I mean the Freedom of Speech.
I have cogitated for long about this simple statement. I thought it was clear at first.
However, we humans have made it extremely difficult to the extent that it actually only exists within contained walls.
We have controlled speech on all fronts and the curtain is getting thicker and closing more and more.
Some inflated individuals can stretch their freedom of speech unaffected, others better whisper if they want to survive.
I order to get a grip on it we should really be tought what it means before we start thinking to use it for what it doesn’t mean.
But who will teach us?
Government, religion, philosophers, fanatics…
I can’t actually believe that speech is so unfree. It’s ‘freedom of speech’ for heavens sake.
Some of us know about the power of words. Words are thoughts expressed. Words are two-thirds towards action.
We need no licence for words. Our birthright is ‘Freedom of Speech.’ Words: just say them and watch the ripples turn into eruptions.
But, are we not heading towards Newspeak, George Orwell’s fictional controlled language used in the totalitarian state Oceania in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four?
I was recently inspired by what British comedian Bill Hicks wrote about freedom of speech in 1993 when he responded to a priest who had bemoaned the ‘blasphemous’ content of his television special. He said:
“‘Freedom of speech’ means you support the right of people to say exactly those ideas which you do not agree with. (Otherwise, you don’t believe in ‘freedom of speech,’ but rather only those ideas which you believe to be acceptably stated.) Seeing as how there are so many different beliefs in the world, and as it would be virtually impossible for all of us to agree on any one belief, you may begin to realize just how important an idea like “freedom of speech” really is. The idea basically states “while I don’t agree or care for what you are saying, I do support your right to say it, for herein lies true freedom.”
The full article is here: https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/06/23/bill-hicks-censorship-freedom-of-speech-letter
Most constitutions mention the freedom of speech. Some countries just sweep it under the carpet and many people are non the wiser either.
In the South African Constitution
Chapter 2: Bill of Rights
Section 16: freedom of speech and expression, including freedom of the press and academic freedom.
Explicitly excluded are propaganda for war, incitement to violence and hate speech (advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion, and that constitutes incitement to cause harm)
The First Amendment in the US protects the freedom of speech. It then dives at length into what is and isn’t allowed to be said.
I am shocked to read that the Australian Constitution does not explicitly protect freedom of expression and yet I have watched full-on confrontations between radio presenters and government officials.
In modern Germany, the Grundgesetz guarantees freedom of press, speech, and opinion, but censorship does exist especially when we take certain perpetuated historic events into consideration.
In the UK free speech has long been recognised as a common law right.
As I sit here and write I know many of us want to say some things, talk about some things, bring them into the open, instead of silently accepting because of the ‘grave repercussions’ our exercise of freedom of speech could have. I just need to look at what some famous and outspoken authors and commentators have been subjected to and I’d rather leave that exercise for another day.
Here it is again: ‘Freedom of speech’ means you support the right of people to say exactly those ideas which you do not agree with.
I do support that right! I would expect that my right to freedom of speech therefore also exists(?)
I can dust off what I don’t agree with and what I don’t care for and move on.
Thank you Bill Hicks (Rip)