This article discusses an excellent example of something that’s been on my mind a lot lately: people don’t understand how the “freedom of speech” actually works. One related phenomenon not mentioned in this article is people making unbelievably judgmental statements and, upon being called out on it, immediately responding with, “It’s just my opinion!”
Do people think these phrases act like Super Star powerup in Mario Bros. and make you invincible from ever being wrong? Someone pointing out that you’re being a bigot does not infringe on your sacred freedom of speech. Rather, it is merely that person exercising their freedom of speech. And the fact that something is an “opinion” does not mean it is immune from the standards of common decency.
The freedom of speech absolutely gives you the right to make stupid, bigoted statements. It does not guarantee that people will listen to you. It does not guarantee that you won’t be challenged. And it does not guarantee that there won’t be consequences for what you say.
So if you spout a bunch of hateful propaganda about racial minorities, queer people, immigrants, or just people you don’t agree with in general, am I going to say that I think you should shut up? Yeah, probably.
But it’s just my opinion.