Free Speech Isn't Just for People That Agree With You!

With the increasing calls for, and admissions of censorship here in the US and around the world, and given the fact that on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on "The content filtering practices of Social Media" which is a nice way of saying "censorship" I thought I should share my take on Free Speech.


Free Speech Isn't Just for People That Agree With You!

There are many disturbing editorials that call for ending free speech, one by the NYT, quoting several academic professors:

"When I was younger, I had more of the standard liberal view of civil liberties,” said Louis Michael Seidman, a law professor at Georgetown. “And I’ve gradually changed my mind about it. What I have come to see is that it’s a mistake to think of free speech as an effective means to accomplish a more just society.”"

"To the contrary, free speech reinforces and amplifies injustice, Catharine A. MacKinnon, a law professor at the University of Michigan, wrote in “The Free Speech Century,” a collection of essays to be published this year.“

Once a defense of the powerless, the First Amendment over the last hundred years has mainly become a weapon of the powerful,” she wrote. “Legally, what was, toward the beginning of the 20th century, a shield for radicals, artists and activists, socialists and pacifists, the excluded and the dispossessed, has become a sword for authoritarians, racists and misogynists, Nazis and Klansmen, pornographers and corporations buying elections.”"

If you are wondering what kind of people are quoted in this article saying that people with opposing political viewpoints should not have free speech Catherine A. Mackinnon is also a Feminist Leader who thinks all heterosexual sex is rape:

"In a patriarchal society all heterosexual intercourse is rape because women, as a group, are not strong enough to give meaningful consent." Catherine MacKinnon in Professing Feminism: Cautionary Tales from the Strange World of Women's Studies, p. 129.

That is the kind of people that are endorsing ending free speech.

Saying everyone including certain groups of people have the right to free speech is not the same as endorsing what those people say. Saying communists, nazis, and pro-second amendment groups, or groups calling to end free speech, have the right to free speech just like everyone else does not mean you automatically endorse what they are saying. Just as saying feminist have the right to free speech is in no way endorsing their lies, hatred of men, hatred of free speech, or of heterosexual sex.

Free Speech Isn't Just for People That Agree With You!

On "hate speech" and social media:

Much ado has been made about social media/internet search engines downranking/deplatforming and "shadow banning" people and organizations online. The usual excuse is they are guilty of "hate speech". What is "hate speech"?


That's right the notion of hate speech is designed to make people accept censorship. Not only in online platforms, but from governments as well. In Germany, Michael Stürzenberger, a journalist posted an historical picture of the at the time Grand Mufti of Jerusalem shaking hands with a high ranking Nazi, was arrested, tried and convicted for literal hate speech laws. I'm not kidding that is what they are called!

Free Speech Isn't Just for People That Agree With You!

If the government or through them a social media company doesn't like what you say, they call it "hate speech" you are censored and/or arrested. Ironically this is the exact censorship that the Nazis and later the Stasi engaged in.

Dictator-for-life of Venezuela Nicholas Mudaro, also passed "anti-hate" laws to control the Venezuelan media, and jail political opponents of his regime.

All of these laws from Europe to Venezuela to Vietnam to China, are branded as combating "hate speech" what they really are is censorship.

As well the big tech Monopolies/Oligopolies are pushing to block (shadow ban) derank (in the case of search engines and NewsFeeds) and deplatform, or crash the devices of those found guilty of "hate speech". What they mean is anyone who says something they don't like or certain governments don't like!

There are people out there who say the most vile, repulsive, disgusting, hateful things, and they are wrong in doing so. But do not be fooled the call to silence or punish them for "Hate speech" is a call to censor everyone online and off! DO NOT FALL FOR IT!

Free Speech Isn't Just for People That Agree With You!


Most Helpful Girls

  • Agreed. I see a few people arguing that "yes, you can speak freely but there may be consequences" - sure, the consequence of people disagreeing with you, thinking that your argument is stupid and so on is fine.
    But how far should these consequences go? Being heavily protested and threatened with violence? Having people DEMAND that you're banned from any possible platform you may speak on? Losing your job? Being physically assaulted?

