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Tim Robbins & Free Speech

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

Was that Tim Robbins doing his best imitation of Tom Daschle?

Robbins was whimpering recently because a "Bull Durham" celebration at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., was canceled to prevent it from turning into a Michael Moore acceptance screech.

Only a Hollywood lefty would say that his First Amendment right to free speech is in jeopardy when he's invited to the National Press Club. Both before and after a speech where he refers to the U.S. as a "rogue state" and compares it to the "Soviet Union," Robbins' drivel is picked up by every wire service, appears in most newspapers and dominates TV and radio coverage.

Still, the guy complains about not having enough access to the media, saying, "To allow those rights to be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to limit access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our democracy's defeat."

What does he want? A constitutional right to have his ideas applauded?

It's not celebrities but working folks who have to seek creative ways to get their voices heard ­ like staging a boycott or two.

Meanwhile on a VH1 special, Madonna bellyaches, "Anybody who has anything to say against the war or against the president or whatever is punished, and that's not democracy, it's people being intolerant."

The material girl then explains a little constitutional law: "That's what our constitutional rights are supposed to be, that we all have freedoms to express ourselves and to voice our dissent if we have that."

Yes, Madonna, there is such a thing as free speech. But there's also such a thing as the free market. And the rule is in a free market, free expression has real consequences. Just ask John Rocker, Dr. Laura or Trent Lott.

Speaking of Dr. Laura, Susan Sarandon, Robbins' long-time companion, once wrote this tribute on the site: "I'm totally against wasting the airwaves to giving visibility to a person who is clearly in dire need of compassion, education, and a good shrink herself." Do you think Tim ever read this?

Have any of these celebs ever read the Constitution? The First Amendment restrains the government from interfering with pre-existing inherent rights. The opening phrase of the Bill of Rights is "Congress shall make no law. "

And contrary to popular celebrity opinion, when the Founding Fathers penned these words, they weren't trying to protect box office receipts and record sales.

Reproduced with the permission of . All rights reserved

Copyright © 2003
James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.

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