Democracy or Insanity?

Students signing the "Free Speech" board, next to the Genocide Awareness Project

Anyone walk through the Diag on Monday? I unfortunately did. For those of you that were lucky enough to have classes that avoided a walk through the Diag, I will enlighten you briefly as to what you missed. The University of Michigan’s Students for Life group hosted the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform’s Genocide Awareness Project. This exhibit consisted of extremely large (we’re talking larger than human) photos of aborted fetuses. In addition, there were photos of the genocide in Darfur, the lynching of African Americans, and of Holocaust victims. Why were these additional photos displayed? The project is attempting to show how abortion is analogous to genocide. I would call these images graphic, horrific, and appalling, but these are all understatements. Take a look at some reactions to the exhibit.

http://www.michigandaily.com/node/62197

This whole semester we have asked ourselves, what is democracy? We have said that democracy is often characterized by a lot of citizen involvement in government, a sharing of power in the different governmental institutions, the ability to voice one’s opinion through elections and voting, and the breaking up of dangerous factions. In particular, we studied two ways of looking at democracy. The first is from a Civic Republican view which stresses the importance of compromise, the community, and the common good. On the other hand, Classic Liberalism is much more individualistic, innovative, and against altruism. A Classic Liberal is primarily concerned with protecting his individual rights.

Protecting individual rights… This is what crossed my mind when I saw the Genocide Awareness Project. Part of what we hold sacred in the U.S. is our freedom of religion, speech, and press, all written out in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although the freedom of “choice” isn’t spelled out in the Constitution, I find it inherently acceptable to conclude that individuals also have the freedom to possess some type of control over the decisions in their own lives. Although I don’t see myself as a staunch Classic Liberal, I certainly value my individual rights. I’m not trying to make a case for or against abortion, but rather I’m saying that as a U.S. citizen, I feel I am entitled to making my own choices.

I have a few problems with the photos exhibited in the Diag Monday. First, the Center for Bio-Ethical Reform should be extremely grateful for the individual rights written out in the First Amendment. There is no way such obscene photos can be displayed publicly in countries lacking such liberal freedom of expression laws as the U.S. does. That being said, I fully respect their opinion. They are free to express their beliefs, but they should also respect my beliefs. If they are trying to convince people that abortion is wrong, there is a right way of doing it. This exhibit was the wrong way. It didn’t respect others’ values, and it offended a lot of people. Overall, it hurt more than it helped.

Freedom of speech is definitely a virtue of the U.S. democracy. However, so is the freedom to have control over one’s own choices. Individual values and beliefs should be respected. This exhibit was way out of line.

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About Courtney M

University of Michigan undergraduate student
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23 Responses to Democracy or Insanity?

  1. kaschuma says:

    In my opinion, the exhibit should not have been allowed to have taken place, and it should not be protected under free speech. The comparison of abortion to genocide and racial violence, and the display in whole seem to be fighting words to me. The organizers of the display wanted people to be angry at them for making the comparison and showing the images. The display on the Diag was intended to start arguments, and under the right conditions this could easily escalate into violence.
    In the Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire case the Supreme Court wrote, “There are certain well-defined and narrowly limited classes of speech, the prevention and punishment of which have never been thought to raise any constitutional problem. These include the lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous, and the insulting or “fighting words” those that by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. It has been well observed that such utterances are no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.”
    Graphic images of abortions, lynching, etc…and the display of the Swastika are obviously obscene. The Students for Life group is not entitled to unrestricted free speech, and they should not have been allowed this right last Monday.

  2. Justin says:

    Considering the graphic nature of the display, your disgust having viewed it is very warranted. Your post reminds me of the conversation we all had in discussion section this week, questioning whether democracy was a good form of government or not. I think the overall consensus, especially with regard to this display, is that democracy is a gift and a curse. The First Amendment is a great vehicle for political debate, although at times certain speech, though constitutional, can be troublesome. By protecting the rights of one group, the rights of a second group can be harmed. It reminds me of the obscenity debates: in protecting the rights of citizens to view obscene material, it may infringe on the rights of those unwilling to view that material, and children, who have a right to be protected from obscene material. At the end of the day, where do we draw the line? Whose rights are protected, and whose are violated by protecting those others’ rights?

