Free speech. It is the basis of what America was founded on: the right to be who you are and say whatever you like. The first settlers came to America with the intent of escaping the harsh religious binds of their old countries. They had a desire to be who they really were, and practice what they truly believed in. This meant they could say whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, without fear of backlash.
This idea holds true to this day. With current “Social Justice Warrior” and leftist trends, free speech has become a matter of controversy. SJW’s uphold a belief that if your opinion does not match theirs, it constitutes as “hate speech.” But, in actuality, is there such thing as hate speech? In simple terms, it’s an expression of hatred. It poses no real danger to anyone, unlike threats. For example, hate speech would be “I hate white people.” Although it is offensive, there is no real harm being done. Feelings do not substantiate a reason to silence someone, contrary to what people nowadays believe.
In Canada, there is a law prohibiting speech that promotes “hate propaganda.” Hate propaganda is defined as, “any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide or the communication of which by any person would constitute an offence under section 319.” This definition is very vague. With the sensitivity of many people these days, anything can be twisted to fit their agenda. “The communication of which any person would constitute an offence,” is perhaps the most vague of all of this. Misgendering someone is considered offensive – would this be a crime worthy of imprisonment or a fine? No, I don’t believe so.
Free speech, in essence, is the right to have an opinion. Without free speech, opinions would be titled toward one side of the scale and it would set the whole country off balance. The balance of power and the difference in opinion is what keeps the country up and running. Taking away a specific group’s right to express their opinion would leave to an almost dictatorship-like country. If you hear an opinion you don’t like, my best advice is to just listen and respect, or debate if you please. But do not attempt to take away their right to speak.