Popehat's Ken White: 'Free Speech Is in Just as Much Danger from Conservatives'

The idea that "free speech is a conservative value and censorship is a liberal value" is "historically completely illiterate."


"When we buy into this narrative that free speech is a conservative value and censorship is a liberal value, we basically invite this chasm where the First Amendment and free speech values steadily get less and less support," says attorney Ken White, who's the proprietor of the legal blog Popehat, the host of the Make No Law podcast, and a contributing editor at Reason. "Saying that the First Amendment is conservative is historically completely illiterate. It's [protected] mostly progressives from being suppressed through most of the twentieth century."

Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with White, who spends his days as a criminal defense attorney at Brown White & Osborn in Los Angeles. They talked about Trump's nominee for the Supreme Court, the dismissal of director James Gunn from the Guardians of the Galaxy series, what limits should be put on employee speech inside and outside the workplace, and his libertarian views on law and society.

Government is the "giant, vicious dog you bring in to protect you from robbers," says White, and it "traditionally ends up protecting the interests of the moneyed, the connected, and the powerful."

Produced by Paul Detrick. Edited by Lorenz Lo. Graphics by Austin Bragg.

"Massive" by Podington Bear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. ( Source:

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