    That doesn't sound like free speech to me. If you have to live in genuine fear to speak your mind because someone may hurt you or your livelihood, how exactly are you going to be comfortable exercising your "right" to free speech?

    Speech isn't free if the "consequences" go beyond disagreeing and giving counter-arguments. Speech isn't free if the government itself and other official institutions will regulate how your speech should be used, what speech is "okay" (obviously this doesn't go for ACTUAL hate speech where you actively want to incite hatred or violence towards people).

    • Yes take this case from NJ. A kid remakes he is worried because his "school security is lax", so the school sends the State police to his house, and suspends him for the rest of the year for daring to criticize the school. They even say this is a "consequence" of free speech to the kid!

      Consequences=censorship. People disagreeing with you is just free speech!

  • What a lot of people fail to understand in regards to free speech and censorship is just that... free speech is for /everyone/. We can say what we want, but people have as much of a right to say f-you because well... it's free speech. Not even considering ot specifying particular political parties/cultural viewpoints, true free speech goes both ways.

    • Problem isn't that people says fuck you, problem is that those people ask it to be illegal for you to say anything they don't like.

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    • But who's gonna say what is "hate speech" and what is not?
      What if tomorrow, someone make "hate speech" any critic against LGBT community or black people, or jew, or whatever.
      They can do and say whatever they want, but if you protest, it's hate speech.
      Or simply making any critic against the government a "hate speech".
      In fact that could go as far as you can imagine, and even beyond.
      As soon as you allow people to dictate what is hate speech, you're just giving to politicians the power to say what you're allowed to say, what you can't. And that can change with who is in charge, and whose votes he's trying to get.
      You'd be fine with that regulation, too, if it impact your free speech? Because that's what will likely happen at some point.

    • Wow you just did a 180 on your opinion...

Most Helpful Guys

  • If our freedom of speech depends on the content of the speech, then we have no freedom of speech at all. The majority almost never needs protection, l because their ideas are the popular ideas. It is the unpopular, the fringe, the lunatics, the possessed, and the insane who need to have their speech protected and, when we protect their rights, we protect the rights of all Americans because, otherwise, we only have rights if we concur with the majority.

    Nice MyTake!

  • How quickly things change. We had to fight for right of free opinion. Look at the rest of the world that don't have free speech. It empowers us as individuals.

    I completely agree with you. Freedom of speech is NOT dependent on the content but it is an inalienable right. Liberty can not exist without freedom of speech. Attack freedom of speech in any form you attack your own liberty itself.


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What Girls Said 16

  • You have the right to say what you want, but you also need to be ready to face the consequences. Period.

    • The consequences should NEVER be being silenced, which is what LGBT and Feminist groups are doing now more than rednecks and conservatives.

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    • @tinesters unless you are self employed, calling someone a slur in a social setting or on a social platform is self slander and job suicide. When you work for someone else, you represent them. You represent that company. So yes, you have the right to say whatever slurs you'd like. But your employer and that company also have the right to decide that they no longer want you to represent them.

      I agree that fighting hate with hate solves nothing, but I don't feel like that's fighting hate with hate.

    • I think any company who adopts such a policy is wrong. People get away with slinging slurs all the time as is evidenced on this platform, and there's no termination. A slur is bad manners but is not persecution. Taking away someone's livelihood is.

  • "I disagree with what you say, but I will fight for your right to say it."

    However, it seems like these days "free speech" seems to be a term that douchebags hide behind in order to not have to face the fact that they are being douchebags. I see all this intolerant, hateful bile spewed out, and the moment you say "dude, not cool" then the speaker immediately goes "FREE SPEECH!! CENSORSHIP!!"

    The problem, from what I can see, that a lot of these free speech advocates aren't really interested in free speech... they just don't want to hear that what they're saying is mean and insensitive. They're just as eager to silence people who say things they don't like.

    I mean, I see it a BIT too often. how some guy makes a rousing defense of free speech, only to turn around and claim that feminists should shut up or that LGBT people need to stop shoving their sexuality in our faces. And you know, in that case I don't buy their interest in free speech at all. They're just as eager to call for censorship when someone says something they don't like or challenge their worldview.

