Even more — and this seems to be the most important part — is that many who ardently support unregulated free speech argue that if they were unable to express all of their beliefs, it would be a direct threat to democracy itself. Why? Because the government is taping a part of their mouths shut, telling them what they can and cannot say, and if they can’t put up a poster that says “are you beach body ready” or say a simple racist or sexist or homophobic joke, then what else can the government take away from them?

It sounds a little silly when you put it like that. But consider the person who currently occupies the White House. Our President — with his fragile ego and his cries of “Fake news!” — is absolutely a person who would censor any news organization that says anything critical of him, if given just half a chance.

If we allow the precedent that the government is allowed to censor speech that is deemed hateful or discriminatory or body-shaming, no matter how well-intentioned such an act might be, our President would seize upon that precedent and turn it against anyone he deems his enemies in the press.

If I want to voice a particular opinion, it may run up against someone else’s rights, as it possibly does with the advertisement above.

How so? What right, exactly, might it run up against?

I have to agree with Mr. Crawford. No one has the right to not be offended.

There’s an old saying, “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose,” which seems to be the crux of your argument.

But it doesn’t apply to freedom of speech, because speech is not a zero-sum game, where the more your opponent gets to speak, the less you get to speak. Speech is a positive-sum game: we all get to speak as much as we want.


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