4-26-2019

“More and more lately, identity-creators are considered justified in demanding or even compelling others to honor their identity by silencing speech critical of it. Civility, accordingly, comes to mean acceding to demands stemming from identity. To question someone’s self-created identity is an act of incivility, which may justify a violent response. Of course, only certain identities are deemed authentic and therefore worthy of protection.

The original purpose of free speech for America’s founders, by contrast, is based on political liberty and the liberty of the mind. In its political meaning, free speech is necessary for deliberation about what constitutes the common good, to protect the nation from usurpation by public officials and from ideologies hostile to self-rule to which open societies are always vulnerable. Free speech also tempers fanaticism by subjecting it to rational scrutiny: “Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error,” Thomas Jefferson wrote.”  Arthur Milikh, “How Big Tech Uses ‘Freedom of Expression’ to Quash Free Speech,” The Heritage Foundation, 4/24/2019.

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