This may be the single most important, fundamental concept that sets the U.S.A apart from everywhere else. Even in other cultures that endorse freedom of speech, I don’t think anyone carries it quite as far as we do.
Modern stand up comedy is a good example. Try and find examples of stand up anywhere in the world that’s even remotely as transgressive as what you can find on stage on any given night in any given comedy club in America. Good luck – ‘cuz I don’t think they exist.
But here’s the caveat: Free speech is for everybody. That means you are going to hear a whole lot of shit that’s going to make you very uncomfortable, stuff you may even think that no one should be able to say. But you sir, or madam, would be very wrong.
Because censorship is of course the antithesis of free speech. You don’t have to listen to everything out there, but you do have to allow opposing viewpoints, even if you think they are wrong and abhorrent. I am not talking about hate speech or inciting violence – this is not allowed and we have laws condemning it. But I am talking about what you may think are bad, perhaps even immoral and ignorant ideas.
‘Cuz here’s how this works: Bad ideas are countered and exposed by good ideas. The eloquence, charisma, and veracity of the person espousing the good ideas will of course go a long way toward their influence on those holding opposing viewpoints, like most things in life, it’s not fair, but that’s unfortunately just how this shit works.
So grow some balls, allow yourself to be vulnerable (thus upping your charisma quotient), and learn how to be empathetic. Now you’re ready to go and make your arguments.
You’ll still probably fail, but at least you’ll walk away with everyone thinking you are cool, which isn’t worth nothing. Eventually you will make a difference, because humans like to be around someone who seems smart, eloquent, and empathetic.
And here’s a tip: don’t ever, ever shit on anyone.