Everyone’s in favour of the right to free speech. Until, that is, ordinary people open their mouths – then things quickly get much more complicated, with exceptions to the rule cropping up all over the place like cracks in a bursting dam. Liberals in particular will claim that their commitment to freedom of expression is total and boundless, but we’ve seen over the last couple of years, from college campuses to the Internet, that their dedication to the cause involves more reservations than the Wild West. Instead of a full-on no-holds-barred debate, they want their safe spaces, where only certain kinds of opinions can be voiced by certain kinds of people.
Well, proponents of the kinds of views that liberals find unacceptable are fighting back. Ordinary people are rejecting the whole specious discourse of political correctness, and refusing to conform to the standard narratives, to the attractively packaged and artificially sweetened versions of reality which they’ve been force-fed for far too long. Opinions rarely expressed in the lamestream media are finding outlets and appreciative audiences online, free of regulation and admonishment by the self-appointed guardians and gatekeepers of good taste.
But who am I to tell you what to think? The video I’m going to show you will make my case far more articulately than any number of #MAGA tweets, Breitbart editorials or impassioned rants by Alex Jones. You’ll certainly never hear these views on a Ted Talk! The video shows a young woman, an innocent yet passionate embodiment of the desire for total human liberty, expressing herself as loudly and as freely as her heart and lungs will allow. It’s a moving lesson – as The Bible says, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings – that teaches us where the full realisation of ‘free speech’ will lead us. Watch it and then tell me you would ever restrict the right of such human beings to share their views in public, regardless of how unpopular the opinion or how unwelcoming the context.
(The point of this obviously tongue-in-cheek post is to ridicule the new global far-right’s hypocritical and cynical pretence of being attached to ‘free speech’, and to make the point to fellow progressives that we must not let them get away with it. You may find it poorly executed – fair enough – but if you think my point is mistaken, please complete the following challenge: find me one social media fascist screeching about the inviolability of free speech (a liberal value in any case) who has also spoken up for the rights of those who don’t subscribe to the alt-right worldview. If you can find one such example, I will send you $10 by PayPal and edit the post accordingly. I’m off out for a pizza.)
6 thoughts on “This moving speech by a 10-year-old girl should make liberals think again about ‘free speech’”
I’m not Entirely understanding your point. I am understanding some though but not really your point. (Too much younger in cheek maybe. 😜)
A slightly not-addressing-the-issue-of -free-speech as free speech:
The notion of free speech is based in an ideal of equal access. That words are equal meaning as equal access, like a term has equal “weight”, like political freedom addresses all there is to life…
( just a minute. I’m moving to my computer….)
…that would be “tongue” in cheek, not ‘younger’. (blah) lol
Ok. I can type freely now.
Is there a right to free typing? lol
The liberal notions I think you are addressing are really the unthinking and unreflective view. Education I think has little to do with it, even though somehow we (I) feel like liberal means educated: I think ‘educated’ is another ideal that is beginning to mean little more than “skill set: tax bracket”….
Like “free speech” is supposed to reflect some sort of ‘eternal truth’.
Not to assume that you are unreflective; I think you are quite reflective from you blog here. Sometimes too reflective lol.
The issue behind the culling of free speech has to do with “hidden” meanings of words. Sure everyone gets to use whatever worlds they want, but what we have found is that the ‘equal use of words’ itself is an asserted ideal of a particular humanity. What that particular humanity might just be, though, we really don’t know, thats why every one is talking about it; we seem to be starting to like “white supremacy culture” as this particular kind of humanity.
But if we are honest (which time will more probably allow everyone involved the privilege of remaining dishonest), that title for the particular expression of power is still insufficient; but it will see that it suffices for the expression of plays for power (ideal states).
What I am saying is that “free speech” is based in a (certain) traditional approach to the world that we call ‘human intention’: That discourse can express a equivocality of meaning across a common category (words – human).
The reason why we must check ourselves in the application of this ideal is because we (should have) found that the notion of intension is a faulty conceptual platform. Kinda like the odd manner that certain sets of human beings are let to come upon world such as the movie “Get Out” and “Fight Club” and “Stepford Wives” try to convey, the “weird” way that some of us come upon meanings of situations at certain times, momentarily or perpetually, and the strange ways that we have to deal with an apparent difference we begin to realize.
