Defend freedom of speech or lose it

Phil Weigel


If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve probably seen this phrase thrown about: “it’s not censorship if the government doesn’t do it.”

This is not only wrong, but it’s extremely dishonest.

The First Amendment does say “congress shall make no law abridging… speech,” which is true, but the problem is, people see that and think “the government gives you freedom of speech” when that’s not true. There is no law anywhere in U.S. law that says “the citizens have free speech.” Instead, the law says “the government cannot restrict your freedom of speech.”

While that doesn’t seem like much, it is a huge distinction. If you believe the first explanation, then of course only the government can restrict what you say. However, if you believe the second statement, which is the truth, then the fact is, your freedom of speech is a natural right, not a government granted one.

Freedom of Speech is not a law that only the government can infringe upon, it’s is an ideal. One that we should all try hard to uphold.

For when we do not defend Freedom of Speech for all, we lose Freedom of Speech for ourselves.