A correct understanding of which is becoming critical. Here:
What’s free speech? It’s freedom to speak my mind on any topic about which I have an opinion. It means I can say what I like regardless of how demonstrably false it may be; how much it may grate on the sense or sensitivity of others; how profoundly it may irk or offend the powerful and the fashionable, or how painfully it may hurt the feelings or self-esteem of the impoverished.
Freedom of speech protects both speech and speaker from being silenced or censored because of what others may regard as requirements of social harmony, good taste, decorum, history, science, political correctness, or the truth itself — but can’t protect anyone from being regarded by contemporaries as unpleasant, indecorous, shrill, uncouth, hysterical, tasteless, false, ignorant or stupid.
Freedom of speech isn’t my guarantee of being heard. I can’t make my freedom your obligation. Freedom of speech entitles me to the first available spot in Hyde Park. It doesn’t entitle me to halt traffic in Piccadilly Circus.
Those who want to limit free speech claim that it’s not absolute but this is false. Free speech is absolute; it’s just that using words doesn’t amount to a pass to break the law. It’s no licence to defraud, defame, incite a riot, enter a criminal conspiracy, betray an official secret, impersonate an officer, misrepresent a qualification, breach a fiduciary obligation, etc., nor should it be. Free speech should eliminate the censor and the “human rights” commissioner, but it’s not doing it yet. A pity. – George Jonas, National Post