A recent article at the execrable online magazine Jezebel (one of the arms of Gawker – the sleaziest “news” outlet on the internet) is instructive in showing what leftists really think in regards to free speech. Long story short, they unapologetically announce that if you engage in speech they don’t like, they will do everything they can within the limits of the law to destroy you, including attempting to deprive you of your livelihood and ruin you economically. This works in two ways – first by actually destroying those who say things they don’t like (a la Paula Deen), and second by producing a chilling effect designed to terrify other potential critics into silence. Though this won’t shut down all opposition, it doesn’t really have to – to destroy effective opposition, it only has to work enough of the time. And it will – most people who don’t have a taste for martyrdom or penury (that is to say, most people) will keep their heads down, grumble to themselves, and say nothing.
I will, for the benefit of my readers, intentionally fall into the trap of believing that the leftist position here is sincere, and respond to it with sincerity. So here it is: free speech is not just a law; it’s a principle. The law (in this case, the First Amendment) merely codifies the principle. The principle is that society benefits most when all ideas – no matter how sane or crazy, orthodox or heretical, popular or scandalous, sacred or obscene – are given their chance to be presented in the marketplace of ideas so that they can be fairly received and evaluated, and then accepted or rejected by the citizens. For you to say – and it is what you’re saying – that you will do everything you possibly can do, with your only limits being the restraints imposed on you by the law, to intimidate people who oppose you into silence, or to harm them as much as you possibly can if they do choose to risk speaking out, shows that you have no understanding of nor respect for the principle of free speech whatsoever.
Of course, I don’t believe in absolute, untrammeled free speech either, for reasons I shall go into in more detail in a future column. But – and this what separates me from the liars and hypocrites of the left – I also haven’t, as they have, spent the last couple of centuries shouting from the rooftops that free speech was one of my most deeply-held, non-negotiable core principles. And that is the point of the exercise: to demonstrate once again that the left has no principles, only ideology. Any time that a leftist tells you that they have any core principles (with the sole possible exception of limitless sexual freedom), they are lying. Things like this prove why you should never give them the benefit of the doubt.
P. S. As a monarchist, I can assure you that no King with any self-confidence, self-respect, or dignity would sink so low as to seek to devote time and resources to finding and punishing a rodeo clown in a rural province for engaging in a few minutes of mild lampooning at the His Majesty’s expense. And he wouldn’t do it even if he wanted to – he’d know that it would make him a genuine laughingstock, as it would cause the nobles and people to see him as an insecure, petulent, overgrown child.