Free Speech Isn’t a Free-For-All
Something Elon Doesn’t Seem to Understand
I moderate a pro-wrestling forum. Users didn’t like my style of moderation, so they began posting the most vulgar of insults.
They came to my forum — not to talk about the subject matter (wrestling) but to lob more insults at me.
They called it free speech.
Elon Musk bought Twitter. He lauded how free speech was now back on the platform. To prove it, he Tweeted a long-debunked conspiracy theory. He posted something similar, then deleted it (too late. Put something on the Internet, and someone always has it.
He said he would invite back Kanye (with his antisemitic rants), Alex Jones (where do I begin?), 45 (ditto)…
In protest, millions of users per day are leaving, me included.
Free Speech Isn’t Free
That’s an old saying.here’s another:
You can’t walk into a theatre and shout, “Fire!”
That’s what Elon is doing. Let me explain.
The founders of the USA intended free speech as: you can criticize a concept the government considers, a law they pass, the opinion of another… all of these are allowed. A satirical cartoon? That too is OK.
Personal attacks (like being called a pedophile and one who drinks the blood of children as part of a satanic ritual, as the Democrats were accused of), that’s slander, punishable.
Kanye’s rants against us Jews… that’s just hate speech. Branding any group as all bad (ex. all Muslims, all Chinese)… you’re not only stereotyping, you’re being racist Uhm, Kanye? You’re already part of an ethnic group wrongly typecast. You shouldn’t make the same mistake.
Fake news, fake medical treatments (I’m looking straight at you Alex Jones [pizzagate, called Sandy Hook and other massacres hoaxes, many bogus cures], Dr. Oz [too many to choose from], and Fox “News” [the quotes speak volumes])? You’re risking harming — or killing — viewers.
In the case of grieving families and survivors of Sandy Hook and Parkland? Causing them more pain is just being mean.
Spreading disinformation? Not free speech. Two words: January 6.
So: what Elon considers free speech, what bullies and similar folks use it as? Nowhere near.
It’s just wrong. Hear that, Elon Musk? It’s wrong? It’s just wrong. Ignore that, and more people will practice another right:
Jeffrey Allan Boman is a writer from Montreal, Canada (I only wear a toque in winter, don’t like hockey, don’t drink beer).