John Stossel: Offensive speech
The answer: yes, you can. But the free market may punish you. In America today, the market punishes racists aggressively.
It’s fine if the NBA — or any private group — wants to censor speech on its own property. People who attend games or work for the NBA agreed to abide by its rules. Likewise, Fox is free to fire me if they don’t like what I say. That’s the market in action, reflecting preferences of owners and customers.
But there is only one government, and it can take our money and our freedom. All a business can do is refuse to do business with me, causing me to work with someone else. Government can forbid me to do business with anyone at all.
But I wonder if today’s young lawyers would approve the First Amendment if it were up for ratification now.
“No value comes out of hate speech,” said a future lawyer. “We need to regulate flag burning … and blasphemy,” said another. One student wanted to ban political speech by corporations, and another was comfortable imprisoning people who make hunting videos.
So does free speech mean that we must endure hateful speech in the public square? No.
What convinced me that almost all speech should be legal was the book “Kindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought” by Jonathan Rauch. He explains how knowledge increases through arguments.
John Stossel is host of “Stossel” on the Fox Business Network.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Tenants, landlords trumped by persistent bedbugs - 4
- Neighbors want a sound wall for a wall of highway sound - 0
- Tiny park's got no game — and few visitors - 4
- Dean Kamen is a genius inventor, and he's pretty good at oratory, too - 18
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Raising a pint for science - 1
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: Downtown, it's all in the restaurant family - 1
- Band camp gets Memorial musicians in rhythm a week early - 1
- Mark Hayward's City Matters: A short history of the spice trade - 1
- City Matters: Little sleep for Vietnam vet - 3
READER COMMENTS: 0
- John Habib's City Sports: St. Thomas coach: I owe Central - 0
- Armed burglar from Derry sentenced to prison - 0
- 'Bingo hunting' police use random license plate checks to make arrest - 0
- Bedford police investigating burglary at Verizon Wireless store - 0
- Police: Manchester man charged with endangering child after going 101 mph - 0
- FairPoint customer concerned about blocked emails - 0
- Plaistow narrows field in search for its new police chief - 0
- Man faces robbery, assault charges after extradition from NY - 0
- Hershey Bears shut out Monarchs - 0
Hershey Bears shut out Monarchs
School's out for voters