web analytics


What is free speech, when it is not free to do harm?

In a more appeasing expression of the same, what good can free speech be or do when it is harmless? The adjective “free” denotes an attribute of speech, not a condition of it.

When we dare impose conditions on ‘speech’ or accept, in any context conditional speech, it is not ‘free’. It is in need of liberation of and from those whose very existence is conditional or a condition of quieting or silencing not just the physiological act of speech, the words spoken but the truth or untruth signified by the utterance of a signifier or an amalgamation of signifiers.

‘Free speech’ is not what it allows us to say about ourselves or others. It is that we can say it, write it, paint it, shout it and if necessary shut it up inside ourselves to protest places and spaces that do not allow it and above all to profane those persons whose private or public existence requires secrecy and silence.

When that which in-part distinguishes us from mere gregarious animals is denied, what use are opposable thumbs to our human being if we do not use them to physically oppose those who adjudicate ‘free speech’ in terms of individual self-interest?

‘Speech’ is but the first causality of a lost ‘freedom to speak’. Its rotten corpse reduces our thoughts to a disease confined to lifeless bodies that left to time degenerates our thinking and reduces our minds to the means and instruments of others. We do not live so that we can speak freely; we speak freely so that we can live and realize our human being in a free association with other human beings.

We speak freely, not to say what is heard but to be heard saying what we think, what we have on our minds, what we have in our hearts, whether you want to listen to it or not and regardless of whether or not you like what is said.

When we speak freely, we are birthing the first cry of an experience of community, an interest of the public and the plural implied by ‘we’ because without the relations and relationships that we each have to each other, you and I would not have anything to say, let alone the ability to say it nor each other to say it to or about.

To say that we will die to preserve, protect and defend ‘free speech’ is not worth the sounding of an echo if it is not in action preceding the denial of ‘free speech’. The only thing worse than a denial of free speech is when we without resistance or if necessary a fight to a deafening silence, place our hands over our ears, close our eyes or shut our mouths when told.

A lack of disobedience in the first instance of a request for your silence, for whatever reason is a surrender of ‘free speech’ without a fight. Rigor mortis takes hold of your thoughts, making them difficult to manipulate in thought processes now useless because they can no longer be considered thinking. Instead, you believe what you are told, do what you are told and told what you are doing. You are told that the silence falling around you is not a silencing of you or a need for you to speak up! Here, if you fell yourself to silence, you have failed us all.

Nous Sommes Charlie

The principal at Hunter College High School quit under pressure after a graduation speech by Justin Hudson criticized admissions.


Amos Yee: YouTube Star, Teen-Ager, Dissident


Curriculum Vitae

Tom L. States PhD Candidate

Fields of Interest: Political Theory, International Relations, Marxist Political Economy

Research Topic: eRacism - Conflicts of Difference

Education History: Williams College, BA Political Science; New York University, MA Politics; York University PhD Candidate

Languages: English, German

Hometown: Greenwood, Mississippi

Words of Wisdom: “IT” is what you are when you are young. Your youth mistakes certainty of the few things that you think you know for knowledge of things that it takes a life time to understand. With time and a few life experiences “IT” becomes the thing you pursue to give your life meaning. Somewhere along the way of having or getting “IT” you ask yourself, ‘Is this “IT”? Panic sets in when you realize that “IT” is your life. Fear and insecurity is that feeling you get when “IT” has not been worth a life time.


Harvey, David. Justice, Nature, and the Geography of Difference. New York: Longman, 1996.

Fanon, Frantz. Black Skin White Masks. Trans. Charles Lam Markmann. New York: Grove Press. 1967.

Cancian, Francesca M. Gender Politics: Love and Power in the Private and Public Spheres. Gender and the Life Course. Ed. Alice S. Rossi. New York: Aldine, 1985.

Sand, Shlomo. The Invention of the Jewish People. New York: Verso, 2009.

Lay, Shawn. The Invisible Empire In The West: Toward a New Historical Appraisal of the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920's. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2004.


Carothers, Thomas. Think Again: Civil Society. Foreign Policy Date, (Winter: 1999-2000).

Ober, Josiah. The original meaning of "democracy": Capacity to do things, not majority rule. Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics. American Political Science Association meetings, Philadelphia, (2006).