The attack on Pamela Gellar’s Muhammad drawing contest event has sparked a debate on free speech.
Do I believe they have the right to hold such a event? Absolutely. Do I believe it’s stupid to resort to violence because someone purposefully offended your religion? Absolutely. Do I believe it was the smartest idea for an event? Eh.
What’s more interesting to me, though, is how many Americans misunderstand the concept of free speech. This is true even among self-described liberty lovers and Constitutionalists.
Free speech just means that the government cannot punish you for your speech. That’s it.
I’ll defend someone against government persecution for their words. That’s different from automatically defending or supporting whatever they’re saying. As a freedom of speech lover, I don’t have any obligation to be a cheerleader for people who go out of their way to be edgy.
As far as I know, the government hasn’t cracked down on anyone for anti-Muslims comments. Good. And if they do, I’ll defend their right to say such things.
Just like I defend the right for the Westboro Baptist Church to protest without government stopping them. However, I don’t look at their signs and think: “You go, guys! Freedom of speech!” …They’re morons.
Look, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism or disagreement.
Too many people on the Internet don’t get this.
I like to debate online. I don’t know how many times I’ve disagreed with someone and they comment back, “Freedom of speech!” OK? I’m not saying that the government should lock you up. I’m saying that your arguments make no sense and you should try harder.
And for the love of God, Facebook is not violating your freedom of speech.
Facebook is a private website with its own speech policy. No one is forcing you to use it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you didn’t read it when you agreed to the Terms of Services. No one does. But, it’s there.
If you violate their stated rules, Facebook has every right to delete your posts or block your account.
Same thing with owners of Facebook pages. Can we stop with the, “you deleted my post! I thought you believed in freedom of speech?! I GUESS I WAS WRONG” comments. Take a chill pill, brah.
Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that people have to give you a platform to speak on. No one has to provide you with space on their private website for you to put your drivel on. Just like people have a right to kick you out of their house if you talk smack about their mom.
It also doesn’t mean that you have to be supportive of people with loud controversial opinions. It just means you’ll have their back if the government ever tries to silence them.