    Nonetheless, this argument compels me to bring up an idea I have brought up in my other comments on other posts. I think the obsession with individual rights proves that we are a classic liberal country. If we had civic republican ideals, instead people would be concerned with how this display affected the common good of people who walk through the diag. As a classic liberalists, however, the Student’s for Life group is only concerned about their freedom of speech rights to argue against abortions, while unwilling onlookers are concerned with their ability to walk to class and not have to see dead fetuses and pictures of genocide. If society had more civic republican virtues, perhaps this display would never have existed.

  3. zacha90 says:

    Good Post. I feel that the U of M “pro-life” (I’ve always hated that term, and I often wonder if it was crafted by some conservative ala Frank Luntz or something…I digress) has every right to protest abortion rights as long as they do it through legal means. The display of those signs, while disgusting, was perfectly legal and within their 1st amendment rights. While the above commenter stated that the images were more or less “fighting words” the Supreme Court has narrowed what qualifies as fighting words since the decision listed. This year they upheld the rights of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest funerals, affirming Constitutional Rights as being above community comfort, even in times of great emotional distress. Given that, I’m lead to believe that these protest are perfectly legal.

    However, I feel there are much nicer ways to approach the abortion debate, and labeling your opponents as Nazis in the debate not only alienates them from your position and dilutes the meaning of the word “Genocide”. In the instance of the first I would say you will never convince your opponent of anything if you demonize them. This is exactly what the pro-life protestors did, demonize people for their beliefs. A better approach might have been to simply discuss the potential for a fetus to develop into life, an approach that, unlike comparisons to Genocide, cannot be rebuked by the pro-choice opponent. Given the right amount of time and conditions, a fetus will develop into a child. Given that for classic liberals individual rights are key, the right to life is the most basic and fundamental, which is the point they could have been making, that the fetus has a philosophical right to existence. The argument could have been pro-fetus, not anti-abortion. Second, the use of the word Genocide is improper. Genocide refers to a group of people working together to destroy another group for what is generally considered to be an arbitrary reason (race, religion, origin), whereas abortion is individuals acting for various reasons against the fetus. People having abortions are not conspiring to eliminate new borns for some arbitrary reason. Arguing that legally allowed abortion is the United States government advocating a pre-natal holocaust is no less ridiculous than stating that by allowing the Westboro protest the United States advocating a policy of hate speech, in both instances individual rights are upheld and the government is advocating a neutral policy by allowing individuals to choose action.

    I wrote on that board:

    “Smile, we’re all people”

  4. brt001 says:

    I feel that this expression of belief is interesting. As someone who leans more to the civic republican side of things, I find myself disturbed by the permission of such images in a public setting like that. There is no call for this. It is a portrayal that could be damaging for people. I feel that there was a community responsibility to prohibit such graphic images from being showcased in such a way. I do not feel that it was for the good of the public to have such gruesome things on display, for either children or the faint of heart. What good does it do the community? It serves nothing to the common good in the fact that it only inflames division and creates an atmosphere of discomfort and argumentation. There is no tolerance for the differences of others. One can look all the way back to Dan Kemmis to get a view of this. Lilly and Albert’s divisions were overlooked for the sake of communal unity. When discussions of differences degrade from civility, they become useless rows that divide us all.

    Secondarily, for the classic liberal, it could be an infringement on certain people’s rights. Certainly individual rights are a more liberal ideal. The problem here lies in the fact that the individuals who have no desire to see such images. Certainly, the rights of the hemophobic are infringed upon (the psychological condition of fearing blood). What about the pregnant woman who cannot physically stand to see such pictures? Aren’t hers ignored as well? Or what about those suffering from the psychological after effects of abortive procedures? These women could be triggered by such displays, left damaged by memories that may haunt from the past. The list of damages to various people goes on and on. I know one man whose wife obtained an abortion without his knowledge. He was forever scarred by that. The display simply does not respect the psychological rights of those touched by this issue. Surely, even the most potent defender of the “right to free speech” must concur that free speech must end when it does actual damage to people’s psyches. -Brandon Tomlinson

  5. bradenburgess says:

    I really liked this post. It caused me to think about the meaning of our individual rights and to what extent they were protected. Does the freedom of speech allow us to show pictures? Did the Founders really want us to be able to show grotesque, offensive images and have that right protected? For me, that is hard to believe. I think that they perceived of a more narrow definition of speech. I think they would object to the idea that images were “speech”.

