Ann Coulter, Bill Maher and the Glories of Free Speech

Today’s Dallas Morning News carries an editorial warning of recent threats to free speech–not from Mugabe- or Putin-style Third World strongmen, but from wrong-headed guardians of political correctness in other Western “democracies”–Canada, France, the Netherlands and more. 

The roundup of freedom-squelchings includes the regrettable Brigitte Bardot incident I discussed here recently, plus other tales of those punished for criticizing Muslims, gays, and Scientologists.    Key quote from the editorial:

The First Amendment means that in our liberal democracy, we have to tolerate speech many of us find obnoxious or offensive. But it affirms that enduring hateful or distasteful oratory is far less dangerous than giving taboos on controversial speech the force of law.

That’s something to ponder the next time Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Sean Hannity, Bill Maher or Ann Coulter says something that just drives you up the wall.

 Before hitting the pool, loading up the grill or exercising the sacred right to go shopping, everyone should spend five Fourth of July minutes contemplating this key difference between the U. S. and much of the rest of the world. The full editorial is here. For some of my own thoughts, you can listen to a KERA/NPR commentary on the value and danger of free speech. That’s here .


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