Michael van der Galien

Free Speech is a Right, Not a Privilege

Posted on January 25 2010 7:30 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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by Barry Rubin

“Free speech is not an automatic right. It is not a cover to allow hate speech and outright abuse,” writes a pro-Israel activist in a letter to a newspaper about the viciously nasty, even antisemitic “talk-backs” on its site. He’d be horrified to realize that these are precisely the arguments that have been used most effectively by those undermining democracy, promoting extremist causes, and even demonizing israel to create the mess we face today.

Indeed, that kind of talk makes me shiver no matter who says it. In my opinion free speech is an absolute right, excepting only—as the U.S. Supreme Court wisely ruled—when it is incitement to a real and imminent crime. For the record, offending someone is not a crime nor is criticizing any group, whether fairly or otherwise. Attacks on an individual are covered under clearly defined laws of libel and slander which require proof of far more than criticism alone or saying something the targeted person didn’t like.

Read more at RubinReports.

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