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NerdyKeith's avatar

What is your opinion on freedom of speech as a human right?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) February 28th, 2016

Do we as a westernised culture take it for granted? Do you think it is not respected enough? Do you think it is practiced and embraced enough? Or are you of the opinion that freedom of speech is heavily abused by many?

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17 Answers

ucme's avatar

You have the right to say what you want, but if you spew bollocks from your pie hole, I have the right to slap you on the nose & run away laughing.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@ucme, Lol I’m pretty sure that’s assault

ucme's avatar

@NerdyKeith And battery…so charge me ;-}

zenvelo's avatar

Well, it is not a protected right in Great Britain.

The US views it as necessary for the advancement of democracy, up to a point. It’s free speech until someone says something a little too “unAmerican”, like maybe Islamic freedom fighters have a point, or too many police are racist, or why are people trampling on my free speech when I am not respecting diversity?

Defense of free speech is a constant struggle. Protection of First Amendment rights is not so much fighting for my right as me and everyone else fighting for your right.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@zenvelo Yes I have noticed this trend of certain people supporting freedom of speech (but only when it suits them). Thus failing to realise; “freedom of speech, is not freedom from criticism”.

stanleybmanly's avatar

We do take it for granted, and that is fine. Whether it is abused or not is irrelevant. The thing that DOES matter is that those claiming that it is abused only do so as the pretext for restricting it in some way.

rojo's avatar

You, and I, have the freedom to say what we believe is true. Others have the freedom to ignore us. But with the freedom there is also responsibility, a “right” lots of people don’t what to adhere to. You cannot have one without the other.
I think I heard it best described as: Your right to swing your fists stops where my nose begins:.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I think it should not be an absolute right. My country has laws against hate speech, and that’s a good thing, as far as I’m concerned.

ucme's avatar

@zenvelo Give your head a wobble please.

johnpowell's avatar

I just wish people knew that when I pay the bills for the server I don’t have to host your hate.

I don’t give a fuck if you are crazy on a corner. But I pay for the database.

zenvelo's avatar

@ucme Please clarify your direction to me. Great Britain has a long history of censorship.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

“Hate speech”, “hate crime”

The State works it’s way into even the most intimate parts of the individual.

More and more, right down into the person’s (interpreted) state of mind.

The Thought Police. They’re not just science fiction anymore.

Zaku's avatar

I think fundamentally everyone has a very basic right to freedom of speech. I think outlawing speech and punishing speech per se is a basic mistake…

But some speech has consequences, and speakers bear some responsibility for what they say. On the other hand, listeners also have responsibility for how they react to hearing things. (e.g. A speaker would do well to consider whom they might upset by saying things. And a listener isn’t justified in going and killing someone for being upset about what someone said. IMO)

I think there should also be a right to not listen, and to not be subjected to continued harassment.

It’s the second two points where societies need to choose what rules to make. And hopefully those agreements can be made by the people and not so much by control-obsessed governments nor by all-for-profit corporations.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Zaku,
Well while there isn’t a specific legal right to allow us to not listen to someone. There is no legal penalty for not listening to others. You can walk right passed a street preacher with your iPod on full blast, not listen to a word he / she is saying and not be punished for this.

However if you are in a specific occupation where you are required to listen to instructions; you might find yourself in some trouble for not listening. But in that case it would be part of your job to listen. I suppose it would be like a councillor not listening to their clients.

Zaku's avatar

For the right to not listed or be subjected, I’m thinking about harassment, though there’s arguably a sliding scale. There are rights and laws for that. What if I have a crazy ex who would like her freedom of speech to include phoning up me and anyone around me and us having to listen to insane rants, pranks, screaming, etc. Well I can get a restraining order. How about if someone wants to follow others around and yell at them – harassment, or disturbing the peace.

In the work example, I’d say everyone still has their rights to speak and to not listen. It’s just that there are natural consequences of using, abusing, or not using them, as with anything else, and a two-way work contract involved which would tend to be impacted with less provocation, before rights came into question.

RabidWolf's avatar

Freedom of speech does not release anyone from what they say that is offensive. Hate speech should be punished. You can’t yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Insult the wrong person and the person with the big mouth will be lucky to keep their teeth. Hey, I’m all for the First Amendment, also in favor of Freedom of Expression.

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