I’m really disappointed with the level of discourse on Alex Jones. It echoes much of what is now widely believed in the UK regarding what is proper and rightful freedom of expression.
Firstly, I would happily acknowledge that the left has a real problem with tolerating views it doesn’t agree with. I am genuinely concerned by the level of faux-rage that is wheeled out at the merest utterance of something that we don’t agree with (though in fairness the Right behave exactly the same although they seem to have won the free-speech narrative space at the moment).
But with Alex Jones it really isn’t a case of censorship. He’s been spouting his nonsense for years without curtail. Even with the Sandy Hook vileness I’m sure he could easily have continued propagating that it was a hoax if only he didn’t incite violence along with it. Now the families are suing Jones and the platforms that host him are running scared.
So for me we don’t really have a free-speech problem. People can and do say whatever they like. The issue is that in a time of social media, what you say is inevitably going to be shouted down and accused of this that or the other. It creates a climate where it feels like free-speech is under attack, when it fact it’s really just a battle of ideologically motivated competing noise. This makes it very hard to say anything. But that difficulty shouldn’t be confused with free speech. We exercise that free speech all the time without consequence.