In Dublin a sliding bolt is called a Mormon lock. You can peer over it to declare to those earnest young men, ‘no thank you, I’m very happy with what I’ve got’. We select which speech to listen to and that cannot be regarded as a limitation of free speech. John Danahar has a summary of Mill’s views on free speech much of which has the bland inevitability of the truism.
Mill on Free Speech
It is nevertheless sort of true but in what world, with what ideal interlocutors, epistemic peers and robust dialectic is some truthy formula arrived at. We are asked to engage with many viewpoints to achieve this but as we know the manufacture of consensus is the purpose of the curtailed rhetoric that we encounter. Logos is lightly used, what the celebrities of the day hold takes the place of Ethos and Pathos is the multitude of stories meant to sway us emotionally. Thus it happens that great issues are decided on the basis of tags, sound bites and images. Philosophers tend to be swayed by the major thinkers of their era much as sheep converge on the bellwether. Danaher who is an Irishman writes:
There are certain things I believe to be true (e.g. the theory of evolution, the non-existence of God as traditionally conceived, and the moral permissibility of homosexuality) that I really only first appreciated by systematically engaging with contrary points of view.
Whatever about homosexuality and the existence of God I have never met or heard of any Irishman of any educational attainment who thought of the theory of evolution as anything but scientific truth. That little chain of signals may be for any American academic wheeltappers in the vicinity. Free speech is constantly being refracted through several mediums. Much of it is just noise and you are more likely to find a satisfactory position in Burkean ‘prejudice’.