The Guardian published Do you want free speech to thrive? Then it has to be regulated, now more than ever raising the question of just how important free speech actual is.
Free speech is a bedrock of a free society. Without it bad things are driven into the darkness and good things never see the light of day. Free speech means defending people saying things you disagree with.
A common saying years ago was “I disagree with you but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
Today we have more and more people defining “hate speech”. Speech that must be regulated. “Hate speech isn’t Free Speech”.
Hate speech is exactly what Free Speech must protect. It isn’t the things that are easy to listen to that need to be protected. It is those things that you don’t want to hear.
So many of today’s leftist institutions strive to limit speech in some way. “Misinformation”, “disinformation”, “fake news”, “hate speech”, and whatever term they choose to use tomorrow. All of these are just ways of saying “Shut Up!”
Everyone of these rules or regulations or policies is premised on “safety”. Generally “For YOUR safety you shouldn’t hear these things.” or “For YOUR safety you shouldn’t say these things.”
There is a Ren Faire in New England that might not survive because of “hate speech”. Not that anything was actually spoken, but because people were afraid something might be said. There was an incident where some people were found near the site of the fair that might have been actual racist. So in order to punish those people many vendors and performers decided not to attend.
This will likely kill the fair. All because people were afraid of hearing something “racist.”
In many places speech is called violence. If you were to call a black person N…. they feel that violence has been done to them which allows them to respond with physical violence. Giving offence via speech is considered violence by more and more people.
In Kenosha the prosecutors implied that showing a symbol, an AR-15, was enough to justify people attacking a young man. He didn’t even have to say anything. Just being in that location with an AR-15 was causing people to feel unsafe justifying their attack on the young man.
This is the debate now thundering into view. The correct response to the Rushdie outrage is not just to plead for freedom of speech, but to ask what it really means and how it is to be sustained – and regulated. That is not done through silence.
We need people to stand up for free speech in all of its nasty and mean and evil forms. Otherwise we will be lost.