Taking The Temperature Of Free Speech

When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.

Tucker Carlson, “Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar, and Right

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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5 comments

  1. I don’t see how a lying bigot helps make things better.

    Secondly, it probably is good if some are scared of being criticized. Part of that fear perhaps comes from the fact that many people are at times attempting to express opinions on that which they are not informed (economics, history, philosophy, science, etc.). Their ignorance may have been pointed out one too many times and has resulted in their fear of being caught again. Sort of like a certain someone avoiding a debate perhaps?

    Thirdly, having a man willing to express all sorts of insults (to current and former gov’t officials) and obvious lies shows that speech is very free in the US; where is the gov’t trying to stop this and other extreme statements in various forms of communication? It may be a fragile thing and not as free for lesser known people, but it still seems that speech is very free.

    • Trump can say all these things because he has billions and a team of lawyers he has used to discourage others from messing with him. Right or wrong, Trump always fights it out in court.

      For the rest of us plebes, we can get fired at work for saying anything that can be construed by an offended party as “racistsexisthomophobicislamophobic,” which is pretty much anything. Don’t like working with Pakistani H1B programmers? Too bad, bigot! You’re out of a job. Then you get to compete with the 38 million other out-of-work Americans and H1B immigrants the corporations are bringing in to do “jobs ‘Mericans won’t do.” If you were wrongfully terminated for saying something according to your first amendment rights, you don’t have $50k to pay a litigator to sue your employer who has far deeper pockets and inside counsel – you have to get a new job. What if you say something on the internet that can be interpreted as “racistsexisthomophobicislamophobic”? There are teams of SJWs out there waiting to screencap it and send it to your employer. If someone decided to become “more religious” at work and starts yammering on about jihad, prepare for another San Bernardino or Ft. Hood rather than talk to HR.

      Meanwhile, the economy is growing at its slowest rate since 1945. Jobs are not plentiful; HR does not want employers hiring someone that might get them sued.

      When I know I’m not going to get screencapped or recorded, I’ll say what’s on my mind. More often than not, I’m the only one saying what others are thinking.

      That’s why I like Trump.

    • Why is it acceptable to be hostile toward a Pakistani for being hired at a job where I assume he didn’t do anything illegal to get it?

      From what I can remember, free speech is not guaranteed at work or other private institutions. A person is not free to say what is on their mind at work if it gets in the way of productivity, at least from what I am aware. Free speech is not absolute, nor should it be. As for speech on the Internet, you may have a point.

      I’m sorry if you’ve had some difficulty work; I can empathize to a degree.

    • “where is the gov’t trying to stop this and other extreme statements in various forms of communication? ”

      Canadian, by any chance?

  2. After more than fifty years of having it pounded into our heads by amoral humanists that evil does not exist, the gruesome Planned Parenthood videos leave many if not most Americans without the right words to express their shock and revulsion. Evil however, is an appropriate descriptor. Planned Parenthood either skillfully crushes unborn living babies in order to behead and cannibalize them for their body parts or as we now learn, kills them upon birth for the same barbaric purposes. This is evil rationalized and justified by the wicked as “scientific research” a “woman’s choice” and “family planning.” Similarly, much of what passes today for ‘free speech’ is ingratitude, hate, contempt, resentment, envy , malice and death-wishing rationalized and justified by the morally unfettered as ‘free speech.’

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