September 02, 2013
When thought”and speech, which is its mode of transmission”become criminalized, men have no alternative but to disguise themselves. This is a historical truth. Yet in Europe today, questioning history is a crime. Sadly, people who never have an original thought in their heads never see why anyone would else would fear to publicly differ from politically approved positions.
How many “youths,” “teens,” or other incommunicative newsreader euphemisms do we need to hear before speakers can be charged as hating the public that relies upon them for information? Under this rubric, everyone on the channel spectrum from Rachel Maddow to Bill O’Reilly is a hater because they all engage in this obfuscation of life’s “hate facts.”
There are innumerable ideas about all manner of things social, financial, and political on which I have altered my opinion over the years. Yet the one constant in these changes is they each came about as a result of greater insight, wider experience, or astute argument. Not one of my convictions was altered by a gun to the head.
The result of forceful reeducation is diametrically opposed to the aim that animates it. The pendulum of opinion balances of its own accord; the more artificially it is pushed, the more irrationally will its swing return. Hyper-patriotism in America begat despotism; paradoxically, communism begat nationalism in Russia.
To silence speech by threats”overtly as with “hate crime” statutes or implied as with “full disclosure” of the Huffington Post”is to effectively censor it. Menace to life, liberty, or property cannot be used to mute opposition.
Victory in the battle of ideas is not won by denuding others. Dissent is not undone by proving you can destroy your opponent, only by proving to him why he is incorrect. The answer for uncomfortable or offensive speech is to contend against such ideas with more insightful or superlative ones.
Similarly, the appropriate response to an ignorant and authoritarian Greek harpy is not to outlaw all those originating from Hellas but rather to patronize only intelligent and erudite Greeks instead.