Lubans’ The Birds Talk Turkey

Posted by jlubans on May 31, 2022

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Caption: Bird Convention Hotel. Photo by author. 2022

At the annual birds convocation – with invited guests of other species – there was a panel on the limits of expression. Should there be censorship of views one finds personally abhorrent or should all reasonable speech be permitted?
The Sloth was the first to speak: “Animals I disagree with need to be censored – their views are counter to mine, untrustworthy and dangerous.
However, I am highly offended when my speech is censored or ridiculed; it matters not if I am wrong or right. I mean well and should always be heard out.”
The Vulture chimed in: “I am often restricted in speech because of my reputation for eating carrion. Somehow, while I perform a valuable public health service, my opinion is worth less than, say, that of the Owl who sits in a tree and hoots, however serenely.”
To that, one could hear gasps and giggles from the audience.
The Ow blinked omnisciently but did nothing more.
The Eagle offered up his bird’s eye judgement: “Just as on earth there are people who insist their’s is the only valid opinion, there are animals who believe the same.
They abhor being countered and when in possession of power seek to limit others and demean them as undeserving and incapable of discerning between fact and fiction.”
Peacock strutted his stuff: “Listen up. Censorship is necessary because birds and people - at least half - are bird-brained (present company excepted) and cannot tell a lie from the truth. They must be guided by someone like me who knows better. Indeed, when I can shut down someone I disagree with, I am doing a great good by protecting the most vulnerable among us.”
“Hear, hear!” muttered a few, amidst several snickers at the peacock’s latest display of pomposity.
Then, Chipmunk chattered: “Am I hearing that I cannot be trusted to understand for myself? That I must be told; that I cannot judge for myself by myself?”
“If so, Up yours!”
With that, he scampered off to his little house among the roots of a very wise and towering tree.
Maybe, just maybe, some of that tree’s wisdom had seeped into the chipmunk’s thinking.

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And, don’t forget Lubans' book on democratic workplaces, Leading from the Middle

© Copyright text and photo by John Lubans 2022

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