Aaron Sorkin wrote..
"You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
Although this is an idealistic approach to the concept of free speech - the important thing to note here, is that you cant have it both ways.
Holocaust Deniers, Nazi's, Fascists, Communists and their rhetoric must see the light of day, lest our voices be silenced as well.
During the McCarthy era, Arthur Miller may have testified again fellow playwrights in the House Un-American Activites Committee, but his experiences of testifying resulted in his play around the Salem witch trials: The Crucible. In the 1930's many innocent Americans were blacklisted, simply because of their political beliefs. The hardships endured by being tarnished a communist were not bourne just by the accused, but those who associated or helped them survive as well.
Many may think we have come a long way since those times, but it is important to remember that if everyone who tells you how to think, is removing a key human right.
We all have a right to take in our world, and decide our own beliefs. These beliefs will be tempered by our friends and surroundings. Our logic may be flawed, and we may often be wrong, and we may change our minds as we walk through our lives. The important fact is - these ideas develop from our freedom of thought. It is important not to sign away this right simply because we don't like what we are hearing from those around us.
As soon as we lose the right to say what we want, we simply become what someone else wants us to be - then all is truly lost. You may not agree with me, but at least you have a choice.
Good night - and good luck Paul Henry.