Academic Master

Education, English

How Free Should Free Speech Be?

In the Bill of Rights, the United States of America has granted people the freedom of speech and expression. Their right to speak freely and without any hesitation is protected in the Constitution of America (Mitchell). However, the question arises: To what extent is freedom of speech and expression allowed? Does it have any limitations or restrictions?

One of the most beautiful rights of a human being is considered to be the freedom that allows him or her to search for and impart knowledge and information to others (Tuinman & Ten Hoorn). But there is a much-heated debate going on these days about whether freedom of speech should have limits to it or not. We live in a globalized society. Technology has advanced to the point that a person sitting in Africa can get his views from someone lying on his bed in Australia. The words travel at the speed of light. In this globalized and connected world, should we not have certain restrictions on what to say and what not to say? Not only do we live in a world where every single person can get his opinions and views anywhere in the world, but we live in a multicultural society. We can exclude the rest of the world and talk about a specific country, such as the United States of America. It is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. People from all across the continents come here to live, study and work. People with different backgrounds, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities come together and live in America. It is not wise to say something even somewhat deplorable about any race, colour or religion just because one has the right to say anything. It will have a serious and grave impact on that particular person or group.

A society with people of every age, culture, and religion cannot afford to have someone target the other person’s race, sexuality or religion. It will obliterate and destroy the very fabric of society that has been keeping them together. If someone thinks that he or she will say something about anyone, it is his or her right; then people will say the same thing about them also. If someone expresses other people’s religion with contempt, then it will have serious consequences that he or she has to deal with. People might start abusing and chastising their belief system as well. This will ruin the democratic and civilized society from within. There should be some limitations as to what to say and what not to express. It is true that people have the right to express their opinions, but not at the expense of other people’s feelings.

If a government is not doing its work properly or if the police force is not as effective as it used to be, then the criticism from the public or opposition will be valid as it will be for the betterment of society, but if people start abusing and condemning specific people because of their race, colour or sexual orientation, then it will not do any good to anyone. Instead, it will be detrimental to the people being abused and targeted. The freedom of speech and expression should be used for the good of the society. People seem to think that they have the power to say whatever they feel like with impunity, without any consequences or implications to encounter. The justifiable criticism is productive, but passing bigotry remarks against someone is anything but fruitful. The freedom of speech that will produce results that will be beneficial for the state, government and, above all, for the people must be allowed, but hurting someone’s feelings just because he or she is not of the same viewpoint as them is entirely immature and futile. The homophobic and racist remarks will provide nothing for the progress of the country. The kind of speeches and views that produce nothing fruitful either for the state or the people should be restrained.

Free speech and expression, in its true form, does not and cannot exist. Absolute freedom in anything is dangerous. Freedom of speech, if it was absolutely free, would mean that anyone could abuse and threaten The President of the United States and get away with it without facing some legal consequences. Freedom of speech would mean people start abusing and slandering other people’s parents and teachers and would get away with it. It is hard to believe if a person abuses and shows contempt towards the principal of a school or college and no action is taken against that student. It is hard to believe that someone passes racist remarks against someone and would not be criticized for it. Every action has its consequences. If one group starts slandering the views, opinions, race, and religion of the other group, the second group would reciprocate their actions and would start abusing them. It would thrust the society into chaos. The only reason a power can be justifiably exercised over someone, against that individual, is not to injure him or her (Moritz).

The reason why countries such as America, Britain, Canada, France, etc., are world leaders is because they learned their lessons from the past and rectified their actions. If a society is not well-integrated and has people insulting and slandering each other under the pretext of freedom of speech, then there would not be a need for an external force to destroy a country. If people have hatred among themselves and are not united, then they are already destroyed. Freedom of speech and expression should be allowed to the extent that it does not hurt any group or faction of people and does not inculcate and instil feelings of hatred and animosity. It should always be used for the betterment of the society. Speech and expression, which bring prosperity, are the only useful and important things needed; others are just secondary.

Works Cited

Mitchell, Don. “The liberalization of free speech: Or, how a to protest in public space is silenced.” Spaces of Contention: Spatialities and Social Movements 47 (2016).

Tuinman, P. R., and S. Ten Hoorn. “Freedom of speech for all critically ill patients: work in progress.” Critical Care 21.1 (2017): 27.

Moritz, Joshua M. “The Role of Theology in the History and Philosophy of Science.” Brill Research Perspectives in Theology 1.2 (2017): 1-105.

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