Free Speech and Private Property

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    Hi guys, this is Craig. New to LC and the forum.

    I watched a YouTube video today made by some British guy entitled “Why Libertarianism is Wrong”. Most of his arguments were just him saying that he didn’t believe in libertarian principles and therefore he’s right and everyone else is wrong. The video was uninteresting for the most part. The video creator used an East German hammer and compass as his avatar, so I knew it would probably be so.

    But in the comments I came across an issue I haven’t thought of, and that’s the relationship between free speech and private property. The commenter said this:

    According to libertarianism, if Alice is on Bob’s property, Bob has the right to demand of Alice to shut up as long as she is on his property. Alice may have freedom of speech on her own property, but not on Bob’s property. Bob has the right to voluntarily limit his rights to his own property by writing a “constitution” that grants everyone freedom of speech on his property, but he doesn’t have to. Bob has the right to limit his rights to his own property permanently or temporarily. He has the right to grant freedom of speech on his property on Monday, and to ban it on Tuesday.

    So was wondering, how would that work in a free society where the vast majority of property is privatized? Can property owners limit free speech on their own property as they can other things?


    Sure. Does the guy making the video allow people to come onto his property and call him a (well, fill in the blank)? Does a private theater allow people to scream obscenities, or indeed to say anything, during a performance? If it’s your property, you make the rules. There is no such thing as “freedom of speech.” There are property rights, which derive from our very humanity.


    I guess I was thinking that someone may not have the right to the singular act of physically forcing silence on someone, wherever they may be, but I suppose the right to expel someone from your property would render it irrelevant and unnecessary, no?


    Freedom of speech means to be free from government reprisal for speaking. It doesn’t mean you are free to say whatever you want whenever you want and it certainly doesn’t mean you are free from other private entities taking action based on your speech. ( see Duck Dynasty).

    What the person that you quote says is true how things stand now. It’s clear that they don’t understand what Constitutional protects means or how it even relates. IOW’s , to use his example. If I decide that there’s no speech on my property on Tuesday as things stand now that is not against the law or a violation of anyone’s “freedom of speech. If there is no government, nothing changes in that regard. Except that there’s not a government to go back on its word of not sanctioning you for speaking out against it.


    Thanks Tom…and Jerry (Tom & Jerry, lol). I understand it better now.

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