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  1. #1
    Potential is My Addiction Dreamer's Avatar
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    Default Does Free Speech Actually Exist? Has It Ever?

    As it’s a label often thrown around by many people of both the Left and Right, particularly when an election year is afoot, whether that’s to protect free speech, to silence hate speech, etc. do you believe speech should actually be free, should society as a whole allow a free exchange of open ideas and thought no matter the subject matter? Or is this all wishful thinking and in fact some speech should never be allowed? Who determines this?
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    NITE FLIGHTS Tactical Turtleneck's Avatar
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    People and organizations have a tendency to self-censor to varying degrees, so I'm not sure. It's also difficult to discern the line between self-censorship and just being sensitive to others' feelings; I think sometimes the two overlap, though that's not always a bad thing. The reason I am focused on self-censorship, is that I feel it's potentially more insidious and dangerous than when people attempt to censor others, the latter of which is much easier to point out and fight back against. What concerns me the most is the danger of people being blackmailed or intimidated into self-censorship.

    I believe in free speech with the exception of threats and yelling fire in a crowded theater. I consider myself left wing. Many of my left wing friends support levels of censorship that I am uncomfortable with, but then many right wingers have also proven themselves to be very "snowflakey" when they dislike the message or even the way something is said. So I don't see this as a cause exclusive to any one ideology or demographic. I believe it affects us all and we need to be very careful with the precedents we set, lest those made with good intentions one day might the next day be used in more insidious ways.

    Sorry, I didn't really answer the question.


    EDITED: I removed the part about being for absolute free speech, as I wouldn't want people to have a right to yell 'fire' free of consequence.

  3. #3
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    No, no, and no.

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  4. #4
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    Free speech has always existed and always will.

    But so does consequences. And they always will too.
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  5. #5
    Potential is My Addiction Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Free speech has always existed and always will.

    But so does consequences. And they always will too.
    This is a great point to note, in that “free speech” DOES exist, but whether or not you will receive consequences is another factor. Or, I guess a way to look at it is, as basic and essential as the old saying goes, “for any action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, a way to look at this thought is to gauge what exactly those “reactions” are to said speech.

    Interesting!
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  6. #6
    Potential is My Addiction Dreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tactical Turtleneck View Post
    People and organizations have a tendency to self-censor to varying degrees, so I'm not sure. It's also difficult to discern the line between self-censorship and just being sensitive to others' feelings; I think sometimes the two overlap, though that's not always a bad thing. The reason I am focused on self-censorship, is that I feel it's potentially more insidious and dangerous than when people attempt to censor others, the latter of which is much easier to point out and fight back against. What concerns me the most is the danger of people being blackmailed or intimidated into self-censorship.

    I believe in absolute free speech, and consider myself left wing. Many of my left wing friends support levels of censorship that I am uncomfortable with, but then many right wingers have also proven themselves to be very "snowflakey" when they dislike the message or even the way something is said. So I don't see this as a cause exclusive to any one ideology or demographic. I believe it affects us all and we need to be very careful with the precedents we set, lest those made with good intentions one day might the next day be used in more insidious ways.

    Sorry, I didn't really answer the question.
    No need to apologize, I LOVE where you took this question! And I agree, in the sense that, in order to begin answering this question, it’s key to take it to an even baser level or, what speech do we “allow” ourselves? How much of a personal barrier is one’s own limitation to speak their own thoughts?

    For me at least, a large proponent surrounding this basic idea, and on a broader perspective, is the notion of consequence as @Lark brought up, and weighing whether that potential consequence is worth the message being shared, to me, is where I draw my own individual line.

    I will almost always take any question someone might pose as seriously as they intend without immediately shooting the thought down as “improper” or morally wrong, but as for my own free speech in what I would self-restrict or not is whether some thought is worth the potential argument or disagreement with someone that may ensue. So like, do I feel confident I myself am knowledgeable enough on a topic to take a stance, am I prepared for a potential emotional outburst, etc. For me, my self-imposed restriction to free speech is almost always weighed more by the potential efforts required following some statement, rather than restricting something based on a social moral acceptance or whathaveyou.
    The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams
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  7. #7
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    Free speech is imo a strong right and I think short of making threats to others or being disruptive to others it should be allowed. Free speech is the one right that all of us should enjoy no one should be persecuted for having an opinion. Like sure some opinions are assholeish like say I was a Holocaust denier (Which I am not just a example) I don't think it should be illegal to deny the Holocaust happened even though its assholeish but say harassing Jews on the street and screaming *IT NEVE3R HAPPENED* is harassment imo and shouldn't be allowed. Same goes for anti Western Islamist types or Westboro Church folks they have as much right as anyone else to hate the West or the various groups but violence or threats is a no no.

    Denying freedom of speech is a snowball like one day it could be well intentioned (No expression of anti LGBT for an example) but it could snowball into other things like not being allowed to be critical of anything at all. Plus by giving everyone the right to freedom of speech everyone also has the freedom to call them out so all is fair. Like I have the right to call the Westboro church a bunch of lunatics :P .

  8. #8
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    Although free speech is part of a healthy democracy and healthy individuals, free speech is not absolute. Free speech is limited by other rights, by defamation law, by anti-discrimination law, by the criminal law, and by common courtesy.

    Today free speech is opposed by cancel culture, by Islamic Jihad, and by authoritarian States.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mole View Post
    Although free speech is part of a healthy democracy and healthy individuals, free speech is not absolute. Free speech is limited by other rights, by defamation law, by anti-discrimination law, by the criminal law, and by common courtesy.

    Today free speech is opposed by cancel culture, by Islamic Jihad, and by authoritarian States.
    What about money Mole, without sponsorship absolutely none of those things you mention would matter or could even exist.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    What about money Mole, without sponsorship absolutely none of those things you mention would matter or could even exist.
    It's true, Lark, that in unequal societies, those with more money have the loudest voices, after all 'money talks'.

    However in a liberal democratic society we can start to move towards a more equal society. Education is one path. The country with the best education system in the world is Finland, and they have no private schools. In Oz we have State funded private schools, and in fact I was a private school boy. And Australian students are falling behind in education, and we are looking to improve our education system, and a good place to look is Finland.

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