5 Questions for Free Speech Fetishists

I’m not shaming your kink, just curious about some things

Tim Wise
AfroSapiophile

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Image: Krakenimages.com, Shutterstock, standard license, purchased by author

Look, I get it.

As a writer and educator who makes my living speaking all over the country (at least virtually these past couple of years), I consider the First Amendment an invaluable instrument.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize its limits.

Nor does it mean that there aren’t legitimate questions about its application or how we balance freedom of speech with other Constitutional protections when they conflict.

And frankly, everyone believes in limits to free speech — even crypto-bro libertarians who think Bitcoin will replace currency and Ayn Rand wrote good novels.

They may be stupid, but even they don’t believe in completely unrestricted free expression. Even they don’t advocate protecting libel, slander, plagiarism, perjury, or the unauthorized release of confidential financial and medical information.

So too, incitements to imminent violence, false advertising, verbal harassment, and child pornography, among others. All of these are speech acts that everyone agrees can be prohibited.

Ok, so maybe the Bitcoin bros don’t have a problem with false advertising — their entire investment model…

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Tim Wise
AfroSapiophile

Anti-racism educator and author of 9 books, including White Like Me and, most recently, Dispatches from the Race War (City Lights, December 2020)