In America, the right of free speech is not a right you can put in your pocket or a right that can be withheld. It is a limit on what government can and cannot do. The First Amendment says that government shall make no laws abridging the right of free speech. It doesn’t make a distinction between restrictive laws that apply to foreigners visiting this country and American citizens. It is a designed as the cornerstone of our democratic system.
Every single freedom that we have comes from our right to speak freely, to disagree with the orthodox view. Once you remove that right, once you ban events that feature Geert Wilders or David Horowitz, once you outlaw opinions that you find offensive, you have outlawed democracy itself, which the right to disagree and therefore to oppose the power of the government or the majority, as the case may be. If we lose the right to disagree and be heard, then sooner or later there will be only one politically correct authority, and one politically correct party. And that will be the party in power. If human beings are given the power to suppress speech they don’t like they will have no trouble finding the moral justification for doing so by calling it hate speech or whatever the current fashion will bear. In Stalin’s Russia it was anti-Soviet speech that was banned.
No matter what views you hold, or what you think of anything else I have said, you need to defend this right. Because this is all you have. If you don’t have this right, you don’t have any other.
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