“You’re violating my freedom of speech!”
This statement is often heard from people who have no idea whatsoever what they are talking about.
The 1st Amendment prohibits Congress from taking away your freedom of speech. That’s why they can’t pass a law censoring your views or punishing you for speaking your mind. There is absolutely no way an individual citizen can take away your 1st Amendment rights. Only the government can do that.
So you have freedom of speech. That doesn’t mean you have the right to spout out whatever you want without being criticized.
The people who argue this usually are just upset that someone has disagreed with them. Well, sorry, my freedom of speech means that I can do that, too, you know.
This came up today when some conservatives recited the inane “freedom of speech” mantra after liberals were writing to the Washington Post to complain about Charles Krauthammer’s latest column. You see, Charlie boy was complaining about climate change — which he denies — and whining that people were trying to silence the dissenters. When people who understand science complained and suggested that having him say such stupid things in a respected newspaper was like having an Flat Earther pen an op-ed column — and that maybe it might be a good idea for the Washington Post to not print lies about climate change — this was seen as proof of what Charlie said. See? They want to violate his freedom of speech!
Freedom of speech does not guarantee you an audience. You don’t have the right to be in the Washington Post. People have the right to complain about your column, and if you think that is wrong, then you clearly don’t understand what freedom of speech is about in the slightest.
Somehow, conservatives who boycott advertisers, yell at politicians to prevent them from speaking, and fight to censor books from school libraries that teach evil things like science never seem to think that they are “violating someone’s freedom of speech” do they?