The U.S. Supreme Court has had an abysmal record on protecting the rights of Americans in its decisions but occasionally, it gets a thing or two right. Just recently, in a unanimous decision, the court upheld First Amendment protections to defend the use of offensive terms often defined as “hate speech.” In the case of Matal v. Tam, Justice Samuel Alito remarked on the decision that “[The idea that the government may restrict] speech expressing ideas that offend … strikes at the heart of the First Amendment. Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express “the thought that we hate.””

He couldn’t be more right. While it’s certainly true that speech can be downright hurtful at times and people can spout the most egregious examples of foulness, under the law, it must be protected all the same. History offers up too many examples of what happens when a society accepts a government that strictly regulates what people can and can’t say. The worst of authoritarian regimes have thrived on the ability to censor the speech of its populace and great injustices have been committed against those simply expressing their own beliefs. Unfortunately, many in the Millennial generation don’t quite understand this. They’d rather enforce a strict political correctness that stifles an individual’s right to speak without fear of oppression. For them, words hurt just a harshly as sticks and stones.

Nevertheless, this is a promising victory for proponents of free speech and a step forward in scaling back the realm of political correctness.

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