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Letters to the Editor

Free speech a pillar

| Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, 9:00 p.m.

Regarding George Will's column “Steep costs come with ‘cheap speech'” : As much as we've idealistically viewed the public square as a well-guarded fortress of free speech in America, too often it isn't. Every venue — campuses, halls of government and the streets — has increasingly harbored myopic thinking.

The Enlightenment thinker Voltaire pushed back against such parochialism and intolerance; his biographer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, penned these words famously summing up Voltaire's belief: “I don't agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.”

The spectrum of conservative and liberal ideas has at times been robbed of unhampered expression because of blinkered opponents. That's a disservice to both streams of thinking — ideas whose churn might otherwise enrich our national well-being.

Benjamin Franklin prophetically pronounced, “Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government.” Any rebuff of this pillar threatens the foundation of a constitutional, free nation.

Franklin got it right; surely, we can figure out how to follow his lead.

Keith Tidman

Bethesda, Md.

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