Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said private industry has a right to censor opinions but it’s a “very dangerous business.”
“The First Amendment restrains the government. It reads Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech. Congress has now been interpreted [that] to mean no government shall abridge the freedom of speech, Napolitano said during a “Fox and Friends” interview Thursday. “And Facebook and the other high tech companies are not owned by the government so they are free to censor. They can do whatever they want, but censorship is a very dangerous business.”
“They will lose market share, they will lose a lot of customers. They will lose their identity as a marketplace for ideas and then these hateful ideas will go somewhere else.”
Napolitano argued that although hate speech is detestable and wrong, it’s better to suffer through it than to sacrifice the right of free expression.
“Which is worse in the American icon of values? Hate speech or censorship? I would argue that censorship is worse,” he said. “The remedy for hate speech is not censorship. It’s more speech. It’s speech to challenge and expose it.”
He added he doesn’t believe it will be easy to change the minds of those who peddle hate speech, but it’s preferable to driving them into hiding and obscuring the threat.
“I am not naive. I don’t think that we could all stand on a street corner and talk to a bunch of haters and change their minds. Some of them, a legion of angels coming from heaven telling them they’re wrong would not change their minds,” he said. “But it is better we know who they are, where they are, and what they say, than they be driven underground.”
“Once we get into the censorship business it will just keep getting worse. So if they can censor something that I say because it’s ‘hate’ to them, it might be music to your ears,” he concluded.
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