Interesting WSJ Column on Free Speech

Whether you agree or disagree with the Wall Street Journal columnist linked below,┬áthe term ‘hate speech’ is a constantly sliding scale. And it usually slides in ways that benefit the current political power. The first act of dictators is to ban some kinds of speech. Certainly, some speech is in bad taste but if you allow any ruling power to regulate what can and cannot be said in public, then you’re on a decidedly slippery slope.

On the Neighbors At War blog we frequently take note of certain Homeowners Associations where a battered neighbor who tries to run for the board is banned from speaking out, banned from handing out campaign literature, forbidden from expressing opinions to neighbors. That kind of fascism threatens the very homes and neighborhoods in which we live.

At the same time, censorship of any kind is a double-edged sword. On a website like this, the moderator has the power to permit or to edit out language or thoughts that he deems are simply in bad taste. But this website is not a government institution. It’s a place where we share concerns, thoughts, feelings.

Our Republic is unique in that the very first right granted to Americans was the right to express thoughts without government censorship. Are there limits? Of course. And we granted the Supreme Court the power to analyze certain kinds of speech to see if they constituted an endangerment to others. In some cases (yelling fire, libel, slander) the Court ruled that freedom of speech is not absolute.

Although Wall Street Journalist Bret Stephens is being pilloried for writing this column, in my opinion he should be congratulated for his analysis.

Your thoughts?


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Ward Lucas is a longtime investigative journalist and television news anchor. He has won more than 70 national and regional awards for Excellence in Journalism, Creative Writing and community involvement. His new book, "Neighbors At War: the Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association," is now available for purchase. In it, he discusses the American homeowners association movement, from its racist origins, to its transformation into a lucrative money machine for the nation's legal industry. From scams to outright violence to foreclosures and neighborhood collapses across the country, the reader will find this book enormously compelling and a necessary read for every homeowner. Knowledge is self-defense. No homeowner contemplating life in an HOA should neglect reading this book. No HOA board officer should overlook this examination of the pitfalls in HOA management. And no lawyer representing either side in an HOA dispute should gloss over what homeowners are saying or believing about the lawsuit industry.

2 thoughts on “Interesting WSJ Column on Free Speech

  1. Chuck Welsh

    Very Good Ward. My Libel and Breach of Contract Case, that I mentioned in the NYC Parking space article you did some months ago, goes to Trial in Duval County, Florida on June 15. Summary Judgement on the part of the Defendants has been denied, the Claim has been amended to include Punitive Damages and it appears no settlement can be reached. It is my hope that when it’s over, the jury will send a powerful message that abuse of power on the part of HOA and Condominium Boards and their Agents, in Denying the Rights and Liberties of Homeowners, will not be tolerated in the State of Florida. I’ve invested everything I have in this case for the past 3 years. We’ll see what happens…. (and there’s actually an interesting Colorado twist to this in that an employee for one of the defendants, the management company, is a disbarred former CO Judge!)

    1. Ward Lucas Post author

      Hi Chuck. First, I’d love to know who the disbarred judge is. You can tell me privately at Second, always try for the settlement. The only people who get money in this kind of court case are the lawyers, not the client. Escape with a settlement and you could break even. Third, once your case goes to the jury it’s a complete and total crap shoot. We’re supposed to love the jury system in this country, but once your opposing lawyers start telling the jury the lies they’ve conjured up, you’ll hear things about yourself that you didn’t know existed. In fact, it’s long been my opinion that most lawyers are paid a commission for each lie that goes unchallenged. A jury decision? Fifty-fifty at best.


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