“I’m Not Going to Let You Do That”

I am far from having a clear or full perspective here, but I have a couple of thoughts and questions—not so much about this situation in particular1 but more generally about freedom of expression.

I remember hearing a young man once say, “It’s a free country. I can do whatever I want.” Something about that smelled of license rather than the kind of freedom I’m interested in protecting.

I think of family work,2 in which we are sometimes able to get to the point of putting our arms around a beloved child who has been taken over by distress3 and saying, “No, I’m not going to let you do that. You’re not going to like it, and I’m glad to listen to you be upset, but I’m just not going to let you do it.” I believe there are freedoms that need to be protected tenaciously, artistic freedoms among them, but is there a point where testing the boundaries of freedom of expression calls for the kind of response described above?

Pamela Haines
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion
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1 See previous three articles.
2 Family work is the application of Re-evaluation Counseling to the particular situations of young people, and families with young children. It entails young people and adults (both parents and allies) interacting in ways that allow the young people to show and be themselves and not be dominated by the adults.
3 “Taken over by” means overcome by, made subservient to.


Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00