Stand for Free Speech or Fall for Anything

“Do the right thing and stop selling products that promote criminal violence against living beings.” This bold statement is found in Tracy Reiman’s, the Executive VP of PETA, letter to Amazon asking it to remove offensive content. This is heartfelt and honest, written with the best intentions for animals and people alike. And while Reiman makes a good point, I feel that the protection of our freedom of speech, even in situations we might not like, takes precedence.

Imagine if we didn’t have this first of our Amendments. Reiman might not even be able to write her passionate, seething letter to Amazon. She might not be allowed to express her opinion without fear of repercussions.

“Censorship (is) inconsistent with American values…the Internet is, and must remain, the most open marketplace of ideas in the history of the world. Limiting its reach has a direct impact on the speech and privacy rights of all Americans.” Michael Macleod-Ball from the ACLU is clear about his stance on freedom of speech and censorship. And it’s really one or the other.

So the question is: whose side are you on?

I’m free speech all the way. Look at our list of banned books. How many on this list are classics that we now can’t imagine living without? How many works have pushed social issues into the forefront even though it’s uncomfortable? But more importantly, how are we supposed to live if we are forever afraid of offending?

Don’t be hypocritical. Either stand for free speech or move out of its way. If we bend and cave for every unhappy party, we will find ourselves living within the pages of Fahrenheit 451 before we realize it.

Oh, and fyi, I was totally going to read The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure. I bet you’re not surprised.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. In order to promote free speech, we have to accept that there will be views in which we disagree. Censorship is never the answer.


Creative Commons License
This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.