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Clio's Temple


The cost of free speech

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 5:25 PM
In a post on a blog about national politics yesterday, I used the term "Petigru's Asylum." Some readers familiar with South Carolina history might recognize the reference: It's an excerpt from James Petigru, a former SC governor who commented during the secession fever before the Civil War that "South Carolina is too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum."

The post in question had to do with the proposal to repeal South Carolina's archaic statue that forbids liquor sales on election days. Given the number of election days this state has, that's potentially a considerable reduction in business. My typically witty sally was that watching elections in South Carolina is enough to drive me to drink - safely at home.

What I wish someone in a position of power in South Carolina WOULD do is to slap some effective regulations on the blight of election signs that sprout like toadstools after a heavy rain this time of year. Since we have a hot Republican primary for the U.S. Senate nomination, the number of placards and posters wishing bad cess to the incumbent is particularly noteworthy. Given what I know of how Washington works, however, any of the challengers would soon find themselves either having to back and fill on their promises of change or trying to explain why areas that depend on Federal spending (of which this is one) are facing hard times.

Campaigning is easy and fun. Governing is hard work.  Making a start on moving from a culture of perpetual campaigning to a culture of responsible governance might be helped by forcing all campaign organizations to pick up ALL their campaign signs within two weeks after an election, under the penalty of stiff fines. I think free speech would survive such a law.

Categories: American Society, Current Events

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Reply Mary Beth Gibson
2:08 PM on June 10, 2014 
I totally agree, Steve. When doing nothing in hopes of keeping their jobs is our representatives number one concern, we all lose.
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9:36 AM on January 24, 2017 
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8:04 AM on February 3, 2017 
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