It is like that where I grew up in the Midwest, too. Knowing that there will likely be immediate physical consequences for inflammatory speech is a great way to limit that kind of behavior. Unless, of course, it's Saturday night and you're mildly drunk and looking for a fight.
That's not free speech. That's silencing what you don't like with violence.
I'm not advocating public violence to limit speech or "de-platform" people. We have too much of that already. Rather, the point was to contrast the kinds of things people will say online that they would probably not say in person.
it's also a great way to limit unpopular political speech and marginalized people taking up public space. "gay bashing", for example, is still a thing that happens to some of my friends.
unless we can count on people to only administer beatings to the right folks, i don't really see how you can have it both ways.
It's also a great way to defend unpopular political speech and marginalized people. The civil rights and gay rights movements used the same means of inflicting social and physical consequences against the status quo that its defenders used to defend it.
Speech doesn't exist in a vacuum completely separate from the universe of physical consequence, it never has.
They're not my ideas, and they don't benefit only those in power. If that were true, no protest, union or revolutionary movement of any kind would ever have been successful. The paradox of tolerance is a real thing.