And it is difficult to remember just how unnatural the concept of freedom of speech is. The natural human instinct is for consensus, for harmony, and for shunning if not blotting out people who disagree, a practice that was undoubtedly in place long before the Pharaohs started scratching out engravings to their disfavored predecessors.
Even though it's my job to have people disagree with me, I still hate it every time. Still get sick to my stomach when I see that new round of pleadings come in, still get annoyed when a malicious tenant has managed to cajole a public interest attorney to dragging out an eviction to the damage of everyone around them.
At the same time, I know that this is absolutely necessary. That without that adverse position, I would get sloppy and cut corners, no matter how much I tried not to. There's no substitute for someone actually getting in the ring against you to keep you honest and careful.
And dissent in every setting has that same function. A recent book by Charlan Nemeth, In Defense of Troublemakers, points out that dissent improves thought processes and decision making--even when it is 100% wrong. It's not just that dissent is valuable because it might be right--it's because even when it's wrong, facing up to it causes us to dig deeper, consider more angles, probe underlying reasons and causes, and ultimately come to a better decision. It's because welcoming even stupid dissenters makes it more likely we'll get to hear from wise ones.
So while I certainly understand the difference between government censorship and the content choices of a private organization, I also think it's worth speaking up and fighting for freedom of speech as a social value, not just a constitutional right. That it's worth preserving the voice of the cranks, the ignorant, the prejudiced, and that one guy who has questions about line 48 in the budget just as the meeting was about to adjourn for doughnuts. Because freedom of speech is hard. It's not natural. It takes practice. And it's how we keep learning.