In the past few weeks I have become more interested in the social issues affecting this country and have begun to seek out solutions that I can support. My hope is that I can contribute to good causes that will allow us all to live in relative peace and safety. During my journey, I have discovered a rather interesting character that you probably already know: Ben Shapiro. Ben is the Orthodox Jew who is incredibly intelligent, well-articulated and gifted speaker. The point of this article is not really whether or not I think Ben Shapiro is a good person, rather, I’d like to talk about how our society has shifted in the arena of free speech.
GO HOME IN AN AMBULACE
One particular scene that I watched involved a transgender person who was or is in the process of becoming a woman after being a man for many years of his or her life. In the clip, Zoey Tur reaches over and grabs the back of Ben’s neck and says that he should “You cut that out now, or you’ll go home in an ambulance.” As you can imagine, this created a rather tense moment on the show, which most critics agrees was rather pointless up to this point.
To fully understand the problem, we have to know that the first amendment clearly protects free speech up to the point that someone directly threatens the safety of another person. For instance, you can say to me, “you’re an idiot”, but you can’t say “I’m going to kill you”. Zoey Tur clearly threatened Ben Shapiro and many media outlets praised her for this action. Unfortunately, this is in direct opposition to free speech that we enjoy here in America.
HATE SPEECH LEADS TO VIOLENCE
In another clip, Dave Rubin is speaking at the University of New Hampshire and a woman from the audience engages him in a rather excited exchange of ideals. When asked about her personal oppression, the woman said she wouldn’t elaborate unless she “was paid”. Following her lead, Mr. Rubin withdrew $20 from his pocket and offered to hear her version of personal oppression. To my dismay, we never got to hear that story.
During the middle of this exchange, two other women stood up and began chanting “hate speech leads to violence” again and again. Although I’m unclear of their motive, my belief is that they were attempting to shut down the conference by drowning out Mr. Rubin. The speaker waited for them to stop, which they did after a few minutes. Again, I’m not sure of their expected outcome, as they did not intend to put forth additional information or ask any questions.
TRULY FREE SPEECH
We live in an amazing country. Everyone I mentioned in this article is free to express their opinions and thoughts and even their research, if they’ve conducted any. We are free to exchange ideas in public settings without interference from the government. In this freedom we are truly fortunate and this freedom MUST be protected. If we begin to lock people up for their views and thoughts, we are nothing more than Nazi Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s or Vietnam in the 20th century or even Cuba. My point is that we are a free nation and must be allowed to speak, regardless of our personal opinions of the speaker or the speaker’s words.
You can draw any kind of conclusion that you want, but as it stands, the first amendment promises us free speech. Again, if you directly threaten violence towards another person or group, that is against the law. However, if you say that transgenderism is a mental illness, that statement is protected under the freedom of speech. Implied violence can be interpreted in the courts, but we could all benefit from being a little less sensitive. If you want to live and think in a certain way, that’s your right. But, then again, I don’t want you interfering with my way of thinking either. You can’t force people to agree with you, regardless of how wrong you think they are.
When someone attempts to drown out the opinion of another, they become nothing more than the enemy they are trying to subdue. You don’t want equality at that point, you want domination. If you can’t reasonably discuss a particular item, you then become a strong arm dictator yourself. If you are against discrimination in any form and resort to childlike temper tantrums, then you are truly not respecting that person’s right to free speech. In other words, don’t become what you are actually fighting against.