by Libertarian Country
February 01, 2018
Defenders of free speech are frequently accosted by individuals who have formed in their minds the notion that if you are defending the right to speech, then surely you must be advocating or agreeing with the speech that is being presented.
If you defend free speech, then you're a bigot?
This is a outrageous claim, but unfortunately it's something that all people, (liberals, libertarians and conservatives) who defend the first amendment, deal with.
Sure, there are people out there who spout on and on about free speech who simply want to express their bigotry, and as soon as they hear something they don't like they'll be the first ones who want to silence them. But a true defender of free speech, however, isn't plagued with this contradiction. They defend the inalienable right to free speech unconditionally; and that often means defending the rights of those you find abhorrent. Which is uncomfortable to do sometimes, but is a matter of principle.
For example, I'm vehemently against communism. So, given the chance, would I agree with the government preventing a communist from speaking in public?
The communist has every right to take their ideas to the podium of free expression and present them to the public--even if I find their ideas moronic and juvenile. I defend their right to free speech as much as the person I agree with.
It's the same thing with bigotry or "hate speech". I personally find things like racism and homophobia to be examples of very misguided or indoctrinated thinking. Racism and bigotry are rooted in fear, neophobia, collectivism, ignorance and a refusal to acknowledge the individual. But if we allow the government to curtail any speech at all, then we're giving extraordinary power to the state, and rolling out the red carpet for mass censorship and authoritarianism.
The first amendment, whether we like it or not, guarantees to protect the inalienable right to free speech for all people.
This is a principle we must always adhere firmly to. It doesn't make you a bigot to support free speech. It is a preposterous idea that simply because you value and support freedom that you are in any way a bigot yourself. So keep on defending the rights to free speech for all!
by Libertarian Country
January 24, 2023