Freedom of speech is axiomatic to most Americans. They reflexively say they support it whether they actually believe they do or not. It is sort of understood, as a cultural matter, that there are few ways to more rapidly make a pariah of oneself than to renounce this central feature of the American psyche.
Nobody actually supports “free speech” though. We all have our limits. The most comical people in American politics are not the censor happy PC crooks who ruin everything, it’s the “free speech absolutists” who are occasionally compelled to confront the contradictions of their own Utopian fiction. Though, this is surely due in some part to the fact that it is increasingly difficult to find the menace of Leftism humorous, while the naivete of well intentioned free speech advocates still manages to pass for cute, in a sense.
This is one of those areas that best illustrate the point I made at the beginning of this production. The Left, disconnected though they may be from reality, make better assessments of the political battlefield than what passes for the Right these days in America. For the Left, the capacity to stifle their political opponents is axiomatically evidence that they should do it. The idea that they might forgo the opportunity to expand their power is preposterous to them.
The only answer you hear from the Right on this is “free speech”. This is not only far from reciprocal, it’s silly, at best. The Right used to understand that free speech is supposed to be a means by which men of good character say what they believe to be true, and engage in discussion to discover error. It is not, contra popular superstition, the right to host a drag queen story hour at a public school for kids.
William F. Buckley understood this. His first book, God and Man at Yale, bore the subheading “The Superstitions of ‘Academic Freedom'”. Published in 1951, Buckley had become quite frustrated with his alma mater’s habit of denigrating religion and promoting communism. He thought it preposterous that a prestigious university would platform such harmful ideological poison, and he called on his fellow alumni to pressure them to stop it.
That Buckley and his cohort failed to stop Yale from doing this has led to the state of affairs we see today. The Left had freedom of speech. They used it. Then they gained power. Then they began to crush the opposition. Such is the product of “free speech”.
Now you can teach kids about deviant sex acts, but you can’t criticize those teaching it. Had people listened to Buckley 72 years ago, we wouldn’t be dealing with “Pride Month”.
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