    Want to advocate for free speech? Cool, more power to ya. But if you do, then commit to it. Don't just use it as an excuse to say mean things.

    • "feminists should shut up or that LGBT people need to stop shoving their sexuality in our faces"
      Telling them to shut up or go away is not the same as shutting them up or making them go away with force or coercion.

      The only people who seem either inconsistent or in opposition to free speech are the control-left progressive types or the alt-right ethnostatist types and perhaps generally the mainstream media to some extent -- they're inconsistent at times too, essentially they fall under the progressive category.

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    • If people really said "dude, not cool" that would be totally ok. The fact is, people ostracize and bully those that they consider hateful towards themselves. That is not ok.

    • @tinesters You're right, that isn't okay. But neither is hate-speech. Bullying and ostracism isn't exclusive to people responding towards "free speech."

      I've seen a few too many instances of people trying to defend bullying and ostracism as "free speech" to really buy that as an excuse anymore.

  • The word "censorship" sounds bad, but if you don't have moderation or guidelines on an online discussion site, intelligent discussions end up getting hijacked by low-quality racist and anti-Semitic posts. Then the good posters stop going on because they can't have a productive discussion. I can't name any site where there are great discussions without some kind of posting guidelines or moderation.

    • Censorship sounds bad because it is. Also, it is done in the dark, no one knows the criteria other than general, subjective guidelines. It should also be pointed out government censorship, should be avoided at all costs. Monopolies/Oligopolies, that individually or together control 80% of internet searches or social media traffic censoring, is basically like the telephone company saying you can't have a phone or you can't say X on the phone. It is absurd, and as I have said can be a workaround for government censorship, like; Hitler, Mussalini, Stalin, etc.

  • I agree, but I also believe that fee speech is ok as long as its expressed in a way that doesn't harm anyone. You are allowed to say that you dont like gay people (not my opinion). people will disagree or agree and thats ok, as long as its not smt like "the fags should burn in hell" (i literally feel sick typing that) saying "i dont agreed with homosexuals" is a great way of expressing the same view point. again, i am 100% supportive of lgbtq+ i just couldnt think of anything else atm

    • But who decides who is offended? Who decides who "might be offended"? For instance Michael Stürzenberger, the journalist I mentioned was sentenced because the court "felt" his 100% accurate photo "could cause hatred against Islam". So I say "i don't agreed with homosexual" might cause hatred against that group, you are therefore guilty of "hate speech". I agree people say vile evil, and wrong things, but this whole notion of "banning hate speech" is just an excuse to get people to support censorship.

    • When someone says something vile, call them out on it. Don't allow governments or big corporations to arbitrarily decide x speech is hurtful, or might be hurtful, because that will resort in censorship, and eventually a nightmare scenario.

    • i agree that the gov. should stay out of it, but sometimes they should step in (in cases of actual danger)

  • You're allowed to say whatever you feel like, but everyone around you has the right to disagree, as well as to force you to face your consequences. Thats life.

    • "everyone around you has the right to disagree" that is just free speech. As for "consequences" that is often just code for censorship, as with all of these hate speech (read censorship) laws. For instance the "consequence" under Hitler/Musalini/Lennin et al, was you were put in a work camp or killed.

  • Free speech doesn't give someone the right to spread false information, especially if you are talking about someone else's reputation.

    • It actually does, that doesn't make it right, or what any decent person would do though.

    • Actually it doesn't. Certain people in government are not allowed to talk about certain things. If they try and spill the beans they might wind up dead and any others they know through collateral damage. So free speech isn't always a good thing.

    • It is a good thing and it is 100% legal to "spill the beans" that is how many criminal organisations get brought down. Killing someone that is illegal.

  • Freedom of Speech does not mean what you think it means. Freedom of Speech is not Freedom from the consequences of that speech nor is it right to a platform. It also doesn't protect you from the social consequences of that speech. Private businesses absolutely have the right to distance themselves from people who proclaim messages that are against their beliefs and or values. It is funny that the people proclaiming censorship the loudest are the same people who burned Dixie Chicks Cds when they said they didn't like Bush or tell celebrities that they don't have a right to an opinion on Trump.

