Freedom of speech and belief was not easily won, but these have become the cornerstones of modern individuality, the greatest prize of the Enlightenment. Prior to modernity, what was allowed to be spoken was dictated by a handful of aristocratic elites. Now that we have liberated individuality from these shackles, we are supposed to have abandoned the idea that certain blasphemous or otherwise forbidden ideas cannot be spoken aloud.
We should therefore be cautious of anyone who advances rhetoric suggesting that certain stories are detrimental and should not be told, as sometimes happens when truth is elevated to sacosanctity. Neither should we be fooled by the concealment of this suppressive motive behind concern for children. There can be no greater denial of freedom of speech than dictating which stories a mother or father is permitted to tell their son or daughter. This is a matter for the family and not the State.
Freedom of belief lies in precisely this: the freedom to choose which stories we shall tell. This means allowing the telling of stories that we disagree with, or that we know are false – or perhaps that we believe are gravely harmful. But if we do not grant this freedom, we cannot be free in even the most minimal sense of the word. Our stories are what tell us who we are, and to dream of a world where only those claims that are proven true may be spoken is to fantasize tyranny.