I think what United – whose posts are often hard to decipher – [United: here’s a helpful rule: no paragraph should be longer than three sentences.] – is talking about is this:
The Left and the Right have, on the surface, switched positions on Free Speech.
It used to be the Right who weren’t happy about it, when it was exercised by Communists and the like. If a professor at a university came out in favor of the victory of the Viet Cong in Vietnam, conservatives would demand that he be fired. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Genovese#Controversy_during_the_Vietnam_war]
And the Left defended the free speech of Communists, not because they really were for free speech for everyone, but because they sympathyzed with the people whose free speech was being denied.
(Okay, there were exceptions – the ACLU used to be pretty fundamentalist on free speech, even defending the right of Nazis tomarch through Jewish neighborhoods. That’s changing rapidly, unfortunately.)
Now the shoe is on the other foot. It’s not that Conservtives have changed their mind, or Leftists have changed theirs, with respect to principles.
It’s just that then, we were running things (‘we’ being the Right, the Center and a lot of liberals), and the people being persecuted were on the Left. Now they’re running things, and we are the people being persecuted. Hardly anyone really believes in free speech (except for themselves).
But … no one actually says, ‘Free speech for me, but not for thee’. They fall back on libertarian principles.
And by these prinicples, objectionable ‘speech’ that was not political – like pornography – was also legalized, with the support of the Left but not the Right.
So, United is in effect saying, 'Okay, you principled libertarian free speech supporters … what happens when your guys on the Supreme Court take the logical next step: if heterosexual adult pornography is protected speech, and if homosexual adult pornography is okay – pornography portraying adults – then why not pornography portraying children? ’
Of course he’s right (if this is what he’s saying). His argument, I think, is:
" An adult who draws – not photographs – child pornography, prints it up, and gives it or sells it to other consenting adults … remember, no actual children involved! – isn’t that free speech? And your radical Supreme Court, busy overturning past decisions, might do it! What will you say then, ha ha ha!"
Well … what would we say then? We surrendered the gates to the city long ago. Most men enjoy looking at pornography, so most of the laws against it have vanished.
(Anyone interested in the history of this can find it on Wiki, here:
Not the same, but related, is the issue of the advocacy of sex with children. The people who are pushing the current sexualization of children are pretty savvy, and do not (yet) openly call for this. They know how to advance by stealth.
But there is a Free Speech issue here: is there a right to advocate sex with children? What about writing a novel which describes it, presenting the protagonist in a sympathetic light? (Be careful – one of the great writers of the 20th Century did exactly that.)
Should academic freedom extend to professors who say that there is nothing wrong with it? We have just such a case right now, with an ecentric philosophy professor in New York in danger of losing his job because he said just that. (My personal position: we must defend him, on academic freedom grounds.)
Now maybe I have misunderstood United and if so I am sure he will set me straight.