    • Private businesses do not have the right to defraud customers by claiming to be an "open platform" and hearing "all sides equally" then secretly censoring views they don't like. They do not have the right to corner the market and become Monopolies/Trusts. Governments do not have the right to use private companies to censor the populace.

      " It is funny that the people proclaiming censorship the loudest are the same people who burned Dixie Chicks Cds when they said they didn't like Bush or tell celebrities that they don't have a right to an opinion on Trump." I have never done those things, but I must ask, just because you don't like some of the people "proclaiming" it, does it mean they are wrong?

    • Yes they absolutely do have the right to distance themselves. Especially considering it may affect their bottom line. Freedom of Speech is not a go ahead to say whatever you want without social consequences. Social consequences are how any functioning society functions. Fear from public ridicule is a great deterrent.

    • Yes, social consequences, but just because an idea is ridiculed doesn't mean it is wrong either. Keep in for instance, the notion of protecting civil rights was ridiculed at certain times as well.

  • One reminder: freedom of speech does not give you the right to misuse it. And I don't believe anyone has the right to:
    1) Say hurtful, rude things.
    2) Give false information intentionally or unintentionally. It's very important that you verify your facts before you say it to other people, or at least mention 'I might be wrong.'
    3) Deceive people.
    4) Spread rumors and get into gossiping and badmouthing.
    5) Disrespect elders and seniors.
    6) I could carry this on.

    Either say what's good/helpful, or shut up. Only because doing certain things won't get you arrested, doesn't mean that you shouldn't do them. Because when you use freedom of speech to say something hurtful, it's like taking advantage of the fact that no one will arrest you for not brushing your teeth. It's gross but hey, it's not illegal, right?

    • No people do have the right to do all those things.
      Just like anything else, having the ability to do something doesn't mean you *should*.

      The issue isn't so much that people "Want to say hurtful things for the sake of being hurtful" it's the inability to state facts solely on the grounds that people take offense to those facts.

      I can state that MS-13 should face harsh penalties and spend their lives behind bars. Now, MS-13 *happens* to be comprised of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans. This does not change the nature of their hideous crimes, but it does mean that people will choose to take offense by asserting that any disparoging remarks against MS-13 are a veiled attack against Mexicans as a whole (Not true, but I can see why people need it to be).

      If I criticised a white gang, nobody cares. If I criticize a Mexican gang, people get hurt.

      Just because there are people who want to find ways to be offended and make everything about race, does not make me obliged to censor myself.

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    • At least we got commonsense that saying hurtful things is wrong.

    • Yeah wrong... just not illegal.

  • disagreeeeee

  • Nice take

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What Guys Said 43

  • I think there are two things going on here:

    1. The concept of free speech is being attacked. I strongly disagree with this. I would never want to suppress a Nazi's right to say what they want, because if I rob them of a voice, I rob myself the chance to debate the narrative that they are spreading, and actually enhance their narrative and make it seem stronger than it is because I can't refute it.

    2. A larger portion of communication is being hosted on platforms that belong to corporations (like the one we're using right now). Corporations must have some right to govern what happens on their platforms or the internet would be utter chaos. That being said, as people get overly eager to suppress offensive speech, there is a risk that company policies will suppress political thought because no one has a platform to consider something that is considered offensive. I think it's important that individuals value free speech and respond accordingly when companies issue draconian terms of use on communication platforms.

    That being said, I think it's important we focus on the reason we have the freedom of speech in the first place. In my opinion, the reason is so that we can hear opinions and form our own opinions as individuals. Debating a point, basically any point, however horrible, should be permitted, and someone should not be censored or shouted down for a stating their position.

    However, should inciting someone by using a racial slur be permitted? Should misconstruing a person's intent to make them seem like a psychopath (a rather common tactic in today's political environment) be permitted? Should falsehoods be permitted? Should irrational arguments be permitted? In my opinion, the answer is yes, but all of these things should be frowned upon as well, and refuted in debate. If you resort to using such base tactics, in my opinion you're compensating for a weak position.

    • 1. It is being attacked by governments and corporations.

