I said on Twitter last month that “The best poster boys for #FreeSpeech are the most obnoxious ones. That is how we test whether we are truly committed to our ideals.” While that is true, many people have a poor understanding of free speech and censorship, and have no idea how to properly use free speech and defend the right to free speech.
Specifically, just because you have the right to free speech does not mean you need to be an obnoxious jerk. One can make a point about why war is bad without posting a meme with pictures of flag-draped coffins and the text “play stupid games – win stupid prizes.” There is no need to mock the pain of grieving military families, as Liberty Memes did on Facebook and then defended the meme with an especially pretentious, haughty post about right-wing hypocrisy.
Yes, you have the right to free speech, but the fact that you get an angry reaction does not mean that your “free speech” rights are being violated. When you intentionally troll people to get an angry response, you are not allowed to clutch your pearls when you get the exact response you wanted. It is called “being an adult.”
Now, to be fair, Liberty Memes does have a good point about the hypocrisy of many on the right on free speech. Far too many conservatives are willing to grab pitchforks and torches to join a social media lynch mob whenever their sacred cows are skewered. If we believe in free speech and we are truly appalled when Leftists try to ruin someone’s life over one silly social media post, then we must believe in free speech for things we find offensive. It is reasonable to point out that hypocrisy, but not every angry reaction to intentional trolling is an attack on free speech.