1.19.2015

Freedom Of Speech ≠ Freedom From Consequence

Bill Maher: Liberals Who Protest Me Shouldn't Say 'Je Suis Charlie'

Comedian Bill Maher on Friday night bashed liberals who have protested his controversial comments on Islam, but now show solidarity with French magazine Charlie Hebdo.  
Maher referenced the students at University of California-Berkley who tried to keep him from giving the commencement speech last year, and criticized the efforts to suppress his viewpoint.

Sorry, Bill. Not so fast. Free speech means the government won’t arrest you for what you have to say. You know, like the French government did to Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

What free speech does not mean is that no one is allowed to disagree with you, or that people are not permitted to decide whether they wish to listen to you. They may also boycott your appearances and protest what you say – all without infringing on your right to freedom of expression.

As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from the consequences of that speech. Like it or not, one of those consequences may very well be that graduating university students decide they’d rather their money was not spent by their university to pay you to address their commencement ceremony. Or perhaps the consequences come in the form of getting canned from your TV show. 

Plenty of people appear not to like or agree with Bill Maher's opinions. No one, liberal or otherwise, has asserted that those opinions are illegal. 

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