      2. Corporations do not have the right to defraud customers by promising an open platform and then censoring those they don't agree with secretly. Much of these "algorithms" are not made public, so no one knows up front that these platforms are censoring. As well governments are increasingly using these platforms as third party censorship.

      I agree that all of what you say should be permitted.

    • Just to clarify, I meant that I disagree with the attacks on free speech, not that I disagree that they're happening.

      I can understand why corporations don't make their algorithms public, because people will just find a way around the specific code and essentially say the exact same thing. I can also understand the difficulty in managing all this. You want free speech, but you also don't want some particular group flooding your platform with a single point of view and drowning out every other opinion, essentially denying someone else a voice. It's easy to fairly moderate in a debate between two people, but a lot harder when you're relying an automated process and thousands of people.

    • But by using these algorithms they are already doing that denying people a voice, drowning them out.

  • (1)
    About that New York times article, it seems to me the article isn't calling for Free Speech to end whatsoever as you say ''That is the kind of people that are endorsing ending free speech''. The article is pretty much an opinion-based article. What's the opinion of the author? Pretty much what the title says, ''How the conservatives weaponized the first amendment''. He's giving his opinion on the state of first amendment in USA. The article is pretty interesting, though I didn't read much of it, some Interesting points been raised there.

    On the issue of Hate Speech. No I don't agree. Hate Speech is real, several countries who had rigid laws about these had profound parts of their history ravaged by hate speech. An example of this was Rwanda which had the biggest genocide since The Holocaust where 800,00 to 1 million died in 100 days of killing, and fairly recent too (1994). The genocide happened at the will of government, mass propaganda of spewing hate speech and reducing to dehumanisation against Tutsis ethnics was rampant. Played on the radios etc. That hate campaign waged on for a long time. That's the remarkable case point of this event, the ones in power did that to make the citizen themselves angry and carry out the genocide themselves in which that exactly what happened.. This is why the article of NY times was quite interesting as I said. ''Weaponizing free speech'', here we got an example of that, the previous government Rwanda was perfectly exercising Free speech purely in terms of technicality, but that speech was propaganda and hate speech. Achieved through manipulation and lies just like how hate speech or any policy can be weaponised. In which case as many people say to suppress free speech and as you say Free Speech=Censorship. I just don't agree. This is why I'm not in favour of getting rid of hate speech laws. Laws happened because of events that tries to prevent it from happening again or prosecute who tries to make it occur again, they didn't just passed out of the blue. Now are there specific aspects of Hate Speech laws that are vague and be manipulated? Sure but of course these laws are varied to countries on what counts as Hate Speech laws, that's why there is revision of laws and should be changed if what constitutes is unjust.

    • (2)
      Now about that German man, Michael Stürzenberger being arrested, tried and convicted for posting a historical photo. I dug a little deeper because the information you had provided was just insufficient. What I found was that

      1) He's not a journalist and many people don't consider him one.. Kinda like Tommy Robinson not regarded as journalist by many people in UK. Regarded as political activist though

      2) He wasn't arrested for just merely posting a historical photo but because of Nazi propaganda as apparently, he has a record of it. He was arrested for posting Swastika symbols without context and that is prohibited in Germany.

      3) He wasn't jailed. He was fined and on probation

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    • ALL hate speech laws are vague and are easily manipulated, that is the point of them. For instance you mention a reddit page where one speculated that he was imprisoned for showing a Swastika. This is just speculation, as he was actually imprisoned for criticizing Merkel's immigration policy, but they said is could be "offensive to Islam":

      "Courts reason: The Facebook post could cause hatred against islam in someone who only looks at the post briefly and does not see the historical or journalistic context"

      You starting to see the point of "hate speech" laws? In the opinion of the court, criticizing the government might offend group "x" so you are guilty.

    • 1. It doesn't matter if you "feel" someone isn't a journalist, you can say "this is activism disguised as journalism, because "X" is wrong" but they are still journalists. This is again part of censorship "I don't like what journalist X says so the government will label them an "activist" and strip all protections."

      2. Yes as pointed out he was arrested for posting this picture using it to criticize the government, and sentenced to jail, although his sentence was commuted.

