Goldberg examines liberals’ love for free speech … when it suits them

They might disagree over the relative merits of cats and dogs, but John Hood and Jonah Goldberg share similar views about the support for free speech among those on the political left. Hood discusses the topic in a recent Daily Journal. Goldberg shares his thoughts in the latest “Happy Warrior” column in National Review.

… [I]t raises an exasperating contradiction in how liberals talk about free speech. They claim to defend to the death the right of Americans to spout unreasonable things. This, of course, is something of a lie; I very much doubt Harvard would let students burn a Koran or stage Voltaire’s Mahomet. Yet when it comes to other kinds of extreme speech — boutique sex shows masquerading as transgressive assaults on the patriarchy, vitriolic denunciations of the U.S. military — this sort of unreasonable speech must be defended.

And here’s the thing: Many of the very same liberals go AWOL when the right to say reasonable things is questioned. You can always count on the ACLU to defend the Ku Klux Klan’s free-speech rights, or to ensure that Nazis’ liberty to march past Holocaust survivors remains unfettered. But where are they on Brendan Eich and his exile from Mozilla? The [Harvard President Drew Gilpin] Fausts are downright poetic about the need to protect, literally, Satanic speech. But ask them to stick their necks out to defend Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Charles Murray, Condoleezza Rice, or even IMF chief Christine Lagarde (just dumped as a speaker by Smith College), and then, suddenly, “balancing tests” between tolerance and free speech are rolled out like medieval siege engines intended to fend off any efforts by reasonable people to cross the moat.

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