The Value Of Free Speech

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By design, my “platform” is apolitical.  Always has been, and I hope it always will.

That said, there comes a time when an issue is so pressing, so important, so critical, that I can’t avoid touching on it.

This is one of those times.

Don’t fret, regularly scheduled programming will return next week.  If you’d rather avoid the politics (I wouldn’t blame you these days), feel free to skip this one.  You have the freedom to choose.  My blog is NOT about politics,  but this particular topic threatens the very existence of my blog (and everyone else who writes), so I’ve decided to dedicate a post to it while I still have an opportunity.  If Silicon Valley blocks me as a result, it’s been nice knowing you…

There are few things more important than the concept of Free Speech, especially when you disagree with an argument that’s being presented. Click To Tweet

I live in the USA and am exceptionally proud of our bedrock foundation of free speech.  A country where everyone is free to voice their opinions.  A country where folks can agree to disagree.  A country where folks can debate a topic and still be friends. A country where differing points of view are encouraged, supported, debated, loved.

(This IS the country I live in, right?  I know it was for my first 57 years on this planet, but now I’m not so sure.)

It matters not the issue at hand, and I’m not going to touch on the current hailstorm of controversy raining down on this country.  I suspect you can figure it out.  That’s not the point of this post.

This post is about the value of Free Speech.

About your Freedom to voice your opinion.  About my freedom to voice mine.

It matters not if we agree on the topic, but the freedom to voice those opinions matters.

A LOT.

We should all VALUE the opportunity to read the thoughts of people we disagree with, to ponder the arguments made, to incorporate all sides of an issue into our thinking.  To listen more than we talk.

To create our own opinions.

To resist peer pressure, to create our own opinions, to be open-minded.

To Think.

Contrast this with the route so often followed in today’s particularly divisive society.  To attack, to rebuke, to humiliate, to censor, to un-friend.  I’m engaged in a particularly hostile Twitter battle this morning, so I’ve decided to write this post. A friend of mine wrote a controversial post, and I “auto-shared” the article (I’ve been sharing their stuff for 5 years since they were the first bloggers I met and have long considered them friends).  “Sharing” seems to have suddenly become a sin.  An endorsement of an unpopular opinion.  Wow, the blowback is amazing, including the attempted “shaming” of a major force in the online community to not support those with differing opinions.  It’s concerning.

And sad.

Free Speech Be Damned.

The Twitter War started 20 minutes ago.  I started writing this post 15 minutes ago. It’ll hit the airwaves 30 minutes after I typed the first word.  Yep, it’s a rant. Not my normal course, but this stuff is important.  I suspect I’ll get attacked again, and I’m ok with that.

Attacking someone with a view that doesn’t match your own is not what this country is about.  It doesn’t matter what the topic is.  Rather, what’s important is the freedom to say it.  

Importantly, this country is about the freedom of all people to voice their opinions.

Especially those opinions with which you disagree.

Making that statement is worth risking the blowback for saying it.  So blow back, I can handle it.  I’ve got thick skin, and I love my freedom.  You should love yours.  Let’s agree to disagree, and let’s have some intellectually stimulating discussion regarding the issue.  But please, do us all a favor and leave your hate in the closet, where it belongs.

Regardless of where you stand on a particular subject, value having the freedom to voice your opinion.  Consider the loss if your voice were silenced.  If your opinion not heard.  If your thoughts not considered.

Few things in life matter more than our ability to think for ourselves and to voice our opinions to others.  To engage in genuine debate, to challenge the thinking of others in a professional and honest discussion.  That’s true communication, and it’s exhilarating beyond words.  

Recognize the value of free speech. 

  • Embrace it. 
  • Cherish it. 
  • Protect it.

I fear it’s in jeopardy, and I’d encourage you to read these words with an open mind.  

Do you value the freedom to voice your opinion?  

More importantly, do you value the freedom of those you disagree with to voice theirs?

Think About It.

It Matters.

Rant over.

 


Originally posted at https://www.theretirementmanifesto.com/the-value-of-free-speech/

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