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The Market Place of Free Expression

The Market Place of Free Expression

Libertarian Country |


Years ago I co-founded a community group on Facebook in defense of pit bulldogs. The point of our group was to illustrate the positive side of owning a pit bull and to call out the absurdities of laws aimed to ban them. 

The entire purpose was to make our bid in the marketplace of ideas for your attention and to win people over to support our ideas. Love 'em or leave 'em alone. That was it. That's all we wanted.  

Now, one of our fans had emailed us with a petition to shut down a different Facebook page that openly mocked and protested pit bulls. She became very irate with me when I said that I would not help try to get the page banned from Facebook.

The reason I wouldn't bother silencing their group is that I believe, no matter how emotionally charged and passionate you are about something, you never have the moral high ground to silence somebody. I can think and say anything I want about the group, but I have no will, authority, or right to stop them from expressing their opinions. 

Even in the private market, such as Facebook, I believe the integrity should remain that all ideas and discussions always be free. If social media sites want to ban certain content, that is their freedom to do so, but as a general ethic, I would always urge professionalism to allow free and open discourse.

There is no discussion too taboo to remove someone's freedom to have and speak ideas we disagree with. Ultimately, in the end, it does not make your ideas better simply because you were able to stop someone else from expressing theirs. 

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George Carlin once said, "I believe you can joke about anything" because as a comedian people always tried to censor him. He went on to agree that anybody should always be allowed to talk about whatever they want and express whatever ideas they want.

I hear these stories where Conservative speakers go to college campuses and people pay to listen to them. People who disagree with the message are often seen disrupting the speeches or shutting them down completely because they are "hate speech". To what purpose? 

If an idea is good enough, it cannot be vanquished. If an idea is not good, it will eventually fade away on its own without government intervention. You can kick and scream and fight and whine all you want, but that's how the marketplace of ideas works.

If you want to truly "conquer" somebody else's set of ideas and beliefs, you must engage in an intellectual battle with them. You have to compete. You have to come up with better ideas, and you have to come up with ideas that refute that of your adversaries. There is no force needed.

Trying to take away someone's right to freely speak, regardless of the topic, is completely useless and quite frankly, an act of cowardice. 

If your ideas were a physical product, for example, and nobody was buying them, shutting down your competition with a force so nobody else can buy their stuff doesn't make your product more desired by the consumer.

There will come a day when you will have to see your ideas to the end. Protection from the opposition is not infinite even if they can shield you from it in certain places. If you have any respect for your theories and thoughts, you will learn to defend them, not silence others.

When you silence somebody else, all that you're saying is that your ideas are inferior and that they would be destroyed quickly and contemptuously if ever actually put to task.

The path to enlightenment is not paved in political witch hunts, it is paved in free discussion. 

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