How did free speech become controversial?

I have only skimmed the avalanche of commentary occasioned by Pope Benedict’s recent speech, but I sure did like this essay by Anne Applebaum over at Slate.

She says, in part:

“…I don’t mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon…But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech—surely the pope is allowed to quote medieval texts—and of the press. And we can also unite—loudly—in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies, and elderly nuns. By “we” I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde, and Fox News. Western institutions of the left, the right, and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary—”we’re pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence”—but in the days since the pope’s sermon, I don’t feel that I’ve heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus.

Andrew Brown’s piece on the speech is also worth reading.

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