By undermining collective bargaining in the public sector, the Janus case dangerously prioritizes individual freedom at the expense of the common good. Catholic social ethics must take this opportunity to articulate a vision balancing individual freedom and the common good.
Freedom of speech is the concept that one should be able to express themselves, whatever opinion they may hold. It has never existed as an absolute, and generally the various Western philosophers and thinkers who developed the concept never considered it to be unrestricted – rather most have accepted that there have to be limits upon expression, in order to protect society. Every society has red-lines – limits upon what constitutes lawful expression – and these depend upon the values of that society, contradicting the idea of a universal absolute freedom of speech….
Jesus is our model for ethical, powerful speech. As we immerse ourselves in the Jesus community, and recognize that much of what passes for legitimate, “free speech” in our culture, is actually not coming out of community at all, but coming out of a place of isolation and alienation. Or, perhaps, coming out of an anti-Kingdom community, a community being formed by values opposed to the kingdom that Jesus proclaimed.
It’s moments such as these that are only possible on the web… After hearing some amount of Facebook-based moral outrage from friends both progressive and conservative, centered somehow around the fast food chain, Chick-fil-A, I decided I better pull my head out of the sand and see what the kerfuffle was all about. The first story I read was an LA Times editorial on Chick-fil-A and free speech. I’ll return to the content of that story in a moment, but as I reached the bottom of the page, my eyes uncharacteristically caught sight of the advertisement. It’s offer? Free Chick-fil-A!