WILSON’S LOCAL PRINT AND DIGITAL COMMUNITY INSTITUTION SINCE 1896

When it comes to free speech, don’t settle for ‘Liberty Lite’

Posted 12/2/19

This is certainly a time of year when we all would do well to utilize the word” lite,” in our diets, though unfortunately it has pervaded our lives when attached to the word “liberty.” …

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When it comes to free speech, don’t settle for ‘Liberty Lite’

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Posted

This is certainly a time of year when we all would do well to utilize the word” lite,” in our diets, though unfortunately it has pervaded our lives when attached to the word “liberty.” Increasingly we are bombarded with news headlines highlighting the words “racism,” “hate speech,” “right wing,” “sexist,” “homophobe,” etc., as if the powers that be have sent judgment from their thrones upon us. Your neighbors, co-workers, friends and family are timid to speak openly as they are uncertain as to who they might “offend.”

Is it not a right to have an opinion? Is it not a right to lead your life and conduct your business as one sees fit? Are these not inherent with “liberty?”

Our beginnings started with those seeking to get away from the overbearing lords of the old world and set out risking life and limb to begin a better way on their own. The concept of “live and let live” was a common view of how one conducted himself or herself in public. This concept seems to be fading, or worse yet, has already faded away from today’s society. We are supposed to be living in freedom and liberty, though in reality it seems to be a scaled-back version — “liberty lite.”

If you jog your memory, you can probably remember hearing,” I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend your right to say it.” In a lifetime, we have turned away from such expressions to being controlled by an underlayer of society who does not allow you to speak your mind.

We would do well to remember a quote from George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

Jonathan Varnell

Elm City

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