Ep 86. This may sound crazy, but freedom has limits, and so does free speech! The uninhibited right to free speech does not allow you to do just anything. For example, it does not allow you to physically harm or kill others. Grace had a conversation with a young man who said that people should have the free speech to abort. Debrief with us as we discuss why that is just not true.
Atheist Sam Harris said in his book The End of Faith, " Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them."
John Stonestreet said on Twitter, "Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have victims."
Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were part of the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany, who were executed for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets.
Nancy Pearcey wrote a must-read book called Love Thy Body.
Watch this video of a university professor getting arrested after she pulled the plug on one of our LED screens!
Email us at Contact@CreatedEqual.org if you or anyone you know would like to debate Seth!
Kent State shooting
CBR stands for The Center for Bio-Ethical Reform.
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Episode 85: Does Free Speech Include the Right to Murder?
Maggie: Have you ever talked to someone who used free speech as a justification for abortion? Let's talk about how we can respond, come debrief with us.
Hello, I'm Maggie and I'm here with Seth and Ethan as usual, and we are debriefing Pro-Life Outreach. Who has the outreach highlight for today?
Ethan: I do. So one week ago, or maybe a little more than a week, I was at Virginia Commonwealth University talking to students about abortion. Surprise, surprise. And I had a conversation with a young lady named Mo who thought abortion was wrong for her, but she would never tell someone else that they shouldn't get an abortion.
And we were going back and forth until one point I sort of noticed that she was just staring at the sign. And so I stopped talking and we were both silent for a while and she started to cry and she was just like, oh, wow. I just, it's wrong. People shouldn't do it. I don't think people should do it. Mm-hmm.
Wow. And so I, it was just a really cool moment in which, you know, the signs work and sometimes you just need to shut up and not talk.
Seth: Silence is powerful. Not on a podcast. Really. The silence works really well in outreach. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yep. It's harder to shut your mouth and not say something, but that's cool.
Yeah. Power of. The image. Yeah. Yep.
Maggie: Ah, that's a really cool story. , I had not heard that before.
Seth: Hey, Moe. Shout out to Moe.
Maggie: Yeah. Used listening. I used to know someone named Mo, but it wasn't her real name. Anyway,
Seth: that's an important story. Let's talk about that.
Maggie: All right. , actually let's talk about our clip for today.
Seth: There we go. ,
Maggie: so this was a clip at a high school and it's Grace's clip, and we can just listen to it now.
Grace: Hey guys, what do you think about abortion?
Do you think it should be legal? Yeah. Yeah? Why is that?
Student: Because some people can't take care of babies on their own. Okay. Yeah. Deserve free speech to abort the fetus if they feel...
Grace: Okay. What about the fetus, though? Do you think that they're a human being?
Student: Not really.
Grace: Okay. What species are they then?
Grace: Yeah, human fetus. And we know they're alive, right? From science. Yeah. So if they're an alive human being, is it ever okay to do that to them to rip off their arms and legs? What if they're human and they're alive? Is it ever okay to rip off their arms and legs?
Student: I guess so
Grace: when is it okay to do that? When would we say it's okay to rip arms and legs off a human?
Student: Is it developed like how old is this?
Grace: This is only 10 weeks and you can already see that, um, the baby has fingers and toes. So even though it's smaller and less developed than we are, that doesn't mean we should rip its arms and legs off, you know?
Student: Oh, yeah.
Maggie: yeah. I know that's a little hard to understand.
Seth: Well, because that guy in the background was Yeah. Bike,
Maggie: whatever. Well, the school bus in the background made it hard, especially
Seth: the, the school bus. That's quite a muscle part. A school bus. I didn't ride that kinda bus, school bus. Oh wow. Okay. Maybe it's, I'm not sure about that. .
Maggie: Wow. Okay. Well did y'all, were y'all able to hear it well enough? For the most part, yeah. Yeah. Okay. I realize if you're not watching it, it's even harder to see cuz you can't see their mouths moving. But, , first of all, I think there's a few different things that we could talk about in this. , what first sticks out to y'all?
