There are a lot of people who seem to understand that without free speech, you can't have other freedoms. Without the freedom to say what you want you cannot really be free.
If you are always worried about what you are going to say, that you may be prosecuted for having "unacceptable" or unpopular thoughts, then you are de facto, living under tyranny no matter what system of governance you allegedly live under.
Americans are so incredibly lucky to have the First Amendment. It is truly one of the most glorious human-created policies and guarantees ever in human history, and it is worth fighting for.
There has already been way too much intellectual and philosophical freedom ceded to the political left all over the world, including in America and don't get me started on Canada.
Eternal vigilance on free speech is required and everyone living in a free society has a responsibility and an obligation to do what they can (not what they can't) to guarantee this freedom.
As I've said on previous occasions, that may be as simple as telling a joke, or not hiding your opinion. It sure as hell means not putting your head down and thinking that "they" will just leave you alone.
Yes it does mean taking a risk, or taking several, but yes it is worth it.
Some food for thought on this theme:
Berkely has been hit with a lawsuit over the Ann Coulter lecture.
This via the great Instapundit who rightly says that when punched by these thugs, you have to punch back twice as hard.
Kurt Schlichter (who is truly on a roll lately) has another excellent column up on Townhall, this one discussing free speech specifically:
"Look, the left has told us what it wants – the power to force us to be silent and submit. That’s not wacky supposition; that’s not fevered imagination. They are open about their agenda, and it’s happening before our eyes. To pretend that our republic is not facing an existential threat from progressives who would use violence to silence their political opponents is to willfully ignore the evidence, just like a climate cultist ignores cold weather. And the violence has already begun: in fact, it is key to their plan for a free speech-free future. Today it’s gangs of masked thugs attacking us. Tomorrow, it’s uniformed men with guns – or at least those few spineless cowards among our security forces will ignore their oaths to defend the Constitution in exchange for a paycheck and a pension – dragging us off to jail for illegal speech. Or worse."
"We patriots face a stark choice. We could choose the easy path of submission and hope that the left will leave us be if we just give in to their demands and give up on our right to participate in our own governance. But that won’t ever work – the true joy of leftism comes from imposing the leftists’ collective will upon its designated villains, and one guess as to the identity of those designated villains."
"No, they don’t want to leave us alone – that misses the whole point of being a leftist. A leftist yearns to be the one doing the bullying and dominating. If we give in, we will spend the rest of our lives with their soft, girly hands around our necks."
"And if we are so gutless as to give up our God-given rights in exchange for “peace,” we deserve that pathetic, dishonorable fate."
Lastly, you can read Professor Glenn Reynold's take on Howard Dean's alleged constitutional illiteracy.
It's an excellent piece, but I disagree that Dean is a constitutional illiterate.
I think he is well aware of the contents of the Constitution. I am sure he is well aware that there is no "hate speech exception" in the Constitution. So why go public with such a nonsensical contention?
I think that leftists like Dean cannot help but project their fantastical and tyrannical wet dreams onto reality. They couldn't care less that their proclamations are pure lies.
They float out these trial balloons from time to time and see what happens and to play to their base. They know that many people are completely illiterate and will not take the time to actually read the documents themselves or do any research. They are fanning the flames of tyranny with flat out lies, and pouring intellectual gasoline on the pyre of freedom.
After making these astonishing "ignorant" whopper statements, Dean and his ilk get the predictable and deserved whomping from conservatives and textual Constitutionalists and originalists, but they don't care because basically their purpose was to get publicity for their ideas and also "confirm" to the swarming, thug masses that there is, indeed a "hate speech" exception.
Of course they cannot be shamed because you can't shame the shameless.
These are very sinister folks, who want to own your souls.
And they will if you let them.