Slate: Hey, Maybe We Need To Rethink This Whole Free Speech Thingy


Ever since the planned terrorist attack on our Libyan compound and diplomatic personnel “spontaneous uprising” over a stupid video which none had actually seen, per the administration, there has been much hang wringing and navel gazing over the freedoms enshrined in our 1st Amendment. It’s the usual pattern, where something happens, liberals blame someone for saying something mean, and then start wondering about whether free speech is all that it’s cracked up to be, instead of saying “I disagree with what you’re stating, but, I’ll fight to the death to defend your right to say it”. And here comes Eric Posner at Slate wondering if the US overvalues free speech

The universal response in the United States to the uproar over the anti-Muslim video is that the Muslim world will just have to get used to freedom of expression…….Muslims need to grow a thick skin, the thinking goes, as believers in the West have done over the centuries. Perhaps they will even learn what it means to live in a free society, and adopt something like the First Amendment in their own countries.

But there is another possible response. This is that Americans need to learn that the rest of the world–and not just Muslims–see no sense in the First Amendment. Even other Western nations take a more circumspect position on freedom of expression than we do, realizing that often free speech must yield to other values and the need for order. Our own history suggests that they might have a point.

King George and his governors saw no point in freedom of speech, either. And once that free speech starts being chipped away, where does it stop? What freedoms will next be targeted?

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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