Breaking Glass

A Modest Proposal for Speech Control

Can we be adult about this?  Can we finally say publicly what so many people believe privately—namely, that the whole Bill of Rights thing was a nice idea in its day, but it’s time to move on?

Now, before you take offense, let’s think practically about this.  Yes, the Bill of Rights has all these noble sentiments about freedom of speech and writing, but that was all written in a simpler age.  And let’s be charitable about this: These words were penned by ethereal idealists, by people lacking our hard-won practical wisdom.  What did they know about violence and conflict, oppression and injustice?  They just did not understand the horrible abuses committed in the name of free speech.

Of course, most people who exercise that right do so responsibly, and in doing so, even contribute to social well-being.  But just think of the exceptions we so often read about in the headlines!  At the lowest level of speech abuse, we are dealing with verbal bullying and harassment, the hurtful use of demeaning words, and the spread of false and malicious information, often concerning respected public figures.  Infinitely more pernicious are the unregulated words that lead to incitement, and the promotion of hatred, sexism, and racism.  Those Founding Fathers might have seen nothing wrong with all this, but I hope we know better today.


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