Why Do We Need Free Speech?
Humans have been blessed with the facility of thinking and expressing themselves. The mind of every individual is unique from other and so is the way of expression of thoughts and perceptions. In accordance with this, expression is most powerfully done by speech and the words matter a lot while expressing anything. But not every individual is blessed with the power of speech that comprises of complete autonomy of expression. Speech needs to be free of biasness and passive tone. The ideal speech is direct, bold, active and factual. It makes complete sense to the listener and pose no doubts. It’s clear, explicit and holistic. We need free speech to better express ourselves while making sure it does not surpass our morality and values.
Freedom of speech has been incorporated in European law under ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental freedoms. This has given the individuals the complete freedom to express their views, thoughts and perception by their speech without fearing any power or taken actions over their stances and views. Though such theories and laws are challenged by many philosophers as in their stance it is a puzzled reality that is misused by people without knowing essence of its power and wisdom behind it (Barendt).
These law protect the individual against their liberated thoughts and opinions and provides them right to express themselves in regard of their perceptions and opinions without fearing any higher power regulators. Such laws have strengthen the common man by providing freedom over their speech and expression but on same side has projected many liberal and unwise opinions that are way too much loud and hard to bear.
These laws have provided liberation to people, media and worldwide networks to overlay their thoughts and profits on a common man. For instance the social media. Marketing companies, brands, TV commercials, all are projecting fake and blur realities just to earn profits and make money. They least bother themselves about the picture that they are ejecting and how they are spoiling the generations.
The social media has almost got nude, music has become filthy and disturbing and the movies and cinema has created whole new world of lie and has projected illusion of perfection that is a deception. Everybody seems to follow that deception and doesn’t know the underlying truth. The philosophers and humanitarians have realized this threat and have opposed such concepts but it seems it’s a never ending debate and would continue without any explicit conclusion (Baker).
Truth has been blurred with the shades of fallacy and delusions. Even people with intellect are now unable to differentiate the truth from a false and beatified lie. The fallacies have been projected with glitz and glitters and they had surprisingly covered the truth, values and moralities of different societies. Everybody seems to blindly following these fallacies without knowing reality and without bothering themselves to struggle to know the reality and truth. In such incidences who is responsible for all this, the government that gave liberation to people or the people who missed used the liberation or the social media and leading brands who used fallacies to earn name, fame, power and money? No clear answers are present for such discussions.
History shows that many brave men dared to speak the truth and didn’t worry the consequences. They took stand for the rights of their people and shined like a beacon of hope for generations. Such men are hardcore and hard to find because in this current world, where money and power rules everything, only truth can stand against evil and nothing can stop that.
On such example of such daring men is of Tecumseh’s speech to Gov. Harrison in 1810, while delegating regarding American Indians civil rights and freedom. The 19th century posed terrible issues to Native Americans that were unsafe in their own lands and were invaded by the Europeans. These wars were fought in order to sustain the lands, cultures and religion. Tecumseh said in his speech that:
“Brother, you have the liberty to return to you own country. You wish to prevent the Indians from doing as we wish them, to unite and let them consider their lands as a common property of the whole. You take the tribes aside and advise them not to come into their measures. You want by your distinctions of Indian tribes, in allotting to each a particular, to make them war with each other. You never see an Indian endeavor to make the white people do this. You are continually driving the red people, when at last you will drive them into the great lake [Lake Michigan], where they can neither stand nor work” (Tecumseh).
He was a brave man who stood against the wrong and powerfully and spoke strong words against the cruel forces. He never feared and never supported the lie in fact he stood against the lie and oppression and talk through his dignity and bravery that supported thousands of people and served to be the voice of the red Indians. People like him are heroes, who fear nothing and steadfast against lie and fallacies and oppression.
Another such example is of Red Jacket who defended the Native American religion back in 1805. He was also a hardcore and daring man and steadfast against the oppressors who invaded their land by making false stories and soon after captivated the native people and invaded their lands. He addressed the invaders with respect as he was a man of honor and mentioned their native religion being their only divine guide and truth. He showed respect towards their religion and said these words from a pure free speech:
“Brother this council fire was kindled by you; it was ta your request that we came together at this time; we have listened with attention to what you have said. You requested us to speak our minds freely; this gives us great joy, for we now consider that we stand upright before you, and can speak what we think; all have heard your voice, and all speak to you as one man. Our minds are agreed” (Red Jacket).
Such words need courage to be uttered and they follow up the consequences with them. As he further said at one place “brother, we do not wish to destroy your religion, or take it from you; we only want to enjoy our own.” Such words are the refection of courage and are not so easy to utter (Red Jacket).
Hence, today in our society, despite every right and courtesy, we are not so truthful against evil and posed fallacies. We lack courage to utter words of wisdom and truth that bring revolutionary changes. Let’s not look into big examples rather I would talk about me, as sometimes I do find myself a victim when I blindly accept the norms of society despite knowing fallacies behind them. It is maybe we lack courage or maybe we play safe game, what so ever, but our society needs real freedom of speech without any vulnerability and sugar coated fallacy to know the true picture of truth and reality. We need to get out of the fallacies and have to promote free speech that is the birth right of every human being on this planet.
Barendt, Eric. Freedom of speech. Oxford University Press, 2005.
Baker, C. Edwin. Human liberty and freedom of speech. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Red jacket defends Native American religion, 1805
Tecumseh’s speech to Gov. Harrison in 1810