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What is 'freedom of speech'?

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JR8
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What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 08 May 2015 9:28 am

I was reading a discussion on a forum in the UK that was discussing this, and I realised that I'm of course entirely familiar with the expression, but I don't really know what it actually means.

One writer there, who is a lawyer, commented as follows:
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'A lot of people seem to still have a problem with the concept that for 'freedom of speech' to have any value it has to include the right to give offence by saying things that others disagree with. Redmond-Bate v Director of Public Prosecutions* is my favourite legal ruling. In it the judge says 'Free speech includes not only the inoffensive but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative provided it does not tend to provoke violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having'. But he had also commented on the specifics of the case that 'Nobody had to stop and listen'.
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmond-Bate_v_DPP
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I'm not suggesting this is a topic for discussion, but I thought it might prove thought-provoking for others.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Strong Eagle
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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 08 May 2015 9:56 am

There's another viewpoint... freedom of speech means that there is no person or agency who deems your speech 'inappropriate', 'heretical', 'blasphemous', 'hateful' or any other of a dozen terms used by those that would deem to be in charge of what you can and cannot say.

The instant one crosses the line and says that certain types of speech are impermissible, then you have granted power to others to censure what you might want to say.

Then again, the Supreme Court in the USA has ruled that you do not have the right to yell 'fire' in a crowded theater when no fire exists. Nor may you convey the greatest secrets of the USA to any third party without violating the law, even though freedom of speech might dictate that you have no limits.

In the end, no right is absolute... for these are the rights of the individual... and they must always be balanced against the rights of the community. Some distinctions are obvious... turn down your ferkin radio at 2 in the morning... others not quite so obvious... when does speech fall into the venue of hollering 'fire' in a crowded theater?

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby nakatago » Fri, 08 May 2015 11:07 am

Obligatory xkcd:

Image

Replace "First Amendment" with whatever law or mandate your applicable legislation provides.

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby x9200 » Fri, 08 May 2015 5:36 pm

So should it be allowed to turn people against each other on a massive scale?
a) by manipulation
b) involuntarily

It's all relative and nothing is absolute.

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby Wd40 » Fri, 08 May 2015 8:30 pm

Narendra Modi's interview with Time magazine:

http://time.com/3849492/narendra-modi-interview/

What a brilliant quote:

Q:On whether he would like to have the kind of authoritarian power that China’s leader has:
A: India is a democracy; it is in our DNA. As far as the different political parties are concerned, I firmly believe that they have the maturity and wisdom to make decisions that are in the best interests of the nation. So if you were to ask me whether you need a dictatorship to run India, No, you do not. Whether you need a powerful person who believes in concentrating power, No, you do not. If you were to ask me to choose between democratic values and wealth, power, prosperity and fame, I will very easily and without any doubt choose democratic values.

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby JR8 » Fri, 08 May 2015 8:34 pm

^ +1 - I like how he indirectly conflates what lack of democracy usually leads to...
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby the lynx » Tue, 12 May 2015 9:22 am

My action of expressing my disagreement to your (free) speech demonstrates my own freedom of speech.

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Re: What is 'freedom of speech'?

Postby JR8 » Tue, 12 May 2015 6:10 pm

the lynx wrote:My action of expressing my disagreement to your (free) speech demonstrates my own freedom of speech.


Well naturally, but there's also 'disagreement to your free speech', vs 'the same disagreement but backed by a criminal justice system' :lol:
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


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