Good Ideas and Bad Ideas are Protected by the 2nd Amendment
Good ideas and bad ideas are both protected by the 1st amendment. We should defend people’s right to have and say both equally. Yes, some people are not smart. They say dumb things or advocate for ridiculous causes. Sometimes their statements mislead people, and very often their awful ideas are accepted by the masses. Alex Jones is a good example, as is Bernie Sanders. Their ideas are generally both reprehensible and incorrect.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the same right to say what they think that you and I do. Even if you utterly hate what they have to say, you should defend their right to say it. I know I have certainly advocated for stupid things at times, but I’m glad I was able to. Sure, I looked like an idiot and should have kept my mouth shut, but I was able to learn from that experience to become a better person and think about issues in a deeper and much better manner.
We should all strive to be like Volataire. It is perfectly acceptable to utterly hate or extremely dislike what someone has to say. People say things that are incorrect or morally wrong, and often both. But that’s their right. That’s what the 1st Amendment protects.
For example, as is discussed in many books about post-Revolution America, such as The Age of Federalism, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson had a feud and despised each other because of their completely opposite views on what the American Republic should be. That feud got so bad at one point that Hamilton remarked “There are approximately 1010300 words in the English language, but I could never string enough words together to properly explain how much I want to hit you with a chair.”
Yet he never tried to inhibit Jefferson’s right to speak, just as Jefferson never tried to limit Hamilton’s right to free speech. The two disagreed but recognized the importance of understanding that good ideas and bad ideas are free speech and that free speech needs to be defended, even if that means putting up with ideas with which one disagrees.
Like I talked about in “Elizabeth Warren’s Lies,” politicians often aren’t able to learn from their mistakes. Their desire to seem better than the average person, or at least smarter, prevents them from doing so. And I think that’s one of the reasons why many politicians don’t understand that the Constitution applies to both good ideas and bad ideas. They don’t understand the potential benefits that come from having to hear, or even potentially having said, dumb things.
Life should be a constant learning experience. As long as people are open and honest, they can learn from their mistakes. No one should have their free speech rights restricted if they aren’t posing a public security risk.
Unfortunately, many liberals don’t understand that. Instead of supporting free speech under almost all circumstances, liberals are now trying to restrict it, as I discussed in “Free Speech on College Campuses.” They just don’t truly understand the benefits of free speech and the free sharing of all perspectives.
The 1st Amendment applies to everyone, no matter what they might think! We conservatives need to defend that right because not only is free speech enshrined in the Constitution, it is also crucial to lifelong learning.
Americans need to remember that fact. Good ideas and bad ideas are free speech. And not only are good ideas and bad ideas protected by the 1st Amendment, but their spoken existence creates learning opportunities for everyone. By saying things with which you later disagree, or hearing things that you vehemently disagree with, you develop as a person. You develop your own understanding of the news and concepts and are able to be an adult and formulate new arguments and participate in civil society.
But that is all lost. Cancel culture is destroying America because inherent in the idea of cancel culture is the concept that it’s not okay to say something that offends anyone. Unlike Patrick Henry, who considered it treason to hold back your opinion out of fear of offending someone, today’s cancel culture fanatics demand that you self-censor and never say anything that could potentially offend someone.
Of course, that’s impossible. Someone will be offended by anything you could possibly think.
But who cares? Good ideas and bad ideas are free speech. Political correctness and racism (both bad ideas) are just as much free speech as Milton Friedman’s defense of capitalism in Capitalism and Freedom. And all three of those groups have a right to speak. Hate speech is made up. Conservatives should debate, not try to silence, those with whom they disagree. Let all opinions be aired, but fight back against the bad ones. That’s how civil society works, not “cancellation” of those that aren’t sufficiently woke or unwoke.
Furthermore, if we no longer accept that good ideas and bad ideas are free speech, who will be the arbiter? The government, which does a bad job at just about everything? The social media companies that have censored and covered up the story about Hunter Biden’s corruption? Some “Karen” that doesn’t like you don’t agree with her unfounded opinions?
There is no good arbiter of what is “correct” other than the market of ideas, which can only exist as long as we recognize that good ideas and bad ideas are free speech.
So fight back against the cancel culture tyrants. Remind everyone you know that good ideas and bad ideas are free speech. That’s the American way.