Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The wheels fall off

Will nazis derail the Free Speech train? Here's more on the kind of free speech that right wingers are defending these days.

Ironic that the first commenter shows up to cast a little Libel Chill around and unwittingly attempt to suppress free speech:
So... does free speech include the right to publicly call for someone to be killed and post that person's home address online in case anyone's up to the task?

This is where I become conflicted about the concept of free speech absolutism. At heart, I agree -- you either believe in free speech or you don't -- there's no "sort of" believing in free speech. And if the speech of the scummiest douchebag is secure, then mine is all the safer. There's also the argument, and it's a good one, that these vile pieces of shit should be free to show their true nature so we know who and what they are.

But those who abuse free speech by using it to call for harm to others are overstepping the point to which I could actively defend them in good conscience. While I agree with the principle of defending the free speech of even the slimiest douchebag, there are limits to what I'll defend with such gusto.