Essays on Technology and Culture

Where “Free Speech” Collides With Liberty

These are not abstractions. And this is where the arguments about the freedom of speech become most tone deaf. The freedom to offend the powerful is not equivalent to the freedom to bully the relatively disempowered. The enlightenment principles that undergird free speech also prescribed that the natural limits of oneís liberty lie at the precise point at which it begins to impose upon the liberty of another.

Jelani Cobb – “Race and the Free-Speech Diversion”.

Freedom of speech also applies to people criticizing the speech of others. In all the debate around campus protesters for safe spaces and trigger warnings—or against racist behaviors on campus—the attitude I keep seeing is that these protestors are the enemy of free speech. Nothing could be further from the truth. Free speech is not free speech when it is used to silence the marginalized. When speaking up puts your life at risk, how is that free?