Should freedom of speech be limited?
If it’s one thing I stand for, it’s a person’s God-given right to speak their mind and to be passionate about their faith and what they believe in. So what I say in this blog post may not sound like it but just hear me out. Imagine, if you will, a world in which absolutely everyone has freedom of speech – absolutely anyone who can talk, type or do both. This is a world many people wish was ours as they think that it would be wonderful for everyone to be granted the freedom to voice their opinions and beliefs. It certainly sounds very nice but let’s stop and think about this for a moment. Look at the people who already have freedom of speech and voice their opinions online and in the media. Politicians? Yes. Supermodels? Yes. Your mother’s favourite singer? Yes. Sounds alright so far, yes? Now consider some more groups with freedom of speech and access to the internet. Criminals? Yup. Hate groups (i.e. neo-Nazis, terrorists, etc)? Afraid so. Cyber-bullies? Uh-huh!
We have already seen the consequences of having a large amount of freedom of speech without giving it to absolutely everybody! Recently, I came across a rather angry blog post by an anti-semite criticizing a news article on BBC that had criticized the “Golden Dawn”, some racist group in the UK (I think?). That name kinda makes me think of the Mythic Dawn, actually….
Maybe the “Golden Dawn” was worried that Bethesda would sue them for using the name so decided instead to use the word “Golden”. Here is a group of people who, after having been given the right to free speech, use it to spread hate for those who are different to them. They are cyber bullies who also use their words to hurt people. On the subject of cyber bullies, teenagers have killed themselves over things said about them on social media. Meanwhile, heinous acts of destruction and crime have been glorified by TV networks for the sake of higher ratings. And you can bet your bottom dollar a neo-Nazi skinhead can dress in full nazi attire and yell out his love for Hitler without police throwing him in the locker. So ask yourself this – at what price does total freedom of speech come? Are we so concerned with being politically correct that we’re willing to let just anyone walk all over us for the sake of speaking freely?
Now… you may either:
1. argue that these people will just be forced back underground if they are stopped from speaking in public.
2. be curious to know what I propose we should do instead of allowing universal freedom of speech.
To those who agree most with point 1, I say you’re right! They most likely will be forced underground – where they are less likely to be heard by the entire public and will find it difficult to spread their messages of hate and hurt across the masses. It won’t stop them from talking but the damage will be minimal.
To those who agree most with point 2, let’s face it. Laws need to change. We need to alter all current freedom of speech laws to grant this right only to those whose words are not going to spread hate or fear. I realise the magnitude of this task is great and unlikely to happen. And if it did happen then we would need to consider how we go about deciding who gets the job of making these decisions and how is this epic-sized task is going to be managed. Yes, it is not an easy option and it is not a likely one, for that matter. Still, it is the right option and that is what matters.
At the end of the day, I just want to live in a world where people don’t use freedom of speech as an excuse to hurt or cause mental anguish for one another.
Please voice your opinions below. Oh, and in case you haven’t already realised, I will not be approving any comments which I deem hateful, hurtful or uncivil. I will approve valid arguments and/or criticisms – I’m open to hearing these – but I won’t tolerate nasty behaviour.