      "Direct verbal threats" be more precise. Death threats are treated as serious, but that doesn't mean we should scrap the idea of free speech. As for "shouting fire in a crowded theater" that phrase is from an old overturned Supreme Court Case Shenk Vs. US, and hasn't applied for decades.

      Yes, rights come with responsibilities, the responsibility not to use free speech to be too much of an ass, the responsibility to call out censorship when you see it, to preserve this right for future generations.

  • "Free speech" means the government cannot suppress speech in most circumstances. Private media companes (newspapers, websites, etc.) are free to control the speech they transmit.

    I agree that laws censoring speech, whether pornography, hate speech, or blasphemy are extremely likely to be used to suppress speech that does not align with the interests in power.

    • No they cannot. They cannot interrupt your phone conversations because they do not like what you say for instance. As well internet companies can and are used by some governments as third party censors.

  • I don't understand the "take" all.

    You are kind of start out okay talking about free speech, but then you quickly devolve in to an Alex Jones webisode.

    I agree that free speech is not just speech you agree with.

    But you basically slander Catherine Mackinnon. Mackinnon's first quote came in her proposal to have legislation against pornography. She said that pornography is not protected under the free speech. As using your analysis that free speech is not just speech you agree with, there are many "Conservatives" who agree with her.

    Then moving on, you simply a commonly used slander, all sex is rape. She never said that. In fact, the woman who said something approximating that is Andrea Dworkin. And even she denied she used those words.

    So here you are showing what the limits of free speech are. You can't lie about what people said. That should be libelous and subject to legal remedies in our justice system.

    As for other nations, there are many dictatorships and authoritarian regimes out there that limit free speech. Some more than others. I can't do anything about that. I can only fight to ensure freedom in my own country.

    Some people in other nations actually like having their freedoms limited. That's their business.

  • In my opinion, people should be free to express any idea or position whether it's popular or not. Some people will never change their thinking or ideas anyway, no matter how much society wants to change them. People also brought the "guilt by association" into things.

    This being said, I'll express that MacKinnon's extremist view that all heterosexual sex is rape very frightening and shall she be publicly shunned for her views. We shouldn't allow this to one day maybe become mainstream.

    • That feminist veiw is becoming mainstream. Not only is she not the only one to have it we see this in the rape culture myth and on regret sex becoming rape, and the mere accusation of rape or sexual jarassment are to be beleived.

    • @genuinelysensitive This does scare me a lot and I can only imagine what society will be like 10 years from now if these social trends continue in their direction.

      This is not at all socially "progressive".

  • If people say stupid, wrong things, then it should be easy to prove them wrong verbally and change their mind. If you can't, they maybe you're the one who's wrong.

  • Of course it isn't, free speech is for everyone, that's what makes it free speech the ability for anyone to speak their minds and say anything they'd like to.

    It's the right to speak your mind, it's the right to offend, among other things.

    • Beware people who talk of "consequences" of free speech this is almost always code for some form of censorship.

    • I know and those people should be watched closely to ensure they don't ever have the power to enable censorship.

  • You should be free to express your opinions, but there have to be serious laws in place to protect people against defamation.

    People should face swift legal consequences if they claim, for example, that their political rival's father was an accomplice of Lee Harvey Oswald.

    • Good example, I'm not sure how many people will get it :)

    • @linds34 Thanks, I wondered that, too.

      In these days of social media, it shouldn't be beyond the skills of the companies to ensure that every recipient of a posting receives a copy of a court-ordered retraction; at the moment, retractions of fake news don't propagate as far as the original because people don't like to admit mistakes.

      The answer to bad speech is more, good, speech, but that only works if everybody hears both.

  • TLDR, but yes. Only the progressive left wants to limit speech. And the precious snowflakes on college campuses - all that 'hate speech' and they get 'triggered'. pfft. What a f'ing joke.

    • While I agree there is a disturbing amount on the political left right now, calling for censorship, there are also elements on the right, not in ascendancy, that would censor as well.

  • To feel that threatened is to have no security in one's own positions. Only an insecure, power-hungry tyrant is that terrified of their worldview being challenged.

    The only time smen want to completely and totally control every word and thought of other men, is when they either believe they are doing God's work, or seeking to become gods themselves.

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