Saturday Musings – There’s No Such Thing as Freedom of Speech

Freedom of speech sounds wonderful but many of us need to have a reality check and realise that it has never existed, it doesn’t exist and will never exist into the future. At this point you may be getting a little miffed with me for such an audacious claim, after all, “Who has the right to tell you what you can say?” Well…..me actually….to be fair, not just me but us.

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As soon as we decide to become a part of a society, we give up many of our rights and the first of these is our “freedom of speech”. Social norms will either chastise you until you submit to good and proper conduct or in the more extreme examples the law will come to bear to assist you in modifying your behaviour.

That being said, I’m actually a strong advocate that society needs to become more tolerant to those people that say completely outlandish things. By tolerance, I don’t mean accept what they are saying but rather allowing them to say it.

For instance, I’m completely against neo-Nazi fascism but I will defend their right to express their views as long as it is in a non-violent manner. Why is this? Every time I hear a neo-Nazi in the news express their outrageous views it reinforces my own perspective to distance myself from their propaganda.

Likewise, I respect a person’s right to express their views on matters such as sexuality. Just because I defend their right to share their opinion does not necessarily mean I agree with their position.

I see there are three problems that have emerged around “freedom of speech”:
1.    Censorship
2.    Lack of considered debate
3.    Who decides what is acceptable?

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vanclute
Ahhh but there *is* such a thing as "freedom of speech". It's just that most people don't understand what it actually means. All... Read More
04 May 2019
mgilmour
Yes, you are right in saying that freedom of speech is freedom from prosecution.....but this has now changed. The patriot act (and... Read More
04 May 2019
mgilmour
Great truths in what you say Rob....many thanks for your contribution.
04 May 2019
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7 Comments