If someone told you that believe in free speech all the time, except when someone says something that they disagree with, find offensive, or offends people they believe deserves special protection, how would you respond to that? Someone says something that offends someone all the time in America. Whether the supposed target of the speech is right to be offended or not. Welcome to liberal democracy where you always have to the right to express yourself. The right for people to be intelligent and ignorant in the same society and even in the same person.
Again, we’re talking about expression and speech. Not politeness, or meanness. Free speech in America is a guaranteed constitutional to a liberal amount of free speech that covers both politeness and meanness. As well as criticism and constructive criticism. Which means Americans have a hell of a lot of freedom to express themselves. That is what liberal free speech is about. Our Founding Fathers, (Our Founding Liberals) made Freedom of Speech our First Amendment for a very good reason. They saw it as our most important constitutional right.
No such thing as liberalism without free speech, free expression, freedom of assembly, the freedom of beliefs and philosophy including freedom of, or from religion. Without these guaranteed liberal constitutional rights liberalism doesn’t exist and we’re left with a world with one statist collectivist ideology after another with no one on the Left promoting freedom and free democracy. Except for perhaps today’s so-called Progressives, Democratic Socialists really, who are more interested in the collective than individual rights including free speech.
Without liberalism and Liberals, we don’t have the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Think about that for a second for anyone who wants to or claims liberalism as their political philosophy. Liberalism, the philosophy of liberty and individualism, as well as tolerance and equality, just as long as they’re not forced upon people by the state. Without liberalism we don’t have all of those guaranteed individual rights that Millennial’s today have no problem taking advantage of when they’re expressing their own views. Just as long as others aren’t able to do the same when they say things that these college students disagree with.
If someone wants to convince me they’re a Liberal, I’m going to ask them about free speech. I imagine their first answer will be something to the effect that they’re in favor of it. That will be the easy part, but then like a good prosecutor that I’m not I’ll ask them about political correctness, critical speech and even offensive speech. If they say they have no issues with redneck or Christian jokes as far as people having the right to make those comments, or that they agree with them, I’ll agree with that person on that.
But then I’ll ask them, “how about minorities and Muslims? Do you support free speech or political correctness? Do you believe minorities deserve special protection that majorities don’t when it comes to criticism and humor, or that everyone has the right to free speech regardless of who they’re speaking about?” Depending on how they answer those questions will determine if they’re a Liberal or not. The person who says they’re a Liberal and supports free speech regardless of who, or what it is about, will be the Liberal. At least when it comes to free speech. I would also want to know how they feel about Freedom of Choice in general and the Right to Privacy. Government’s role in helping who are struggling, to use as examples. But my first question would about free speech.
Liberalism, of course is not just about free speech. Liberalism is about individual rights and free choice, quality opportunity for everyone to succeed and that government even has a role here to see that everyone can succeed in society. But a big part of liberalism has to do with free choice and free expression. Our liberal free speech rights, our liberal rights to express ourselves. Including public anger at our government when they do something that we hate and strongly disagree with and that even includes flag burning. Something that I’m against, but I support the right of others to disagree with me on that. Without freedom of speech as a liberal value, you don’t have liberalism. It would be like being a Socialist who doesn’t believe in the welfare state. A Libertarian who doesn’t believe in the Right to Privacy. The philosophy would be destroyed as a result.