For the record, I’m not entirely comfortable with Elon Musk buying Twitter, but it is his prerogative to do so and take the company to a private status. If he does so, then the arguments about “freedom of speech” then become moot. It will be “his company” and he can decide what the company’s standards will be much like Zuckerberg does with Facebook. Depending on the way Musk decides to structure Twitter’s speech standards, he may trigger a stampede of liberal users away from the site. What is debatable is whether or not the number of conservative users coming back would be enough to support the site.
There is a misconception that Freedom of Speech is an absolute right. That is not true and never has been. You do not have the right to scream fire in a crowded venue after you have chained the exit doors shut just to watch the panicked patrons trample each other. You do not have the right to “hate” speech that incites others to violent acts against people of other ethnicities, religions, cultures, genders, or sexual orientations. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but trying to incite violence is a whole different ballgame. It’s the “you can swing your fist if you want to, UNTIL I feel threatened or you make contact with my body. Then we have a problem”.
Now this business of people screaming “Freedom of Speech” when they have been caught infringing on the rights of women, blacks, LGBTQ, minorities of all kinds and they don’t like being told to desist. Frankly, it’s juvenile. They are being like little children who don’t like being told they are talking too much in class, talking too loudly, talking out of turn, or using crass language. They don’t want to be controlled by ANY convention. They will claim 1A rights as long as it suits them. But then they will deny them to those they consider their enemies quick as a flash. It doesn’t work that way.
Trying to ban books (and textbooks!) over supposed infractions over real-life scenarios that children see in everyday life is just bizarre. The kids already know that Latasha has a mom who has a boyfriend who lives with them and that he’s Latasha’s dad. They also know that Tommy has two moms. They might even think that’s really neat because one of them makes great cookies, but they haven’t took their own moms that because they know she’d be mad. Kids aren’t stupid. I work with foster kids and they tell me stuff all the time that will absolutely stand your hair straight up. I’m talking 3, 4, 5 year old CHILDREN. They KNOW.
Freedom of speech is not about controlling the flow of information so that a particular segment of the population remains comfortable. Far from it. Truth is truth and it should be heard. There are no hard and fast rules for this. If there were, we wouldn’t be having the discussions. My bottom line is that what you say (or write) cannot cause, directly or indirectly, the harm of another being (human or otherwise).
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