Shut Up and Respect My Freedom of Speech

On Friday, James Taranto had a good comment concerning the situation in Berkeley. Activists want the Marines out. Here’s the post:

Shut Up and Respect My Freedom of Speech
San Jose’s KNTV reports that the City Council of Berkeley, Calif., at its Tuesday meeting will consider backing down from its resolution denouncing the U.S. Marines, which have a recruiting center in Berkeley, as “uninvited and unwelcome intruders.” This comes in the face of an effort by Republican senators to cut off $2.3 million in federal money for Berkeley. On this question, Sen. Barbara Boxer is siding against the Marines.

The station reports that one left-wing activist doesn’t quite understand the concept of free speech:

Code Pink announced they would have what they called a “24-hour peace-in” leading up to Tuesday’s city council meeting. They will be camping out but will have a lot of company. A group of pro-troop protesters will also be there.

“I was under the impression that we have the right of free speech,” said Xanne Joi of Code Pink. “To me, I thought free speech meant you get to say what you want without recrimination.”

In fact, free speech is reciprocal. Xanne Joi has the right to criminate, but the rest of us have a right to recriminate. It’s remarkable how many on the left think their free speech rights are violated when they are criticized–that is, when others exercise their free speech rights.

He’s right on of course, way-left liberals often bring this argument up. Of course they have a right to free speech, but others must be shut out. Let’s not forget the Fairness Doctrine.

One other thing about free speech, if you expect to have the right to speak in public – on the street, online or in print – you best be willing to tell us who you are. That’s the beauty of true free speech, you’re less likely to say something really stupid if others know who you are.