Please let’s not trade free speech for riots

An op-ed in the LA Times argues that movies attacking Islam are not protected by the First Amendment because they are inciting violence. The author claims several experts share her view.

This view would be the death of free speech. No one suggests that the movie in question called for violence. She argues that the speech becomes unprotected because other parties might become offended and riot over it.

Thus, free speech remains protected only to the extent that no one opposes it. Once someone opposes it (enough to riot), it’s no longer protected. It’s not hard to see where this incentive will lead us: no free speech but lots of riots.

(Via the Corner.)

UPDATE: William Jacobson: Empowering people who start fires to define freedom of speech is how freedom of speech dies.

(Previous post.)

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