Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Free Speech IS the Speech You Hate - Quotations on Freedom of Expression

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What is ANTIFA short for? Antifa warriors would say it stands for Anti-Fascism, while I would say it stands more for Anti-First-Amendment. After all, quelling Free Speech (including book burning and milieu control) while employing violence to enforce this is in itself a fascist tactic. As a book blogger and a lover of literature I am repulsed that anyone in this day and age would try to limit free speech. Even the speech you consider "Hate Speech." I have learned much by reading the books I was not supposed to. Listening to what some might consider "Hate Speech" has informed my upbringing. In fact, the speech and text that some feel needs to be censored has drawn an audience where there otherwise might not be one. What do you think made the "Satanic Verses" the hit that it was?

I have collected here some of the best quotes on free speech from some of the greatest luminaries of the past. We need to learn from the past as we now have the first generation that I can think of that actually wants to limit Free Speech:

"Everyone should open themselves up to offence. You should feel shaken to your core at least once a day. It's good for you. Don't stamp out things that offend you; cherish them, embrace them." Brendan O'Neill

"Your free speech is more important than my feelings. Your right to say whatever you want is more important than my right to feel safe. Your right to be awful is more important than my right to feel accepted. Your right to condemn my choices is as sacred as my right to make those choices." ~Tricia Beck-Peter

"The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen." - Power Stewart

"However unwillingly a person who has a strong opinion may admit the possibility that his opinion may be false, he ought to be moved by the consideration that however true it may be, if it is not fully, frequently, and fearlessly discussed, it will be held as a dead dogma, not a living truth."John Stuart Mill

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, [freedom] ceases to exist."― Salman Rushdie.

"Free speech is not just being able to say what you want to say, it also means having to hear things you might not want to hear." ~Charlie Kirk

"We don't have the freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the first amendment so we can say some very controversial things." ~ Ron Paul

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." ~ Voltaire

"A major threat to liberty is the assault on the right to discuss political issues, seek out alternative information sources, and promote dissenting ideas and causes such as non-interventionism in foreign and domestic affairs. If this ongoing assault on free speech succeeds, then all of our liberties are endangered." ~ Ron Paul

"Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage." ~ Winston Churchill

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ~ George Orwell

"To determine the true rulers of any society, all you must do is ask yourself this question: Who is it that I am not permitted to criticize?" ~ Kevin Alfred Strom

"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself." ~ Potter Stewart

"Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others." ~Charles Bukowski

"When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you're only telling the world that you fear what he might say."

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions. It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us all." ~ Justice William O. Douglas

"The freedom of speech and the freedom of the press have not been granted to the people in order that they may say things which please, and which are based upon accepted thought, but the right to say the things which displease, the right to say the things which convey the new and yet unexpected thoughts, the right to say things, even though they do a wrong." ~ Samuel Gompers (1850-1924), Seventy Years of Life and Labor, 1925


"I cannot assent to the view, if it be meant that the legislature may impair or abridge the rights of a free press and of free speech whenever it thinks that the public welfare requires that it be done. The public welfare cannot override constitutional privilege." ~ John Marshall Harlan (1833-1911), U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Patterson v. Chicago

"Free speech is meaningless unless it tolerates the speech that we hate." ~ Henry J. Hyde, U.S. Congressman, Speech, 5/3/91

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” ~ George Washington

“Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

“The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience.”
~ Henry Steele Commager

“This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.” ~ Euripides

“Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every book, and creed, and dogma for itself, the world cannot be free." Robert Green Ingersoll

“Those who make conversations impossible, make escalation inevitable.” ~ Stefan Molyneux

“Freedom is an absolute state, there is no such thing as being half-free.” ~ Daniel Delgado F

"If you accept – and I do – that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said." ~ Neil Gaiman

"Trying to erase, hide, discredit, degrade, and suppress a writer's work, merit, voice, and influence is unconstitutional. Censorship only exists to protect corruption." ~ Suzy Kassem

"The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible."[Defend the right to be offended (openDemocracy, 7 February 2005)] ~ Salman Rushdie

“Actually, I am a coward. I say only what is safe to say, and I criticise only what is permissable to criticise.” ~ Murong Xuecun

“If you can’t write freely and if you can’t speak freely in your country, you can be sure that you are living in a very primitive country!” ~ Mehmet Murat ildan

“If we do not believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we do not believe in it at all.” ~ Noam Chomsky

“One of the problems with defending free speech is you often have to defend people that you find to be outrageous and unpleasant and disgusting.” ~ Salman Rushdie

Punishing students for their speech robs our public debate of needed voices, and it teaches our children—who, of course, one day become adults—that censorship, even broad and sometimes arbitrary censorship, is acceptable. ~Sonja West

When you censor someone, then you are conceding defeat of your ideas.

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