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OPINION

If The Left Hates Free Speech, It Must Be Good

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File

I’m a free speech absolutist. I’ve heard the same about super-billionaire Elon Musk, the guy many of us hope succeeds in his bid to restore some semblance of free speech and open debate to Twitter. I don’t know what the term ultimately means for Musk inside his heart of hearts (although I can take an optimistic guess based on his statements so far), but I can unequivocally say what it means for me - ANY and ALL legal speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution should be allowed and uncensored on major public platforms.

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Obviously, this excludes illegal speech like incitement to violence, harassment, direct threats, defamation, child pornography, fraud, and the like. However, it should include many conversations and assertions of fact the majority of people would likely prefer not to be exposed to, including what the medical establishment often falsely labels "medical misinformation" and, yes, even those that center around ambiguously-defined words that tend to end with the letters i, s, and m.

Of course, if speech weren’t controversial from time to time, there would be no need to have this discussion in the first place. Not all conversations are about sunsets, flowers, and cute puppies. Some can make us uncomfortable, angry even. Some beliefs are, well, awful, and I’m not just talking about ones that originate from the political left. So what do we do with the racists (the ‘real’ ones, if anyone knows what the term means anymore), the nazis, the communists, the Islamic fundamentalists, the ‘conspiracy theorists,’ the trolls that enjoy spouting vitriol for kicks, and even the brainwashed dimbulbs who actually think men can become women and women can become men and are keen on displaying their lunacy for the world to see. Who gets to decide whose beliefs are allowed to be heard and whose aren’t? Well, we know who’s deciding now, and nothing good has come from an environment where the right is suppressed but the sickos on the left get to shout their insanity from the rooftops.

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No, the only way this works is when everyone gets to speak freely, and the marketplace of ideas - not some blue-haired, round-faced weirdo with a nose-ring - decides what gets amplified and what dies on the vine. While liberals have historically championed free speech, that’s sadly not the case anymore. Now, leftists do everything possible to censor speech from the right while the right consistently calls for free speech across the board. Weird. It’s almost like the left is afraid their twisted ideas can’t stand up to scrutiny. What other explanation could there be?

Elon Musk called free speech the “bedrock of a functioning democracy” and Twitter “the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” and he’s right on both counts. Like it or not, Twitter has become the ultimate arena of idea competition, a vital place where journalists and anyone interested in politics can watch debates play out, interact with everyone from celebrities to political figures, and test their own theories against the scrutiny of a wider audience. And unlike social media alternative echo chambers that also tend to be technologically inferior (so far), it’s the only place - for now - where *everyone* with a platform or a desire to be heard tends to be. Everyone, that is, except accounts that have been banned by leftist hall monitors.

Which naturally raises the question of which accounts should be brought back to Twitter once the sale is finalized and Musk actually takes the reins. Were I in Musk’s shoes, my answer would be ALL OF THEM. Every. Single. One. Alex Jones? Yep. Milo Yiannopoulos? Uh huh. Dr. Robert Malone? Obviously. Naomi Wolf? Duh! Alex Berenson? Of course! Nick Fuentes? Affirmative. Louis Farrakhan? Ye … oh, never mind - that specific notorious anti-semite is still on Twitter, but if he had been given a permanent ban I would call for his reinstatement. You get the drift. Bottom line: If everyone isn’t allowed to speak, we don’t have free speech. We have something else entirely, something that ultimately leads to a dark, dark place.

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To be clear, by “free speech,” we’re talking about allowing legal speech that can actually be heard by others on what has become the de facto ‘public square.’ Just because people aren’t necessarily being put in prison doesn’t mean ideas aren’t purposely being suppressed for nefarious reasons by governments in collusion with big corporations. So, please spare me your Bulwark clap-trap about private companies and the like, unless you believe a utility company should be allowed to stop selling electricity to people whose beliefs they disagree with.

“The extreme antibody reaction from those who fear free speech says it all,” Musk wrote, reacting to critics who decried the prospect of their ideas having to compete on a level playing field. I concur. There’s a reason these ghouls don’t like free speech, and it has nothing to do with making the world a better place. 

We need free speech so the best ideas can see the light of day and rise to the top. We need free speech because bad ideas can be countered in the open, for all to see. We need free speech because nobody has a monopoly on truth. We need free speech because open dialogue fosters tolerance and understanding. We need free speech because I want to know who to ally with and who to avoid. And finally, if there were no other reason, we need free speech because the tyrants on the left want to crush it - and giving the left a single solitary inch of ANYTHING it wants is always a bad, bad idea.

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