Truly Free Speech Vs. Safety: Which Would You Choose?

Here I am again, with another topic I wasn’t going to touch with a ten-foot pole. The recent (well less so now, yeah that’s how long I’ve been trying to talk myself out of this) controversy over social media platforms banning certain people has seen people crying out that free speech is being impeded. This issue was then exacerbated by Parler being shut down by big tech, due to refusing to regulate what its users were posting.

I’ll get the obvious out of the way first. Most people crying for free speech are missing the point entirely. The people who stormed the Capitol building in the US were not all there to solely exercise their right to free speech. Some chose to destroy property, trespass, assault, steal, vandalise, and yes, terrorise. These actions are not free speech. They are crimes. End of story. So, moving on…

Now, on the face of it, it does appear that those with power and influence are wielding it to silence certain people and certain topics. But consider this. Imagine they did not do this. Imagine they let everyone say literally whatever they wanted on whatever social media platform they chose. Imagine no regulation. Imagine what alarmists are insisting is “free speech” was able to be used as an argument for literally saying ANYTHING.

This would mean that terrorists, sexual predators, murderers, and just about every undesirable criminal you could imagine would have free reign to say and plan whatever they liked. This would mean bullies and trolls would run rampant, victimising the mentally ill, children, and the vulnerable. Remember this all came about as a direct result of a domestic terrorist attack in the US. Investigators discovered that Twitter and Parler were the primary forms of communication for the people who planned the insurrection at the Capitol building. So, steps were taken to ensure this did not happen again. Do you really want to live in a world where the powers that be instead simply shrug it off and say, “oh well, free speech,” and let this kind of thing continue?

People who say they stand for free speech in these kinds of situations are the exact same people that take their safety for granted. You are safe because you are being watched. You are safe because governments and “big tech” work tirelessly to weed out the dangerous people stalking social media and using it as a platform for their dastardly deeds. It would be morally irresponsible for them to look the other way and allow “free speech” to be used a shield for evil.

Simply put, you cannot have it both ways. You do not get to enjoy your safe, content life, and be justified in complaining that those in power are taking appropriate steps to ensure you STAY safe. And to try and claim that ALL “free speech” is being taken away is a lie when it is only being taken from those who seek to use their speech to incite hate, fear, and violence.

You can SAY whatever you want. You can take to social media and endlessly whinge that “free speech” is being stolen. That’s the beauty of free speech. You are allowed to express an opinion, regardless of how ill informed and ridiculously dramatic it may be. But free speech also allows others the privilege of disagreeing with you.

At the end of the day, you need to make a choice. Between truly free speech, which many are blindly advocating, and the implications that would bring, and the safety of you and your loved ones. We don’t live in a perfect world. Instead of slamming those in power for taking action to protect the innocent, how about we recognise what is actually happening? Free speech, or safety? Your call…

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