It’s a tool, not an end to itself.
Look, we have the right to bear arms, and are free to make choices insofar as we accept responsibility for the consequences of our choices, but not a right to indiscriminately point them while loaded, pulling the trigger. Thus, on the speech front, libel and slander laws.
Orwell wrote in 1984 that freedom was the ability to state that two plus two equals four. That there were things that, no matter how imperfect our perceptions, were objectively true, and that if we could not state the truth, we were not free.
Look at how many things we are no longer free to say because someone would be offended.
So why “freedom of the press”?
It’s not about being able to spout any nonsense that comes to mind – that is a side effect of an absolutist take on freedom of speech. It’s to establish a norm that the government is not relegated the power to determine what is “true” regardless of what is objectively true, nevermind what is a matter of interpretation of the available known facts.
Why? Because power is addictive, and if the government can declare inconvenient truths off limits, it is easier to oppress and tyrannize people. The better they can grasp and hold that power over others. Also because our perceptions are not 100% reliable, and so even the well-meaning may be objectively wrong. We can’t learn a previously unknown truth if we cannot hear it, if it is forbidden to contradict official “truth”.
So, much like the constitution in and of itself is not a sacred thing, but a structure put in place to govern men – see earlier posts where I point out that the private-corporation future, if those organizations that act as arbiters are to have teeth, will end up having the de facto roles of governments – to safeguard the rights in the first ten amendments, those rights, especially the first two, are there in order to preserve liberty, including the liberty to speak and learn the truth if we so wish, and the better to lead our lives, and find God.
Which is why lies and slander are offenses that can be punished.
Also – reciprocity applies. Those who knowingly lie to cause harm and for self-advantage, those who libel, those who will banish others for fear of them telling the truth – such as stating 2+2=4, or that men and women are different on average (and in a few cases, barely overlap at all) – they have lost their right to be heard, much as a man who murders loses his freedom, and may be executed.
And yes, there are gray areas where people may believe, or claim to believe, outlandish things. Some of them eventually get written off as conspiracy theorists. Yet, even those may be sincere, and turn out to be right to a greater or lesser degree about frogs turning gay, or globalists wanting to destroy nations. These reasons are why the standards for libel and slander are fairly high, and why between the tendency of organizations such as the state to gather more power unto themselves and quash opposition, it is wise to sharply limit any a priori restrictions on speech, most especially political speech.
Some are socialists. Some are knowing members of that death cult and lying through their teeth with a smile. They have no intention of leaving us any liberties that interfere with their utopia.
Reciprocity is a wonderful tool.
Spread the word, post links to these posts around. Thank you.