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Quillette's Best on Free Speech

· 4 min read
Quillette's Best on Free Speech
Paul Scofield as Sir Thomas Moore, in 'A Man for All Seasons' (1966)

We Must Defend Free Thought | Claire Lehmann

“There is a small subset of hard-line ideologues who oppose open discourse altogether. The fact that you may not feel comfortable speaking your mind openly, and may feel afraid of serious consequences, is viewed by these people as an accomplishment.”

Free Speech Matters, Even When it’s Not Protected by the First Amendment | Jason Richwine

“In fact, non-governmental persecution is in some ways worse. At least someone whom the government charges with a crime is entitled to a trial in which the facts are aired. In the midst of social shaming, facts become secondary to outrage, and lives can be irreparably harmed before cooler heads prevail.”

Free Speech is a Value, not a Right | Logan Chipkin

“A culture that rejects free expression as a value is a culture without a reliable mechanism for error-correction. We can never be certain about anything, nor can we predict arguments that haven’t yet been conceived, written, or uttered.”

The Importance of Blasphemy | Brian Stewart

“It bears repeating—both Islamists and their ostensibly secular defenders must be resisted. They must understand that the defense of universal human rights is not a provocation, much less a "phobia," but a moral obligation.”

The Neurodiversity Case for Free Speech | Geoffrey Miller

“Newton wouldn’t last long as a ‘public intellectual’ in modern American culture. Sooner or later, he would say ‘offensive’ things that get reported to Harvard and that get picked up by mainstream media as moral-outrage clickbait.”

The Cultural Diversity Case for Free Speech | Geoffrey Miller

“Foreigners are often attracted to America because we market our country as the bastion of free speech, political liberty, and open sexuality. They expect a promised land of free inquiry very different from the repressive government regimes that they may have left behind.”

The Feminist Case for Free Speech | Jacob Mchangama

“Throughout history, the denial of free speech has been instrumental in keeping women disenfranchised and subordinate, and the exercise of speech has been crucial to climbing every rung of the long ladder toward equality.”

Resisting the Mourner's Veto | Christopher J. Ferguson

“A desire to appear compassionate and empathetic may prevent us from challenging emotional narratives. Even requests for evidence are sometimes misconstrued as exercises in power and privilege even though they are the cornerstone of rational discourse.”

Free Speech Doesn't Protect Nazis. It Protects Us From Nazis | Daniel Friedman

“It is probably true that the value of some speech is less than the cost of the harm it imposes. But free speech advocates don’t defend the speech rights of Nazis because they believe that Nazis have anything valuable to contribute to a marketplace of ideas. They defend the rights of Nazis because Nazis with the freedom to speak can cause less harm than Nazis with the power to regulate speech.”

Giving the Devil His Due: Why Freedom of Inquiry in Science and Politics is Inviolable | Michael Shermer

“Many of the founding fathers were, in fact, scientists who deliberately adapted the method of data gathering, hypothesis testing, and theory formation to their nation building. Their understanding of the provisional nature of findings led them to develop a social system in which doubt and dispute were the centerpieces of a functional polity.”

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