Why Free Speech is a Cultural Imperative

“To suppress free speech is a double wrong.  It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker.” —Frederick Douglass

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.  The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  —Joseph Goebbels

Violent Socialists Shut Down Free Speech

The Berkeley Antifa protesters rioted in early 2017 to “protect” grown-up college students against so-called offensive speech.  Their self-labeling of “Antifa,” for “Anti-Fascist,” contradicts reality, since their violent tactics to shut down libertarian speech, and thereby enforce their own prejudices, are fascistic in their violation of the rights of individuals to hear what they choose and to think for themselves.

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The Responsible Exercise of Freedom

Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous admonition with regard to the importance of responsibility in a free society was that “free speech does not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing panic.”  However, instead of instructing students in the judicious exercise of free speech, most American college professors nowadays teach lessons that are akin to the 80-year-old doctrines of German National Socialism.  Their German counterparts went so far as to sponsor book burnings.  The nighttime flames of the Berkeley riots were reminiscent of that fascist German history that Americans once believed could never echo here.  And these intolerant American professors are not limiting themselves to the teaching and justifying of fascistic violence, to enforce adherence to the totalitarian ideology of the progressive State; they are actually taking part in violent protests themselves even as they accuse supporters of Trump’s call for free speech on campuses of being the ones who are the fascists.

This is recognizable as the old bromide of accusing your opponents of doing what you are doing, just as Hillary Clinton—who colluded with the Russians to sell off 20% of America’s uranium —now dishonestly accuses Trump of colluding with the Russians.

The existence of fake news points to another responsibility incumbent upon lovers of liberty who wish to maintain a free civil society, and that is the responsibility to vet the information we read and hear, before repeating it.  The era of propaganda disguised as news is now upon us; and, in the media worlds of CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC—and to a greater extent than previously, FOX and PBS—even the most factual of news reports are often laced with grossly misleading or patently false tidbits of information that prove the old saying: “The devil will tell you a thousand truths in order to sell you one lie.”


The Big Lie about “Safe Spaces”

The big lie that “safe spaces” exist that will guarantee emotional security must be vigorously debunked.  It is important to disabuse the foes of free speech of the naïve notion that banning free speech makes people safe.  Indeed, the opposite is true.  Totalitarian regimes have criminalized speech, but, rather than actually stopping the outlawed speech, what they have actually accomplished is the incarceration, and the execution, of dissenters.  Even many who were on the side of the State, to begin with, have fallen victim to the very speech codes they once supported.

The most famous illustration of the fallacy of supporting—either actively or by passive acceptance—the policies of a freedom-killing State is perhaps the one espoused by Martin Niemöller: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Socialist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out.”

Martin Niemöller, a pastor who spoke out against Hitler, spent seven years in concentration camps.  And let there be no doubt, incarceration is what many progressive college professors would like to inflict on conservative writers of articles such as this.  Back in the 1960s, in the name of diversity, universities began hiring Marxists.  It is, however, not the proper mission of any university to promote the cancerous communist ideology of Marxism, since “communism has claimed a total of 100 million lives in under 100 years, making it an unprecedented ideological killer.”  Indeed, to teach Marxism is educational malpractice.

Setting the Stage for Tyranny: Obama’s Ban of Judeo-Christian Speech

Obama sought during his two terms as president to deprive many individuals of their rights to speak their religious views, holding the Constitution, perversely, to be a limitation on the rights of individuals, rather than a limitation on government.  Obama’s view was that any statement offensive to another person constituted a punishable offense.  In fact, Obama’s Pentagon issued a statement formalizing its policy of penalizing soldiers for religious speech in 2013, saying that “[r]eligious proselytization is not permitted within the Department of Defense. . . .”  Courts-martial and other punishments for service-members were announced as being the formal consequences for any discussion of one’s Judeo-Christian faith—and this in a country whose very founding was for the sake of religious freedom.

So, the entire realm of religious discussion became unsafe in the military—except for Islamic religious expression, since Islam’s religious practices were encouraged by Obama, which is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment barring the government from religious favoritism.  Since individuals cannot establish a state religion, the speech of soldiers regarding religious faith is protected.  However, the government’s establishment of a preference for Islam over Judaism or Christianity is extremely un-Constitutional.  Thus, President Obama’s actions comprised nothing less than an attempt to establish Islam as the preferred state religion, in an attempt to set a precedent allowing the government to dictate what speech and what religion is, or is not, permitted.


