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Free speech: ‘You either have it or you don’t’ – Fresno Bee

“I disagree wholly with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.”

This is probably the most mis-attributed quote of all time, from Voltaire to the American Civil Liberties Union, but the thought contained is the heart of American democracy.

People who say what you believe need no protection, right? So who or what must American ears be protected from?

Personally, I like the opinion sometimes attributed to Lenny Bruce or William O. Douglas: “ Freedom of speech means that…” You either have it, or you don’t.

Do we really want to live in a country where people can have their careers ruined, put in jail, or put to death for criticizing their leaders, or their family members, like in some Third World dictatorships?

Bill Warner, Porterville

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