I used to often hear that the proper response to objectionable free speech was more free speech.
We would simply have it out in the open marketplace of ideas. Come what may.
Underlying this idea was confidence in public discernment. The best ideas would prevail and the worse ideas would die out or at least be confined to the margins of society.
Do we still believe this?
What I see is a society that now curtails free speech left and right. Sometimes through draconian laws, but also through lawsuits, harassment, intimidation, and relentless “deplatforming” of unpopular views.
Someone said to me recently that the postmodernists want to be protected from views, and even facts, that hurt their feelings. I think that’s exactly the kind of climate we’re facing now.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube face pressure from both ends. They need to both protect and curtail free speech at the same time!
Which is always the problem. Once we start redlining, who decides where to draw the line?
Some Antifa activists now say it’s even okay to “punch a Nazi in the face.” But don’t they see that once violence becomes an acceptable expression of disagreement, we’re all at risk?
How is it any less valid to say it’s okay to “punch Antifa in the face“? Who is going to make the rules?
I think it’s better to allow maximum free speech and firmly stand against physical violence. It’s worked for America in the past, and it’s not something we should sacrifice now.
What Do You Think?
Are you concerned about free speech in America? Or if you live elsewhere, then in your own country?
Have you seen any encroachments on free speech that have raised alarm bells for you?
Do you agree with “hate speech” laws for America (or your country)? Why or why not?