Not to worry, this is going to be short. I know reading big words and long sentences is hard for some of you whose minds have yet to evolve past the good ol’ days when knuckle-dragging was somehow a sign of status. Oh yes, that was me calling you a moron. I’m not sorry, I have every right to say it. Welcome to the first lesson on the First Amendment: I can say or write whatever I want regardless of if it hurts your feelings, insults your intelligence, or causes you some kind of offense. America, bitches.
Glorious, isn’t it? I can shelve the maturity I usually reserve for special occasions and call you, the person who thinks hate speech is real, a brainless amoeba with the moral integrity of that booger you thought you discreetly flicked out the car window. You being insulted, offended, or unsure what the heck I mean doesn’t matter. I can say it, write it, tattoo it on my vivacious booty and you can’t stop me. The Founding Fathers enshrined this right in the First Amendment for a rather important reason: to keep the powerful in check, to spread ideas, to ensure I remain free and not thrown in the stocks for questioning the powers at be.
Men are men, women are women. Men are not women, women are not men. In certain countries which do NOT have freedom of speech, that statement might put me in prison.
To summarize thus far: the First Amendment ensures I can say whatever I damn well please and you can’t stop me.
But wait, because it’s not all bad. You can say whatever you want back. If you hate me with every misfiring neuron in that thing you call a brain, you can say so. You can tell me I’m wrong, insult my intelligence — even though is likely vastly superior to yours — and even misuse the word “literally” as you’re wont to do. Since you think words mean whatever you want them to mean, that’s just how special you are.
Freedom of speech extends to everyone. Me, you, people who are right, people who are wrong. People with good ideas, people with bad ideas. Pretty people, ugly people, stupid people, smart people, people who hate vaccines, people who love vaccines, people who hate bacon, people who love bacon, people who love to hate people who hate bacon, mean people, nice people, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, worshipers of the flying spaghetti monster, climate change alarmists, climate change questioners, Amy Schumer, Jack Dorsey, Ted Cruz, Ted Cruz’s beard, Donald Trump, Roseanne Barr, and your mom. They can all say whatever they want. As can you.
Next lesson: your freedom to say whatever you want doesn’t grant you a blanket to you being liked, listened to, or respected. There seems to be confusion on this point. Your right to say whatever you want doesn’t compel me to listen, agree, or call you stunning and brave. Example, this glistening jewel of WTF:
Ben Shapiro can storm out of wherever. The First Amendment doesn’t force Ben to finish an interview he started, whether it’s fair or not. The First Amendment isn’t like how some people feel about books, even crappy ones. You don’t have to finish something just because you started it. Similarly, if you’re screaming at me calling me a feckless c*nt, I can walk away. I don’t have to take your insults. Guess what, you can walk away from me when I’m comparing your mental acumen to that of a plastic spoon. Isn’t freedom great?
Pretty much the only thing you’re not allowed to do is to threaten or incite violence. And no, calling people ugly isn’t inciting violence. “Let’s kill them” while holding weapons and pointing at a group of people with the intent of killing them, that’s inciting violence. For more on that, watch this video of Steven Crowder.
Now, hate speech. No such thing. No matter how much you think it should be a thing, it’s not a thing. Hate speech falls into the category of speech you don’t like. Too bad. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from speech. I don’t care how awful you may think it is. Remember, you don’t have to agree to everything someone says, and you are free to debate or argue against speech you don’t like using your First Amendment rights. Handy eh? It’s almost like the First Amendment was designed on purpose to allow people to talk to each other without fear of government reprisal.
Which brings me to my final point: You can say whatever you want without government reprisal. But speaking is an action. And actions have consequences. So yes, I can call Steven Crowder a boof-sniffing, butt-licking, Marvel comics fanboi, and I won’t go to prison for it, but I might lose my job. Freedom to say whatever I want doesn’t give me the freedom from consequences.
That should pretty much cover it. Any questions? Be sure to send me your hateful tweets encouraging my bodily harm in tweets about how hate speech is totally real and should be outlawed. Those are my favorite.
Remember how I said this primer wouldn’t be long? I guess I lied.