David E. Weekly's Website

On Free Speech

March 21, 2008

A post of mine from a recent email thread on why a co-op should continue to host a server with arguably distasteful but legal content:

“I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Those who believe in the power of free speech do not believe in the excellence of each speech, but in the excellence of the collective understanding that results. Each one of us has truths and falsities and we must together thresh the false ideas from the wise. Even wise men can be foolish and even fools may be privy to wisdom. So we must consider each speech on its own merits and not mute anyone or raise some other up on a special pedestal of infallibility. This perspective compels us to permit the submission of all ideas to the judgment of mankind. And if we are all separably and collectively wise in these things, devising best we can lies from knowledge, we shall thrive as a species, acting on all the best data available to us.

In this capacity have our servers been home to churches, governments, anarchists, junior republicans, UFO conspiracy theorists, strip clubs, libraries, political candidates, sex parties, kindergarden teachers, reading groups, carpentry shops, and multinational corporations. We welcome all(*).

– David

(*) Needless to say, the in-person user meetings could get awkward.

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