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Why Does the Right Want to Silence Free Speech?


Shorter Ann Althouse: “Political protest should be stamped out by the state if it offends my exceedingly delicate aesthetic sensibilities.”

Alas, she makes no attempt to square this position with her recent arguments that principles of “free speech” mean that conservative commentators should have permanent vested rights to Fox News sinecures. Well, “IOKIYAR” is a kind of principle, I guess.

…lots of good comments. To make my point clear, the silly hypothetical that Althouse and her husband are so inexplicably proud of has two obvious defects — hence, the viewpoint discrimination “problem” vanishes when we abandon her faulty premises. First, as with many slippery slope arguments, the empirical assumptions are implausible; I think it’s highly unlikely that similar protests will occur with significant frequency. But as the shorter implies, we don’t even need to address the empirical issue, because the alleged harms of her far-fetched worst-case scenario are stupefyingly trivial: “The Capitol has for years and years been a solemn place. For 25 years, I have brought visitors there and walked slowly through the beautiful spaces looking at the different colored and patterned marble on the walls and gazing with awe up into the dome.” So what? Between “speech” and “allowing the capitol to be a sufficiently sterile prop for Ann Althouse’s guided tours” I’ll choose the former, thanks.

For further reading, I recommend William Douglas’s classic dissent in Adderly v. Florida.

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