Donald Trump joins the recent debates about when free speech should be limited

Donald Trump joins the recent debates about when free speech should be limited November 30, 2016

Here. I was shocked, too.  Especially the part about revoking citizenship.  But it’s not as if this is new.  We’ve gone over the peak and are heading back down when it comes to freedom of expression.  It used to be you could get in trouble for burning the flag.  But then, under the great liberal revolution of the post-WWII era, we concluded that any speech, no matter how hurtful or offensive, must be protected.

Sure, you can’t threaten people or slander them or yell theater in a crowded firehouse.  If it just pisses someone off, however, too bad.  The freedom to express ourselves through desecrating religious art, pornography, flag burnings, and anything no matter how offensive, shall not be abridged.

Fast forward.  As early as 2006 I saw an editorial in the NYT about the challenges to free speech in light of the Danish cartoon kerfuffle.  The Times is now reporting on the growing rift between those who still think free speech is the go to position, and those who support free speech, but only insofar as it doesn’t threaten equality and inclusion.  Exactly how that works isn’t dwelt upon.  But the notion that free speech might need to be qualified appears to be gaining ground.

So while Trump goes overboard, it’s worth noting that the question about when and where speech and expression should be limited has become quite the parlor game in recent years.  Once again, those lofty proclamations of yesterday’s liberalism find themselves being repackaged based upon more ideological considerations.  Which, to be fair, opens up the ability for anyone – even non-liberals – to do the same.


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