Judith Butler Questions Absolute Free Speech

, Malcolm A. Kline, 6 Comments

It doesn’t seem to occur to her that there’s a reason it is the First Amendment. “If free speech does take precedence over every other constitutional principle and every other community principle, then perhaps we should no longer claim to be weighing or balancing competing principles or values,” the feminist icon from Berkeley said on December 4, 2017.  “We should perhaps frankly admit that we have agreed in advance to have our community sundered, racial and sexual minorities demeaned, the dignity of trans people denied, that we are, in effect, willing to be wrecked by this principle of free speech, considered more important than any other value.”

“If so, we should be honest about the bargain we have made: we are willing to be broken by that principle, and that, yes, our commitments to dignity, equality, and non-violence will be, for better or worse, secondary.  Is that how we want it to be?  Is that how we must be?”


6 Responses

  1. Kevin Gutzman

    December 11, 2017 9:53 am

    The reason it’s the First Amendment is that Congress proposed twelve amendments to the states for their ratification in 1789, and the first two on the list weren’t then ratified, leaving this one as the First Amendment.

  2. Richard Ebeling

    December 11, 2017 10:21 am

    These are the new totalitarians in our midst. It is either their values and belief system, or the power of the State to compel you to conform to it.

    Dignity and respect are not a “right,.” They are earned or generously given. Does Ms. Butler respect and offer dignified deference to conservatives who hold their values and beliefs with the same sincerity concerning human relationships, religious faith, personal freedom and the market-based voluntary associations of civil society as she claims to hold her’s?

    She would silence those who speak words other than her own. She would make others say and interact in the ways she considers “socially just.” And those who choose not to or to publicly disagree will be subject to arrest and imprisonment.

    These are dangerous people who should be neither ignored nor not taken seriously. We have seen this before, and it resulted in the persecution and deaths of tens of millions of men, women and children in the 20th century.

  3. Joseph Kozuh

    December 11, 2017 5:12 pm

    How do we define NORMAL … ???

    NORMAL is defined by two realities: (1) the Bell-Shaped Curve, and (2) physiology.

  4. ScienceABC123

    December 12, 2017 7:57 am

    Some people never learned an old truth as a kid – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” Instead they’ve been taught that their “feelings” are all that are important. They demand that nothing be allowed to hurt their feelings. To those people I say – “The world is NOT a safe space for your feelings. If you are going to allow words spoken to you to rule you, then you’re going to have an unhappy life.”

  5. Recce1

    December 12, 2017 4:59 pm

    Richard Ebeling, I appreciate your well thought out response.

    An important aspect that many if not most Progressives reject is that government is prevented from requiring individuals and corporations to speak or finance certain types of speech with which they don’t agree (so far) or from preventing most government restrictions on the content of speech and ability to speak by individuals and corporations. Yet Ms. Butler would sacrifice such basic freedoms in order to demand political correctness and “social justice”.

    Of course we don’t have ABSOLUTE free speech in our society even from a legal constitutional perspective, nor would we want such. There’re notable examples of court rulings on speech restrictions concerning fraud, slander, inciting illegal conduct including violence, obscenity, certain forms of pornography, regulation of commercial speech such as advertising, and copyrights.

    But Ms. Butler and her fellow McCarthyite-Stalinist type progressive/socialist/communist and even Islamic tyrants would put an end to the Bill of Rights and a Constitutional Republic. This must not be allowed.

    Again, thanks for your comment.

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