Free speech is not for the faint of heart. As George Orwell, author of 1984, noted: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” Unfortunately, our appreciation for a robust freedom of speech has worn thin over the years. Societies that cherish free speech relish open debates and controversy and, in turn, produce a robust citizenry who will stand against authoritarian government. Indeed, oppressive regimes of the past have understood the value of closed-mouthed, closed-minded citizens and the power inherent in controlling speech and, thus, controlling how a people view their society and government. Case in point: the United States government has a ravenous appetite for power and a seeming desire to turn the two-way dialogue that is our constitutional republic into a one-way dictatorship. Emboldened by phrases such as “hate crimes,” “bullying,” “extremism” and “microaggressions,” the government is whittling away at free speech, confining it to carefully constructed “free speech zones,” criminalizing it when it skates too close to challenging the status quo, shaming it when it butts up against politically correct ideals, and muzzling it when it appears dangerous. Free speech is no longer free.
Published on May 16, 2017 by Newsbud