Seth: Beyond the Souped Up school bus. Um, I mean, I, so I did hear this comment on free speech. I'm not sure I really understand that part of it, but I think we'll probably get to that. But honestly, what I said to me the most is when Grace was asking, not later in the clip, when she was saying, is it, instead of, is it okay to kill them?
She used a language is okay to rip their arms and legs off. Mm-hmm. Which seems almost like an understatement. Right. It's worse to kill someone than rip their arms and legs off. But it sounds worse that way. Yeah. It was a very smart, very artful way of asking the question. Mm-hmm.
Ethan: Yeah. I thought Grace did a. Great job. I don't understand, like Seth said with the free speech comment was supposed to mean mm-hmm.
Maggie: Yeah. Well that's what we're gonna talk about. Okay,
Seth: cool. Okay. Walk us through
Maggie: why, why does abortion not, or why does free speech not include abortion? And this is thing
Seth: because we're talking speech. I mean, it seems so easy. Maybe I'm , missing the connection here, right? Like,
Maggie: Okay. Granted, it did seem, and I'm gonna steal this thought from Isaac, , full disclosure, but it does seem like he was maybe just thinking of this kind of on the spot. He hadn't really put much thought into this. Mm-hmm. So he was , Trying to think of , some reason to justify what he was, justify abortion.
, but it's not like he had a fully formed opinion or argument or anything like that. He was just kind of going off of what he'd heard. He'd heard the term free speech.
Ethan: Yeah. Free speech is focused on speaking words, talking to people, but there is an aspect of free speech of , doing an action as well.
Mm-hmm. Like as a part of Created Equal's free speech displays, we take signs and set them up. , we have, , video screens and stuff like that that we're allowed to use to communicate our free speech using physical things, but it's agreed upon by at least most sane people that I've talked to, that free speech does not involve hurting.
Other mm-hmm. People, , it's not free in the respect that you're allowed to do whatever you want with it.
Seth: That's a good point. Yeah. So we talk about like the freedom to express your views. It's not just, , using your words, like things come along with that, right? Like you have acc you have access to the public square that other people have.
It's not just for other people. Yeah. So that's a really good point. I think you're right, but there are are limits to your freedom. I mean, even with. Words alone, we have some laws about things you can't say, right? Yeah. , liable or screaming fire. And that kind of, in certain places, right? There are rules on that, which make common sense.
So the question is, does my freedom to believe what I want to believe mm-hmm. About the embryo inside of me? If I'm a woman, Is included in that belief, the ability to act upon my beliefs and remove that person. So I, I guess I can see how you'd get there, right? The question, like I said, we would respond and say, is that you may believe whatever you want to believe, but there still is reality, right?
Yeah. The reality is whether or not you acknowledge that's a human being inside of you, there are still rules in a civil society about how we treat those human beings, regardless of the, what you see them as.
Maggie: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. I have to say. I was impressed with the thought that you just said Ethan, about,
Seth: but not mine.
Well done, Ethan.
Ethan: And there goes my spot on The Debrief.
Seth: no, go ahead
Maggie: because how Seth pointed out how. Like there, there doesn't seem to be a connection between free speech and abortion, cuz one's an action free speech. Speech is about speech. Mm-hmm. But you pointed out Ethan, that even with our free speech displays where we go out to college campuses, there is action involved in that.
So I, I didn't think of that connection right off, but yeah, you're exactly right, Seth. , we're not allowed to hurt people just because we are allowed to think what we want.
Seth: Yeah, I don't think we're trying to create a thought police here where the government can tell us what to think and what to believe.
I know there are those who would like that Atheist. Sam Harris has said before that some ideas are so dangerous. There should be, , some kind of punishment. I can't remember exactly what he said, but some kind of ramifications for what you believe. Yeah, that's a dangerous view. We are just saying that when you go to harm someone, at minimum, there should be some kind of state action there to stop you from harming someone.