  6. jadadamo says:

    I think everyone had some valid points here, and the abortion debate is a difficult one indeed. It’s hard to ascertain exactly the “right” answer. But I am pro-choice, and as pro choice I believe the government has absolutely no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. It follows that the group’s right to speech and display of images needs to be protected under the Constitution, because if the government or a body is allowed to say that a display like that is wrong, then I think that, similar to restricting a woman’s right to do what she will with her own body, gives them extraconstitutional powers restricting the 1st Amendment.
    Quite frankly, blunt yet reasoned discourse on issues is not done enough on our campus. There is a nonchalant air and many I’ve talked to just don’t seem to care. The civic republican in me cringes at that, because I feel taking part in how our country is run is a very important aspect of being a citizen. The Students for Life, while many people including myself have the exact opposite view, got people talking about abortion. They didn’t even cause many to change their stance- but those that were on the left and the right got into what I felt was a wonderful dialogue. In my opinion, this is critical to running a country- people on all sides of an issue SHOULD feel strongly about country-altering decisions such as those prevalent in the abortion debate. The nonchalant attitude is dangerous, because hypothetically it could allow a leader to come in and more easily lord over an uncaring populace. People SHOULD feel passionate about an issue enough to want to change the world. It’s how the Wright Brothers had the courage to invent the airplane- how John F. Kennedy dared to advance the cause of Black Americans- and how a young community organizer from Illinois with a funny name named Barack Obama had the audacity to hope for a better tomorrow, and became President of the United States: Passion.

    • mkay2209 says:

      I agree that people should be passionate about an issue so that they want to create change. But if they are classic liberals, they want to create change to better themselves as individuals or if they are civic republicans they want to create change for the common good. Did the Students For Life group bring in this exhibition with civic republican intentions or classic liberal? Allisonrd brought up this point, and since we are not involved in this student organization, I don’t think was can claim whose good the exhibition was for. I do believe that the debate between the two sides created some great discussions, but was it necessary? You address that people have a nonchalant attitude, but was this the most appropriate way to start those conversations. I don’t think so. I feel that the images and comparisons were the wrong way to advertise pro-life and create a debate. But, I think you make a great point and I agree with you that as a pro-choice, I don’t want the government to take away a woman’s right of controlling her body, so we can’t take away the free speech of the Students For Life group. As an individual, this is just something we have to deal with.

  7. dennisball says:

    What a fascinating argument that was brought up. I think its important to state that I am offering my opinion free of thought over the debate of abortion. I have no interest in arguing either for or against the morality of abortion. What I do want to pose is simply a thought that I hope will spur discussion over free speech: many interesting arguments have already been stated.

    The question I would like to ask everyone is what type of offensive images need to be displayed in order to deny a persons right to free speech? Some of the points of view posted above made the argument that if an image, such as what was shown in the Diag, offends certain people to such an extent should it be allowed under free speech. My point of view is that if we are going to accept the idea that every American has the right to free speech, stipulations to that right are unacceptable. If there is a situation in which the free speech of someone can put another individuals life in danger, such as if someone yelled “fire” in a crowded room, then it should not be acceptable due to the fact that it infringes on that individuals right to life. However, to say that someone should not be allowed their right to free speech because if offends someone else is one of the most un-American statement that can be made. If someone is not allowed their right to free speech because their point of view is offensive, then you can make the argument that every exercise of free speech could be argued as offensive and shouldn’t be allowed.

    I would like to call attention to a booth set up in the Diag the spring of last year in which a three foot by three foot poster board of (a rather large picture) of the “female anatomy” was posted by a student group which i do not remember. I found this display rather offensive…as I looked around me, there was not only students viewing the display, but families, and children walking around. And i found myself embarrassed at the lack of shame this student group had. I would make the argument that a 3 foot picture of a vagina is as offensive, if not more, of pictures of genocide being displayed. Saying this, my argument is if we deny the right of free speech to someone for showing those pictures of aborted fetus’s, then we should also deny the right to show images of a woman’s genitals on the basis that it is also offensive.

    Thus my arguement is this…if we deny one persons right to free speech, then we must deny everyone’s right to free speech.

    GO BLUE, GO LIONS, GO TIGERS, GO WINGS!!

