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Areopagitica – A Defence of Free Speech – John Milton

Books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are; nay they do preserve as in a vial the purest efficacy and extraction of that living intellect that bred them. I know they are as lively, and as vigorously productive, as those fabulous Dragons teeth; and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a Man as kill a good Book; who kills a Man kills a reasonable creature, Gods Image; but he who destroys a good Book, kills reason itself, kills the Image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the Earth; but a good Book is the precious life-blood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life. ‘Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole Nations fare the worse. We should be wary therefore what persecution we raise against the living labours of public men, how we spill that seasoned life of man preserved and stored up in Books…

Postmodern Censorship and the Justification of Free Speech

The following is an excerpt from Stephen Hicks’ “Free Speech and Postmodernism” The Social Construction of Minds Traditionally, speech has been seen as an individual cognitive act. The postmodern view, by contrast, is that speech is formed socially in the individual. And since what we think is a function of what we learn linguistically, our …

Freedom Of Speech and Press As A Consequence of Property Rights – Murray Rothbard

Aside from invasions of property… freedom of speech will necessarily be upheld to the uttermost by every libertarian. Freedom to say, print, and sell any utterance becomes an absolute right, in whatever area the speech or expression chooses to cover. Here, civil libertarians have a generally good record, and in the judiciary the late JusticeHugo Black was particularly notable in defending freedom of speech from government restriction on the basis of the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The Toleration of Religious Differences – John Locke

That any man should think fit to cause another man — whose salvation he heartily desires — to expire in torments, and that even in an unconverted state, would, I confess, seem very strange to me, and I think, to any other also. But nobody, surely, will ever believe that such a carriage can proceed from charity, love, or goodwill. If anyone maintain that men ought to be compelled by fire and sword to profess certain doctrines, and conform to this or that exterior worship, without any regard had unto their morals; if anyone endeavour to convert those that are erroneous unto the faith, by forcing them to profess things that they do not believe and allowing them to practise things that the Gospel does not permit, it cannot be doubted indeed but such a one is desirous to have a numerous assembly joined in the same profession with himself; but that he principally intends by those means to compose a truly Christian Church is altogether incredible.

Why It Is Such a Bad Idea to Tell Students That Words Are Violence – Jonathan Haidt

Interpreting a campus lecture as violence is a choice, and it is a choice that increases your pain with respect to the lecture while reducing your options for how to respond. If you interpret a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos as a violent attack on your fellow students, then you have a moral obligation to do something about it, perhaps even something violent. That is precisely how trolls manipulate their victims.

Why Hate Speech Is Free Speech – Nadine Strossen

The following is an excerpt from “Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech Not Censorship”, By Nadine Strossen Debates about [free speech] issues are often marred by widespread confusion about the governing free speech principles. Too many people, including even some lawyers, wrongly assert that under our Constitution “hate speech” is either absolutely …

Free Speech Is Supposed To Be Free – Mick Hume

If it is to mean anything, free speech has to live up to its name. This is the hardest thing for many who claim to endorse the principle to remember in practice. It means that what others say or write need not conform to what you, I, or anybody else might prefer. Bad taste or good, offensive or attractive, cutting or boring. Just so long as it is free.

The Necessity of Free Speech, The Value of True Speech – Jordan Peterson

“…I’m not a free speech advocate. Let’s say, I’m a TRUE SPEECH advocate, which is to say, that I believe that people should say what they believe to be true. I think that’s your obligation. It’s also your right, but it comes with an obligation. But, I don’t believe that TRUE speech is possible without FREE speech…”