Thoughts from Maharrey Head #95: Free Speech for Real

“10 Minutes Closer to Freedom”


In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I talk about freedom of speech in light of Kathy Griffin’s photo with Trump’s severed head.

Comedian Kathy Griffin sparked the brouhaha of the week when a picture of her holding the likeness of Pres. Trump’s severed head surfaced. Social media went nuts. Condemnation and outrage cascaded down from the right. Even the left seemed to try to distance itself from the image. Griffin apologized, and CNN fired her from hosting its New Year’s Eve gala.

The picture raises some important free speech issues. While I didn’t hear anybody from the right calling for government action to punish Griffin’s gruesome display, there was almost universal pleasure in CNN’s decision to can her. The mantra goes something like this. “Yes, she has a right to free speech, but there will be consequences!”

Let me say this emphatically: If you want “consequences” for free speech, you don’t really believe in free speech.

In this episode of Thoughts from Maharrey Head, I channel John Stuart Mill and talk about why censorship – whether achieved through government, private entities, or social pressure, is dangerous for liberty.

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SHOW NOTES AND LINKS

John Stuart Mill – On Liberty

Freedom of Speech and the Press, the Palladium of Liberty

Free E-Book – “The Power of No!”

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