As a much anticipated follow up to this essay, the question for the day is "Who owns you?". Who keeps you from doing what you want to do, what you have a RIGHT to do?
Hmmmm... who is that? The best place to start (and end) is: Who CAN'T you criticize? If you live in North Korea and can't criticize the government or it's dear leader, then it is THEY who own you. Simple.
He who is above criticism is the Lord of the Land.
In many places, Fido and his owner are above criticism. Neil found this out the hard way. Should we not be able to critique owner of the yard barkers next door? Nope, that is NOT tolerated. You LOVE Fido, or shut the hell up!
Dr. Laura was "PWND" by Pit Nutters. Again, you can't critique the flooding of our streets and animal shelters with pit bulls, or even present a well reasoned economic analysis of the situation. You make an argument like that on your radio show, and the entire dog owning universe threatens your sponsors. Get BACK IN LINE DR!
How about the Walk for the victims of Pit Bulls and other Dangerous Dogs that was CANCELLED due to death threats? Nope, can't say anything BAD about Fido, even if he is pure bred to kill and then goes on to do so! If you think that the police or other authorities would take an interest in that, but THEY can't criticize Fido, either! You protest IN FAVOR OF BITERS or someone will burn your house down! Get used to it! The penalty for HERESY is DEATH.
How about where I live? The dog fanatics in my jurisdiction wanted to update the laws to punish victims and protect perpetrators. Fortunately, my campaign of reason prevailed so that victims do NOT have to bear a ridiculous burden of proof. Again, dog nuts want to force all complainants into silence. Unfortunately, in many places the "one bite rule", the "multiple household rule", and "consecutive disruption laws" are in full effect... this is an INSTITUTIONALIZED ATTACK ON THE RIGHTS OF VICTIMS TO COMPLAIN AND TO DUE PROCESS.
I have a friend in Australia who notified me (update me if necessary) that barking dog complaints had to be accompanied with a $12 Fee... bad enough but now that fee has been upgraded to $65! Yes, lets fine the VICTIMS to stop their COMPLAINING ABOUT FIDO! In other words, LETS SHUT THEM UP.
On a similar, but slightly different note: How do you know when you are intellectually bankrupt? Well, that is easy: When you have to silence your critics! Hell, you can't prove anything, so just shut everyone else up!
You know what, sooner or later our right to free speech will re-assert itself. The result will not be pretty.