“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
– Evelyn Beatrice Hall
If you value free speech, then you will at some point have to accept that the opinions of others may interfere with your ambiguous standards of what someone ought to think and say. This is both the beauty and the beast of free-flowing ideas – some, you will agree with and others you will not.
For those of you who need a refresher, the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Many Americans out there are mostly concerned with their freedom of speech, and they couldn’t care less about yours or mine. But what makes freedom of speech so precious is that it allows for everyone’s ideas to be heard – so long as they are not life-threatening or in any way insinuating violence. This means that just because you don’t like what someone has to say, doesn’t mean they are required to refrain from saying it, this also means that you are by no means required to refrain from stating your opinion – it goes both ways, your rights are protected and my rights are protected.
Berkeley February 2017
My frustration with this issue has been life-long but was re-kindled this time last year when riots broke out in Berkeley California over the scheduled appearance of prominent conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos . How the events of that night unfolded isn’t as important as the reasons behind it. Both the peaceful and violent protestors gathered at UC Berkeley branding signs with statements like “No Safe Space for Racists” and “This is War”. Both speeches were canceled and violence erupted causing $100,000 in damages.
Since the cancelation of Milo’s appearance in February other lectures have been canceled as well, including, UC Berkeley “Free Speech Week” 9/24/17, Phoenix “Free Speech Symposium” 10/28/17, Phoenix 2/23/18 (Moved to March 2), and UCLA on 2/26/18. The main reason for their cancellation has been because of safety concerns due to the violent protestors that have been gathering at these events.
Now, I’m not here to defend Yiannopoulos and his views, but what I am defending is his constitutional right to speak his mind, in-so-long as he is not advocating violence. These people who have been inciting riots and attempting to silence those with whom they do not agree are an enemy to anyone who values their right to speak freely. You have the right to protest and the right to disagree, but you do not have the right to forcefully suppress that which you do not like simply because it conflicts with your views – that is called Fascism.
This kind of behavior has been advocated by what is known as the “Authoritarian-Left”: People with an aggressive liberal agenda that feel their values supersede those of right-wing politics and should, therefore, take precedence over them.
All over the country now people have found ways to be outraged by just about anything. An idea that would once die the day after it was created can now be taken online and attract tens of thousands of sympathetic supporters that will be as loud as they have to be to achieve their aims – silencing that which they deem offensive. It doesn’t have to be rational, it just has to be loud and intimidating enough and people will respond.
When I first heard the word “Triggered” and the context in which people were using it I honestly thought it was a joke. I would never have predicted in a million years that someone would come out and say “I’m triggered” when they were offended and somehow manage to keep a straight face.
What does it even mean? That your feelings are hurt? Well if you hear or see something that offends you then I’m going to offer some revolutionary advice – move on. I’m not sure when we started bending over backward for those with fragile egos but I feel that time has run its course.
The latest installment of the leftist attack on free speech is the use of the word “man” and how it should be obliterated from the face of the earth because it causes Vietnam flashbacks of female oppression. That words like: “Mankind”, “Mailman”, and “Fireman” ought to be replaced with the less insulting “Personkind”, “Mailperson”, and “Fireperson”. There are two problems with these kinds of arguments: 1) They do nothing to combat sexism, and 2) The word “person” has “son” in it, son refers to a male.
The truth is, the First Amendment doesn’t play favorites – people do. Most of us aren’t looking for conflict, so we try our best to avoid it even if that sometimes means merging into the support of something we don’t agree with. There are a lot of people out there who would rather do this than face retaliation for not going along with the herd. Each person that consents to the demands of the offended trades in his/her tongue and their sovereignty.