Here we have an exquisitely clear articulation of a theme I have stressed before.
Because we live in a country that presumably doesn’t censor ideas no matter how unpopular, we are able to better cultivate our own individual belief systems — one of the ways we learn what we believe in is by encountering language and imagery that we disagree with or have strong reactions to. The best ideas come out of reckoning with the unfamiliar.
Precisely. Free speech is not primarily of great value for expressing things you already believe to those who already agree. It is more valuable for encountering productive disagreement or discord which enables learning. It is a practical truth that “The best ideas come out of reckoning with the unfamiliar.” Learning is not a process of comfort, nor simple absorption. After the first impressions of infancy and childhood, it necessarily involves processes of reevaluation and reconciling.
Yet politicians, pundits, and the vast majority of the conservative public essentially mistrust allowing those who disagree or are disagreeable to speak freely or otherwise express themselves. No matter one’s specific ideology, the urge to silence what one abhors is rampant, as is apparent confusion about what freedom of speech is for. Most people simply do not understand why the ACLU defends racists, or why accused terrorists should be allowed to speak or have anyone speak on their behalf, or moreover, how one’s own political adversaries get to blather away like they do. “There ought to be a law.” One of the very fine things about America is that it is still difficult to control speech through law here. There have been many examples of censorship in practice (for “national security” for instance) but at least, no laws against double-plus ungood speech like Europe.
But wait, there’s more from the same profound source:
Human desires evolve out of our varied, complex experiences in the world. Sex is so basic to our humanity, and sexuality is an arena, like dreaming, that connects us to the parts of ourselves we don’t always fully understand or have words for. This is what makes sexuality fascinating and endlessly variable and certainly worth performing.
Starting to wonder who it is? This is one of the more substantive interviews I have read in some time:
When was the last time you read a pundit that articulate and insightful?
Some might call it ironic that a porn star has a profound understanding not only of sexuality, but of free speech, certainly sufficient to humble the ignorance of politicians and censorship advocates on either subject—akin to the jester knowing more than the king.
Case in point that it is what we say that should induce others to take us seriously, not the labels or positions that people mistake for “who we are.”