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Due to some recent articles I have read, I've begun to question a basic belief that I have. I have been taught that freedom of expression is a good thing. After thinking about it, I don't really know why it is so important. If anyone could point me to some papers, websites, or even your own personal opinions, I would appreciate it.

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Last Post by jwenting
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Freedom of expression is not just a good thing, it's essential to being a free person in a free society.
If you aren't allowed to say what you think of things (even if others don't disagree with you), you're nothing, you've no personality left.
In the absense of freedom of expression you get situations like the USSR under Stalin, Cambodia under Pol Pot, Zimbadwe under Mugabe.
Anyone who says (or is even suspected of saying) something that doesn't agree with the party line is a traitor and killed or put in slave labour ("reeducation") camps.
You'd of course also loose all freedom of choice. After all, choice IS expression of personal opinion and preference.

Of course some peoples' ideas, freely expressed, can be shocking or disturbing to others.
But as long as no physical harm comes from them they should be allowed to stand (not the distinction, if you want to express your freedom of expression by blowing up a train that's still murder. If you paint a picture of a blown up Tel Aviv restaurant with PLO flags waving victoriously in the background you're making something that will make me loath you in the extreme but I will not say it should be banned).

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Freedom of expression is not just a good thing, it's essential to being a free person in a free society.
If you aren't allowed to say what you think of things (even if others don't disagree with you), you're nothing, you've no personality left.
In the absense of freedom of expression you get situations like the USSR under Stalin, Cambodia under Pol Pot, Zimbadwe under Mugabe.
Anyone who says (or is even suspected of saying) something that doesn't agree with the party line is a traitor and killed or put in slave labour ("reeducation") camps.
You'd of course also loose all freedom of choice. After all, choice IS expression of personal opinion and preference.

Of course some peoples' ideas, freely expressed, can be shocking or disturbing to others.
But as long as no physical harm comes from them they should be allowed to stand (not the distinction, if you want to express your freedom of expression by blowing up a train that's still murder. If you paint a picture of a blown up Tel Aviv restaurant with PLO flags waving victoriously in the background you're making something that will make me loath you in the extreme but I will not say it should be banned).

You bring up some interesting points, and things that certainly helped me out. However, how do you determine if something is harmful? What if the speech that you are expressing is harmful to society in general. Take the KKK for instance. They preach hatred and intolerance to people of other races. Yet this is something that many consider to be protected. Why is it acceptable to protect speech that obviously is preaching hate and discontent?

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Where do you draw the line?
Today you ban people from claiming negroes (I don't hold with PC alternatives) are lazy, tomorrow you ban people from saying they don't like strawberries.
And the day after you ban all fruit except strawberries.
Maybe next week you ban fastfood restaurants, and next month you ban music.
Next year you ban women from wearing "revealing clothing" and outlaw all religions except one, and suddenly you have the Taliban.
Once you start on the slippery slope of telling people what to say and think and what not, there is no way of stopping it.

If people say they hate me for having grey blue eyes, that's their problem not mine...

Of course the KKK took their ideas and turned them into practice, and that was taking it too far.
But as long as its just ideas and words, noone gets hurt in a way he can't defend himself against if he has freedom of speech and expression.
If you claim Africans are lazy, any African can try to change your opinion by showing you that he's not.
If no African takes up the challenge, who's to say you weren't right all along?

As things stand now you would not be allowed to call that African lazy (that would be discrimination) but that African can say whatever he likes about you without fear of repercussions (because for some weird reason it's not discrimination if it's negative about white people).

Of course I used this example because of your KKK link.

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People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. ~Soren Kierkegaard

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Hello,

I think freedoms of expression are necessary, as long as you do not impede on my freedom to ignore you.

For example, you may have the freedom to smoke a cigarette. I have the freedom of breathing clean air, so please do not smoke near me.

A number of things have been claimed in the arena of "free speech". Tell me please how a model of gross artwork on display is speaking anything.

People have the freedom of sexual orientation. I do not mind gay people. But I do have the freedom of IGNORANCE, meaning I don't want to know, and I am not interested in a homo relationship, so do not make a point of letting me know you are hitting on me.

I believe life has balance. Freedoms should not impair social culture. You are free to live in a homo lifestyle, but that doesn't mean I have to recognize your relationship as a marriage.

Yes, I feel that if people are pushing the freedoms, then they have crossed over a line of taste. Anyone who has to tell me why they are doing something due to "being free to do so" has crossed the line.

But I do not want a march-in-line society either. Be creative, and let me have the free choice to participate with you or not.

Christian

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Well said. Everyone should be free to make his own choices and do as he likes as long as that freedom doesn't interfere with the freedom of others.
Therefore you're free to drive your car off a bridge to commit suicide but don't drive it into my car when I'm driving the other way because that's interfering with me :)

You're also free to think (and say) I'm a rightwing nut, as long as you leave me free to consider you a leftwing lunatic in return ;)

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People should be free to say whatever they like so long as what they say does not hurt or offend others.

With rights come responsibilities. Where that does not occur you have a truly sick society!

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People should be free to say whatever they like so long as what they say does not hurt or offend others.

This offends me!

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