    • brianoconnor16 says:

      I think you bring up a worthy argument with your support of free speech. I agree with you that it is definitely ‘un-American’ to restrict others free speech, but I would argue that sometimes there must be some controls put in place in order to keep society from becoming out of control. The abortion debate is a good example of an instance where there should be some limits in order to protect individuals within society. Issues such as abortion can become extremely heated on both sides of the argument, and I believe that there are certain circumstances which would call for limitations to be set, such as the location of a demonstration like the one seen in the diag, and the audience that will be reached out to. If free speech was only regulated when someone’s life came in danger, I believe society would be drastically different from the one in which we live in today. Would issues like someone’s emotional and mental health be taken into account? Offensive words and images can have a severe impact on people in other ways than their safety. So wouldn’t that too, be in violation of an individual’s constitutional rights?

      I just want to point out how in my opinion, I believe there to be fine lines that should not be crossed when it comes to free speech. An example that comes to mind in the abortion debate would be a woman walking through the diag after previously getting an abortion. Seeing those images could be extremely detrimental to her mental health. Would this be a violation of her rights? Or a violation of the protestor’s rights? These are the questions we need to keep in mind when analyzing the issue of free speech. I think it is more complicated than simply if someone’s life is put in danger. Restrictions sometimes might be a beneficial option in certain scenarios.

      On a different note, I came across an article that I thought was interesting especially after our discussion section readings. I saw an article about the Libyan Transitional Council, and its vow to leave when the country has become stable. The people would then determine a system of government to be emplaced. I just thought it was an interesting connection to the debate over democracy that was brought up by the Diamond and Wolin readings. In the Libyan example, I think that Wolin was more accurate in his description of democracy being the ‘moment’ in which the people take back their power. I am hopeful that this moment has not passed and the people in Libya will continue to demand a free state, and will overcome the years of oppression from Gadhafi. Here is the link to the very short article. Sparks an interesting debate continued on from our readings over what democracy truly is. http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_19033948

  8. stephmfarr says:

    I was hoping someone would bring this event up and discuss its relation to topics our class has covered. This post particularly does a good job of identifying how a classic liberal and a civic republican might see this contentious issue. As to kaschuma’s referencing Chaplinsky v New Hampshire, I see how such offensive images might seem to constitute unprotected speech, but unfortunately I believe the group would have the law on their side, as it is very difficult to prove obscenity in cases such as these, especially when the images are displayed to make political speech. To prevent the group from displaying these images would be deemed to be restricting their right to free speech, no matter how many they might offend–to meet the usual standard for obscenity, one would have to prove the images lack political value, where it’s clear they make a serious political statement.

  9. Laura Clark says:

    I think that the exhibit in the Diag was horrible and disturbing, but I think in the grand scheme of things, it was good that the Student’s for Life got to protest. Two days of a sickening walk through the Diag vs. having the first amendment?? I know which one I would choose. The freedom of speech, though sometimes annoying, is an amazing right. There is nothing that I would give up my first amendment right not to hear, even the anti-abortion protest. I think I would have to disagree with Courtney’s statement that this exhibit was “way out of line.” I think it is definitely protected speech, and not “fighting words.” If anything the least bit contentious could be determined “fighting words,” then nothing political could ever be discussed. When it comes to individual rights, I am a classical liberal. Overall, this demonstration did more good than harm. It was horrifyingly graphic, but it proved, once again, that we have the right to free speech.

  10. allisonrd says:

    I think this post raises the question of classification; do you categorize yourself or does someone do it for you? While it seems like most people are classifying the protesters as classic liberals, perhaps, from their point of view they would say that they’re civic republicans because (in their eyes) they are protecting those who can’t speak for themselves and furthering “the common good.” They would probably agree and say it’s about individual rights, but not necessarily their right to display graphic pictures in public places rather to protect someone’s life.

  11. bah2011 says:

    When I walked into the Diag during their protest I thought that their images were grotesque and inappropriate. Then I thought, I am so grateful to live in a country where this type of protest is allowed. Democracy is a messy form of government, but I know that freedom of expression is too valuable to be limited. People have every right to be offended but we should celebrate the fact that this type of protest is allowed. If protests like these were stopped, where would the line be drawn on what free speech is allowed? I think that would be a slippery slope that none of us want to be on.

  12. eskylis says:

    I agree with Zach that the liberal usage of the term “genocide” by the ‘pro-lifers’ dilutes the term in all senses. That was the immediate reaction that the displays provoked; how can you equate horrors in Nazi concentration camps to abortion? The fundamental issue at work here is what constitutes personhood. Jews in 1940s Germany most certainly qualified as “persons”, whereas it is not altogether clear that fetuses meet such a qualification. When considering the criteria necessary to meet full personhood, some of the more extreme claims of ‘pro-chiocers’ are that fetuses actually fit the bill of parasites more than persons. The claim is that fetuses may have the potential for personhood, but it is not altogether clear that personhood is met at conception, the first trimester, and so on. What is clear at this point is that the debate requires a fusion of some moral principles on both sides, which calls into question the legitimacy of the debate itself.

