WTVM Editorial 1-28-21: Protect free speech

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 2:11 PM EST
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(WTVM) - Free speech and the First Amendment are at center stage right now.

We’ve experienced the deep divides that exist when it comes to politics, and some cultural issues as well, for years now.

Despite those differences, free speech is supposed to be the constant; a right defined by the Constitution as a God-given right, not a right bestowed by man.

Americans can express themselves however they like, unless they specifically direct violent acts or create other real and provable harm.

The First Amendment does not protect just the speech we like, it must especially protect the speech we don’t like because that’s the entire point of protecting free speech.

When massive social media platforms can - and do - make accounts disappear overnight because the content doesn’t pass the platform’s test, that is an assault on free speech.

When booksellers refuse to sell a certain book, that also shuts down free speech.

The way it’s supposed to work is: if someone disagrees with that book or its author, that someone has the right not to buy it. That’s free speech.

If you have a different opinion than your neighbor, it doesn’t mean you’re right and he’s wrong. It just means you see things differently and you can “agree to disagree”. That’s what free speech protects.

If an opinion you don’t like is shut down by censors, it may make you happy, for a while. Until suddenly, it’s your position that gets shut down or erased.

Who gets to appoint the free speech police? No one. We need to vigorously protect free speech for everyone.

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