Free Speech and Labels

Remember:

1. The freedom of speech is only really necessary when someone is saying something you don’t agree with. If we all agreed on everything, or were only told things we already agreed with, no one would have to fight for free speech (and no one would be exposed to new perspectives, ever).

2. Violence against those who would express themselves is heinous and indefensible (note that as soon as the speech itself infringes upon others’ rights to express themselves, it’s no longer simply ‘speech,’ but something else entirely, but it still doesn’t warrant violence).

3. An entire group of people is neither responsible for, nor need apologize for, the acts of an individual or group that’s technically affiliated with them in some way. If this was the case, we’d all be apologizing for things we don’t agree with and are philosophically unaffiliated with all the time, and civilization would cease to function. Blame the people who commit crimes, not those who also happen to be from the same country, follow the same religion, wear the same clothing, listen to the same music, play the same video games, are also left-handed, etc.

4. The press, even the portions of it we don’t agree with, is a valuable and powerful thing. If it wasn’t, those whose words and actions cannot survive in an open, informed society (villains of all flavors) wouldn’t try so hard to silence it. Keep that in mind, know that there are different ways to silence the press, and watch for such activities the future (and remember who is doing the silencing, and think about what that says about their words and actions).

Be safe and understanding and kind and brave out there.

This post was written in response to this. And was originally posted on Facebook.

Update: April 20, 2017

Strangely, this is even more applicable now than it was all those years ago. This attack I was writing about was just a flash in the pan compared to what we see all the time, these days. But it still struck a particular chord with me because it was an attack against free speech and a free press: two things that I consider to be absolutely vital to a liberated society. Those who attack these things are almost always some flavor of authoritarian, as weakening our ability to communicate the truth and challenge authority is the goal of those who wish to strip us of the ability to think and act independently.