The New York Times: Opinion- Michelle Goldberg: The Worst Time For The Left To Give Up On Free Speech

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat

If today’s campus radicals who seem to have more faith and support for Communists like Che Guevara and other Communists from the past, don’t believe in the liberal value of free speech, maybe they should support free speech for this reason. If right-wingers from everyone from Conservative-Libertarians from CATO Institute and the American Enterprise Institute on the Center-Right, to right-wing Nationalists who support Donald Trump, to Ann Coulter and Neo-Nazis on the Far-Right, can be shut down simply because they’re right-wing radicals who offend young people and minorities, then the Far-Left will be next when the Right has the power to shut people up simply because they disagree with people who disagree with them and see them as Un-American.

What ANTIFA and other Far-Left radicals Socialists and even Communists, don’t seem to understand is that political correctness is about as illiberal a movement that we have in America and it goes both ways. Political correctness is not simply designed for protecting minorities from having to hear anything negative about them. Its designed to protect anyone who believes they’ve been offended and has enough political support to start a movement or be part of a broader movement. From young Americans who feel they need to protect minorities from right-wingers. To Christian-Nationalists who believe they need to use political correctness and censor certain forms of entertainment and speech that they believe goes against their Christian values.

The U.S. Congress both the House and Senate, operate on precedent. When the majority party in one chamber or the other tries to put in new rules to benefit them and weaken the minority party, those same tactics end up being used against them when the other party comes back into power. We saw this in the Senate in 2013 when Senate Democrats tried to eliminate filibusters that Senate Republicans were using against Obama Administration appointments. So Leader Harry Reid and Senate Democrats, ended filibusters on executive appointments except for Supreme Court nominees. And now that Republicans are back in power there are now no filibusters for Supreme Court appointments because Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans have eliminated them. American politics outside of Congress works the same way.

Speech that I may approve and like, might be speech that offends someone else. That person might believe speech that I believe is offensive. If I try to shut them up, they’ll counter that and try to shut me up. If I’m successful in shutting them up simply because I disagree with what they have to say, they might not be able to shut me up immediately, but someone else will be later on and then be able to point back and say I used censorship against someone else. We all know what everyone else believes or at least has said thanks to the internet and social media. The only way a vast diverse liberal democracy (and not communist state) like America can survive is to allow everyone especially since we have a First Amendment and constitutional right to free speech, to have their say and let them speak and believe as they choose. Short of inciting violence and falsely accusing people. Otherwise we’ll always be fighting each other and eventually break up.

To paraphrase President Andrew Shepard from The American President. (played by Michael Douglas) America is hard, you really have to want it to be part of if. To live in a society where you can express yourself as you feel, but to know that someone else and others will do the exactly the same thing and even believe in and say things that you hate. But to know for America to work you’ll fight for and believe in your free speech rights and speech and speakers that you love and cherish, as much as for speech and speakers that you might quite frankly hate.

And then when everyone has their say we all have our free speech rights to not only express what we believe and how we feel, but speak about how we feel about what others have said and make the case for why they’re wrong. But not to shut them up simply because we disagree with them and even find them hateful. Liberal democracy and free speech, are for everyone. Not just the people that we approve of and agree with.

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Source: PEN America Free Speech vs. Safe Space

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About Derik Schneider

Blogger on everything that interests me and that I'm knowledgeable about.
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