Freedom of speech is one of those things that has a tendency to unite a large number of people on either side of the ideological divide. While you’ll have people in each camp opposed to certain forms of speech, most people see it as pretty much an unmitigated good for our nation. After all, if the government can limit speech, just how long until they start to limit speech critical of them? Don’t pretend it can’t happen in supposedly free societies. It has.
However, a writer at the New York Times has argued that free speech is “killing” us, and to make his point, he tries to invoke guns.
After one of the 8chan-inspired massacres — I can’t even remember which one, if I’m being honest — I struck up a conversation with a stranger at a coffee shop. We talked about how bewildering it was to be alive at a time when viral ideas can slide so precipitously into terror. Then I wondered what steps should be taken. Immediately, our conversation ran aground. “No steps,” he said. “What exactly do you have in mind? Thought police?” He told me that he was a leftist, but he considered his opinion about free speech to be a matter of settled bipartisan consensus.
I imagined the same conversation, remixed slightly. What if, instead of talking about memes, we’d been talking about guns? What if I’d invoked the ubiquity of combat weapons in civilian life and the absence of background checks, and he’d responded with a shrug? Nothing to be done. Ever heard of the Second Amendment?
The writer, Andrew Marantz, seems to believe that this simply proves that we should be willing to discuss speech control just as we talk gun control.
I, on the other hand, simply want to point out that this is something many of us have warned people about for years now.
You see, when you place restrictions on one right, regardless of how well-meaning you may be in doing so, you provide evidence that rights can be restricted. The plethora of gun control laws that exist in this country only serve as a reminder that there are those who are more than willing to restrict your rights.
Marantz justifies his tyrannical views, in part, by pretending that gun control is such an unmitigated good that we should expand such totalitarian ideas and restrict speech some people find repulsive.
In the process, though, he illustrates precisely why so many of us refuse to budge on the Second Amendment even if we were to see definitive evidence that gun control works.
We keep our guns because some jackwagon like Marantz will want to tell us what we can and can’t say and if that particular jackwagon has the power to make laws, we need a way to resist.
The effort begins with guns for a number of reasons, but the curtailment of rights will never end there. Someone will invariably seek more and more control. Someone like Marantz.
Do you want to know why I “need” an AR-15?
Because some wannabe dictator like Marantz thinks he has any business telling me where my right to say what I want should end. No, this isn’t a threat. Marantz is free to spout his nonsense position same as anyone else–that’s the thing about free speech. Either everyone has it or no one does–but it’s a warning. I will speak my mind, whether you agree with it or not, and I’ll defend my right to do so with my life if need be.