Thoughts on Free Speech

[High Praise! to XKCD]

XKCD makes a good point about free speech in a recent cartoon – which has a couple uncensored swears, so you’ll have to go over there to look at it.

But I *can* quote you the alt text from that cartoon:

“I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.”

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8 Comments

  1. Why are the Klan, neo-Nazi, or Westboro Baptist forms of free speech allowed and protected to the extent that they are, but at the same time (for example) universities are able to punish whatever they deem to be hate speech? Could (and should) society as a whole take the same approach to Klan, neo-Nazi, and Westboro speech? If not, how do public entities like universities and townships get away with doing so? There seems to be an inconsistency.

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  2. I took this as a reaction to the Brendan Eich case, i.e. he was supporting destroying someone for having a disallowed political opinion. Unless someone convinces me he meant something different this has permanently turned me off to XKCD. I don’t need to deal with totalitarian bastards.

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  3. The first panel is where the stupid begins. Free Speech has nothing to do with government (that’s the First Amendment, which protects Free Speech from the government), it’s a fundamental necessity for a democratic society (that’s why the Founders put it foremost in the Bill of Rights). If your position is correct, you don’t need to censor anyone. I don’t need to silence Nazi’s or vileprogs because logic, reason, and evidence all prove them wrong. Isolating yourself from contrary opinions is a sure sign that you are insecure of your opinions. You can do it*, but you forfeit all claim to the title “liberal” and you have no business calling anyone an a–hole.

    *Note: There are some situations where censoring is acceptable. When the topic is inappropriate to the forum (a political troll on a sewing blog, or unwanted profanity) or obvious trolls who aren’t advancing the discussion.

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