As I have previously discussed, people create all governments. If there were no people, there would be no governments. People create governments by delegating some of their rights to the government so the government can act on their behalf to exercise their rights. As such, governments can never have any greater rights than are held by the people who delegate their rights to the government. Indeed, as I have repeatedly stated, the government should never be allowed to violate the 3L Legal Principle.

We have good reasons to be concerned about the concept of government. This concern is why we insist on the separation of powers between the legislative, executive, and judicial functions. We also insist on various checks and balances among the three distinct branches. Whatever government does, we demand it affords due process as it acts. There is appropriately no such requirement for private citizens or companies unless they contract for these provisions. We properly restrict the government from discriminating based on a variety of different reasons. We promulgate these rules to restrain the government from exceeding its authority and treating people differently. However, as discussed in chapter eight, because people with agendas to expand the powers of government are creatively interpreting these provisions, the government has not been restrained.

As with these concepts, the issue of freedom of speech is only relevant to a discussion about what the government is authorized to do. Laws regarding freedom of speech restrain only the government. As such, the “right” to freedom of speech is enforceable only against the government. There is simply no right to freedom of speech on the private property of others or private internet platforms.

Private property owners are entitled to be the iron-fisted dictators of their property. They decide who may enter or use their private property and how they must act, or what they are allowed to say or not say while they remain. Private homeowners and businesses of all types retain an absolute right to ban any speech for any reason, even if you strongly disapprove of their decisions. Each of us enters or uses the private property of others subject to their rules, including the right to ban all aspects of speech, including unreasonable, unfair, or foolish content-based restrictions.

Of course, issues can and do arise regarding determining what is private or public. Given that we now have government wrongfully issuing special privileges and immunities to favored private corporations, the line between private and public is not always clear. To resolve this issue, terminate all such special privileges and immunities because they violate the 3L Legal Principle. We should be extremely hesitant about attempting to redesignate private companies as public ones. The market of consumers should decide to reward or punish private companies that opt for unreasonable, unfair, or foolish rules in this area.

The right to speak and think freely is at the core of a free society and world. A free society does not exist when the government censors the content of speech. Most civilized people generally agree with the idea of speech free from government censorship until they hear speech with which they disagree or personally find offensive. There is no need to defend the right of a person to say something with which most people agree. As I have previously stated, opportunities to protect the right to free speech exist only in cases where the speaker is uttering some hugely unpopular, or even horribly offensive, speech. Unfortunately, this reality usually places the defender of free speech in the position of defending the free speech rights of some racist, sexist, or another similarly ignorant or mean-spirited person with horrible ideas.

Fortunately, the United States, and many other civilized countries, have a long history and tradition of defending unpopular or offensive speech.xix This is the price we must pay for a free society and world. Honorably protecting the indispensable right to speech free from government censorship, including the most unpopular or offensive speech, is entirely unrelated to agreeing with the content of what is said. Civilized people must always remain aware of the critical difference between the two concepts. One can, and should, defend the right of a white supremacist to spew some horrible hate speech free from government censorship so long as the speaker is not violating any aspect of the 3L Legal Principle. As I have previously stated, this is the highest expression of a person truly committed to free speech. This commitment to defending the right to offensive speech is the heavy lifting of the person genuinely committed to a free world.

It is important to note that nobody has a right not to be offended by the mere speech of others. Merely offending another person solely by uttering words never violates the 3L Legal Principle. There are many ways to discredit or ignore offensive speech peacefully. Passing laws to outlaw speech we find appalling results in violating the 3L Legal Principle. However, because offensive speech does not violate the 3L Legal Principle does not mean offensive speech should be encouraged or even permitted on private property. There is no doubt speech can be used to violate the 3L Moral Principle. Civility, tolerance, and voluntary kindness towards others remain aspirational values for both the 3LM and the person committed to being the best human possible.

For the person genuinely committed to the 3LP, some hard questions exist involving whether certain types of speech violate the 3L Legal Principle. For example, it is appropriate to ban speech to the extent speech is used to perpetrate fraud or coercion. Reasonable minds can disagree about whether mere speech employed to birth a conspiracy to intentionally violate the 3L Legal Principle, such as a conspiracy to commit murder, is appropriately prohibited. Typically, some overt act in addition to mere speech is required. Where exactly hostile speech crosses the line into the crime of “disorderly conduct” is also a matter of some reasonable debate. Speech intended to inspire others to imminently violate the 3L Legal Principle by inciting a riot has also previously been held not to be protected speech under certain circumstances.xx This makes sense to the extent such speech actually creates a substantial and imminent risk of initiating force against others.

Additionally, there exist other aspects of speech that by themselves can violate the 3L Legal Principle. As an example, a person making a loud speech at 3 am using amplified sound in the middle of a quiet populated neighborhood violates the 3L Legal Principle because of the unreasonable trespass of sound. Non-content-based restrictions, often called “time, place, or manner restrictions,” are appropriately employed to prevent people from violating the 3L Legal Principle when speaking.

As with many difficult or complex issues, a bright line, clear-cut, one-size-fits-all approach is often too simple. That there exist some complex cases at the edges does not overthrow the underlying principle. However, the basic principle holds that we ought to strictly protect the rights of people to say whatever they want, free from government censorship, so long as they do not violate the 3L Legal Principle.

A free and open marketplace of ideas is the best way for good ideas to gain popularity while exposing the flaws in bad ideas for all to consider and reject. While we should be proud of legally tolerating even the most offensive speech, we should enthusiastically, rationally, and peacefully challenge and counter such offensive speech wherever and whenever it occurs. We should recall that phrase we were all taught in kindergarten, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” At its core, this phrase reasonably well describes the position of the person committed to the 3LP.