New York City Council Considers Speech Ban
August 9, 2007
by Samantha Harris
David Harsanyi reports on The Huffington Post
that the New York City Council “may be on the verge of banning the slur ‘bitch’” as well as “the slang word ‘ho.’” (The Council would no doubt receive moral support from Barnard College, which bans any of George Carlin’s seven dirty words
from appearing on any posted information on campus. Ironically, the policy actually writes the words out, which means that posting the policy on campus would actually constitute a violation of the policy.) Harsanyi laments the fact that the right to free speech has largely been absent from the discussion of the proposed ban:
There’s plenty of discussion about whether such a ban would work (of course not), but there is virtually no conversation on whether such a ban is a restriction of free speech (yes)—or does that matter not deserve any attention? What possible justification could a city council have to ban a word, even symbolically? Surely someone would challenge such a law even in the Nanny State. The ACLU? Right? Right?
We’ll keep you posted on whether this measure passes. In the meantime, dog trainers and Santa Claus may want to be careful in New York.