Manners Should not be an Issue of Law

Supreme Court Considers Westboro Baptist Church Protest Of Military Funerals

Some people try to make a distinction between free speech and hurtful speech. It’s still a matter of popular speech vs. unpopular speech, because the majority are the ones deciding if speech is hateful or not. This is clearly what happened in states where the Westboro Baptist Church was banned from protesting at funerals, while the majority was free to say hurtful things about the Westboro Church.

Unpopular speech is what the first amendment is there to protect, because popular speech is self-protecting. Imagine if DC ever tried to ban something as popular as the Bible, there would be a heavily armed group of millions on their steps the next day.

The less popular a view is, the more likely it is someone will try (and succeed) in having it banned. The core moral value of free speech protection is in protecting speech the majority finds repugnant. For free speech to have any real value, it has to include unpopular speech.

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