    When considering the words of our friend Mr. Tocqueville, it may be that this debate not only should be legal, but encouraged. Such highly contested issues fuel the very life that characterizes democracy. The second half of Democracy in America moves from a concern over the volatility that debates that the U.S. democracy might inspire to a concern for the lack of such vigorous debate. Tocqueville changes his thesis, where he illustrates a concern that an overly passive citizenry might leave the scene primed for the emergence of a dictator. In this light, it may be that such debates do not only constitute the essence of freedom of speech and democracy itself by consequence, but that such passion is actually vital to the fate of democracy itself.

  13. lgeorge905 says:

    I find myself wondering about the classic liberal v. civic republican debate being brought up. We all know that classic liberals campaign for individual rights, but could any civic republic truly claim that limiting free speech would contribute to “the greater good”? Unless we can see into the future it is impossible to predict the effect of limiting such demonstrations. I believe free speech has proven over time to be one of our most valuable rights, and a major contributor to the success of our government.

  14. tremble53 says:

    I completely believe that this is covered under freedom of speech. Like it has been said multiple times it is the ability of groups like this to speak their mind that displays our true freedom in this country. But that being said they had a fundamental flaw in their strategy. The goal of a protest such as this, in my opinion, is to try their best to sway the undecided passerby (median voter). However with pictures and comparisons to the holocaust they most likely did more damage than good for their cause. The undecided passer by became turned off by these pictures and instead of stopping and listening to a representative discuss their views they probably passed and were disturbed as most of us were. The shock value of this group hurt them more than they probably realized.

  15. Jonathan Needle says:

    There is a fine line that this demonstration may or may not have crossed when it chose to employ the difficult and very contentious issue of genocide in its display. But we have established that democracy itself is not perfect; it has its pitfalls, including the inevitability of factionalism. Factions exist in an innumerable amount of spheres, be it politics, local discussion groups, really any element of society that promotes oppositional beliefs. But there is also the radical faction, the moderate, and so on. Personally, my family has history that pertains to the Holocaust and I was disillusioned when I saw the display. It was quite a statement. But I found it ironic that groups such as this one try to bolster support for their cause by using such extreme methods. There was a campaign used earlier in the year that tried to rally support against president Barack Obama. Men were handing out fliers that showed a photo of Mr. Obama with an Adolf Hitler mustache. It didn’t make any sense to me in the least bit. How can one compare the leader of a free country that has its foundation in equality and political, civil, and social liberties guaranteed to all to an autocrat who is responsible for the deliberate murder of eleven million plus individuals and the oppression of his people? In many ways it plays into Thomas Paine’s rallying call for revolution that excluded a noticeable segment of society that presently would obviously estrange the entire American citizenry. Today, when such extreme stances are taken, no matter what the issue, alienation will undoubtedly occur. This is where I see the irony. It is argued that the display is not inappropriate in its implementation because there are no children and families witnessing what is being presented. Does that mean such images are appropriate for eighteen to early twenty something year olds? How can individuals honestly believe that support for a position can be stirred by using atrocious and highly sensitive topics in history? Especially when it comes to such a sensitive issue as abortion? These actions are protected by the first amendment; I just can’t put a finger on why such methods were used to bring this issue to public attention.

  16. davidkoz says:

    Courtney,

    I too walked through the Diag earlier this week and saw these rather disturbing images. I personally wish that the Students for Life group hadn’t compared abortion to the genocides of the Holocaust and Darfur with such graphics but I understand that it may have been the best way to capture the attention of the student body.

    As for the sentence in your post about expressing their beliefs, while also respecting yours: this doesn’t necessarily make sense given both the civic republican and classic liberal views of democracy. The definitions of these two ideologies as we know them could lead us to believe that those in the Students for Life group have classic liberal tendencies since they were ignoring the rights of students like you and I while furthering their own individual rights. Asking these demonstrators to express their individual rights, while respecting your rights seems counterintuitive; you are essentially asking them to be both civic republicans and classic liberals.

