Free speech=the right to be morally reprehensible


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Hannah Hornberger is in favor of free speech, even if it’s morally wrong;.

“The times they are a changin’,” cried out the legendary Bob Dylan in 1964. As time goes on, it does indeed change. The people living and the government running those people are constantly evolving. Our technology, our knowledge, our minds themselves can never remain stagnant as the passage of time continues. But one thing remains constant throughout all of the advancement of mankind. One thing has always and always will be present in our hearts and minds. People love to hate.

In the summer of 2017, the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, ran white with heavily conservative supremacist protesters. The protest began to oppose the removal of a confederate statue of Robert E. Lee. The people shouted their cries of “Unite the Right”. But the white streets quickly turned to red as the protesters donned rebel flags, Trump signs, and swastikas. “Unite the Right” turned into The Jews will not replace us.” Things took a turn for the worse as a van drove through the crowd, injuring 19 and killing 1. In one of the most blatant displays of public hate in America in recent years, we have learned that some things just don’t change. People will always love to hate. And those people will always be protected by our very own government.

But the propensity for hatred in these United States goes deeper than just rallies. Written in the Bill of Rights, American citizens will always have the right to free speech. Our founding fathers officially gave us the right to hate, and abuse that right we have. That right to free speech is not just for speech that we want to hear, but things we prefer not to as well. As the Washington Post puts it, “there is no ‘hate speech’ exception to the first amendment.”

The right to free speech has been tested by people on both the right and the left in years past. This right protects homophobic people from protesting businesses or events run by homosexuals. It also protects people who chose to desecrate or burn the American flag. In summary, it protects hatred.

People have the right to speak. And people have the right to be garbage.”

But is it necessary to the success of our society? I believe that it is. In order to function successfully, a society should be allowed to love and allowed to hate. Whenever the government steps in and prevents people from making their own moral decisions, we as a people have lost all of our rights. I am in no way supporting hate speech. But I am also in no way supporting censorship of the people.

The first amendment is the most important guarantee in our Bill of Rights because it gives us the right to be terrible. Should the protesters have been openly wearing swastikas and shouting anti-Semitic comments? No. They should not, and seeing people do that is despicable. The entire event is an abomination to tolerant people. But, should the people in question have the right to make that decision for themselves? Yes. This isn’t a question of right or wrong. It is so much more than that. Should people be able to tell if they are expressing something terrible, or should the government have to do that for them? If people need to be censored by the government then more than anything it reflects the disgusting deterioration of human morals.

People have the right to speak. And people have the right to be garbage.