This post will be short. And though it may sound political, I assure you it is not.
As a writer, I am a staunch supporter and advocate of free speech. For me, it is the well-spring from which all other freedoms are drawn. Without it, I would not be able to create. Rather, I would have to conform to a prescribed format that fit the narrative of those who have decided for you and for me what may or may not be said and heard. Great stories would have never been told. Entire genres of literature would not exist. Music and art would be lifeless and uniform. But it goes deeper than the aesthetic.
Without free speech, there is no innovation. Science and technology are based on ideas and flights of fancy. And when minds are stifled and ideas controlled, the imagination required to turn mere concepts into world changing advances evaporates. There is no moon landing, cell phones, personal computers, internet, GPS, quantum mechanics, cosmology, medical breakthroughs, or any of the thousands of things we have come to depend upon and that make our lives both richer and longer.
It is a challenge to listen to speech you find repulsive and offensive. But if my right to free speech meant I had to listen attentively for an hour every day to someone who makes my blood boil and my skin crawl…I would suffer it gladly.