People now are like, “Your right to free speech doesn’t mean you can express an offensive opinion”
Like what the fuck does right to free speech mean, then?

God I hate this comic.

“The right to freedom of religion means the government can’t arrest you for what you believe that.  That doesn’t mean anyone else has to listen to your bullshit backwards religion, or host you while you share it.  The first amendment doesnt shield you from criticism or consequences.  If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your freedom of religion isn’t being violated.  It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole.  And they’re showing you the door.”

It’s just abundantly clear to me that respect for rights need to inscribed on the hearts of the people as well as the laws of the land in order ofr them to actually make a difference in the real world.  An America where a Sikh is constantly mocked for wearing a turban, is denied employment, yelled ay, boycotted, etc. is simply not a place of religous freedom, no matter what the first amendment says.  I have to wonder whether the people making this argument would have supported the passing of free speech protections in the first place.  If you really want to be able to use coercion to silence opinions you dislike, why not just go whole hog?  “Men may as well be imprisoned, as denied the means of earning their bread,” as John Stuart Mill reminds us in On Liberty.  If you really want to be able to use social pressure to silence people you dislike, why not just use the easiest and most effective means available and use the state?

Social coercion is every bit as great a threat to freedom as state intervention – as any gay person will tell you.  If a freedom is to be protected it must be protected from ostracism as well as imprisonment.  Tocqueville understood that – which is why he looked at America, first amendment and all, and decided we ranked dead last in freedom of conscience and thought, lagging behind the worst despotisms of Europe.

“I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America. In any constitutional state in Europe every sort of religious and political theory may be freely preached and disseminated; for there is no country in Europe so subdued by any single authority as not to protect the man who raises his voice in the cause of truth from the consequences of his hardihood. If he is unfortunate enough to live under an absolute government, the people are often on his side; if he inhabits a free country, he can, if necessary, find a shelter behind the throne. The aristocratic part of society supports him in some countries, and the democracy in others.

 But in a nation where democratic institutions exist, organized like those of the United States, there is but one authority, one element of strength and success, with nothing beyond it.In America the majority raises formidable barriers around the liberty of opinion; within these barriers an author may write what he pleases, but woe to him if he goes beyond them. Not that he is in danger of an auto-da-f‚, but he is exposed to continued obloquy and persecution. 

His political career is closed forever, since he has offended the only authority that is able to open it. Every sort of compensation, even that of celebrity, is refused to him. Before making public his opinions he thought he had sympathizers; now it seems to him that he has none any more since he has revealed himself to everyone; then those who blame him criticize loudly and those who think as he does keep quiet and move away without courage. He yields at length, overcome by the daily effort which he has to make, and subsides into silence, as if he felt remorse for having spoken the truth.

Fetters and headsmen were the coarse instruments that tyranny formerly employed; but the civilization of our age has perfected despotism itself, though it seemed to have nothing to learn. Monarchs had, so to speak, materialized oppression; the democratic republics of the present day have rendered it as entirely an affair of the mind as the will which it is intended to coerce. Under the absolute sway of one man the body was attacked in order to subdue the soul; but the soul escaped the blows which were directed against it and rose proudly superior. Such is not the course adopted by tyranny in democratic republics; there the body is left free, and the soul is enslaved. 

The master no longer says: “You shall think as I do or you shall die”; but he says: “You are free to think differently from me and to retain your life, your property, and all that you possess; but you are henceforth a stranger among your people. You may retain your civil rights, but they will be useless to you, for you will never be chosen by your fellow citizens if you solicit their votes; and they will affect to scorn you if you ask for their esteem. You will remain among men, but you will be deprived of the rights of mankind. Your fellow creatures will shun you like an impure being; and even those who believe in your innocence will abandon you, lest they should be shunned in their turn. Go in peace! I have given you your life, but it is an existence worse than death.”

Absolute monarchies had dishonored despotism; let us beware lest democratic republics should reinstate it and render it less odious and degrading in the eyes of the many by making it still more onerous to the few.

Works have been published in the proudest nations of the Old World expressly intended to censure the vices and the follies of the times: LabruyŠre inhabited the palace of Louis XIV when he composed his chapter upon the Great, and MoliŠre criticized the courtiers in the plays that were acted before the court. But the ruling power in the United States is not to be made game of. The smallest reproach irritates its sensibility, and the slightest joke that has any foundation in truth renders it indignant, from the forms of its language up to the solid virtues of its character, everything must be made the subject of encomium. No writer, whatever be his eminence, can escape paying this tribute of adulation to his fellow citizens. The majority lives in the perpetual utterance of self-applause, and there are certain truths which the Americans can learn only from strangers or from experience.

If America has not as yet had any great writers, the reason is given in these facts; there can be no literary genius without freedom of opinion, and freedom of opinion does not exist in America.

In any constitutional state in Europe every sort of religious and political theory may be freely preached and disseminated; for there is no country in Europe so subdued by any single authority as not to protect the man who raises his voice in the cause of truth from the consequences of his hardihood.

Not so. In Austria and Germany, Nazism is forbidden. In Denmark, blasphemy is forbidden. In France, they can arrest you for condoning terrorism, which is a very slippery slope when nobody can agree what terrorism even means.

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