Freedom of Speech is Not Absolute
If freedom of speech were absolute, threats would be legal. If freedom of speech were absolute, person A could say to person B, “I have a gun. If you say a word or even just make a sound, I will shoot you in the head,” and it would be perfectly legal for them to do so. Would person B, in this scenario, still feel like they have the right and freedom to say whatever they want? Surely they’d feel at least a little bit curtailed in their ability to speak up, if not completely so. It instantly invalidates the “absolute” freedom, thus making the very idea of “absolute freedom of speech” a contradictory of terms, and impossible to maintain a society with.
This is why freedom of speech is subject to limitations. It protects the people by giving them the freedom to express themselves, provided that their expression does not infringe in the rights of other people. The moment your “free expression” infringes into someone else’s ability to be a free person, there is a demonstrable imbalance. Not just that, you’ve now argued that you are a somehow superior human being that gets to infringe upon the rights of others in whatever way you choose to. Because your rights are supposedly absolute, but other people’s aren’t.
And you don’t think there’s a problem with this.
This may be an alien concept to some Americans, who interpret the First Amendment to stipulate an absolute freedom of speech (if so: look at where that got your country: Sarah Palin, still not tried for incitement to violence; Gabrielle Giffords, still shot in the head because of her—thankfully doing remarkably well now).
But this is why Fox News is banned in Canada; this is why the Westboro Baptist Church are banned from Canada and the UK, and why, in the latter country, serious expressions of racism can put you in jail for 56 days.
If you do not understand that expressions of hate speech are an incitement to crime, you and I have nothing more to discuss here. But I advise you to think about what expressions of hate speech result in; about what they have historically always resulted in. And mull on the idea that expressions of racism do, in fact, contribute to a racist culture wherein innocent people get killed simply for being black.
We’ve had law for more than 4300 years, and the ways in which it has been practiced and debated all that time has always involved more than reading a couple documents and simply “forming your own opinion” on the matter.
Freedom of speech is a really important part of society, which is why countless people have spent years researching it, debating it, and codifying it. To think that you’ve figured out a better way in the span of a couple hours of reading articles or blog posts, is an exceptional form of arrogance that displays a great lack of respect to the people whose job it has been for centuries to practice this.
14 Notes/ Hide
- asherehsa reblogged this from kurafire
- leafwrit reblogged this from nychthemeral
- atsween likes this
- vraisemblance-of-normalcy reblogged this from nychthemeral and added:
- smartasshat likes this
- journo-geekery likes this
- nychthemeral reblogged this from kurafire and added:
- f3licity likes this
- penllawen likes this
- lowbroweye likes this
- monkeyfrog likes this
- monkeyfrog said: Um. I’m an American who doesn’t find this an alien concept, but thanks for the broad brushstroke.
- kurafire posted this