are many other sites that one can join for other issues...to me, its that plainly simple and clear.




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I'm sorry if I wasn't totally clear in my post. Connor's statement intrigued me, and I thought it had merit as a discussion point.


As far as this site goes, we've already had that discussion, and no, it is not a democracy, it is an absolute monarchy, and we are privileged to receive the rights granted to us.


My communication style has been, and will be, direct. I do not gush, I do not couch my words to try to allay everyone's potential hurt feelings, nor do I take offence easily. My friends on this board appreciate that. I'm sorry if you do not. My world is a bit more rough then yours, perhaps. If you consider that to be indecent, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. Yet I must not be so terribly offensive, nor so big a bully, that you are willing to come here, to my blog, and freely express your views. And I welcome you.


On a broader forum, which was what I was trying to address, the argument of "decency" is usually a paen sung by those wishing to restrict someone or something they personally do not like. Bearing a sign that says "Gays should be killed" borders on a threat, true, but bearing a sign that says "I hate faggots"....while reprehensible, is not a threat. In my mind, I'm trying to figure out exactly where that line is.


I will try to make my topic segues more clear in the future. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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