It seems like Americans are becoming a bit too quick to take offense. Our founding fathers knew that the only way to protect free speech for minorities is to protect and defend it for everyone. Certainly, it’s not okay to libel or slander. But we should not be so swift to call for a show’s cancellation or the firing of a talk show host simply because we disagree with them or they have a slip of the tongue.
As founder James Madison writes in “The Federalist No. 51,”
“In a free government the security for civil rights must be the same as that for religious rights. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. The degree of security in both cases will depend on the number of interests and sects.”
In other words, to protect the civil rights and free speech of all Americans, including minorities, it’s best to tolerate the speech of a plethora of groups and ideologies. When a society limits free speech by categorizing certain types of speech as “offensive” or jumps the gun to firing comedians for posting a joke without full context, the minority is actually at the greatest risk of losing its free speech because the majority will inevitably rule and might will make right.
If hypersensitive liberals actually want to defend free speech for minorities, they should begin by becoming more tolerant of all free speech. #CancelColbert is not the only example of this trend where thin-skinned Americans have rallied against free speech.
Last December, the easily upset crowd began saber rattling for the head of A&E’s Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson simply because they disliked the tone of his comments about marriage. (This was quite ironic because Bill Maher makes continual comments that could be taken offensively and no one has been tweeting #CancelRealTimeWithBillMaher.) Firing loud-mouths will not help anyone. What will help everyone—especially minorities—is to champion free speech for all.