The best analysis of the concept of free speech — one that gets past all the superficialities people keep spouting ad nauseum in their jesuischarlie induced hysteria — comes from philosopher Stanley Fish, 20 years ago, in his book “There’s No Such Thing as Free Speech, And It’s a Good Thing, Too.” Fish’s claim is that free speech — in the absolute sense secular-liberals are always defending — is a conceptual impossibility. Speech, by its very nature, has limits and speech communities, by their very nature, have self-imposed constraints or guiding values. These limits and constraints are a good thing because, without them, speech as we know it would not exist and communities and institutions, of which society as a whole consists, could not meaningfully exist. Setting these limits and drawing the lines is unavoidably a matter of politics and negotiating between competing interests. Anyway, I’m trying to boil down Fish’s arguments into something more accessible to a non-academic audience. Because if I read another self-righteous rant about the importance of offensive ideas blah blah blah, my head will explode.