I often joke that you can tell when a conservative is discussing the Middle East, because they suddenly turn into radical feminists. Sure, they hate abortion, pass restrictive legislation limiting access to birth control, underfund women's health initiatives, mock rape victims, and generally believe women to be sub-human baby incubators. But when discussion turns to anywhere the people are brown, all of a sudden we Have to Save the Women™!
Of course, they don't care about Middle Eastern women (or men or children), but it's become unacceptable to publicly say they're a worthless people and we can kill them and take over their nations anytime we like. So instead, suddenly these folks are really concerned about women's rights (but only over there).
A corollary to that joke is that anytime a conservative invokes Freedom of Speech™, it is a very safe bet some prominent conservative has just been fired for saying something incredibly racist, sexist, homophobic, etc.
Which brings me to this picture currently floating around the interwebs:
It's a picture of a bunch of supposed historical re-enactors, dressed up like Nazis, having a dinner party in a private room of Minneapolis restaurant Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, complete with Nazi banners and other regalia strewn about (on MLK day, for an added bonus).
I'm not even going to touch how idiotic that is, as any functioning human adult can immediately understand why this is a terrible idea. Rather, I want to focus on the comments of the owner of the restaurant (which have been echoed by several of the Nazis in the photo) aimed at the people criticizing him for hosting the event:
"We live in a free country...but from the comments I see, a lot of people they don’t see what freedom is."
Except…no. The constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech specifically prevents the government (or more specifically, anyone acting on behalf of the government) to censor one's speech or activities without compelling reason. Since not a single one of the people in this photo, in the group, or employed by the restaurant has been subject to any government action as a result of this, it means their freedoms are perfectly intact.
So repeat it with me kids: freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.
So while no one has the right to prevent you from being the kind of fucking moron who thinks dressing up and playing Nazi is a fun thing to do, everyone has the complete right to tell you you're a fucking jackass for doing so. That's not them imposing limits on your freedom of speech, that's them exercising their freedom of speech.
A violation of your free speech would be if the police had prevented the dinner in the first place, or arrested them all afterward. And if that happened, as much as I loathe these people, I'd be first in line to defend them. But that didn't happen; they are all currently walking about freely with no chance of criminal conviction stemming from this. That is why I'm also happy to be right in line to tell them they are horrible people who need to seriously re-evaluate their life choices.
But whether it be dressing up like Nazis, or telling a national publication that Black people were happier under segregation and gay people are an abomination, conservatives seem to believe that any criticism of their words or actions is automatically illegal censorship (quite ironic given their love for censorship in every other arena, but that's another topic for another day). Apparently, to them, freedom of speech means everyone not only has to let you speak, they have to listen to you speak, and have to then agree with whatever you said.
But that's not how it works. You've got your freedom of speech to dress up like the people who slaughtered at least 6 million human beings and have a grand ol' time being a giant asshole. But everyone else has the freedom to tell you you're a giant asshole.
I'll let the last word go to Dr. Degrasse Tyson. While it's on a different subject, the general principle remains the same: