Amanda Marcotte explains the obvious.
Free speech entitles you to:
- Say what you want to without fear of government censorship or retribution.
Free speech does not entitle you to:
- An audience. You can say what you want, but people are not actually required to listen to you spew. So, contrary to many, many claims otherwise, your free speech rights are not trampled if someone ignores you, blocks you on Twitter, or refuses to give you a job as a writer or communicator for their organization. National Review isn’t stepping on my free speech rights because they don’t hire me. If your sexism stops you from getting a prominent job in media, that is also not a violation of your rights.
- To have others host your speech. This is a corollary to the first one. Facebook, blog comment sections, online forums, etc. are just like TV shows, radio shows, and magazines: Their house, their rules. They have built up an audience and they are not obligated to turn around and give you that audience to spew your garbage. Start your own damn website/magazine/forum.
- To be protected from criticism. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but free speech protects your right to celebrate rape with your “jokes”, and it also protects my right to call you an asshole for it. Daniel Tosh can think it would be hilarious to watch someone get raped and say so, and I say that makes him a moral monster and a piece of shit. It is not censorship to hurt the tender feelings of people who think rape is hilarious.
Occassionally, you’ll see some people try to sidestep the obvious idiocy of yelling “free speech” to defend someone from, you know, free speech, by instead lodging accusations that feminists are “oversensitive” or some other garbage. But the only people I see being oversensitive in these debates are the sexists who are so torn up over criticism that they melt down, start yelling incoherent and easily disproved claims of censorship, and start issuing rape threats in order to stop the painful, painful criticism. If oversensitivity bothers you so much, physician, heal thyself.
I blame the internet for their ignorance. It’s been infected with this ridiculous libertarian bullshit for so long…