from Ben Shapiro:
When we broaden the definition of incitement, freedom suffers
Over the past week, we’ve heard the media pitching one particular narrative nonstop: the story that President Donald Trump’s rhetoric has resulted in increased violence. We heard it in the aftermath of a spate of attempted bombing attacks against Democratic targets by a Floridian nutjob, and we heard it in the aftermath of a shooting attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue by an outspokenly anti-Trump white supremacist.
Is there truth to the charge?
To determine whether there is, we’ve first got to consider the question more broadly: When is speech related to violence?
It’s obvious that speech is often related to action. We change how we think and see the world based on what other people say to us. We change our opinions. Our emotions can be soothed or our anger provoked. The entire purpose of political speech is to motivate people to believe and act in certain ways. It would be foolish and shortsighted to suggest, then, that over-the-top rhetoric and violent metaphor have no impact on the public discourse.
But we cannot equate all speech with incitement, obviously. To do so would be to destroy the entire rationale for free speech. If we can attribute the violence of a few to the speech of public figures, the only available solution would be to curtail speech. And we cannot base our standard for protected speech on those with eggshell skulls. If the craziest and most easily provoked among us become the standard, then free speech dies.