Free Speech... Not Unless We Support and Protect It - Granite Grok

Free Speech… Not Unless We Support and Protect It

When Enslaved Dems Told Us

Opposition to freedom is as old as time. Historically freedom is the exception, not the norm. Here in America, we institutionalized freedom in our first amendment. Allen C. Guelzo, in his article “Free Speech and Its Present Crisis,” explored the trials and tribulations associated with the First Amendment.

Historical Attacks on our freedom…

Noteworthy among the attacks on liberty in America is the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798 which was signed into law by President John Adams. Also on the list of attacks was the suspension of habeas corpus along with suppression of free speech and attacks on newspapers during the civil war by Abraham Lincoln. First amendment freedoms were open to debate and subject to incursion until the U.S. Supreme Court ended any kind of censorship in the 1919 case of Abrams v. United States.

Sources of Attacks on our freedom Today…

Today again, there is growing contempt for free speech. Surprisingly, much of the opposition can be found on college campuses. On campuses the opposition comes from two directions. One direction repression comes from is Islamist groups which want to implement Sharia. Sharia is a non-western civilization view which does not allow such freedom.

The other direction is from the leftists. Socialists are intolerant of any perspective, save their own. Interestingly, the Islamists and Leftists are coordinating their efforts. For the time being, they are working together to undermine our Bill of Rights. So let’s look at a couple of examples of campus intolerance.

Examples…

Professor Carolyn Rouse, chairperson of the anthropology department at Princeton University, shared her free speech vision during last year’s Constitution Day lecture. She called free speech a political illusion. According to her free speech is a baseless ruse to enable people to “say whatever they want, in any context, with no social, economic, legal or political repercussions.” She says that a climate change skeptic has no right to make claims about climate change as if all the science discovered over the last X-number of centuries were irrelevant…

Another example of institutionalized repression comes from the University System of California. They consider certain statements racist microaggressions. Statements such as America is a melting pot; America is the land of opportunity; everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough; where are you from, or where were you born; I believe the most qualified person should get the job; there is only one race, the human race; when I look at you, I don’t see color; affirmative action is racist; and worst of all… we should reject any restriction on free speech. Apparently, these statements are seen as denying the individual as a racial/cultural being. They are racist speech giving the impression that people of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.

What freedom is…

Well in point of fact the professor and the University of California are wrong. The whole point of freedom of speech is to allow people to express their thoughts and beliefs; whatever their thoughts and beliefs may be. All of us have a right to our beliefs. We are all allowed to be wrong. All of us are allowed to express our thoughts and beliefs and are allowed to be criticized for them.  Based on the criticism received we are allowed to change or not. That’s what free speech is. It is the ability to be different and to be tolerated in our expressions because we are respected as individuals.

The Test…

What is the true test of one’s commitment to free speech? When other people are permitted to say and publish ideas we deem offensive, that is the test. The test of our commitment to freedom of association is similar. For their refusal to cater same-sex weddings Christian Americans are hounded. Shouldn’t we be asking the officials hounding them whether they would seek prosecution of the owner of a Jewish delicatessen refusing service for a neo-Nazi affair? Would they prosecute a black catering company to force them to cater a Ku Klux Klan event?  The point is; we have stopped asking… and we shouldn’t.

Conclusion:

The test of a person’s commitment to freedom of association does not come from permitting people to associate in ways he finds acceptable. Rather, it comes when he permits people to voluntarily associate in ways he deems offensive. Too many Americans today are hostile to the principles of liberty. Most people want liberty for themselves but we should want liberty for ourselves and demand it for our fellow man.