Your Right to Free Speech or My Right to Defense?
Here at Ready Lifestyle we fully support everyone’s right to free speech, just like we support everyone’s right to own firearms. These high school students should be encouraged to voice their opinions, it’s their right.
The sad thing is that they don’t care that they are trying to infringe on the rights of others.
Today, some students, teachers, and other Americans who share their views are walking out of classes across the country to call for limits on the right of free assembly. Wait, strike that. They’re walking out of classes to call for further restrictions on protections against unreasonable search and seizure. Nope, that’s not it either. Wait, I have it: they’re protesting for greater regulation of self-defense rights. Yup, there we go.
Of course, they’re exercising their free speech rights in the process, and that’s as it should be (although at least some of the kids have been conscripted into exercising somebody else’s free speech rights by school officials who expect that their charges will adhere to officially endorsed positions). After all, the exercise of individual rights shouldn’t be subject to popular opinion or debate.
That’s not to say that everybody is bound to share my concept of what makes government legitimate or illegitimate. But these are the principles that guide me and other people who roughly share my point of view. We really don’t consider our rights open to discussion. We don’t consider anybody’s rights open to discussion—not even when they’re exercising some rights to call for limiting others.
Where this lands us is that even if today’s protesters get their way and legislators vote to impose restrictions on gun ownership and self-defense, that doesn’t mean that those of us who value those rights will change our conduct. Statutes aren’t like the law of gravity—we get to choose whether we’re going to abide by them, or else actively oppose them and sabotage their enforcement. The laws will mostly be obeyed by people who agree with them and disobeyed by people who are either specifically committed to self-defense rights or who more broadly believe that their liberty isn’t open to challenge. I’ve argued elsewhere, only slightly jokingly, that tighter gun laws will leave libertarians better-armed than everybody else—because we’re not very likely to pay them much attention.
Where do you stand on this topic?
Do you support the people that speak out against your rights? Should they be silenced because they’re trying to restrict the rights of others? Let us know in the comments!