The danger of senseless sloganeering.

Always check the source, a nice principle to live by even though we (OK, I ) don’t do it 100% of the times. For many years I also repeated this quasi-legal slogan till I got corrected. Last night, it was somebody else’s turn:

The case I mention at the bottom is Schenck v. United States (1919) and the misquoted passage is the opinion of the court written by Justice Holmes:

The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic. It does not even protect a man from an injunction against uttering words that may have all the effect of force.

Listen, we are not perfect so expect being corrected. Be open-minded to the corrections, but make sure you are not being led to the primrose patch. Trust but Verify to coin a phrase.

And… don’t be a dick till you have full confidence your opponent deserves it. Some people will actually appreciate the correction even if they will not share your view.

Chris @digitalbrain242 has not returned a comment, nor I expect one that would make sense or be anything else that “YOU ARE A NAZI!” which is the new “You are racist!” And there is a meme for that!

 

5 Replies to “The danger of senseless sloganeering.”

  1. I have to correct folks misusing the phase ALL THE DAMNED TIME! Falsely shouting fire was a serious problem at the time Holmes uttered this phrase.

    I have a well-written historian’s analysis of this at home on my desktop and will post a link this evening for folks to read through (or will email the file to you, Miguel).




    0



    0
  2. “In the future, everyone will be Hitler for 15 minutes.”
    “If everybody is Hitler, than nobody is Hitler.”
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created Hitler…”
    “…wouldn’t you like to be a Hitler too?”




    0



    0

Feel free to express your opinions. Trolling, overly cussing and Internet Commandos will not be tolerated .