. . . when I want. That’s a quote I heard one woman saying on TV. We Americans tend to think that this is so. Particularly 60’s generation and forward. That’s not really the way it works.
You cannot shout out fire in a public place, thereby endangering people. You cannot crash into a church and holler obscenity, or anything else that interrupts a service.
What it really comes to is that you can think anything you like, no matter how silly, stupid, contrary, ordinary, brilliant, or whatever. You may express that opinion in writing anywhere you can get it published and no one can stop you.
You can express your opinion anywhere you are not disrupting other’s lives. However, what so many people seem to miss is that if you are bloviating away others are also free to disagree with you and to also express same.
‘Taint stated in the Constitution or in law, but implied in the early thinking of the Founding Fathers is the notion that ordinary rules of human courtesy and civilized behavior would be the norm. If you watch most so-called debates on the boob-tube you see people interrupting each other, talking on top of each other, and refusing to let the opposing view have a say. Debate is not shouting down those who disagree with us. Proper debate means listening carefully and courteously to what the opposition has to say. Then speaking logically and rationally, answering the opposition’s points and raising points of your own view.
What you see mostly today is not debate, it is childish argument. People frequently do not discuss, they have an emotional investment in “being right” and “winning the argument”. If logic cannot persuade the opposition then they resort to rude behavior to try to win by browbeating. It might just be interesting to actually and politiely listen to each other. Too many times the shouting down is used so that opposing views cannot even be heard. This is usually a tactic often used by liberals, but it is not exclusive to them. Funny, I often hear libs go on about how they want “dialog” and are then the ones who will shout down anyone who disagrees with them.
Just as, within the proper place and time, you can express any view that you like, I can pay no attention to you or completely tune you out, or respond, or walk away. These are my free choices.
Also remember that the Founding Fathers tried their very best to form a government that would insure the maximum freedom with the maximum protection of us from ourselves. They almost succeeded, but not quite. Look at the current shenanigans of the anti-gun nuts. The Supreme (narrowly) actually ruled to support the Constitution and several city councils are still doing what they damn well please even though their laws are illegal. (New York, Chicago, DC and others). Remember Vox populi vox dei can best be translated as “My God! How did we get into this mess!” I think I stole that from Heinlein. If not, it is still muy true.