free speech: some of us think it is still worth fighting for
There have been quite a few instances of a lack of allowance of free speech by those who claim to champion it. The buffoonery at Columbia University has had a good amount of attention in the blogosphere and elsewhere. Rosie O'Donnell's rants on The View seem pretty closed-minded and ignorant to me as well. Now there are even calls to limit free speech in science.
In her WSJ column this week, Peggy Noonan slams the point home.
It is not only about rage and resentment, and how some have come to see them as virtues, as an emblem of rightness. I feel so much, therefore my views are correct and must prevail. It is about something so obvious it is almost embarrassing to state. Free speech means hearing things you like and agree with, and it means allowing others to speak whose views you do not like or agree with. This--listening to the other person with respect and forbearance, and with an acceptance of human diversity--is the price we pay for living in a great democracy. And it is a really low price for such a great thing.
We all know this, at least in the abstract. Why are so many forgetting it in the particular?
Let us be more pointed. Students, stars, media movers, academics: They are always saying they want debate, but they don't. They want their vision imposed. They want to win. And if the win doesn't come quickly, they'll rush the stage, curse you out, attempt to intimidate.
It is an insult to those who have given their lives to protect free speech. It saddens me to see such a lack of debate. I hope that trend does not continue.