Maggie: Wouldn't we agree though that ideas do have consequences and ideas can be dangerous? Why is it that we. Don't think we should censor those. And why is it a, a good idea still to allow those ideas to run freely? And what is our hope despite that.
Seth: Well, that's a good point, right? So I mean, I think it's a question of how do you correct bad thinking, right? Mm-hmm. Uh, there's a well-known phrase, ideas have consequences. John Stonestreet has added and bad ideas have victims, which is very, very true, right? Yeah. So these bad ideas that the baby's not a person.
Same ideas like people saying that people with black skin aren't people, this is led to abortion, human slavery, so on and so forth. These bad ideas have consequences. So do we just let them go run rampant? No, I don't think so. But if the government just says, we're going to stop this bad idea, I don't think that really works.
You can stop people, you can't stop ideas. Mm-hmm. You know, we talk a lot about Hans and Sophie Scholl I think it's like a night or the day or two after they were killed. These were students who were fighting against Nazis and for any listeners who don't know the white rose. They distributed leafless who expose the crimes of Nazi before the German public.
Uh, these were students in Germany. And they were then executed for it. Hans and Sophie Scholl, Christoph Probst. The third person in their group also executed The day or two after, , there was , a place painted in Munich, I believe it was saying, Scholl lives. The idea was you've killed the person. You have not killed the idea.
Yeah. So I think functionally you just, you cannot kill ideas. It doesn't work that way. And often the church persecution, Tertullian said the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church, right? They try to kill the Christian Church. It doesn't work. The church thrives. So I think functionally you just, you can't kill an idea.
But secondly, I don't think that's a way should respond anyway. We don't go out to campuses. Everyone knows us. We don't go out and say, just shut up. We say, let's have an exchange of ideas and see which ideas win the day. And that's far better. Right. What do you think, Ethan?
Ethan: I think that's great, especially paralleling church history and other ideas where people have tried to stomp out an idea by, you know, getting rid of the people who hold the idea rather than actually engaging with it.
Tends to cause that idea to grow. I mean, I'm most familiar with church history and Christendom, you know, exploding because of the Romans persecuting Christians. But we've even seen that with, I think, other ideas in our culture where we try and push them down and not talk about or get rid of the idea itself.
And it tends to cause it to thrive. So I think that's a great point. Hundred percent to that philosophical bomb Maggie dropped on us.
Seth: Nice. Nice. Maggie.
Maggie: I think another thing about what he said is that it, proves that he just sees pre-born people as, , kind of expendable as objects, not subjects. Mm-hmm. , and the fact that he thinks that. Free speech allows us to just. Hurt them.
Seth: Like that's an excellent point, Maggie, cuz I think like we would all look at trees and think like you can, I mean, I know there are, it's a bad example, but like you could, you could turn a tree into many things, right?
Mm-hmm. Um, and I think you have the freedom if you have a tree in your backyard to cut it down, to let it grow, to turn into a table, you have that freedom, right? So I think you're exactly right. He sees the baby in a similar way thinking, well you can do with this what you want, right? So that's why it sounds so neutral, but it's not.
When you say that this kind of being. You can treat however you want. You are clearly writing them out of the family of human persons. Absolutely.
Maggie: Yeah. And he certainly wouldn't say that you could have the free speech to hurt a born person.
Seth: Yeah. Right. Like to grace, he would. I, I hope stop someone, if someone came and tried to deck Grace in the face, right?
Yeah. He sees her as, as you said, Maggie, a subject, the baby as an object. Good point. I mean that's why it's so interesting because you know, , we are ardent advocates of free speech because we know that , This is just an essential tool. We need it in our tool belt to defend babies and help them if we're not given the right to speak, and not only to speak, but to bring our images out to the square.
We're severely limited in our abilities, so we are big defenders of free speech, but free speech does not mean you're free to do anything you want. Honestly, I think that a lot of this is just confusion of what it means to be free. How would you guys define freedom for someone if they asked you What does it mean to be free?
