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Freedom of speech

Comments on Freedom of speech


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Posted 02/17/13 - 1:11 AM:
Subject: Freedom of speech
On the heels of this pedophilia issue, I felt like opening a discussion on the question of how free speech should be. (Of course most folks understand that admins at each forum are at liberty to set whatever standards they see fit, and even still I hope I didn't alienate people with my decision. But the topic of freedom of speech has actually been on my mind a lot lately, mainly due to watching a lot of the TV show "Law & Order: SVU".)

I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I also believe that not all speech is harmless. If speech didn't have the power to harm, I tend to wonder if people would care as much about it being free. Speech has power that people *want* to wield, without that power it doesn't strike me as needing to be protected by the law.

Lately we've been seeing a lot of the Westboro Baptist Church in the news. What do you guys think? Should their free speech be protected?
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Avatar thedoc
Posted 02/17/13 - 12:56 PM:

Every freedom comes with a responsability. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but that opinion needs to be based on accurate ideas and the truth as best the truth can be determined. Everyone has the right to express their own opinion, whether outloud or in writing, but I also have the right to choose not to hear or see that opinion. Therefore it is the responsability of people like the Westborough Baptist church to respect my right to not hear or see their message. One of my HS teachers said "Your right to swing your fist around ends at the tip of my nose." likewise people's right to express their opinion ends in my sight or hearing, if I so choose. The other point is that someones right to express themselves does not include speech or writing that directly harms another person.
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Posted 02/17/13 - 9:42 PM:

Free speech may not always be a bed of roses, so to speak, but the alternative...
henry quirk
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Posted 02/18/13 - 10:26 AM:

'Free speech' (protected) -- as legal entity -- is only about blunting the power of government to silence a body. In the legal context, 'free speech' has nuthin' to do with strictures imposed by an employer (as a condition of employment) or those imposed by a school on students (gets gray with can be argued a public school is an arm -- or tentacle -- of government).

Also: if a publisher, for example, refuses to publish a work (for whatever reason) this is not a 'free speech' issue, or a censorship issue, but purely a contractual matter.

Obviously: a forum owner/operator can impose whatever rules he or she likes...this -- again -- is not a 'free speech' issue...if Joey Pedo doesn't like that his propaganda is removed from a site, he has no recourse 'cept to grumble and gripe.

Philosophically, there is no 'free speech', no right to 'free speech''s a (sometimes useful) fiction and nuthin' more.

As for the Westboro Baptist Church: certainly, those folks can speak their (collected) mind (with mouth or in writing)...they can even physically intrude on services and properties and whatnot.

Each of the congregants, however, should be aware that, some day, some one might just offer up an objection to their speech by way of bullets.


"Your right to swing your fist around ends at the tip of my nose."

As I say: a (sometimes useful) fiction.

There is no 'right' (except as legal construct, a thing that has power only as long as folks choose to abide).

Edited by henry quirk on 02/18/13 - 11:47 AM. Reason: added a 'has'
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Posted 02/18/13 - 6:04 PM:

In the immortal words of the Neville Bros., "There's freedom of speech, as long as you don't say too much."
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