Protecting Offensive Speech Is Valued among the Members of Civil Society

Even if a person’s speech is offensive, that speech is protected by the First Amendment!  The proper remedy for offensive speech is more speech.  Indeed, how are the faulty ideas of others to be improved or corrected, if we do not allow them first  to speak, so that we may disabuse them of problematic or counterfactual notions?  Absence of discourse merely perpetuates divisiveness and the continuance of faulty or objectionable reasoning that could have been reframed along more tenable lines.  In short, free speech makes us all wiser, as well as more unified, as long as people are willing to understand one another.


The entire notion of offensive speech is subjective.  What one person finds offensive another person finds harmless.  The very raison d’être of the First Amendment is to protect offensive speech, since agreeable speech needs no protection.  Obama and the Democrats have argued repeatedly in favor of special rules to protect Americans against “hate speech.”  But this begs the question: What is hate speech?  Was Bill Maher’s recent comment that he was a “house nigga,” hate speech?  What about Kathy Griffin’s mock decapitation  of Donald Trump?  And what of Stephen Colbert’s depiction of Steve Miller’s decapitated head on a pike?


One Person’s Joke Is Another’s Insult

As offensive as some instances of free expression might be, such speech is not illegal under the Constitution; and what is humorous to some (for example, to hardcore fans of Maher, Griffin, or Colbert) can be offensive to others.  Whether or not the expressive acts previously referenced represent “hate speech” is arguable; Maher’s comments were politically motivated and not actually directed against black people; Griffin’s pseudo-decapitation of Trump was also politically motivated; and the same goes for Colbert’s simulation of Steve Miller’s head on a pike.  It is likely that Maher never would have made his comment outside the specific context of his show, and Griffin and Colbert probably would never have decapitated Trump and Miller if not for political reasons.  But whatever anyone may think of such brutal schtick, imprisonment should not be a consequence—although social consequences may well be expected.


Transparency Requires Freedom of Speech

Another reason not to ban “hate speech”—other than preserving the freedom of those expressing minority views—is so that Americans do not delude themselves about the existence of certain views.  If racist speech is banned, Americans might easily be fooled into believing that racism no longer exists.  As long as free speech exists, the airing of unexpurgated truth, warts and all, cannot be avoided.  And, in a free society, if you are offended, then you are free not to listen and free to disbelieve what you have heard.  Americans are fortunate that Democrats are free to speak as they do, since it puts on active display the violent mindset that mainstream Democrats—and their legacy-media propaganda outlets—now embrace.


Another case in favor of freedom of expression is to be found in Hans Christian Andersen’s parable The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which only the little boy who speaks freely—saying, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”—reveals the truth, while all who feel constrained in their speech actively lie out of fear.  The moral to the story is this: People without freedom of expression are often required to lie to protect themselves.  This leads to a culture of ignorance and deceit, which is why Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were so taken aback when Donald Trump was elected president; for, out of fear, the pollsters lied to Hillary Clinton and the Democrat propaganda-media, choosing not to reveal that “the Empress wasn’t wearing anything at all!”  Even the New York Times predicted an 85% chance of a Hillary win!  Since Democrats punish free speech that does not fit their preferred narratives, even those working on their behalf feel that they, too, must lie out of fear.


If Free Speech Is Allowed, the Truth Will Out

Free speech brings out the truth, as long as that truth can get a public airing and the people remain free to see it printed or to hear it spoken.  The situation in America today, where six media giants control 90% of “news” outlets, could have proven fatal to our democratic republic, if it were not for Donald Trump’s ability to use the Internet to go around a dishonest Democrat media—a media, 96% of whose journalists donated to Hillary Clinton and 91% of whose news reports about Donald Trump have been overweeningly negative.


Where to Go for Real News Nowadays

One of the fastest-growing news groups today is the Liberty Alliance, whose web sites include Eagle Rising, Constitution, iPatriot, Freedom Force, Freedom Outpost, and Godfather Politics.  Also of major importance are Breitbart, the Gateway Pundit, the Federalist Papers, and the Drudge Report.  There are also other fact-based news sites too numerous to mention.  On the Left, unadulterated fact-checking hardly exists, since facts do not generally support the narratives Democrats espouse.


So how can one tell if a news site offers real or fake news?  Well, real news sites report on everything that is newsworthy without omitting critical information, such as the problems Europe is facing with Muslim rape gangs, how East Anglia University was used as a clearing house for sharing doctored global-warming data, or how Al Gore leaves a carbon footprint significantly larger than most Americans (which would beg the question: does Gore really believe in global warming, if he so willingly pollutes the atmosphere?). . . .  Real news sites even report on fake news itself.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com

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