Ethan: I, I think, I don't have a very concise definition of freedom, but I, I, I think it's the ability to make choices, , that are not wrong, which then you get into morality and don't hurt other people, I guess is maybe what I would say. I don't, I don't know. I'm not. That's kind of a hard question to we to answer. What does it mean to be free?
Seth: Well, I think you're on on a right track that like it's not just freedom to do anything, right? Yeah. Like does it mean you have all options on the table? That's not really freedom that can become slavery, right? No.
Maggie: Isn't there someone who says it's the ability to do the right thing.
This is good. That's
Seth: what you're to. You're heading to, I think you're right. Yeah. Do the right thing or to like to live out. Live as your nature should be lived out, right? Yes. Okay. God is free, but there are things God cannot do because God cannot cease to exist. Things like that. Right? Yeah. So he's free, but not free to do all things.
His character limits him. Our, we're limited by our human nature. Like we're not free to flap our wings and fly. We're not that kind of being, right? So there are things we should, should not do. Mm-hmm. Free. I think you're exactly right. Freedom to do the right thing. To live as, as your nature dictates.
Ethan: Gotcha. Like you're saying, people have this idea that freedom just is absolute, it means you can do anything, anything. And I we're seeing the consequences of that idea for sure. Yeah. Within our society, within people, you know, thinking they're free to treat their children as products, , and then also to mutilate their own bodies and try and be something they're not, right, because they think that they should have the.
Quote, unquote, freedom, which isn't actually freedom. To do that.
Seth: And I think it connects to this whole, this confusion about reality that, you know, we look at different kinds of species and say, okay, feline canine, human uhhuh, you know, a zygote stage look the same. Right. But we recognize there's something different about all of them.
Yeah. What is a canine nature? Feline nature, human nature, and this. Intangible nature, which is hard to explain what it means, but that dictates how they will grow. One will grow long fur, long tail one will bark one day, one will walk on two legs barring some kind of special need or accident. Right. That stops us from happening.
Yes. So there's a nature dictating how they will grow and how they will live. I think when you live in an atheistic worldview, you don't have anything. Intangible like that. Mm-hmm. All you have is the physical world. So they, they would say there's nothing special to a human or to a male or to female that makes them anything, any way they ought to be.
Yeah. They can do anything they want. We reject that and say no living things have a nature. , human beings have a, not only a nature, but a , , moralness to them. Mm-hmm. It dictates they ought to live morally. So this is just when you get to a deeper worldview, this is why it's causing such mayhem.
Cause we've lost sight of that nature.
Ethan: Yes. And. This reminds me of something I read that Nancy Pearcey talks about.
Seth: We're all fans here..
Ethan: The idea of of nature and how , in a Christian worldview, we view this idea that we ought to align ourselves with our nature and that our nature is good. Mm-hmm. And was originally was, was made good and actually still is good to a certain extent in how it was created.
You know, we're sinful. And then you have the atheistic idea where. There. There isn't really this nature, and even if there is a nature that sometimes is messed up and wrong and , you have to change yourself. You have to become something different to actually align yourself. With your nature and be whole.
Seth: Yeah. It's a, is that from Love Thy Body? Probably. I think so. The rejection of our bodies these days. Yeah. Like I have to, my body is not very valuable. It's what matters is what I think inside my head. My inner psychology, which is not a very uhhuh, it's a very dangerous place to go. Right. So we say humans are broken, but humans are Humans Were made as good.
Yes. Trying to. Restore. Recover. The original design for humanity that God had in which we see expressed fully in Christ. That's our goal. Right. Not just to toss it and say, well, I'll become my own kind of thing. That doesn't lead to happiness. Yeah. Or peace, joy.
Maggie: Yeah. And that supposed freedom is really such a sad way to see life.
It's, it's not true. There's not truth in that. And it's. It's really like a prison. More than freedom.
Seth: Yeah. That's the thing. They're, I mean, how many times have we seen women who in their freedom to have an abortion, they've slapped chains on their wrists. We meet them decades later, and they have lived through lifelong, not lifelong, decades long slavery.
Yeah. Because of a free choice they made.
Maggie: Sad. .