The operative notion now is less intensional and more appropriational, meaning, not how terms are used, but how they arrive for meaning for the individual within a situation. Intentionality is a ‘top down’ idealistic imposition of righteousness, and we are finding these ideal states fail in the face of the sheer variety of human existence.
I’m still ruminating on all this, will respond presently.
Wow, I’ve been thinking about this but there’s so much to take on board. I agree that white supremacists seem to think of the notion of free speech as being part of the inheritance of a superior civilisation, ie belonging to them. They exploit some important fissures, eg between universal values and relativism, adopting different positions at different times to suit their purposes, and given the way in which discourse works on the internet (to the most specious the prize) they manage to get away with it most of the time, ie they’re never called upon to be consistent, and when they are, they just change the subject or mode of discussion. An interesting (but rare) exception to this was when Gary Younge confronted Richard Spencer recently and essentially called him an intellectual fraud to his face. In political terms, almost all such encounters are doomed to fail, as the far-right isn’t actually engaging in honest debate and will interpret any given discussion or situation as best suits them at that particular moment, adopting left and right wing arguments without any concern for philosophical consistency. The internet gives them that opportunity, in fact I think their success is largely due to the affordances that the internet offers. IMHO we have to completely exclude them from debates around human rights, etc, and work hard on exposing their dishonest intentions and absolute attachment to values based on the imposition of elite power via violent repression. Any attempts they make to appear radical should be ridiculed and their extreme conservatism should be a constant theme in trying to drown out their specious arguments.
Thank you for your considerate reply. I think you hit the nail on the head of something that I’ve just been kind of pondering or realizing in kind of a vague ethereal sense.
One of the things that I am working with philosophically that perhaps may come out and some of my writings to come, stems from this manner that I call “two routes“. It appears to me, and it appears to me to appear to other contemporary philosophers (😛) that something is not being communicated within any given discourse. I think you hit upon it in your reply hear how people will address arguments in anyway that suits them coming out on top of it regardless of their professed position conservative or liberal or whatever (perhaps I am extrapolating a little bit from what you said). But within any given communication I think there is something that is really trying to be communicated in its truth. It seems in a relative world no one likes to entertain the idea that there might be some truth, everything has to be relative in everything has to be negotiated and we have to listen to everyone at Cetra. But I think that indicates one of the routes by which Im coming to this idea of two routes. Because I think often enough people that are attaching their means to make a living to an ability to have discussion may begin a conversation from a position of truth but then in the conversation get caught up more in the appearance of the discussion, and maybe this is perhaps the weight of any negotiation is more centred upon the image or the thought or idea or whatever might be encompassing they’re making money (to be concise) or by extension some sort of intellectual capital.
And it is been a hunch of mine that this really stems from Kierkegaard, or at least if we can’t really say that everyone knows about Kierkegaard, we might be able to suggest that indeed there are certain thinkers who’s thoughts have sway beyond immediate knowledge of their actual works.
In a very general manner I am referring to what Kierkegaard calls “discursive gymnastics” (that may be a paraphrase is that I came up with. Lol).
And what I mean by pointing to Kierkegaard is that there seems to be some sort of truth that he is conveying, that indeed he talks about, that indeed he talks about the potential involved in the attempt to communicate truth, and then there are these relative interpretive ideas that come about from various people reading Kierkegaard that really miss the truth of what he saying, even though in a very general and liberal cents various interpretations are able to argue whichever truth of Kierkegaard that they want to use at any moment.
I think this is the dilemma that were in a could be the dilemma that were in at this moment in human development. I wouldn’t say that people are consciously aware of their actions so far as wanting to win or come out on top of any particular discussion or negotiation, but I think it could be more that they are referencing a kind of ethical climate that tells them it’s OK that the end purpose is to win.
And I don’t think there is any argument that can be made to dissuade people from the Maxim that winning is the most important thing. So I say that this indicates one route. But at the same time there seems to be another route that is more involved with the facts and the truth of things in the discussion and the potential of communication that does not merely rely upon a persons ability to do discursive feats.