  17. mrs010 says:

    It is understandable why people are visibly outraged by the scene that was on the diag last week, but, truthfully, it is just as much the right of the Students for Life to make a statement like this as it is for anyone to take a stand against what this group displayed. Whether you are pro-life, pro-choice, or indifferent about the situation really should mean nothing in this context. I personally, walked by the display, took a glance at the images, and went on with my life. In no way were these people forcing anyone to stare at these images and debate the wrongness or rightness of abortion. Granted, that is definitely what they wanted, but I find zero validity in saying that this display crossed any boundaries. Students and others who pass by are allowed to be upset at what they see, but really have no right to make any claims about the folks who set the display. I think individual rights are an issue when someone is being truthfully harmed or affected by the action taken. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong done here and their should be no debate about the Students for Life’s individual rights, or whether or not they were doing this as a civic republican or classic liberal. I think it’s fairly obvious.

  18. zrickerm says:

    I believe that the ability of the UofM pro-life group was a wonderful assurance that freedom is still alive and well in this country. Speech should not be arbitrarily subject to censorship, in order to cater to the sensitivities of the community. The first amendment was adopted for the purpose of protecting controversial speech such as this. The argument that this graphic display will somehow cause people harm, I find largely implausible and not reason enough to infringe upon the rights of this group. Furthermore, I find the Supreme Court’s ruling on the ability of the government to censor so called “obscene” material to be quite frightening. It puts a small minority of elites in the position to determine what material it deems suitable for public viewing. It is deplorable how the government believes that it has a mandate to enforce its own vision for societal ethics on its people. If you don’t like an image or tv show then just don’t watch or look at it. What possible harm could a mere obscene image do? At most it will make you feel uncomfortable, but that alone does not give anyone the justification for infringing upon the unalienable rights of others.

  19. arullis says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post and the previous comments. I completely agree with you that the images were grotesque and I really didn’t want to see them as I was walking through the diag. as stated above, there really isn’t anything you can do about this. This group was in fact expressing their individual rights of free speech. While no one has to agree with their ideas or beliefs they still have this individual rights. I believe that the University was right in not taking this down because then were would you draw the line. What would be approved and what wouldn’t? While the images were horrifying they still have this option to express their feelings and we all have the option to believe in them or not. This is exactly what makes a democracy such a great system.

  20. kbreit4 says:

    I felt very passionately about the displays in the Diag earlier this week, and I was hoping a post would be written about it so I could see how everyone else viewed it as well. Individual rights is a touchy subject; it always has been and always will be. I feel being politically correct, the Pro-Life group had the right to post those pictures and display their ideas. Since the University of Michigan has such a diverse student body, of course some people were offended; the photos were graphic and almost awkward to look at. Others were not offended by it though, and supported it wholeheartedly. I know I avoided the Diag as much as possible when i saw the display from a distance, but individual rights definitely support this protest. The best thing to do, was to avoid it if you found it offensive.

  21. jtgilb says:

    Let me first say that the comments on this post have proved most interesting-from Tocqueville to Paine, people have really covered all of the avenues of thought regarding this issue. I personally have been questioning if this demonstration was protected under our version of a democracy. I know that we have the first amendment-and I’m in full agreement with zrickerm that censorship should never take place, or arbitrarily take place as he points out. However, I don’t think this falls under the first amendment because I considered to photos to be obscene. Additionally, I think that it could potentially cause emotional harm to certain students. I thought the blown up photos were too graphic and a ton of students are sensitive to the type of photographs in the diag. There was little to no warning about the obscene nature of the photo and by the time I got to the “warning” it was too late for me to turn around and go another way because I would have been late for class-essentially leaving me with no option but to go through and look at the photos that everyone was gawking at. How could this photos possibly be protected under democracy?
    Now to the real substance-In terms of civic republican and classic liberal-I think that although classic liberals would have been pro choice because that it promotes the right to choose-essentially safeguarding their individual freedom and inherent rights (which is irrelevant to my assessment) they would have permitted the images to stay in the diag because they could be considered an individuals right to free speech and right to assemble. Civic republicans, as another blogger addresses, may have had a town meeting and discussed whether the demonstration was permissible and for the good of the town. Since civic republicans value community and shared values, I think they would have, as a community, discussed and further, evaluated whether the images should be featured in the middle of the community. I’m not even sure that I know how I would handle it if the decision was up to me-so I think it would be interesting to see how these two groups would have handled the photos.

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