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I’ve posted on free speech and freedom of expression before here on Green Comet. I talked about how people confused the right to free speech with the right to freedom from criticism for what they say. Some people think that their right to freedom of expression means that they get to say whatever they want and no one can challenge them on it. But there is another way that the idea of freedom is perverted: when it is used to justify hate speech and bigotry. This article on The Seattle Star does a good job of looking at that.
Over the past year, the far right has held a number of “free speech” rallies that are, in reality, testing grounds for how many people they can publicly assemble and launch violent attacks on people …
It really shouldn’t be that hard to tell the difference between free speech, as in the fundamental democratic right; and free speech, as in the amoral, we’ll-attack-whoever-we-want manifesto of the far right.
We’re living in a time when actual free speech rights are as precarious as ever–consider, for example, the autocrat in the White House who orders professional football team owners to fire players who take a knee during the National Anthem. Or the FBI targeting supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement as dangerous “extremists.”
We look back on the foolish things people have allowed to happen in the past and shake our heads. “How could they not see?” we ask. Who will be shaking their heads at our foolishness?