Meadville Tribune

Opinion

September 28, 2012

Slate: We must defend even the ugliest free speech

(Continued)

NEW YORK —

We have learned well that it is in defending the ugliest speech that the principle of free speech is vindicated, and that point must be articulated even in those lands where the concept may now seem foreign. In nations where the voices of intolerance are most visible and momentarily powerful, it is in our long run interests to remain firm in our clear articulation that the use of violence in response to speech is to be condemned. The rise of democratic voices and free speech in huge parts of the world is a direct consequence of the fact that we have been willing to condemn such violence. So rather than apologize for legal speech, we should say simply that legal speech within our borders is neither endorsed nor condemned by the government, and the use of violence elsewhere in response to speech will not and cannot be tolerated.

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