The Right to Free Speech is the "Queering" of Speech
Fighting for your right to free speech does not weaken the system in your favor. No, it actually strengthens the system by giving validity to the logic of the system itself.
“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.”
Free speech seems like one of those issues that is so obvious, it barely needs to be argued or defended. No one should restrict my speech. The United States of America is built around the idea of open and free discussion. The free exchange of ideas. The marketplace of ideas. How can the best ideas emerge if we restrict people’s ability to speak openly and without hinderance. In the last few years, especially around the issue of Covid-19, its severity, its spread, and how we as a society should respond, people’s reaction has been one of trying to gather as much information as possible, to understand fully what is happening. The news seems increasingly politicized. Can it be trusted to give us accurate information? The government has started to label those that differ from official pronouncements as spreaders of “disinformation.” The state has worked behind the scenes with media and social media platforms to shut down dissenting voices. It seems like now, more than any other, is a time to fight for the free speech maximalist position. This is a bedrock “conservative” position, we are told.
Part of the problem we have in coming to grips with the idea of speech is that liberalism, and with it liberal ideas, are so ubiquitous, so ingrained into our culture, that we are like fish in water who don’t even know we are wet.
“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.”
For many of us we live in the Matrix, and the all encompassing system which traps us and keeps our minds imprisoned is liberalism. Most of us think we are fighting for “conservative” values when we are fighting for free speech rights. The truth is, when we do so, we are actually fighting to preserve “the system.” The fight for free speech is a battle for liberalism. Part of what we do here is offer you the red pill: the opportunity to learn the truth of the cultural system within which we live and breathe.
We have become so used to the idea of free speech as an unmitigated good that we struggle making the connection between the idea of the freedom of speech and the cultural degradation we experience in our society. Especially in an era when the government is making efforts to restrict speech and stamp out voices which undermine or contradict “official” messaging, now would seem like the time, more than ever, to emphasize the citizen’s right to speak freely.
So what is the problem with the idea of free speech? It is the problem of limits. Should there be limits placed upon speech? Are there things which shouldn’t be said? The idea that “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech” very quickly runs into problems. There are the old examples of running into a crowded theater and yelling, “Fire!” Should you be allowed to falsely slander someone’s reputation? Should you be allowed to libel someone? Should you be allowed to incite a crowd to violence? All of these are abridgements upon your ability to speak freely. So, obviously, there are limits to speech. The first amendment was problematic from the very beginning. How do we negotiate and establish proper boundaries for speech in a system which specifically says that no law shall be made to abrogate free speech?
Seeking the Hidden Thing is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts in your inbox and access to all paid content and the full archive, please consider a paid subscription.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Seeking the Hidden Thing to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.