My thoughts on the Freedom of Speech and Expression in Society.
- The right to freedom of speech and expression has been critically undermined and destroyed by laws inhibiting or forbidding such freedom. I believe that these laws must be revoked for the greater good of humanity. We cannot have an open and honest society where a person may not openly express what they wish to. If anyone has an opposing view, then that may also be openly expressed, as long as no one is being intentionally physically harmed or stopped from expressing their view.
- Where society determines that certain values are of merit, such as tolerance of other people’s religions and beliefs, then such values and tolerances should be encouraged through media, education and discussion. These values and tolerances should not be enforced by law in terms of freedom of speech and expression. Anyone should be allowed to express their view, no matter how much it conflicts with that of others, and others free to respond to such a view. Freedom of speech and expression does not mean being tolerant of deliberate physical acts against others, as this would break such Priority laws mentioned earlier. However just using words, even expressing intolerance against others, should not be against the law. For example if a person were to say that they don’t think that women should have the vote, or that all immigrants should be kicked out the country, or even more extreme terminology about particular ethnic or religious groups, this should not be against the law. Freedom of speech and expression would allow those who disagree with such sentiments being able to respond back against such narrow minded thinking. If anyone wishes to wear a cross, jewish star, muslim crescent, nazi swastika, whether in the public service or not, they should be allowed to do so freely. If anyone takes offense, then so be it. We all take offense to things at times, but at least we have the freedom to say something about it. In terms of stress levels, getting involved in divorce, moving home, death in the family, threatening legal letters and many other examples effect most people a lot more than a cultural, sexist, homophobic or racial comment. Yes we would all like to avoid stressful hurtful things but we must learn to deal with them without destroying the foundation of the freedom of speech and expression. We must accept or verbally respond to negative comment and encourage tolerance until such extreme views or stressful comments become less and less common in our society.
- There are occasional extreme examples where it will be argued that imposing laws in such areas have been beneficial in speeding up tolerance, such as open racism and for example the use of the word ‘nigger’ in the US especially. This may be true but sometimes these extremes, which render speedier results than education, result in severe undermining of the whole concept of the freedom of speech and open the gates, as they have, to further undermining and confusion of laws. I have seen black comedians use the ‘illegal’ term ‘nigger’ countless times without any retribution; this I believe is a very good sign. Many of these laws should now be rescinded as it is obvious that such cultural divides have improved to such a significant level that a backward step to expression of open racism is highly unlikely.
- Law would only come into play where anyone is being intentionally physically harmed or intentionally physically stopped from expressing their own point of view.