Free Speech and Love (EP.66)

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Summary

What is the connection between free speech and love? This one is pretty easy. Let’s start with the love part. It is easy to love people who are loveable. We don’t need to be encouraged or told to do that; it just comes easily and naturally. It is harder to love people we merely tolerate. And what’s this about loving our enemies? The admonition, the encouragement, to love one another is not focused on loving the loveable, it is focused on loving the unlovable.

It is the same with free speech. Embracing free speech is not about accepting or allowing speech you agree with. Like loving the lovable, that is easy and comes naturally, needing neither laws nor encouragement. The law and the moral correctness behind the concept of free speech is focused on speech we might violently disagree with.

Links and References

Tolerance

Offense is in the Eye of the Offended

Contact

Please do reach out with comments or questions.  You can email me at will@resultswithreason.com, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Transcript

What is the connection between free speech and love? This one is pretty easy. Let’s start with the love part. It is easy to love people who are loveable. We don’t need to be encouraged or told to do that; it just comes easily and naturally. It is harder to love people we merely tolerate. And what’s this about loving our enemies? The admonition, the encouragement, to love one another is not focused on loving the loveable, it is focused on loving the unlovable.

It is the same with free speech. Embracing free speech is not about accepting or allowing speech you agree with. Like loving the lovable, that is easy and comes naturally, needing neither laws nor encouragement. The law and the moral correctness behind the concept of free speech is focused on speech we might strongly disagree with.

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire. Instead of being willing to defend to the death others’ free speech rights, we we are drifting towards wanting to put to death the ones with whom we disagree who are exercising those very free speech rights.

The First Amendment goes far beyond the pivotal guarantee of freedom of speech. It also includes freedom of religion, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. And having all five of these in the same amendment is not an accident; they go together. Notice how many people and groups want to cherry pick; they want, for example, the right to assemble, peaceably or not, often while squashing others’ free speech rights in the name of their view of “justice.” Might it occur to them there can be no justice while squashing other peoples’ rights? Perhaps the chant, “No justice, no peace.” might help make this point.

Let’s go back to tying free speech and love. Of the two greatest commandments in the bible, the second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” No, this is not a bible lesson, but pay attention; you can be secular and still get tremendous benefits from the wisdom contained in a variety of sources. The bible is one of those sources. Note the word “as”. Love your neighbor as yourself. This command does not allow for much wiggle room, “as yourself” means just that. Love yourself and your neighbors equally. No qualifications about loving the many different types of neighbors differently.

All five parts of the First Amendment, including free speech, are similarly broad. Yes, these freedoms are for us to enjoy. And with every freedom comes an equal or greater responsibility. One of our responsibilities is to ensure these same freedoms are there for all others to enjoy. All. Like ‘em or hate ‘em; embrace them, or barely tolerate them. Allow those you hate free speech, love your enemies. Allow those you hate to peacefully enjoy opinions, restaurants and their homes. (And who knows, we might even learn something from those others.) Perhaps in another podcast we’ll deal with the cancer called hate, both when we hate and when we accuse others of being haters. “It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things works. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.” Confucius. (Another good source of wisdom.)

Today’s key points:

  1. 1st Amendment is needed only when it is hard. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire.
  2. The commandment to love all others is needed only because so many of us are unloveable. Love anyway. “Love means to love that which is unlovable, or it is no virtue at all.” G. K. Chesterton

Let’s apply the two Results With Reason main tenets to today’s issues. The two main tenets that we believe in at Results With Reason are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper.

Today’s application is again straightforward:

  1. Personal Responsibility. Engage in the political conversation. Talk to people about what the priorities are and why they need to get involved. Show them love and trust as you do.
  2. Be your Brother’s Keeper. Be patient with each other; some will understand what you saying immediately, others will not. Teach and encourage; don’t criticize and reject. Love and lead. Remember, we are all in this together.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. We need to act.  And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
Will Luden
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2 Responses

  1. rick Reply

    Thank you Will.

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