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Canceling Free Speech

Melissa Praemonitus

The culture of my childhood, and Michael’s, taught kids to be resilient. Public school principals suspended kids for physical fights, but verbal wars, bullying, and smear campaigns, which predated cyberbullying, were off-limits to formal punishment. Instead, we were counseled to remember that “words can never hurt”. Of course, that was a lie; words and even looks can certainly be painful, but the lesson was about stiffening your spine, understanding that no one could transform humanity to please each individual temperament and that Utopian ideals were an even more dangerous lie.

A corollary to this wisdom was the often-heard “it’s a free country,” and “people can say what they want”. Implicit was the understanding that anything spoken or written might be a lie, including the cruelest words. The message received by most kids, since we heard variations of these idioms nearly every day, was that we are all born with the ability to ignore slurs, or fight back, often with humor (I am rubber, you are glue, what you say bounces off me, and sticks to you!) and to always question what we were told. Most importantly, we learned that we were the captains of our destiny, despite our current condition.

The worn idea that humanity can be shaped and controlled by a central authority always lurks in the shadows, and the purveyors of that evil impulse fear free thought more than anything. Thus, woke teachers ensure we rarely hear children defend themselves with defiant phrases; today’s woke leaders prefer tattletales, victimhood, and compliance from children and adults alike.

Without learned personal resilience, free speech becomes intolerable, without free speech, the bullies take over permanently.

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