YT Video: https://youtu.be/r12tLy3JB-k
[Image Description: Femme-presenting individual, me, wearing a purple and cyan tie dye shirt while sarcastically smiling and shrugging at the title “The ‘Freedom of Speech’ Card” on a pastel rainbow background.]
Synopsis: On the Internet, you fall into one of two categories. One, someone has told you that they are except from hearing your criticism of their opinion on the grounds that you’re attempting to censor them and violate their “Freedom of Speech.” Two, you have been the individual to do so. Here’s the truth about what the first amendment really says, what it means, and why that defense cannot be used to shield your precious prejudice from what the rest of us think based on our own morals.
Transcript, note that the video deviates in some ways from what follows here, but sticks with the same point:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of RELIGION, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of SPEECH, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
So the first amendment was written, and so it has been since it was ratified in 1788. Undoubtedly, if you are a citizen of the internet, you have either had someone throw the second clause in your face or you have been one to do it to other people.
This often occurs in situations where someone feels their “opinion” is being threatened by someone else that is telling them why it’s problematic in some way. This is, essentially, taking the quote out of context to repurpose it for something that it was never intended for. Individuals using “freedom of speech” as a scapegoat to vent their prejudice ideals misrepresent the fact that the amendment clearly states that it is against government censorship of your voice.
To reiterate: Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech or of the press.
When someone calls out a view that’s harming other people in some way, Congress is not suddenly whipped into a frenzy in favor of the person being critical of the problematic view. There are no agents of the government heading towards the stubborn claimant’s house to take them away for spouting erroneous conclusions and falsities.
They are equating the idea that being critical of that view, disagreeing with it, and proposing why it’s morally and ethically objectionable is somehow the same as the government reaching into their life to stifle their ability to preach their belief.
That sense of entitlement is deeply rooted in Eurocentric beliefs. They view it as a challenge to the status quo, and what they have been able to do without taboo for centuries. The paranoia that arises in these individuals is a byproduct of having lived in a world that coddles individuals that have little knowledge, big voices, and the willpower to destroy other people’s lives for their own comfort and gain.
Unfortunately for people like that, no one is obligated to nod their head in agreement. We are well within our rights to shout down a point of view that should be distasteful to modern society. Furthermore, we cannot ignore that even the historical figures that crafted this document intended for there to be certain limits placed on what an individual can and cannot say.
They recognized that there had to be limits on “fightin’ words,” or libel. It was known that lewd, obscene, profane, or insulting language was not necessary for an effective republic, and they understood that not every thought had merit in a discussion. Human beings are flawed creatures full of bias and unable to always see their missteps in logic. The founders recognized this, as thinkers, inventers, and scientists made up the bulk of them. They left the determination of what fell into those categories largely up to society itself by not explicitly stating what was unnecessary.
This was part of the reason for the Supreme Court. Should a case be brought before the government that showed a view was no longer valid to civil society, it could be examined more carefully there and either become case law or disappear into the ether.
For us, we’re most familiar with the term “hate speech,” and this is simply the condensed version of the above. However, Supreme Court hearings have added another litmus test to this: speech that poses an imminent danger or unlawful actions, where the speaker intends to incite such action and it is likely that this will be the consequence of the speaker’s actions, may be restricted and punished by law.
Even in the government, there is not a free for all on what you can say. There are limits that are imposed by our constitution and our courts. “Freedom of Speech” is not a shield with which you can block people from being critical of an opinion that has no evidence or relevant moral philosophy to back it up.
One is not free to say whatever they like. It is up to individuals that comprise society to decide what is unnecessary to see in public, and we just so happen to live in a society that is finally seeing that prejudice views have no place on the internet or elsewhere.
We also cannot forget that we live in a globalized society now, because of the webbing we’re all crawling around on. Not every government has a freedom of speech clause, and therefore this defense isn’t even relevant to the arena it’s being placed in. There is no constitution here. There are only enforcers of good ethics. In my opinion, we need more of them doing whatever it takes to silence views that have not been critically examined by those that adhere to them.
That is not censorship. That is being mindful of the way other people wish to be treated, and recognizing that not every thought that is produced by the human mind is sacred, especially when it has only a rocky foundation built on traditionalist views that harm other people.
There’s no doubt in my mind that people will be highly upset by what I just said, and to be honest I don’t care. Surprise, no one is entitled to spreading propaganda. No one is entitled to having their beliefs be accepted into society at large. Surprise, we’re progressing towards a society that actually thinks everyone is valid and equal. Playing the freedom of speech card isn’t going to halt the march towards the promised land.
Thank you for joining me, witchlings. I appreciate your support and kindness. I’m so thankful for those that have contacted me and keep in touch with me. Stay safe, as we grow and change. You are incredible. Bye~