During a not-so-neighborly discussion on their neighborhood Listserv, Ken Campbell of Red River, Tennessee, made an excellent point in response to people's complaints about certain residents' hyper-political Listserv posts.
“Why do you read them if they're only going to get you all worked up?” said Ken, bringing home his point that simply not reading people's sometimes-offensive political commentary is a much easier solution than shutting down free speech altogether. “Why don't you just delete them unread? That’s what I do with posts that I have no interest in.”
Other Red River residents, however, argue that solution is not quite so simple. “Even if I don't read the whole thing, I still see the subject lines and first few sentences with my digest.,” shot back long-time Listserv subscriber Marcia Mullins.
Joshua Friedman added, “While we can all ignore them in principle, the resulting prominent presence of political posts sets the 'tone' for the group. Newcomers are going to view this group to be a political forum and are going to be more likely perceive the atmosphere as hostile.”
In fact, noted Joshua, “It's become so uncomfortable that people have even left the Listserv.”
“Good riddance,” responded Ken, who is certain that this latest effort to clamp down on political dissent smacks of an authoritarian conspiracy. “I knew when the control of the Listserv was handed to anyone who isn't a conservative, eventually discussion would be shut down.”
Despite his excellent, well-made points regarding constitutional rights and free speech, Ken has no illusions about the long-term efficacy of his advocacy.
“People are never going to stop complaining,” Ken stated (on the Listserv), “because they have learned that complaining works. If you want to shut down opposing opinions, complain enough and some weak-willed person will give in. Have a great day!!!”