As bad as the worst diseases to have plagued humankind have been, there is something that is far more vicious, cruel, savage, monstrous and deadly than a bad disease: A bad idea. Infectious diseases can spread quickly through an unvaccinated or otherwise uninoculated population, resulting in the suffering and death of many. The vaccine of bad ideas is free speech.
We lovers of liberty overwhelmingly give an emphatic NO to the idea of political, ie. violent, reaction to speech. Political censorship is a grave injustice, in every case, no exceptions, in my opinion. But what about this other kind of censorship, by social sanction?
As a matter of general principle, I believe there can be no doubt that criticism in time of war is essential to the maintenance of any kind of democratic government … too many people desire to suppress criticism simply because they think that it will give some comfort to the enemy to know that there is such criticism.
On July 12, a number of prominent companies joined in the “Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.” Among them were GoDaddy, Namecheap, Google, and CloudFlare. All four companies issued pious statements about the dangerous possibility of Internet Service Providers cutting off access to perfectly legal content. A little more than a month later, all four companies (and others) are themselves doing exactly what they warned us ISPs might do unless a “Net Neutrality” law forbade it: They’re cutting off access to perfectly legal content (yes, neo-Nazi speech is legal in America).
What “free speech” actually means: people do not have the moral right to initiate violence against you to stop you from expressing what you believe. Some things “free speech” does not mean…