Without free speech no search for truth is possible … no discovery of truth is useful … Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse of dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race.
[And what ultimately protects free speech from infringement? Our contracts with our governments, our constitutions. And how do we enforce our contracts? With the soap box, the ballot box, the jury box, and when all else fails, the cartridge box. Hence, a similar claim could be made of the importance of the “cartridge box” as Bradlaugh did for free speech. There will be abuse with such freedom exists. But the abuse will be minor compared to the catastrophe that awaits the society that embraces the denial of the specific, enumerated right to keep and bear arms.–Joe]
One of my favorite authors said something very similar in his novel about the takeover of the United States by a theocracy:
“Secrecy is the keystone of all tyranny. Not force, but secrecy …censorship. When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, ‘This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,’ the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything —you can’t conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.” (R.A. Heinlein, “If This Goes On..”)
Right now the ‘net is the only source of information that is relatively free of censorship. Much of it is nonsense, some of it is simply false or untrue. But we must beware any attempt to censor the ‘net (“It’s for the CHILLLLLDRENNNN!!!”), since the “watchdog” lame-stream media is now firmly encamped on the collectivist side. Watching China censor their ‘net access is only giving the various political parties in this country ideas on how to do it…the Dem-wing wants to shut down any opposition to their national-socialist agenda (call it “hate speech”), and the Rep-wing wants to shut it down to prevent people from (shock, horror) viewing porn or other “objectionable” activities.
Socrates had to swallow hemlock, due to his crime… which was? Yeah, they don’t teach that much anymore, do they.