Ethan: Another thought I had,, relating to free speech is it, it can be an interesting way to sort of when you're testing ideas to see if they're right or true when it comes to free speech to see who supports free speech.
Hmm. And is willing to actually have their ideas thrown into the ring. Ooh. Yeah. And who wants to censor ideas? Because they're afraid, maybe they might not say this, but they're actually afraid that their ideas, if put to the test of thrown in the ring, will not fare well because they're false.
Seth: This just frustrates me to no end.
Yeah. And honestly, because we are called fascists left and right. And we are consistently, people come and try to censor us. There was the professor in New York who unplugged the, the TV screen and now it was, was hauled away by the police officers. Yeah. People are bringing bedsheets left and right and somehow they see us as.
They see it as a virtuous act. Right. But you're right, this reveals something. I think you're exactly right.
Ethan: Yeah. Which, and I mean, you've done a couple of debates in the past, but I think to date, you haven't found someone to debate you in the last couple of years. Been a bit in a bit of time. Um, which, so if you know anyone who wants shout out to debate Seth, let us know.
Shoot us an email. Yes. But yeah, people don't wanna engage with ideas. They don't think. They can beat. Yeah. Which is telling.
Maggie: Makes sense. I wouldn't wanna debate with someone I don't think I can beat, but why don't they think they can beat it?
Ethan: Right? Right. It's kind, it's like, well, in that case, do you just think you're wrong?
Well, no, I'm not wrong. Well, then why don't you want to discuss your idea? Yeah. Have they fleshed all out? Well, because you're not. You're a fascist and I that, okay, sure. I'm a fascist. Call me a fascist. That doesn't tell me whether your, you think your idea is actually, you know, , has a good foundation or not.
Do you think it's gonna hold water? Yeah. Well
Seth: that's why free speech matters so much, right? So we don't want to just have some outset entity deciding these are the ideas everyone must hold, right? Yeah, yeah. We want to have the best idea win. Mm-hmm. That's why when it comes to our evangelism, to our pro-life case, we're always about just advancing, presenting the evidence.
We can't make someone change in our mind. We all know that, right? Yeah. We present the evidence, we remove obstacles in their mind, whether it be intellectual or emotional, between them and the pro-life case between them and the gospel. And it's up to them to determine what they think is actually true. So I, I just think it's very, this is why free speech is so important and why.
, Why it's just so infuriating to me today. I, I'm a little older than you guys. I'm a millennial. You're Gen Z, right? Whatever. Uh, but both of our generations have been increasingly becoming anti-free speech as opposed to those above us. Yeah. Who students on college campuses gave their lives for free speech.
We're not very far from Kent State University. We know what happened there. Uh, at least if you don't, you should look it up. , but now students are pushing for censoring of ideas they don't like, so it's just very interesting. It's so ironic. Come back to abortion though. Right?
So this guy is saying, free speech should justify abortion. , literally this would mean canceling the speech of untold thousands of millions who never will get a chance to speak. So the question is free speech for who? For all humans or just for the privileged ones who happen to be born? Just for some, I think we stand for free speech for all.
Maggie: Well, that's a good segue into the next point of the. Clip, , that Grace got into talking about human whether
Seth: was good or humans good part. Yeah. yes, she asked that question to him, , what species? Right. Can't remember exactly what can in the conversation.
It's such a great question though. I love asking that. Cause first of all, it's a scientific question. They're all like, mm-hmm. We love science, which is, you know, they, it's so much right. But it's such a good, like I've also asked the question, what kind of a human is this? Similar question, but I love that she asked and his question was, Pretty clear, right?
Didn't he say human?
Ethan: Yeah. He was like, yes, it's a human being. Mm-hmm. Which I think makes his, well, then she asks him, and do all humans have value?
Seth: Or is it chance of, I think onto like, um, mess said it's okay then to rip off the arms and legs of an innocent human. Right.
Maggie: Yeah. Which, like you said is a, a creative way to ask that question.
Seth: I think some people are more disgusted by these small parts of it than the big picture Yeah. Of killing. Right.
