This is an important article in which Glenn Greenwald, the founder of The Intercept presents a series of interactions he had with the organization’s editors before he decided to resign.
We do have a freedom of speech problem in this country and it is not solely a right-wing problem. There are far too many on the left and in-between who want to find reasons to prevent those with whom they disagree–often for very good reason–speak claiming that such speech is dangerous.
What is dangerous about dangerous speech is the intelligence/thinking ability of those who hear it and believe it and act upon it. To stop anyone from speaking is to censor and when censorship comes into play, is allowed, to prevent speech of any kind, there is a profound danger that its use will be allowed to widen, censors of some kind making decisions as to what will be heard and what will not be.
Free speech is free only when there are no censors. Allowing censors of any kind make “fair” censors of all kinds.
Free speech is a dangerous proposition and it is, perhaps, the proposition most essential to free society and meaningful democracy. As the Declaration discusses, “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind” so necessary a feature of a humane society that the King’s unwillingness to demonstrate such respect is reason enough to declare independence.
I hate much speech that I hear because it is hateful speech. I detest lies and too much of the speech I hear is from liars lying to do harm to others in order to get what they want for themselves. I would like for them to shut up but I cannot support anyone who would try to shut them up. The onus is on he or she who hears to decide how to take and act upon what is said by any other in a free society.
I sometimes wish Glenn would not say what he does. I wish this because what he says sometimes do damage to causes I support. He does this, way too often, by telling the truth, truth that I would like to not be true but which is. I also know of lies that I make true because they serve my causes.
It hurts to be honest and it often hurts to listen to what is being said. I cannot see how there can be freedom without tolerating the pain caused because freedom, in good part, places the responsibility for sorting out what is good and true from what is bad and untrue. THAT IS WHAT SCHOOLS IN A PROPER DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY SERVE TO HELP CITIZENS LEARN HOW TO DO.
Thank you Glenn for saying what needs to be said. I greatly appreciate your being such an effective pain in the ass.