Who has a right to free speech? The Collectivist or the Libertarian?

You answered "both", right?

Why did you answer both?
Because free speech is paramount in a democratic society?
Because for a Libertarian to deny free speech means they are not a Libertarian, by definition?
Sticks and stones?

Let's have a deeper look into the question.

What is free speech? It's the right to say whatever you want, however crackpot your views may be.

As a collectivist I might say something like "Property is theft".
As a Libertarian I might say "I worked hard for my property and I decide what to do with it"

As a collectivist I might say "The state should make choices for you, If you make the wrong choices"
As a Libertarian I might say something like "I don't want the state to interfere in my choices. I will accept the consequences of my actions"

What is the fundamental difference between these to trains of thought.

Let's look at it from a race angle. One person may say that Jews should be exterminated in death camps. That's a very extreme point of view but someone who believes strongly in free speech may well say that this person has every right to say it.

Jews also have the freedom to respond with their own free speech.

What happens if our anti-Semite builds a death camp and starts exterminating Jews. Originally we tolerated them when it was only speech, now we do all we can to stop them, even as far as silencing them forever, if that's what it takes.

I could be on my soapbox spouting my views about freedom from state interference and personal property rights.

My collectivist friend may be on the soapbox next to me saying that all property should be owned by the state, and the state has a right to decide certain things on your behalf.

If I talk for so long that I eventually talk myself into a position of real power, what harm can putting my views into practice actually do? If I was king of the world, all my subjects would be free to live their own lives as they see fit without any outside interference.
In other words, I would not be coercing them, threatening them or harming them in any way. They would even be free to go off and create a collectivist paradise of their own, if they so wish.

What happens if the collectivist chap were to talk himself into power? His choices would be forced on all of us. Our property would be confiscated and distributed by the state. The state would regulate our lives in any way it saw fit.
A totally different situation, where everyone is affected.

What could we do if we didn't like the new situation? vote them out at the next election?

Students may think they have a right to demand others pay their tuition. When they exercise their right to free speech and don't get heard, they may resort to that other inalienable right of a free democracy, the right to protest. If they eventually do get heard, we may well end up paying their university tab.

Some people believe that companies should pay more tax. If they get heard, tax avoidance loopholes may well be closed and companies could be giving millions more to the government who will just burn it to keep warm.

There are a lot of people out there with small minded views. Little people who just want to have a bit of power over their fellow human beings and don't care what harm it does.

The anti-smokers have already gained power with the smoking ban.
The global warmists have been doing a good job of it for a long time.
The haters of alcohol, fatty foods and salt are just coming into their own.

Can we be sure the racists and homophobes won't achieve the same? Or the Communists and fascists?

Who has the right to free speech?

I don't say "everyone". If it is seriously your intent to interfere with me and my way of life, then I say no, you are not entitled to your opinion.

If you want to take my money and distribute it to the needy,
If you want to stop me smoking on private property, even when the owner is ok with it,
If you want to charge me extra to eat or drink something you disapprove of,
If you want to take away my right to armed self defence,
If you want to fine me or imprison me for a crime that has no victim,

If you want to interfere in my choices or dictate what I do with my property then I say no, you do not have the right to free speech and you are not entitled to your opinion.

Shut up.

Tell me, am I wrong?

25 Comments:

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