If your right to speak is dependent upon not hurting my feelings and saying only things with which I will agree, then the only thing that you will be free to say is
And sadly, as foolish as it may be to think that a little pup can fill his belly to overflowing with grease, fat, and sugar without any risk, if you are only free to speak words that make others happy, will cause no discomfort, nor hurt anyone’s feelings, then there is nothing that you can say. Because to tell this hungry little pup, whose love of food is legendary, anything but have fun and enjoy, would cause him undue pain, and hurt his tender little feelings.
Therefore as dangerous as it might be for this food crazed pup to eat tons of junk to his hearts content, your mouth would be sealed. Even though you might realize the danger, and know that this food crazed little pup was in danger of eating himself into an early grave, if you are only free to speak words of cheery unity and may not utter one word that could cause a shadow of frustration and pain, then your voice would be silenced. And like it or not, all you could do is stand quietly by as this poor little pup ate himself very, very ill.
But if freedom of speech is a true right, and is prized by one and all. Then it would matter not how much it might hurt this foolish little pup’s feelings to tell him the truth. It would not matter that he only wanted to hear you agree with his wish to eat sugar and grease. As much pain as it might cause, you would bravely raise your voice in protest, and speak life saving words of truth, as you wisely declared,
And though it might cause this puppy to sulk and groan for a time in the end it would be far better for me to hear the unpleasant words of truth. Lest left to my own inventions, this endlessly begging stomach should eat and eat until it burst. And my little puppy life should come to an early and miserable end.
Remember this humble illustration the next time someone insist that we are only free to speak agreeable words of joy, and comfort. And before you take their side, and raise your banner to ban any speech that causes sorrow, consider that like it or not, sometimes free speech may hurt our feelings. But if we cannot speak words that hurt, sometimes we will not be able to speak the necessary words that would save the life of someone we love. Because while it might not feel pleasant at the time, sometimes the only way to save a life is speak the heart cutting words of truth. Knowing that it will cause some pain, but in the end it can prevent a far greater pain, and ultimately save a life.
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