Free Speech Must Be ‘Defended’ Against All Enemies

According to the reviews and reports, free speech must be legally and culturally protected in the United States. A society that values free speech willingly would require the establishment of strong legal safeguards. James Madison claimed that adding the First Amendment would ensure that its ideas to safeguard would always be “incorporated with the national mood.”

While the federal government cannot silence or stifle Joe Rogan, Spotify can do so if it so desires. It isn’t to say that private organizations may be as illiberal and censorious as they want or that citizens can’t have a part in setting expectations. The idea is that debate is preferable to prohibition, that light is preferable to darkness, and that tolerance should be their default setting rather than anger and cancellation. They have strong opinions about the nature of civil society since it is where they make their living, self-censorship, fear, and damnation exacerbate this situation.

Moreover, it is possible to divide the government and citizens’ roles while requiring openness, patience, and grace. In a purely practical sense, being immune to government oversight is of little use to the average American if he must fear for his livelihood and reputation every time he speaks. They have those citizens’ backs, including those they don’t like, agree with, or respect. When pressed with an explanation, the builders of cancel culture prefer to claim a boundary that should not be crossed. It is unnecessary to dismiss that assertion outright to see that they are so far from that line being relevant as to deem the observation irrelevant. Gina Carano’s, Donald McNeil’s, Chris Harrison’s, Ilya Shapiro’s, and Joe Rogan’s latest cancellation efforts are unjustified.

Furthermore, humility lies at the heart of the desire for free and open discourse. To favor free-wheeling conversation to stifled censorship is to accept the possibility of being mistaken, in part or whole. Accepting that times and preferences change and that individuals need time to adjust is recognizing that our first instinct should be compassion.