I checked — there’s no Facebook group called “I dislike the Westboro Baptist Church but support their right to free speech anyway.” Lesson learned: free speech is great when you’re speaking out against a group you don’t like, but not okay when another group is speaking out against a group they don’t like.
There’s nothing to like about Fred Phelps and his absurdly hateful family. I’ll agree with you there, Facebook friends joining groups in opposition to the Westboro Baptist Church: they’re un-Christ-like in as thoroughly and definable way as is possible.
But it’s monumentally short-sighted to want to take away their right to free speech, Congress being unable to make any law to that effect and all. Iron Law #5: you aren’t free unless you’re free to be wrong.
There’s a reason the framers opted for negative liberties instead of positive ones. No rules against free speech. No laws against freedom of religion. No infringing right to bear arms. These things allow for the pursuit of whatever makes you happy: speak or shut up, choose a religion or none at all, get a gun or stay away.
Positive rights inherently trample on someone else’s. A right to health insurance, a right to food or shelter, a right to broadband all come at the expense of someone else’s liberty (namely their right to pursue property); and a right to not be offended comes at the expense of another person’s free speech.
At the end of the day, we are still collectively stronger than words, aren’t we? Or have we rearranged that phrase?
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