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Freedom of speech is the social process that works because ideas can be aired and then opposed or supported. Free conversations are where extremes can be moderated. Driving ideas or words underground where they cannot be easily heard or clearly countered is a path to authoritarianism.



Your argument is not very meaningful because freedom of speech means something very different in the US and in, say, France, and both of these different things can be said to "work well". I, too, agree that freedom of speech is very important, but can have a completely different opinion on whether 8chan should be shut down, because what I mean by freedom of speech is different from what you mean, and I believe neither of us means the freedom to say anything, at any place, in any medium, and in any time or circumstance. We just differ on the degree to which we limit that freedom, or whose freedoms we value.

Any freedom is some compromise. If a society has two people or more, then either one person is allowed to, say, enslave the other, in which case the society isn't totally free, or not, in which case the society also isn't totally free. So there is no such thing as absolute freedom, and whenever we say freedom we actually mean some point on a spectrum. We could argue over what that reasonable point is, but absolute freedom is something that can't exist. So instead of speaking in absolutes, let's acknowledge that we're arguing over a favorite compromise.




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