Medievals deeply believed this formula. It fired any number of bonfires that consumed the bodies of heretics. It gave strength to the arms of men who racked people for teachings contrary to the Faith or dangerous to civil peace.
Because of this, postmoderns tend to look back on the notion that Error Has No Rights with the serene assumption that arrogance and nothing but arrogance fueled it. They pride themselves on their tolerance.
Or they have until recently. But now they find themselves confronted by legions of people saying things like this:
Result: postmoderns suddenly discover that medievals were perfectly right: Error has no rights. Morons and liars who prattle, “I’m entitled to my opinion” as their all-excusing way of asserting the validity of their stupid claims, ignorant views, ill-informed blather, and murderous lies are, very simply, wrong. They may feel entitled. Indeed, fools feel nothing but entitled. But we are, in fact, not entitled to a counter-factual opinion–particularly when such opinions are deadly and dangerous. In such cases, fools are simply wrong. They may be ignorant, stupid, liars, barking nuts, or a mixture of the four. But the one thing they are not is entitled to their opinion if their opinion is contradicted by reality and fact.
What medievals had not worked out was the idea, “Though error has no rights, persons in error do have rights.” It would take centuries of bloodshed for the incredibly slow learner who is homo sapiens to work that out. Eventually, at least some of us would and the Church finally worked it out doctrinally in the Decree on Religious Liberty.
But, as the incredible folly of postmodern MAGA commitment to lies, deceit, ignorance, stupidity, and folly is now making clear, that does not mean the Church has repudiated (or can repudiate without catastrophe), the ancient truth that error has no rights. Precisely what the imbeciles braying, “I am entitled to my truth about vaccines being part of the Great Microchip Conspiracy” are demonstrating is that such lies have no right to equal standing with truth. Nobody has an obligation to platform them. Nobody has an obligation to listen to them. Everybody has an obligation to denounce, refute, ignore, and scotch the spread of them. And the state, depending on the gravity of the lie in question, has an obligation to penalize and punish those responsible for creating and spreading them.
That does not mean auto-de-fe’s and the rack.
But it does absolutely mean that you don’t get to “Teach the Controversy” about the Flat Earth in science class as though the sphericity of the earth is one valid view among many.
It means that if you spread idiocy about windmill cancer, you don’t get to be an oncologist no matter how entitled you feel.
It means that if you spread Pandemic or misinformation about it, you should be punished and and penalized and made to suffer for your crimes against the common good, whether by expulsion from social media, or fines, or jail, or crushing insurance costs, or other penalties–no matter how entitled you feel.
It means that if you harass gun massacre victims, you should lose your job and your media platform and be bled white financially to compensate for your crime against them–no matter how entitled you feel.
It means that if you commit a treasonous insurrection or act as accomplice to it, you should go to prison–no matter how entitled you feel.
It means that if you lie about Dominion voting systems corrupting the election without a shred of evidence–they can and should sue you for a billion dollars–no matter how entitled you feel.
Reality does not care about your sense of entitlement to an opinion. You have no right to a lie. Error has no rights.