Free Speech Isn't What Americans Think

Dear New York Times Opinion,
This is not Free Speech. >For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

Buried way down at the bottom of this article is. >It is worth noting here the important distinction between what the First Amendment protects — freedom from government restrictions on expression — and the popular conception of free speech — the affirmative right to speak your mind in public, on which the law is silent.

That is one big doozy of a clarification to bury in the bottom of an article about Free Speech. You’re not saying that The United States government is restricting Free Speech (actual definition); you’re saying people are afraid to say something - definitely not Free Speech.

I subscribe to NY York Times for the news, not the Opinion. But, this framing of an “issue” isn’t a good look for any part of a reputable newspaper, let alone the Opinion Board (which decides what opinions are published in the section).

Joel Hamill @joelhamill