Maggie: Well, cuz they'll suffer more. Someone does suffer more. Mm-hmm. If their real limbs are ripped, li limbs are ripped off than if they're just killed. Yeah. Yeah. In a sense. I understand that. But still killing is worse than.
Seth: I mean, yeah. If you talk about a time when a bomb was dropped and that tens of thousands died, that's a tragedy. Tell me about one person being mutilated. Yeah. And it's like, it just, it gets you on a gut level, right? It's not more wrong since you're still killing innocents, but it's, , a sucker punch.
I don't know what the word is, but
Ethan: No, I mean, that's in journalism, it's , you know, if it bleeds, it leads and also, Make it, , local or make it relevant to the local population by honing in on specific. Details. Mm-hmm. Because these big numbers, sometimes they just roll right off our backs and we, we don't even understand them.
Seth: Maybe it's a good way, just right now, just for any of our listeners who are having these conversations to remind them of some descriptive ways to talk about abortion, what are, what are things you guys say, kind of like Grace, where she said it's okay to rip someone's arms and legs off. What are things you've said with your language?
Obviously the pictures are most important, but with your words, what have you said to try to communicate that reality? Mm-hmm.
Maggie: That reminds me of maybe is when I was with CBR, we were talking about the way that the Black Lives Matter movement. It, it, there's something about saying black lives , like it seems more individual than just life.
Mm-hmm. Overall. Mm-hmm. And like you're talking about real people, which is maybe why they have had such an, a wide influence . Yeah. No, but also, oh, did you have a thought, Ethan?
Ethan: Well, just an answer response to Seth's question. When, when you're within the movement, it feels like you hear them all the time.
Yeah. Is the dismembered, decapitated, disemboweled? But honestly, those terms are very, very effective to talking to people who don't hear them every single day. Yeah. , so yeah, make it, make it more personal. Make it more gruesome. Not that you have to make it more gruesome. It already is better. Describe to someone how barbaric abortion is.
Seth: Mm-hmm. Yeah. And , with the pill abortions, we know it's not D words. Dis decap, dismember disempower discarded them in the trash. You have the S words. Right. Starved, suffocated, swirled down the toilet. Yeah. , so those words are very good. , I think just even thinking about how the abortions happen and trying to find.
, like word picture associations with people our size like, like with the, , uh, D & C mm-hmm. Where they're going to suck the baby through the tube and she's ripped apart her flesh. Yeah. Trying to describe, like, what would it be like to have your body suck through a wind tunnel so strong? It severs your limb from limb, right?
Like, that would be a really Yeah. Horrible experience. I think trying to explain experientially from the child's perspective. Now we know the child's not conscious. I, I, I get that. So I'm not trying to say that she is, but trying to explain. In, , other pictures, what that would be like. I think it's pretty shocking to people sometimes.
Ethan: Well, I actually recently just read about a story, uh, an execution in France in the 19 1890s.
Seth: Interesting reading there, sir.
Ethan: I'm a history nerd. , and it was actually, the execution was several gruesome things done, but it was going to end with the man actually being. Ripped in four pieces by four horse.
Seth: Oh, is that, that's drawn and
Ethan: quartered, right? Yes, except instead of using traditional drawing and quartering implements, they would tie his arms and legs to four individual horses, which, and, and I think I, I didn't realize this until recently, but that is a story I can carry in my tool belt is like mm-hmm.
When I tell you this story, how do you feel?
Seth: I feel gross. Yeah.
Ethan: And then when we apply that to then this person, you now have an understanding of, oh, I can associate this. If I'm horrified by this, I should also be horrified by that. Yeah. So that was good.
Maggie: Yeah. Wow. That is interesting. Is horrifying.
Interesting though. , well we actually are to the end of our time. So to summarize, , free speech does not give you a license to kill people. The end.
Seth: There we go. Nice. Simple. 20 minutes or is five seconds from now.
If you would love to, please do us the honor of leaving us a five star review, , and then come debrief with us again next week.
pep in your step. Oh yeah.