Suppression of Free Speech Isn’t Freedom by Robert Socha
We have enshrined in our Constitution the inalienable Right to free speech. The First Amendment guards and protects that ability, and we, the people, can say whatever we like. Right? Is it a question of ability, etiquette, or a semblance of temperance and self-control?
One would argue that yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre is protected under the First Amendment. Improper as it may be, using words to spark fear and panic typically falls under this guideline of protected speech. But, if the offending words trigger a stampede in which people are trampled, seriously injured, or even killed, then the offending yeller could be found guilty under the law (probably not specifically speech-related) of inciting a riot, manslaughter or some other serious charges.
We have had members of Congress, such as Maxine Waters, defend looters and physical assault as far back as the Rodney King riots in L.A. 30 years ago, and, more recently, incite her followers, “If you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd and you push back on them and you tell them they are not welcome anymore, anywhere.” It is evident in this statement that she is advocating for profound intimidation techniques against her political opponents. How far one might take those appeals is limited to the imagination and challenging to prove under the law.
Fast forward to today. We have worldwide protests with many on the Left defending them, praising the atrocities committed by Hamas in Israel, and advocating for their destruction, that they are the ones who invited the barbarism. And then the unilateral call for cease-fire precludes the perpetrators from retribution. Some would say such speech breaks and shatters the limits of free speech because the liberty entailed does not include exaltation in the call for eradicating another people.
If these incitements remain unchecked over time, the logical conclusion will be for people to act upon the rhetoric. We have seen semblances of this in these United States over the years, but none more prolific than what we are witnessing in South Africa. It is horrific, unprovoked violence and the natural progression to decades of bombast condemning the descendants of colonizers. The similarities on this side of the pond with unprovoked black-on-white attacks should encourage the strongest rebuke and legal retribution.
In a less morally bankrupt society, the people who suggest such evil would be shamed and shunned into irrelevance. A civilized, self-governing people would recognize that free speech does not include the advocacy for violence and murder and never speak about such destruction. And people in positions of authority would bridle their tongues to rebuke actions, not assault character.
I condemn the unprovoked actions of Hamas to target Israeli civilians in a demonic frenzy. I condemn moral relativism, calling for a cease-fire and not holding the perpetrators to account. We quickly forget that governments do not carry the sword in vain.
I condemn unprovoked ethnically motivated attacks that are making great cities incubators for rapists, thefts, and murders.
I condemn governments’ ineptitude to cull the violence and defend borders as they speak idle words without power or follow through. In this condemnation, I include misguided open-border policies that have allowed barbarism to run amuck in once-beautiful cities and convert them into third-world catastrophes.
I offer a rebuke to those of us who sit idly by and think these things will never happen to me. Remember the adage attributed to Edmund Burke, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The quote is much deeper than that, possibly derived from John Stuart Mill’s 1867 inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews, where he says, “He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.” We must be willing to speak up and confront the evil whose purpose is dividing men and not only separating them from one another but separating them from the responsibility to intervene and call for men to be severely accountable for instigating and committing wrong, especially malfeasance of such magnitude it becomes an atrocity so severe that a comparison to the Holocaust is warranted and proper.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.